Renowned the world over as an iconic and influential garden, an exciting and rare opportunity has arisen at Sissinghurst Castle Garden to join and lead one of the most famous gardens in Britain as their Head Gardener.
Are you an innovator with a wealth of expertise? If you’re looking to use your fantastic horticultural knowledge and work with an experienced team in an aspirational property, this role could be the one you’ve been waiting for.
Please note we are offering an attractive salary of £40,000 per annum, depending on skills and experience, plus an impressive benefits package. This role comes with Key Representative accommodation.
The house was built in 1937 and has always been home to Sissinghurst’s Head Gardeners, including Pam and Sybille. It is an attractive two-bedroom cottage with large garden and a wonderful view to the tower.
Key Representative duties will include being on call throughout the week and weekends, these duties are shared by two similar roles at the property to ensure some time off to relax and enjoy the surroundings.
What it's like to work here
The gardens are a result of the creative tension between the formal design of Harold Nicolson and the exuberant planting of Vita Sackville-West. Sissinghurst is a highly personal garden planned by a couple who each had a unique point of view.
Today, Sissinghurst is a place for innovation. It remains at the forefront of horticulture both internationally and closer to home and welcomes over 200,000 visitors a year.
To perpetuate a garden made by two such individuals requires gardeners not only with supreme horticultural knowledge and skill but also those with vision, sensitivity and most importantly an instinctive feeling for the spirit of the place.
Sissinghurst is visited by a wide-ranging audience with different needs, you’ll be part of a high performing property team who welcome visitors seven days a week, 363 days a year. Collaborative working is key, you’ll need to be a great communicator.
What you'll be doing
As Head Gardener, you’ll have a wide remit. You’ll lead with passion and flair, whilst looking to develop and maintain the gardens day to day, in addition to you’ll motivate a large team, including lots of enthusiastic volunteers and have a clear understanding of budget management. You’ll think strategically about its future, ensuring the very highest standards of conservation, horticulture and visitor experience.
It’ll be down to you to engage visitors interest in the gardens, delivering a first-class visitor experience, as well as attracting donors and working with the local community, encouraging a culture of openness, inclusion and involvement for all.
As a member of the senior leadership team you will be involved in strategic decisions and thinking, plus several compliance tasks.
It won’t all be strategic thinking though – you’ll get a chance to put your green fingers to use and get involved in the day-to-day upkeep of the gardens with your team of highly skilled and professional gardeners.
This is a key ambassadorial role, not just for Sissinghurst but for gardens nationally.
You will also support a lead gardener who has the responsibility for three other gardens within the portfolio, Smallhythe Place, Lamb House and Stoneacre as well as the vegetable garden.
Please read our personally developed candidate pack to find out more information. You can contact Philip Barnes, General Manager for the Sissinghurst portfolio should you wish to discuss the role in more detail or to organise an informal visit to the garden.
You can contact Philip at email@example.com or by calling 07826 950071.
Who we're looking for
We're looking for someone with the following skills, but not limited to:
- High level of horticultural experience, supported by appropriate qualifications to RHS level 3 or above (or equivalent level of vocational experience).
- Excellent level of plantsmanship/plant husbandry skills. Knowledge of a wide range of horticultural techniques covering a range of plant types. Some artistic plantsmanship/design skills.
- Experience of organising garden activities which enhance garden visits.
- Leadership skills including coaching, team development, motivation and communication.
- Good people skills enabling strong relationships to be built and maintained, externally and internally.
- Budget management skills, with a record of managing finances and small projects.
- Experience of working within the heritage sector within a horticultural role.
- Good written and verbal communication skills including public presentation, enabling you to respond to media requests and take on an ambassadorial role of gardens in the National Trust.