Heritage horticulturist

A heritage horticulturist helps with the restoration and preservation of an historic garden, its maintenance and planting, as well as planning for the garden’s future

Training, qualifications and skills A horticultural qualification to RHS Level 3, people and budget management and communication skills
Career progression opportunities Senior gardener, garden supervisor or head gardener in a historic garden
Useful links English Heritage
National Trust
Countryside Jobs Service (horticulture)
HBG Training Programme

Focus on: Heritage horticulturist

Katy Watson

I’m currently a volunteer helping to maintain a historic walled garden in London. The garden is free to visit and open daily so it has to be kept looking its best. This involves day-to-day care of the garden such as pruning, deadheading and weeding as well as planting up gaps in the borders and planning for the year ahead.

Having changed career from something completely different, I would say it’s never too late to follow your passion and re-train in horticulture, and it’s been hugely fulfilling.

I’ve taken the RHS Level 2 qualification and am studying for Level 3, ready to apply for a full-time role in a historic garden next year. In the meantime, volunteering is a great opportunity to build practical experience of working in a heritage garden.

Focus on: Head gardener

Rosie Fyles
National Trust
Full time, salary up to £35K

I plan and manage a historic 17th-century garden on the banks of the River Thames. I also look after two historic river meadows to increase their biodiversity. In this role, I develop the garden with my team in a way that is inspired and informed by its history but made relevant and beautiful for today’s visitor.

If you love being creative, enjoy working in a small team or managing large teams and love sharing gardens with people, this is the job for you.

The team looks after more than 20 acres that are open to the public all year around. It’s my job to ensure staff and visitors are safe and that the outdoors is managed to high conservation and presentation standards with a clear plan for the future that all staff and volunteers work towards.

Get involved

The Royal Horticultural Society is the UK’s leading gardening charity. We aim to enrich everyone’s life through plants, and make the UK a greener and more beautiful place.