Vacancies - Senior Gardener

Location: Highgrove Garden, Doughton, Gloucestershire, GL8 8TQ
Department: Gardening
Reports to: Head Gardener
Salary: TBC, dependent on experience
Contract: Permanent, full-time

The King's Foundation

The King’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 King’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 King’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 King’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 differences such as socio-economic background or social origin.

Highgrove Gardens

Highgrove Gardens is a highly renowned garden, described as one of the most inspiring and innovative gardens in the UK. Since 1980, the garden has been managed organically and 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 assist the Head Gardener, and work closely with the Deputy Head Gardener, with the management and maintenance of the established gardens at Highgrove. Ensuring the highest possible standards are maintained in line with the garden’s organic principles.

Key Tasks

  • Undertake and assist with the day-to-day aspects of maintaining the garden at Highgrove and delivering exemplary standards.
  • Work together as a team to help ensure the organic status of the garden is maintained.
  • When requested assist and support the Head Gardener with the management of staff, volunteers and trainees. This may include training, development, performance reviews and providing input into garden work plans.
  • The job holder is expected to resolve day-to-day problems that arise relating to the works undertaken, seeking advice or approval from the Assistant Head Gardener or Head Gardener where necessary.
  • Input when requested into the annual revenue and garden project budgets.
  • When requested assist with the maintenance of electronic and manual garden records, this may include planting plans, plant lists and National Plant Collection records, etc.
  • Support the Head Gardener with ensuring all aspects of Health and Safety legislation are being followed and are up to date. Report any accidents, near misses or dangerous occurrences as necessary. Provide input, when requested, into risk and COSHH assessments.
  • Assist the Head Gardener with the maintenance of machinery and equipment on site. As part of this ensure faults in machinery or equipment are reported and logged, ensure staff carry out machinery pre-start and post-finish checks on each occasion a machine is used.
  • Contribute to the preparation for events and tours ensuring the gardens are shown to their highest horticultural standard.
  • Provide input into maintaining the garden for conservation and biodiversity.
  • The post-holder will be required to work full time and flexibly due to the seasonal nature of the work including some weekends and Bank Holidays.
  • Any other duties as required.

Person Specification

The essential skills, knowledge and experience required are:

  • Qualified to National Diploma or equivalent level, and/or excellent hands-on practical experience.
  • A skilled and knowledgeable gardener with experience that covers a diverse range of practical experience relevant to the garden at Highgrove.
  • The ability to carry out a range of garden skills and tasks to a high standard and be able to demonstrate and pass on these skills to others.
  • Be able and willing to work alone or take the lead in specific aspects of the garden’s maintenance and development, when asked.
  • Supervisory experience and knowledge with some level of planning and the delivery of a cyclical maintenance schedule.
  • Good plant knowledge and a good level of understanding of their cultivation, maintenance, propagation and management. Ideally with some level of experience of plant record keeping.
  • Be able to safely operate a diverse range of machinery, tools and equipment needed to maintain and develop a garden.
  • Applied knowledge and understanding of all current health and safety legislation, with the ability to provide input into Risk Assessments and COSHH Assessments.
  • Ability to identify a range of horticultural pests and diseases.
  • Excellent interpersonal and communication skills both verbal and written.
  • Good writing skills and effective user of Microsoft software.

Desirable Skills

  • Experience in organic practices and working with the Soil Association
  • Current driving licence
  • Any LANTRA certifications in machinery and equipment.
  • A specific interest in Kitchen Gardens and their planning, development, and maintenance.
  • Experience of propagation and the management of glasshouses.

Hours of Work: Normally 8:00–17:00, Monday to Friday (40 hours per week, plus unpaid lunch break). Extra weekend watering duties are required on a rota basis.

Additional Information
The job involves carrying out demanding and repetitive physical tasks.

Please submit a completed Application Form along with a cover letter and CV, to the following email address: