Organisation: The National Trust for Scotland

Location: Culzean

To assist in the maintenance of the garden and related policies of Culzean Castle as an internationally-recognised garden of outstanding horticultural importance, contributing to its conservation and development and to its enjoyment by visitors and supporters. The post holder will manage the propagation needs of Culzean, ensuring its significant collection of plants is conserved and enhanced as well as taking full responsibility for the Victorian glasshouse range in the walled garden, the peach house, camellia house, and the orangery.


Culzean Castle & Country Park:
The National Trust for Scotland’s (the Trust’s) property at Culzean is located on the Ayrshire coast of the Firth of Clyde, some 19 kilometres south of Ayr. The estate has been in existence since the 16th century and comprises the former seat of the Kennedy family – Culzean Castle – together with the core 228 hectares of Cassillis and Culzean Estate. The 5th Marquess of Ailsa, with the Trustees of the 4th Marquess, gave the Castle, some of its contents and the designed landscape to the Trust in 1945. Culzean became Scotland’s first Country Park in 1969 under the Countryside (Scotland) Act and is managed by the Trust in partnership with the local authority, South Ayrshire Council. The centrepiece of the property is Culzean Castle, acknowledged as Robert Adam’s masterpiece in the Romantic Castellated style, matched by its sublime cliff top site. The designed landscape contains a rich variety of features, including some by Adam, such as the Viaduct and the Home Farm, to complement his design for the Castle, and is important also for its gardens, policy woodland plantings and natural heritage.

Culzean Castle Garden:
The gardens and designed landscape at Culzean have been independently assessed as being of outstanding significance. They feature at the highest level across all categories in the benchmark Inventory of Gardens and Designed Landscapes in Scotland managed by Historic Scotland – one of only 5 sites in Scotland to do so.

The extensive formal lawns of the Fountain Court, the planted south-facing Terraces and the Orangery are focal points for visitors crossing the Viaduct to the Castle, and feature frequently in photographs of the property. The Walled Garden – which lies to the south-west of the Castle – is double in construction. Its northern half is managed as a traditional working walled garden with soft and top fruit, vegetables and cut-flowers as well as plant sales; it is in the process of redevelopment with an emphasis in increasing the range of production an enhanced visitor experience. The South Walled Garden contains impressive fruit ranges (Peach House and recreated Vinery) but otherwise is more ornamental; the display here is also undergoing redevelopment and extension. A woodland garden called Happy Valley extends behind the walled garden and contains a number of built features relating to the productive history of the landscape as well as specimen trees, rhododendrons and a selection of exotic woody plants. The garden team also maintains a number of other small amenity plantings throughout the park as well as holiday cottage gardens and other public areas.


The Key Purposes of the job will be met by:
• Undertaking responsibility for the propagation, conservation and enhancement of the Garden’s plant collection in accordance with Trust policy and the Head Gardener’s direction;
• Day-to-day management of displays in the Camelia House, Orangery and Conservatory as well as maintaining our range of peaches.
• Day-to-day management of the propagation areas (including glasshouses, polytunnels, cold frames, potting areas and associated equipment) for plant production, both grown on-site and stock bought in, to ensure that they are productive, efficient, cost-effective, and maintained to a high standard;
• Ensuring compliance with the Trust’s health, safety, and environment policies and procedures, in particular that Culzean’s propagation activities conform to acceptable standards of environmental protection, e.g. in the use of pesticides or peat, and in methods of refuse disposal
• Ensuring that all aspects of plant recording (accessions, movements, and deaths), including input onto the Trust’s plant records database, and plant labelling, are routinely and efficiently processed
• Supporting plant sales as directed, including raising selected “Culzean” stock
• Undertaking the maintenance of designated garden areas to the required standards expected by the Trust and for the maximum safety of, and enjoyment by, visitors;
• When appropriate, supervising and working with volunteers and/or students to ensure they deliver required outputs at the appropriate standard, and gain benefit/satisfaction from their activities;
• As requested, assisting with education/interpretation activities such as introductory talks and guided walks;
• On occasion, contributing to the review and development of property action plans and operational work plans for the garden;
• Fostering positive relationships with local communities, promoting the work of the Trust, and actively seeking opportunities to increase Trust membership;

The current duties of this job do require a criminal records (Disclosure Scotland) check to be carried out.


People Management
• Not a line manager but will supervise and instruct volunteers/students and other gardeners under instructions from Head Gardener or First Gardener;
• On occasion, In the absence of both the Head Gardener and First Gardener, to take responsibility for the day-to-day supervision of the Garden team and health and safety procedures;
• Will work closely with other property colleagues, and will have some interaction with other technical/specialist advisory colleagues based in other locations and departments (e.g. Gardens and Designed Landscape manager);
• Will have regular (daily) interaction with members of the public of all ages and abilities.

Finance Management
• Not a budget-holder.

• Will be a user of driven vehicles such as tractors, ride-on mowers and road vehicles;
• Will be a frequent user of hand-tools such as spades, forks, trowels, rakes, hoes, shears, and secateurs;
• Will be required to wear NTS staff uniform, and recognise that the role involves representing the NTS when meeting and dealing with members of the public as part of day-to-day work.


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:

• NVQ/SVQ Level 2 in amenity horticulture (or equivalent) and relevant practical experience, including working in a similar large garden/nursery with specialist collections
• Demonstrable skills and experience in a broad range of propagation techniques
• Eye for detail and finish
• Sound plant knowledge and identification skills
• Competent IT skills sufficient for maintaining plant records, use of the internet/intranet, assisting trainees/apprentices
• Experience of working with a diverse skill set between staff/ volunteers and students
• Knowledgeable about general amenity gardening, eg managing herbaceous plants and bulbs
• Sound knowledge of basic tool and machinery use and maintenance
• Practical knowledge of Health and Safety processes and procedures and the ability to work effectively within these processes
• Excellent interpersonal and communication skills; confident and competent in interacting and dealing with a wide range of people; and able to represent the Trust
• An effective team member
• Self motivated with good organisational and time-management skills – including the ability to prioritise work
• Driving Licence, valid for driving within the UK

• Knowledge across the broad range of plants: woody, woodland, half hardies, alpines, vegetables
• Experience of plant recording and plant labelling techniques
• PA1 and PA6a spraying certificates, or willingness to be trained in the use of pesticides and to exercise that training
• Tractor driving certification and experience
• Experience of working in a garden open to the public
• Experience of working in a mixed-team that includes short-term/ seasonal staff and/or volunteers and students.

The Key Responsibilities, Scope of Job, and Required Skills, Experience & 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.

Application Deadline: Friday 19/11/2021