Vacancies - Head Gardener

Location: Highgrove Garden, Doughton, Gloucestershire GL8 8TQ
Department: Gardening
Reports to: Highgrove Director
Salary: Salary dependent upon experience, accommodation provided
Contract: Permanent, full-time

The Prince's Foundation

The Prince’s Foundation provides holistic solutions to challenges facing the world today. We champion a sustainable approach to how we live our lives and build our communities, we run a diverse programme of education and training for all ages and backgrounds, and we regenerate and care for places where communities thrive and that visitors enjoy.

We work nationally and internationally but at the heart of our organisation is the heritage-led regeneration of the Dumfries House estate and its wider community, where our principles and philosophies are explored and put into practice.

The work of The Prince’s Foundation is inspired by The His Majesty’s philosophy of harmony: that by understanding the balance, the order and the relationships between ourselves and the natural world we can create a more sustainable future.

The Prince’s Foundation is responsible for the stewardship of Dumfries House, Castle of Mey and Highgrove Gardens, which includes the delivery of education courses across the estates.

We have a diverse and inclusive workplace, creating a welcoming, safe space for everyone. This means that every member of our team can bring their whole self to work.

We encourage qualified applicants from a wide range of backgrounds to apply to and join The Prince’s Foundation and bring their valuable skills and experiences.
The Foundation is committed to the equal treatment of all current and prospective employees, including the provision of workplace adjustments.

We do not tolerate discrimination based on protected characteristics (age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, pregnancy and maternity, race or ethnicity, religion or belief, gender identity, or marriage and civil partnership) or other difference such as socio-economic background or social origin.

Highgrove Garden

Highgrove Garden is a highly renowned garden, described as one of the most inspiring and innovative in the UK. Since 1980, the garden has been managed organically. It includes a variety of garden features and areas, including a walled kitchen garden, a thyme walk, topiary and hedging, a terrace garden, a cottage garden, wildflower meadows, island beds, an arboretum, a woodland garden, and various water features.

The Role

To work with senior management to manage and maintain the established gardens at Highgrove to the highest possible standards and in line with the garden’s organic principles.

Key Tasks

  • Manage all day-to-day aspects of garden management with the aim of delivering exemplary standards.
  • Ensure the organic status of the garden is maintained through adhering to Soil Association standards and Garden Organic recommendations.
  • Be responsible for all aspects of the management of staff, volunteers and trainees, including recruitment, training, development and motivation. As part of this manage annual performance and development reviews.
  • Management of the annually approved revenue gardens budget, ensuring invoices are paid promptly and accounts are up to date. The preparation and management of budgets for approved capital projects.
  • Ensure all aspects of the gardens management are up to date with Health and Safety legislation, and that policies and procedures are being followed. Work closely with the Health and Safety Manager to ensure all risk and COSHH assessments are reviewed and amended annually as necessary.
  • Responsibility for developing and managing a Tree Risk Management Strategy. Ensure tree survey works, recommended maintenance and any reactive works are implemented in a timeously fashion, internally or through a reputable contractor.
  • Manage and maintain electronic and manual garden records, including planting plans, plant lists and National Plant Collections.
  • Manage all machinery and equipment on site, ensuring regular services and maintenance is carried out as per the manufacture’s instruction/advice. Review machinery assets and plan purchases to ensure all are fit for purpose.
  • Through excellent communication skills, respond to feedback and instruction and be prepared and able to act on requests in a timely manner. Be able to compile regular update reports.
  • Show exceptional levels of commitment to maintaining the garden for conservation and biodiversity.
  • Work closely with senior managers and other teams to achieve the aims of both the garden and the Princes Foundation.
  • Contribute to the planning and preparation for events and tours ensuring the gardens are shown to their highest horticultural standard.
  • Work closely with colleagues across the visitor attraction and, on occasion, show around guests, contribute to talks and events, and assist with outward-facing media.
  • Any other duties as required.

    Person Specification

    Key Practical Requirements:

    • Based at Highgrove, the Head Gardener will be required to work full time, flexibly and additional hours at key times of the year, which can include weekends and Bank Holidays.
    • The Head Gardener is expected to lead from the front in all aspects of the workload and have a hands-on presence in the garden.
    • There is a requirement that the Head Gardener familiarises themselves with the garden plant collection and understands all the plants, their establishment, cultivation and conservation.
    • The Head Gardener is expected to develop a knowledge of the history of the site. They will also be expected to develop an excellent understanding of the maintenance and care needed to conserve habitats and be able to maintain the balance of flora and fauna within the horticultural requirements of the garden.

    The essential skills, knowledge and experience required are:

    • A skilled and knowledgeable hands-on head gardener, ideally with a wide and diverse range of practical experience covering all relevant areas of horticulture.
    • Qualified to National Diploma or equivalent level, and/or excellent hands-on practical experience, including experience of an organically managed garden.
    • Proven experience in working in a varied garden environment with high standards of presentation.
    • Management experience of a large and diverse garden including effective time and workload management skills, project management and contractor management. Proven experience in the planning and delivery of cyclical maintenance schedules for an intricate, highly artistic, high-quality garden.
    • Leadership, the ability to lead staff, trainees and contractors on a day-to-day basis, including the ability to motivate a team, develop and train staff and trainees/students.
    • Ability to take direction and advice from a variety of different specialists, advisors and managers.
    • Experience of setting and managing a budget to ensure operations can be completed timeously and within budget.
    • Excellent plant knowledge and a good level of understanding of their cultivation, maintenance, propagation and management. Experience of developing planting plans and designs and plant record keeping and managing a National Collection.
    • Proven experience of operating and planned maintenance of a wide range of specialist equipment and machinery.
    • Applied knowledge and understanding of all current health and safety legislation, with the ability to complete Risk Assessments, COSHH Assessments and be aware of H&S Regulations.
    • Ability to identify and arrange treatment of a range of horticultural pests and diseases.
    • Excellent interpersonal and communication skills both verbal and written, with a good understanding of relevant stakeholders and the degree and style of communications required.
    • Good writing skills and effective user of Microsoft software.


    • The post will be based at Highgrove with the requirement to travel on occasion.
    • Your working hours will be 39 hours per week.
    • You must have the legal right to work in the UK.
    • (to be included where the post requires a PVG check) This post is considered to be a regulated activity therefore any offer will be subject to a satisfactory disclosure check with the Disclosure Scotland.

    Applications: Please submit a completed Application Form together with a cover letter and CV (please note one A4 page maximum each for CV and letter) to

    Closing date for applications: Friday, 13th October 2023