Apprentice Gardener

Private Country Estate in the Surrey Hills
Near Godalming, Surrey
Upto £20,800 per annum plus discretionary bonus (single person accommodation maybe available)
Closing date
12 Dec 2021
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The Estate

A privately owned 500 acre walled Estate set in the heart of the Surrey countryside which was developed in the Arts and Craft style some hundred years ago is seeking an Apprentice Gardener. The Estate was purchased just over two years ago and the owners have set about an ambitious renovation program that encompasses the whole Estate. The extensive grounds are comprised of a parkland type landscape with small woodlands, copses and strategic plantings of trees within fields that are used as pastureland. A series of lakes are linked across the northern end of the Estate and are to be used for recreational purposes including one lake for swimming and another for trout fishing, along with10 acres of landscaped gardens around the house.

The Estate is managed by the Estate Manager who has direct responsibility for the Estate and overseeing the renovations. Landscape Architects Colvin and Moggridge were appointed in 2019 and have developed a master plan based upon the historic structure of the gardens to create a new ‘English Garden’, offering interest throughout the year using a wide palette of plants. Work has started and the gardens are due to be completed this year.

Outlined below are the changes reflected in the master plan for the garden:-

Around the Mansion will be a forecourt with formal parterre planting beds complete with a topiary yew centerpiece, surrounded by close cut formal lawns. The planting beds will have a changing display of bulbs and annual flowering plants to provide year-round interest.

The Grotto entrance will be surrounded by mostly coniferous trees planted to create a woodland clump when viewed from the parkland, together with an underplanting of shrubs and herbaceous plants. A Garden Walk will contain more shrub and herbaceous planting and will continue around the outside of the Garden Terrace. The terraces around the Mansion will have a display of large planters with small clipped standard trees surrounded with seasonal annuals.

The original 5 acre Walled Kitchen Garden is to be divided into a quartered layout with gravel paths on the cross axis and around the perimeter walls. The central area will be a simple meadow and fruit trees with feature arbours in each quadrant. A new glasshouse built on original foundations will house the retained vines and new fruit cages are to be constructed. The area will also provide beds for raising cut flowers for the Mansion;

Sections of the garden will offer seasonal interest with a summer garden, together with a spring and autumn woodland garden. There are to be planting areas on the terraces sloping down to the lake with further interest created with a Japanese Garden and Arboretum in the parkland;


The Role

The role will be learning to help maintain all areas of the gardens and wider estate, including fine lawns, hedge cutting, strimming, pesticide application (once qualified), border maintenance, ornamental plantings and maintenance of the informal areas of the Estate to a high horticultural standard.

Your willingness to learn and develop your skills will contribute to the development and ongoing maintenance of the Estate.

You will be required to learn how to operate a wide range of garden machinery, tools and equipment and ensure that they are maintained in optimal condition.


The Person

The job holder will be an individual possessing some or a very limited range of horticultural skills. Must have the willingness to learn and develop themselves.


Job Specific Criteria

Most important requirement is the desire to learn and be outside, in all weathers.

Some experience of working within landscape gardens or at least helping look after a garden.

Some experience of both formal and informal planting, turf management and kitchen gardens, with some arboricultural knowledge and skills, would be beneficial, but not essential.

Experience of garden machinery operation and understanding the daily maintenance requirements.

An understanding of health and safety requirements associated with horticultural practices.

A background in private service is desirable but not essential.


Personal Attributes

Leadership and team effectiveness

Show enthusiasm and pride for your work. Understand your areas of responsibility and have a clear understanding of objectives, activities and time-frames.

Making effective decisions

Use evidence and knowledge to support informed decisions. Consider alternative options (including contributions from others), implications and associated risks.

Communicating and influencing

Communicate in a clear, honest and enthusiastic way in order to build trust with those that you work and interact with. 

Quality delivery

Take responsibility for delivering timely and quality results with focus and drive.  Have an eye for detail and ability to respond to and rectify issues. Respond to and adjust priorities as changing situations dictate.

Terms and Benefits

Position is available on a fixed term contract, permanent position maybe available to the right candidate. 

Hours: 40 hours per week

Working Pattern: Normal hours 07.30-16.30 Monday to Friday with additional hours and some weekend duties

Day release to a land based college as part of the apprentice program.

Annual Leave: 20 days plus Bank Holidays

Salary Range: £10,400 to £20,800p.a. (dependent on Accommodation) plus a discretionary bonus

Self-contained single person living accommodation maybe available to the right candidate with a salary around the £10,400 once enrolled in the apprenticeship program.

Pension included

Learning & Development: The job holder is encouraged to develop their skills.

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