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June 2013

Role: First Gardener – Brodick

Business Function: Property & Visitor Services

Reports to: Head Gardener – Brodick

Pay Band/Starting Salary: Band D £20,906

Location: Brodick Castle, Arran, KA27 8HY

Type of Contract: Permanent, full-time

Terms and conditions

The post is subject to the standard terms and conditions provided with the application pack and the following special terms also apply: hours of work = 39 per week at times to suit the needs of the job (this will include regular weekend duties on a rota basis); accommodation is available with this post.


The whole estate at Brodick is poised to enter an exciting phase; identified as the Trust’s first ‘Signature Project’, a significant Heritage Lottery Fund application is to be made in 2013 which, if successful, will be a wonderful opportunity not only to rejuvenate aspects of the garden but potentially to transform some areas altogether. We are seeking a suitably skilled and motivated individual to join us on that journey.

The job of First Gardener exists to support the Head Gardener in ensuring that the garden and policies of elements of Brodick Castle are managed, maintained and developed as an internationally-recognised garden of outstanding horticultural importance; contributing to the property’s overall conservation and development, and its enjoyment by visitors and supporters.
The Key Purposes of the job will be met by:

  1. Supporting the Head Gardener to ensure the conservation and practical maintenance of the garden and policies – whether through delegation to other staff/volunteers, or personal participation - in terms of:

    • Practical horticulture (eg. managing trees and shrubs, herbaceous and bog plants, half-hardies, annuals and bulbs; turf care; pest/disease/weed control; composting and soil improvement; hard-landscaping; path care, glasshouse care and plant propagation; plant sales management, biosecurity);

    • Plantsmanship (eg. the identification, knowledge and understanding of this high calibre plant collection, including recording [using Demeter database] and labelling of individual plants and recognised collections);

    • Research and development (eg. research into historical precedents and practical contemporary solutions to inform proposed activities and projects; support to the design and implementation of restoration and/or development projects);

    • Interpretation (eg through the development and delivery of events such as introductory talks, weekly guided tours or practical demonstrations, contribution to guide-books or leaflets);

  1. Ensuring an appropriate management regime of the garden and policies that includes the management of:

    • staff and volunteers (assisting with recruitment, induction, direction, development and performance management) such that they are fully equipped, organised and motivated to undertake their duties to the required Trust standards;

    • health, safety and the environment in line with stated Trust policies and approaches to ensure the health and welfare of staff/volunteers,

    • recognition of the Trust’s Environmental Policy with respect to sustainable gardening activities, including energy, water, peat and pesticide-use;

    • input into daily, weekly, yearly and longer-term operational work plans and reporting in the context of the properties’ statements of significance and action plans (and contribution to these action plans) to ensure that activities are prioritised and planned to optimise the use of resources;

    • customer service and care from garden staff/volunteers, and in the broader sense of facilities and “visiting experience”, to ensure that the properties’ reputation for excellence is maintained and enhanced;

    • administration to enable gardening activities to be undertaken and recorded efficiently;

  1. Participating fully in the property’s wider “management team”, deputising for the Head Gardener as required.

  2. Participating in weekend duties on a rota basis for which overtime will be paid.

Your role is one for which the duties/responsibilities/accountabilities of the role require you to become a member of the Protection of Vulnerable Groups (PVG) scheme, which replaces the ‘Enhanced Disclosure’ check and is administered by Disclosure Scotland.


