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Head Gardener

About the College Gardens and Grounds

All Souls College has a unique blend of formal gardens, with a wide variety of borders and planting providing year-round interest at our historic site on the High Street, combined with more informal grounds at our other locations across the city.

In addition to the main College grounds, there are also the large gardens at Beechwood House and Manor Place. We recently adopted a policy to manage the gardens on a more sustainable basis, encouraging wildlife and pollinating insects in our informal gardens whilst maintaining aesthetic priorities in our formal grounds.

The gardens and grounds have been very well-kept for the last 23 years in the expert hands of our Head Gardener, who will soon be retiring. As a result, we are looking to appoint the next custodian of our beautiful grounds to bring creativity and innovation whilst being sympathetic to the history and tradition of the College.

What you will be doing

As Head Gardener, your key responsibility will be to look after the college’s grounds and gardens, including delivering high standards of horticultural maintenance. We will also rely on you to advise the Facilities Director and Gardens Fellow on potential improvements that can contribute to the evolutionary development of the gardens.

A varied role that comes with a strong focus on forward planning and the anticipation of future needs, you will be expected to lead, motivate and develop the Assistant Gardener. In addition to having responsibility for the day‐to‐day management, short and long-term planning and development of the gardens and grounds, you will also help develop a grounds and gardens strategy and plan in consultation with the Facilities Director and Garden Fellow. Regular collaboration with other College teams will be important too, to ensure the delivery of high-quality gardens and that each site is presented in the best possible way.

What you will need

To succeed, you will need RHS level 2 or 3 or RHS Diploma in Horticulture, or equivalent professional training, NPTC spraying qualifications PA1 and PA6 and certification in the use of chain saws, fungicides and herbicides. You will also need strong knowledge of the principles of horticulture, proven experience of landscaping, design and planting, plus the ability to maintain a garden of interest on a year-round basis. Experience of tree care in conservation areas is important too, as is the ability to operate and maintain small machinery. A good working knowledge of Health and Safety requirements relating to garden and landscape maintenance is also required.

Well-organised, proactive and confident working on your own initiative, you have a flexible approach, work well as part of a team and are great at building relationships across teams and departments. What’s more, you have a good standard of literacy and numeracy, are used to working to budgets and deadlines and have sound IT skills (we use Microsoft Outlook, Teams, Word and Excel). Recent management or supervisory responsibilities and/or experience giving occasional garden tours or writing a gardener’s blog, while useful, is not as essential as your environmentally friendly approach, organic ethos and commitment to sustainability.

Ready for some great benefits?

We provide a comprehensive range of benefits, as well as ongoing training and development for every employee. Full details can be found on our website.

How to apply

Applications for the Head Gardener role should be submitted by email to

For more information and to download our application form, please visit our website via the ‘apply’ button.

Closing date: 5.00pm on 16 June 2024

If you would like an informal discussion about the post before applying, please contact the Domestic Bursar:

Any offer of appointment will be subject to the receipt of satisfactory references and successful completion of the pre-employment checks including documentary evidence of eligibility to work in the UK.

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