New opportunity for would-be heritage gardeners

Eight major gardens are to spearhead a new partnership between the National Trust, a conservation charity, and the Historic and Botanic Garden Trainee (HBGTP) Programme, run by English Heritage, resulting in a closer working relationship between the three organisations in delivering UK heritage gardening skills training.

Head gardeners at the National Trust’s Anglesey Abbey in Cambridgeshire, Biddulph Grange in Staffordshire, Cliveden in Buckinghamshire, Mount Stewart and Rowallene gardens in Northern Ireland, Nymans and Woolbeding in West Sussex, Stourhead in Wiltshire and Wallington in Northumberland will be the first to recruit trainees under this new partnership.

Herbaceous border at Anglesey Abbey. Credit Stephen Robson & National Trust Images

Herbaceous border at Anglesey Abbey. Credit Stephen Robson & National Trust Images

The aim of the HBGTP training is to help sustain and develop the gardeners of the future to look after the great gardens of our past.

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 HBGTs presents the National Trust with an excellent opportunity to support the scheme through sharing expertise, additional placements at some of our top gardens and in helping shape the future of UK heritage gardening sector training.

“Trainees will learn all about the history of gardens, the latest conservation work being undertaken and 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 Dahlia Walk at Biddulph Grange. Credit Paul Harris and National Trust Images

The Dahlia Walk at Biddulph Grange. Credit Paul Harris and National Trust Images

John Watkins, Head of Gardens and Landscape at English Heritage said: “Gardens are a very important part of our history and have their own great stories to tell not just in terms of the plant hunters or conserving rare species but also revealing more about our social history – how they were enjoyed and why they were planted.

“Our new partnership with the National Trust brings real depth to the training we offer.

“We want to ensure that our gardens are looked after and treasured now, so they can be enjoyed by many generations in the future.”

This training programme is supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).

The positions 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.  The deadline for applications for the course which starts in September is 16 March 2015.

For further information and to apply, visit




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