Brodick Castle, Gardens and Country Park extend to 72ha on the east side of the island Arran, overlooking Brodick Bay and the Firth of Clyde. Behind stands Goatfell, which rises from sea level to 874m. The garden is managed as part of the Country Park, part-financed by North Ayrshire Council. The Upper Walled Garden dates from 1710 and is managed as a formal flower garden; beyond its walls lie the bog garden and the extensive woodland garden. Additional areas of grass are maintained around the castle and its drives. The final section is the walled Nursery where the glasshouses and polytunnels support the garden and its plant sales, and where the gardener facilities are also located. The garden at Brodick is home to an important plant collection which thrives in the rich soils and the mild damp climate – heavily influenced by the North Atlantic Drift. There are three Plant Heritage (NCCPG) National Collections (Rhododendron sub-sections Grandia, Falconera and Maddenia) and numerous UK, Scottish and county champion trees. The history of the designed landscape is reflected in the many listed buildings and structures, including the cone-decorated Bavarian Summerhouse and the icehouse.
People Management

  • Is not a Line Manager but will be responsible for day to day supervision of gardening staff at Brodick Castle: a gardener/propagator, two gardeners and volunteers.

  • Will work closely with other property colleagues (in particular other “heads of department”, and will have some interaction with other technical/specialist advisory colleagues based in other locations and departments (eg Gardens and Designed Landscapes Advisor and – occasionally – relevant panels and committees);

  • Will have regular (daily) interaction with members of the public of all ages and abilities;

  • Will have frequent interaction with suppliers and contractors, including supervision.

Finance Management

  • Is not a budget-holder.

  • From time to time may be required to use the computerised finance system for the raising of Purchase Orders for the supply of goods and service; input into producing finance reports, input into monitoring and setting of revenue budgets and managing capital project work relating to garden activities.


  • Will be a frequent user of driven vehicles such as tractors, ride-on mowers;

  • Will be a frequent user of powered tools such as stump-grinders, winches, chainsaws, mowers, strimmers, brushcutters, hedge-cutters, etc.;

  • Will be a frequent user of hand-tools such as spades, forks, trowels, rakes, hoes, shears, and secateurs;

  • Will be a frequent user of IT equipment.

The above outlines the key skills the post-holder will need to possess and exercise. In addition, either knowledge of or experience in the following is required:

  • An HND/HNC level qualification in amenity horticulture or related subjects (equivalent to NVQ/SVQ level 3), supported by qualifications and experience demonstrating practical horticultural knowledge (eg City & Guilds Level 2/SVQ Level 1&2)

  • Skills in arboricultural techniques - as a minimum basic chain-saw certificates CS30 and CS31 (or willingness to train and use);

  • PA1 and PA6a spraying certificates (or willingness to train and use);

  • Demonstrable propagation skills and experience;

  • Driving Licence, valid for driving within the UK;

  • Considerable relevant practical experience in general amenity and heritage gardening;

  • Plantsmanship

  • Sound knowledge of basic tool and machinery use and maintenance;

  • Sound practical knowledge of Health and Safety processes and procedures and the ability to work effectively within these processes;

  • Demonstrable experience of managing staff and/or volunteers;

  • Excellent interpersonal and communication skills; confident in interacting and dealing with a wide range of people; and able to represent the Trust;

  • Good organisational and time-management skills – including the ability to prioritise work where necessary;

  • Competency and self-sufficiency in use of IT (email, internet, word-processing, spreadsheets, databases).

  • Tractor Driving training and certification (or willingness to train and use)


  • Experience of working in a garden open to the public;

  • An appreciation of Scottish garden history in a general context;

  • Ability to plan, design and execute small-scale replanting projects;

  • Experience of tree inspections and advanced CS units.

  • Current First Aid certification (or willingness to train and use)

The Key Responsibilities, Scope of Job, and Required Qualifications, Skills, Experience and Knowledge reflect the requirements of the job at the time of issue. The Trust reserves the right to amend these with appropriate consultation and/or request the post-holder to undertake any activities that it believes to be reasonable within the broad scope of the job or his/her general abilities.


Interested applicants should forward a completed application form to Human Resources Department (Applications), the National Trust for Scotland, Hermiston Quay, 5 Cultins Road, Edinburgh EH11 4DF, by mail or by email via, to reach us no later than 5 July 2013. Interviews are likely to take place at Brodick during the w/c 15 July 2013.

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