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Head Gardener

Elton Hall
Elton, Peterborough. PE8 6SH
Negotiable salary within the Professional Gardeners Guild Salary Guidelines for 2021. A good house w
Closing date
9 Oct 2021
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Head Gardener Person Information

Elton Hall & Estate

Good house will be available on the estate

Elton Hall is a large country house which has been in the Proby family since 1660, nestled in the beautiful countryside between the Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire border. It is a family home, working country estate and during the summer months a visitor attraction and wedding and events venue.

The Hall is surrounded by formal gardens, parkland, woods and a lake. For details visit

The village of Elton

The village of Elton lies on the B671 road with easy access to the A605 and A1. It is within easy reach of Oundle and Peterborough. There is a regular bus service.

The village boasts a fine Church, a Church of England primary school noted as ‘Good’ by Ofsted, an angling club, restaurant, two public houses, a post office, and many small business units. There is a garden centre with a café next to the Hall. There are an extensive network of footpaths and bridleways around the village.

The Gardens

The gardens you see today have been designed and replanted by Meredyth Proby over the past forty years. They provide a stunning backdrop to the house and contain many unusual plants and shrubs. The new extensive hedging and topiary have created different areas and structure throughout the year. The garden today is in excellent condition, but ready for fresh eyes.

Job Role

An exciting opportunity has arisen for an experienced Head Gardener on one of England’s historic and beautiful private estates.

Set within the historic parkland, the beautiful gardens present a wide range of horticultural interest including formal lawns, herbaceous borders, an orangery, flower garden, water features, shrub garden, arboretum, wilderness garden, orchard, box and yew hedges and magnificent topiary.

The Head Gardener will ensure that the gardens are presented and maintained to the highest standard, and in line with the owners’ vision. The Head Gardener has a full-time assistant as well as a creative specialist who clips the box hedging and some of the topiary. Another specialist contractor supports other tasks in the Flower Garden on a seasonal basis. The position is full time and does require some weekend work on rotation.

The successful applicant will possess excellent horticultural knowledge and experience, preferably in the historic gardens sector.

Negotiable salary within the Professional Gardeners Guild Salary Guidelines for 2021. A good house will be available on the estate. Pension scheme as standard.


Must be skilled in a wide range of professional horticulture and with experience of organising seasonal tasks and resource to support a consistently high standard of presentation.

To maintain, restore or improve to perfection the existing gardens. All this work will be undertaken with a great eye for detail and a passion to achieve impeccable standards.

To create, lead, manage and empower, an efficient gardening team of full time and seasonal staff, contractors, trainees, and potentially volunteers.

Key Responsibilities

The Head Gardener will be required to organise the day-to-day presentation and management of the garden. They will liaise closely with Lady Proby, and in due course, her daughter, in all aspects of the garden’s presentation and ongoing presentation.

Set up and manage nursery and propagating facilities to provide plants for the gardens and occasional flowers for the house. This does not preclude the possibility of bedding plants being bought in where it can be shown there is an advantage in doing so.

Have a good plant knowledge. Keep a record of plants received, plants lost and plants ordered for entering into a database. Ensuring all plants are kept watered during hot spells, and warm during the winter, this includes at weekends. Take responsibility for planting and first year maintenance of all trees and shrubs and supervise planting of herbaceous and annual plants. Maintain greenhouse and sheds to a high standard.

Excellent organisational and time management skills are essential, and the Head Gardener must be willing to act as an ambassador for Elton Hall through the delivery of occasional garden talks and guided tours. It is important that the new Head Gardener should commit to supporting a minimum period of six plus years to support and bed in the succession of the garden owner which will slowly transfer to the next generation of the family over the coming three years. Ensure that the whole garden is checked as the first task of each day and able to schedule their time and tasks accordingly.

Applicants must be “hands-on”, good communicators and tidy. Creative input and a sense of humour welcome. Manage, handle and schedule the contract servicing of a range of garden machinery including tractors, mowers and chainsaw. Full UK driving licence essential. Introduce ideas and suggestions and participate in development plans while accepting that the Owners reserve to themselves the final decision on all matters.

The Head Gardener is a key member of staff and will be a supportive team player – one who is engaging, affable, naturally outgoing and thrives in working with others, but equally alone. Seek to achieve a balance of all Gardens staff being welcoming, polite, and helpful to the visiting public without allowing undue interruption to the programme of work. Be a collaborative member of the whole Elton Team, co-operating with all other Departments.

Assist the Owners, to recruit and appoint Gardens staff when required. Co-operate in the possible training schemes involving outside bodies.

Be responsible for compliance with Employment Law and Health and Safety at Work. Inform the owners of any deterioration in structure or infrastructure and make recommendations for programme of repair. Conduct risk and COSHH assessments and be proficient in the safe use of pesticides.

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