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Head Gardener, Beechgrove Garden

Beechgrove Garden
Salary negotiable
Closing date
26 Apr 2024

The garden is situated approximately 7 miles west of Aberdeen and exists solely to provide a facility from which a series of gardening programmes can be televised for transmission on BBC Scotland.  Filming in the garden is on a weekly basis and runs for 26 programmes from spring until autumn.  The programme has been running for 45 years and the garden has been at the current site since the mid-1990s. 

The position offered is full time and permanent, subject to Beechgrove Garden contract renewal with BBC Scotland, and the following is a general indication of the requirements and responsibilities of the Head Gardener.  Additional duties may be required so a flexible approach is necessary.

As Head Gardener, you will be responsible for a broad range of horticultural operations and all day-to-day operations within the garden.  You will also be expected to play a part in its ongoing development, along with the production team and the presenters. 

You will be required to maintain all perennial planting, hard landscaping and garden structures and produce annual displays, vegetable crops and greenhouse plants as required, to service programme needs.  Programmed developments must be costed and only when budget approval is given can they proceed.  A high standard of horticulture (both ornamental and produce experience) and garden management is essential.  On occasion, costing and contracting sub-contractor jobs may be required.

The site is a “Green Studio”.  In other words, it is ordinarily only seen on television and the viewer only sees what the camera allows. That said, a great deal of use is made of panoramic shots over the garden and therefore the garden must be maintained to a high standard at all times.

An essential part of the entire process is the need to communicate and therefore you will be expected to play a part in meetings and discussions on site with the production team and programme presenters.  The two-way flow of information and the need for teamwork is paramount for the success of the programme, which is the prime objective. 

Due to the nature of the garden, you must be able to implement programme ideas and follow them through to conclusion.  Occasionally there are last minute changes and quick and efficient turnarounds can be required.  You must be capable of organising horticultural and filming priorities, in order to meet strict deadlines.

You will be required to manage other garden staff and ensure that all work is carried out to the same high standard.  As part of this you may be expected to implement and take part in weekend greenhouse duty rota.

An understanding of current Health and Safety, COSHH and FEPA requirements is necessary and you should be able to carry out risk assessments.  You will preferably hold PA1 and PA6.

It is expected that, by way of gardening magazines, horticultural literature, websites and seed/plant catalogues, you will be actively keeping up to date with new products, plants, techniques etc and be aware of current trends relevant to the home gardener. 

It is part of the ethos of the Beechgrove Garden that we attempt at all times to display a sense of ‘best practice’ because our programme has come to be valued by viewers for the soundness of our advice.

In relation to an ongoing emphasis on the environment, biodiversity, climate change and indeed sustainability, all the presenters take every opportunity to include relevant references and indeed, many programme items deal with such topics. A sustainable approach runs through every aspect of our approach to managing Beechgrove, both in demonstrating best practice to our viewers and our off-camera activities in the garden.

This is a behind-the-scenes appointment, however, as and when it may be appropriate, you may be asked to participate in front of the camera.  This is something that may be allowed to happen, should it be relevant.  Your opinion on such an event would be sought.

The Beechgrove Garden serves the nation of gardeners and it is our aim to dispense sound practical understandable gardening advice and therefore the garden management must be in tune with that.

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