Careers in our gardens

National Trust gardeners at work at Cotehele, Cornwall

We look after some of the most stunning and important landscape parks and gardens in Britain.

These contain the works of all the major garden designers in history, including William Kent, Capability Brown, Gertrude Jekyll and Sir Jeffery Gellicoe.
They also showcase examples of every development in British garden design from Elizabethan to the modern styles.
Covering an area the size of Guernsey, our 200 gardens and 100 landscape parks support a vast range of historically and botanically important plants collected over the last 400 years from around the world.
Our gardeners are internationally renowned for the standards they maintain and their innovative approaches to the sustainable management of gardens which attract over 11 million visitors a year.

In 2015/6 the National Trust is joining forces with English Heritage and other partner organisations and taking part in the Historic and Botanic Garden Trainee Programme (HBGTP). With major support from the Heritage Lottery Fund the scheme has been running since 2006. It has trained 185 gardeners so far and is the largest supplier of practical training placements in the UK.

Mike Calnan, Head of Gardens at the National Trust said: “The HBGTP is already well recognised as an industry standard for hands-on heritage horticulture. Working in partnership with the HBGTP presents the National Trust with an excellent opportunity to support the scheme through sharing expertise, offering additional placements at some of our top gardens and helping to shape the future of the UK heritage gardening sector training.

"Trainees will learn all about the history of gardens and the latest conservation work being undertaken, and be able to see first-hand how hard we work to keep these gardens looking good for visitors all the year round – offering different elements of interest at different times of the year.”

The placements are full time salaried positions and include garden visits, guided research and plant application training. Both one- and two-year courses offer practical skills training and the two-year course includes studying for the Royal Horticultural Society Diploma in Horticulture, Level 3.

During their placement the HBGTP trainee will benefit from a structured learning programme and be assigned a supervisor and a mentor to guide and support their practical training. The trainee will keep a technical diary and undertake research projects and weekly plant identification tests.

The HBGTP trainee will have a full-time employment contract with the garden, which will pay no less than the National Minimum Wage. The two-year programme also includes registration with Capel Manor College to undertake the RHS Diploma in Horticulture Level 3. This includes four intensive study blocks at Wrest Park, Bedfordshire. In addition there will be two skills certificates and an extra Historic Gardens module.

Applicants must be over 17 and have an RHS Level 2 qualification.

For details or to apply please visit the Historic and Botanic Garden Trainee Programme

Placements for September 2015 are now filled, and the process will begin again in February 2016 for starting in September 2016.