Sunninghill and Ascot Property Company

Head Gardener

Sunninghill, Ascot
07 Aug 2019
07 Sep 2019
Full Time
Contract Type

The Role

The Head Gardener leads a team of gardeners with day to day responsibility for the upkeep of the estate’s gardens and ensure that these continue to meet the standards required and provide an enjoyable experience for residents, guests and visitors.

The Venue

Charters is a luxury high-end residential estate located in the Berkshire countryside close to Ascot comprising of 28 acres of grounds including lawns, planters, water features, wooded areas and a large pond.

The estate has historic significance with the grade II listed mansion built in 1938 and home to the Parkinson family, friends to the royals. The facilities include gym, 24hr concierge and security, full time housekeeping, pool, spa and billiard room, however, it is the grounds that are the crowning glory where the nature of the estate demands the highest of standards.

There is much scope for development of the grounds and a commitment from the residents to fund additional works. Further information can be found at

Job Description

The Head Gardener will report to the Estate Manager and lead a team of gardeners to fulfil the Charters objectives for its gardens. The post holder is a leads the Gardens Committee and works with residents it to ensure that the garden is developed and maintained to the highest horticultural standards and that its unique character and excellence is preserved.

Key duties and responsibilities

  • Lead and work with the Grounds Department and line manage the team of gardeners. You will create a great environment for your team to work. You will recruit talented and enthusiastic people; driving performance through setting strong objectives, arranging staff training, monitoring and supporting development and conducting appraisals.
  • Maintain and enhance all garden areas of the estate.
  • Ensure the gardens team work in a safe, secure and compliant environment whilst fulfilling health and safety obligations, including appropriate use of PPE.
  • Ensure all garden machinery is properly serviced and maintained at all times and is safe to use.
  • Consult regularly (annually and as required) with a tree surgeon to ensure all trees are in a safe condition.
  • Take an active role in design, improvement and development of the estates gardens.
  • Work collaboratively with the rest of the Operations Team (primarily Concierge, Housekeeping and Maintenance) to ensure that the estate gardens are at a high standard at all times.
  • Undertake any other duties required by the Estate Manager within the scope of the post.

Finance and planning

  • Draw up the Gardens Department annual operating budgets with the support of the Estate Manager, keeping track of performance; controlling costs and approved spends throughout the year.
  • Develop a Five Year Gardens Plan setting out the vision and implement projects arising from the plan as approved by the Gardens Committee.
  • Identify and manage risks to the gardens (e.g. plant diseases) and take actions to mitigate them.

Knowledge, skills and experience

  • Significant practical experience in horticulture, supported by appropriate qualifications to RHS level 3 (or equivalent level of vocational experience).
  • C&G 4555 certificates or equivalent.
  • PA1 and PA6 – Spraying
  • Qualified NPTC for Compact Tractor, Trailer, Loader, B'Cutter/Trimmers/ Hedge Cutters
  • Good level of plantsmanship/plant husbandry skills. Knowledge of a range of horticultural techniques covering a varied range of plant types. Artistic plantsmanship/design skills would be highly advantageous.
  • Leadership skills including coaching, team development, motivation and communication.
  • Strong people skills to build and maintain relationships, both internally and externally.
  • Good written and verbal communication skills including public presentation, influencing and negotiating.
  • Experience in managing small contracts and projects.

These duties may change from time to time in consultation with the post holder, to reflect the needs of the estate.

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