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Head of Ornamental Gardens

The Newt in Somerset
Bruton, Somerset
Up to £45,000 pa dependent on experience and qualifications
Closing date
31 Jan 2021
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Job Details


Department/Division: Gardens and Visitor Attraction

Based at: The Estate Office, Newt in Somerset, Bruton, BA7 7NG

Reports to: Head Gardener

Direct reports: Up to 12 horticulturists

Employment type: Full-time Permanent

Normal hours: 5 days out of 7

Basic salary: Dependent on experience and qualifications

Annual Leave: 30 days p.a., including bank holidays

The Newt in Somerset

The Newt in Somerset has ancient woodland, historic gardens and far reaching views. It is a unique destination with Hotel, Spa, Restaurants and much more.  Visitors can take a tour of the gardens, deer park and cyder press, dine in the Garden Café and visit our farm shop. Attracting around 150,000 visitors per year, The Newt in Somerset is a vibrant and thriving attraction, animated throughout the seasons by special events, workshops and education programmes.

Department Description

The Gardens Team (Nursery, Gardens & Woodlands) are dedicated to understanding, developing, curating, protecting and managing The Newts living collection of plants, in an environment where visitors are encouraged to experience and learn about plants, garden history, habitats and to enjoy the gardens.

Job Summary

As Head of Ornamental Gardens, you’ll be following the footsteps of a garden that today are the result of the creative fusion of heritage and contemporary. The formal layouts of the 17th and early 18th century created the landscape backbone under the Player family through to the Hobhouse family who in the later 18th century introduced less formal landscaping features. The early 20th century saw more changes in the wider landscape of the park and Estate. In 1911 the Hobhouse’s extended Poorground Copse with larch, ash, oak and poplar forming the full extent of the woodland seen today. Small, mixed species copses were also planted for amenity purposes in the wider landscape.

As Head of Ornamental Gardens, you’ll have a wide remit. You’ll look to develop and maintain the gardens and think about its future, ensuring the very highest standards of conservation, horticulture and visitor experience. A visionary, you’ll lead with passion and flair. You’ll motivate a team of eight, set the standards and keep the budget on track, too.

It’ll be down to you to engage visitors’ interest in the ornamental gardens, delivering a first-class visitor experience, as well as encouraging a culture of openness and involvement for all.

You’ll put your green fingers to use and get involved in the day-to-day upkeep of the gardens.

Candidate Profile

You will be a credible collaborator, bringing your enthusiasm and positivity every day, you’re a true team player and will use your leadership skills to motivate your team and hit your ambitious standards for conservation, horticulture and visitor experience. It goes without saying that you have a high level of horticultural knowledge and know-how – perhaps at a large garden or across a portfolio – supported by an appropriate qualification, have an artistic eye and at the very least an understanding of conservation of historic landscapes.

Exceptional communication skills are a must. You’ll be able to show us where you’ve organised garden activities to enhance visits and you’ll need to be comfortable with media requests. We’ll also need to see where you’ve had responsibility for budgets, finances and small projects.

Skills and Experience

  • An experienced leader – you should be accessible, highly visible and able to share your vision in a clear and compelling way.
  • A good knowledge of plants, their identification, propagation and cultivation.
  • First-hand experience of managing a successful and high-quality garden-based visitor attraction.
  • Experience and proven ability in the management of a team of 8 plus people.
  • Precise and well organised.
  • Driven to provide the highest level of visitor experience.
  • A natural collaborator
  • Hard-working and energetic, with excellent team skills and the ability to communicate at multiple levels.
  • A natural ambassador with proven expertise in building and maintaining relationships.
  • Good IT skills for implementing efficient management systems and records are essential
  • Appropriate and relevant academic qualifications.
  • Full and clean UK driving license.
  • Understanding of Health and Safety issues, including tree inspections.
  • An eye for detail and desire to achieve high standards.
  • Customer focused approach to internal and external customers.
  • Able to undertake work of a physical nature (including contact with plants and chemicals) and skilled in a range of practical skills for the care and presentation to a high standard of formal heritage gardens.
  • Good basic skills in the care and operation of garden machinery, hand tools /equipment.
  • Computer literate.
  • Minimum 5 years’ experience in a similar position
  • Horticultural qualification essential
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