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Assistant Head Gardener

National Trust
Mount Stewart, Portaferry Road, Newtownards, BT22 2AD
Closing date
7 Aug 2022
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Job Details


Are you a skilled horticulturist and plants-person, or an accomplished assistant head gardener with great artistic flare, looking for your next major challenge by joining us and moving into garden and team management at a complex garden? Do you feel you have what it takes to help shape the future of a major garden by leading a team of highly skilled and motivated horticulturists who care for one of the most dynamic and varied, coastal gardens in the UK? Do you have the organisational, health and safety and people skills to help shape our future, or do you have what it takes to lead specialist or general tours of the garden?

Then working as the Assistant Head Gardener, to support the Head Gardener and property team at Mount Stewart in Northern Ireland, will meet all of you career aspirations.

What it's like to work here            

Nestling on the shoreline of Strangford Lough creates the ambiance for the House, Garden and Estate, and the sea and coastline has and will take an importance role in our future. The 180 acres garden is full of tender, subtropical and hardy plants, with massive eucalyptus providing shade for tree ferns, tender rhododendrons that all thrive in the almost frost free climate.

Mount Stewart is a bustling place to work and is open all-year-round to local and international visitors. Its also a fun place to work, as we all love the property and the importance it has to our visitors, whether they come to walk their dog, have a family picnic, or just spend time marvelling at the garden, house and the estate.

 What you'll be doing            

The Assistant Head Gardener's role is wide and varied, and works in partnership with the Head Garden as we continue to take the garden forward. Our ethos is a "garden on the edge" planting for climate change in the almost frost free climate, constantly bringing in new plants and showing them off with great artistry and flare, using the latest horticulture techniques and equipment, as well as sharing our passion for Mount Stewart with our visitors and staff.

The Assistant Head Gardener's role is a leadership role, and supporting the team with the day-to-day management of the garden to ensure it runs smoothly and efficiently. A key role is presentation and ensuring the Mount Stewart Standard is achieved in the formal garden areas, and a more relaxed style in the woodland gardens. Working with the Head Gardener you will help support the development and implementation of short and long-term work plans to enhance the formal gardens and woodland areas, and support the work of other departments as needed. A big part of the role is working alongside the team, and being a constant presence in the garden and our plant nursery.

Who we're looking for            

  • A recognised horticultural qualification up to RHS level 3 or equivalent.
  • Proven experience of working at a leadership level within a heritage or historic garden.
  • Proven experience of managing a team of horticulturists, including their performance and development.
  • Proven experience of managing a highly complex garden including the creation and implementation of work programmes.
  • Experience of leading guided tours to both professional horticultural groups as well as public guided tours.


The National Trust is described by its employee gardeners as “dynamic, supportive, inquisitive and fun”, where its beautiful places “lift your spirits naturally” and “somewhere you can expand new skills”. The organisation is currently recruiting for a number of gardening roles. 

Read more in our latest Wonderful Workplaces articles:

Do you have the vision to transform our outdoor spaces for the future?

What makes the National Trust a special place to work?

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