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Head Gardener (Live In)

Julie Toll Limited
Ayot St Lawrence, Welwyn
£35,000 - £40,000 Plus Accommodation
Closing date
8 Dec 2023

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Contract Type
Full Time
Gardening Jobs
Horticultural Specialist

Job Details

Head Gardener (Live in)

An exciting opportunity has arisen for an experienced and hands on head gardener with great horticulture skills to lead and manage on a day to day basis an existing small team of gardeners on a beautiful 40 acre private estate in Hertfordshire.  The period property is framed by the gardens designed by a respected garden designer/plants woman who continues to be involved with the gardens as estate manager.  The garden is prized for its extremely high standard of maintenance and attention to detail. The new Head Gardener will be responsible to the property owner and garden designer/estate manager.


The 5 acre formal gardens are open once a year at the end of May as part of the NGS scheme, and as testament to their popularity, have recently broken the national record for the highest donation to the NGS from a private garden.  The varied site includes a ¾ acre walled garden, a 4 ¼ acre ornamental garden with water features, trees, shrubs, perennials and a long list of additional features, plants and areas beyond.  Glasshouses and polythene tunnels on site are used for growing vegetables, overwintering citrus, and a few ornamentals.  The remainder of the estate encompasses paddocks/ménage, grass and hard tennis court, parkland and a swimming pool.  The team of gardeners includes a highly skilled kitchen gardener who is responsible for all vegetable production and managing the fruit, both top and soft with the head gardener.  The excess produce is used for home-made preserves and juices, many of which are sold at the NGS open day, the proceeds are all donated to the charity. The estate also provides a home for various animals; a small herd of Dexter cattle, Texel sheep, chickens and horses.  The head gardener will work alongside the dedicated smallholding caretakers who will assist in the garden as their time allows. There is also a very skilled part time turf specialist working in the team who manages the grass tennis court with assistance from the rest of the team. In addition there is a rental property with a large garden in the same village care of which is overseen by the Head Gardener


 The accommodation for the head gardener comprises of a 4 bedroom semi-detached cottage in the village within walking distance from the property.  There is oil fired central heating and an aga, a generous size living space and a family kitchen. Fields surround the large garden which has a private drive, outbuildings and a small greenhouse.


The applicant must have a proven managerial track record in managing and leading teams with strong communication skills both with the management and garden team. The role is suited to a head gardener that likes a very hands on approach.  Past experience and a good level of knowledge of trees, shrubs and plants is essential for carrying out all the day to day ornamental gardening tasks and training the staff in these skills.  Good observation skills are essential and an understanding of pest, disease and plant health management. A good understanding of professionally installed irrigation systems is helpful. The head gardener is also responsible for coordinating and managing other external domestic services such as waste disposal, deliveries, engineer’s visits, lighting, logs to the house etc


The resident owners and estate manager are keen to employ a head gardener who has very strong ornamental horticultural skills with a proven track record of working with ornamental gardens. Pruning, dividing and maintenance skills are essential to work alongside the owner and estate manager in keeping the planting schemes to the highest standard.  . 


Applications are sought from experienced and knowledgeable private estate head gardeners who have previous experience and a good hands on knowledge in running an ornamental garden to the highest of standards.  Chemical spray certificate and chainsaw licenses are both desirable but not essential.  The head gardener will be responsible for ensuring all machinery on site is serviced (by the appropriate external technicians) and kept in good working order.  The successful applicant will be self-motivated, have excellent communication, staff management skills and horticultural knowledge.


A full driving licence and your own transport are required, as are a positive attitude, intiative, self motivation, a strong work ethic and a good sense of humour.


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