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Skilled Gardener

Organisation: The Abbotsford Trust

Salary: £12.27 per hour (pro rata f/t £22,340 – Grade 2, point 6) 

Location: MELROSE

Job Title: Skilled Gardener

Status: Permanent contract, 35 hours/week

Location: The Abbotsford Trust, Melrose

Reporting to: Head Gardener

Hours: £12.27 per hour (pro rata f/t £22,340 – Grade 2, point 6) 

Employee Benefits 

Pension contributions matched up to 4% of salary. 

Free parking – enjoy free family walks any time at Abbotsford.

Staff discounts in our shop and café, for public events, and self-catering bookings 

The house, garden and landscape of Abbotsford are the creation of Sir Walter Scott and were developed between 1811 and 1825. Scott is justly famed worldwide as Scotland’s most successful and prolific author, but his surmounting interest was the designing of his 1300 acre estate and garden. It is categorized as having ‘Outstanding Significance’ by Historic Scotland.

A major £12 million capital campaign resulted in restoring the house in 2013 and creating a much improved visitor experience with a new car park, visitor centre, play trail and interpretation. The upgrading and improvement of the gardens is now the focus of the Trustees plans.

Job Purpose

To support the Head Gardener in the daily management and maintenance of the gardens and estate

To support the Head Gardener with the supervision of the gardens team. Manage and support volunteer groups in the garden and estate.

Deputising for the Head Gardener in his absence, organising daily work schedules and maintaining the gardens and grounds to a high standard for the public’s enjoyment.

Ensuring the continued delivery of high standards throughout the department.

To work as part of a team on hard and soft landscaping projects, develop the gardens and grounds for the enjoyment of visitors throughout the season.

To undertake work with due regard to the health and safety of staff, volunteers, visitors, and team members and assist the Head Gardener with Health and Safety documentation for the department.

To help maintain the grounds maintenance vehicles, and equipment to a very high standard.

To ensure that the Gardens Department buildings and premises are kept in a safe and secure manner.

Support the Head Gardener to ensure best use of the staff resources.

To contribute to the sustainability of the garden and estate through increasing its green credentials

Occasionally you will be required to work additional hours outside of your core working hours,

Scope and Accountability

The Gardening Team comprises the Head Gardener, assistant gardeners working together with volunteers, students, groups and local employability agency clients.

The Senior Gardener will work under the supervision of the Head Gardener helping to plan and carry out work programmes. They will work closely with the gardening team to develop, enhance, and conserve the garden and grounds and to contribute to the delivery of projects for the community. They may be required to work evenings or weekends occasionally.

Key Responsibilities

Assist the Head Gardener in planning garden maintenance schedules and support the garden team to carry out work to a high standard using horticultural best practise.

To help to maintain and improve the gardens through digging, mulching, weeding, hoeing, pruning, staking, labelling, leaf, and litter clearance, fertilizing and watering as well as lawn care and mowing, Assist the Head Gardener with estate and woodland management, carry out tree and biodiversity monitoring and recording, plan suitable maintenance strategies to enhance these areas.

To help rear new plants, including herbaceous, vegetable and shrubs and trees, such as taking cuttings, sowing, dividing, transplanting, potting on and planting out.

To help establish new planting, including watering, mulching, staking and winter protection.

To help maintain the security and upkeep of the fabric of the gardens, grounds such as fencing, gates, signage, benches, and buildings etc.

To ensure that tools and equipment are properly cleaned and in good order prior to storage.

To contribute to the maintenance and cleaning of machines.

To interact with the public on a daily basis, in particular signposting around the site and gardens.

To take responsibility for health and safety tasks for the garden team and volunteer groups.

Weekend work on site to support the Duty Manager up to 2 days in any month

Person Specification


Good knowledge in plants and all aspects of horticulture best practise

Knowledge of working in conservation areas and of environmental best practise

A good knowledge of plant and tree species

Competent understanding of Health & Safety regulations

Horticultural qualification to SVQ Level 2 Horticulture at SCQF Level 5, with good practical experience. (essential)

chainsaw safety, cross cutting and tree felling certificate (desirable)

PA1/6 spraying certificate (desirable)


Experience of gardening and horticultural best practice, (essential)

Familiarity with machinery/equipment and basic cleaning/maintenance of machinery, (essential)

Experience of working with and interacting with the public, (desirable)

Skills and Abilities

Good interpersonal skills and ability to communicate.

Ability to motivate and encourage staff in a team environment.

Organised with the ability to overseeing working schedules.

Good communication skills

Good IT skills

Ability to work flexibly and adapt to changing work situations.

Good team working skills

Personal Qualities and Requirements

Commitment to the Abbotsford Trust’s mission, vision and values

Commitment to valuing equality and diversity.

Application Deadline: Friday 09/02/2024