Skilled Estate Gardener
An excellent opportunity has arisen for a Skilled Gardener to join a high-profile 180-acre private estate nestled in the heart of Ashdown Forest, an ancient open heathland of great ecological and conservation value within the High Weald AONB in East Sussex. The stunning grounds and gardens, delivered to high horticultural standards, are Grade II* listed, and include a 1.5-acre walled kitchen garden, an orchard, 11 state-of-the art glasshouses, formal terraces, fine lawns, diverse shrub, herbaceous and seasonal borders, landscaped lakes, a formal ornamental lily pool, woodlands, and an extensive parkland with valuable Rhododendron and tree collections that thrive in the acidic soil characteristic of the area.
The scope of work of the grounds and gardens team is wide, encompassing most aspects of productive and ornamental horticulture, groundskeeping and woodland management, so suitable candidates should be able to offer a general all-round set of gardening skills, practical experience operating a broad range of gardening machinery, tractors, and vehicles, and willingness to support the gardening operations by undertaking a wide variety of tasks as and when required by operational demands.
Besides general gardening and groundskeeping duties, the position will entail direct responsibility across some of the ornamental areas of the estate, and responsibilities can be assigned depending on the interests, skills, or specialist knowledge offered by the candidate. Therefore, the position is well suited for candidates with strong knowledge and skill in the cultivation and care of ornamental plants and practical experience managing a variety of ornamental gardening features to high professional standards. In particular, it would be advantageous for candidates to offer experience in cut flower and annual ornamental production, glasshouse management and propagation.
This is a senior position within a team of 8, reporting to the team’s Foreman and to the Head Gardener, which might require occasionally line-managing junior members of staff. A team player, the skilled gardener will bring dedication, commitment, professionalism, and a strong work ethic, and will possess a strong degree of physical fitness and the capability to work outdoors in all weathers. The role is ideal for a driven, experienced gardener looking for a fulfilling position in a magnificent horticultural setting, working as part of a friendly and motivated team.
Horticultural formal qualifications and at least three years of relevant gardening experience, preferably within the context of historic country gardens, and a UK full driving license are essential requirements. PA1 and PA6 spraying tickets would also be advantageous, and chainsaw operation tickets are desirable. The estate is committed to developing staff, and the successful candidate will look forward to continual support, training, and career development.
An annual salary of £28–32K pa, depending on skills, experience, and qualifications, is offered to the successful candidate, plus a discretionary annual performance bonus. Working hours are 37.5 a week with 20 days of annual leave plus bank holidays, with the requirement to occasionally work outside formal hours to facilitate additional support for the gardening operations during busy periods and to be part of the weekend duty rota for watering and glasshouse management duties. All overtime hours are paid at a rate of time and a half. The position includes a comfortable and spacious three-bedroom cottage with a wood-burning stove and a private garden within walking distance of the workplace. Most of the gardening team lives on site, and candidates with children and/or pets are welcome to apply.
Candidates are requested to include a cover letter alongside their CV with their application and are encouraged to apply early.
This private advert is being managed directly by the employer. English Country Gardeners are not involved in the hiring process and are therefore unable to share any additional information on this role. If you have any questions regarding this position, the best course of action is to apply for the job which will open a line of communication with the employer.
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