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Head Gardener

Please Note: The application deadline for this post has now passed.


Our aim is for everyone in the National Church Institutions (NCIs) to feel that they belong, and are valued for who they are and what they contribute. Together, our people contribute in different ways towards our common purpose, whichever NCI they work in and whatever their background.

Lambeth Palace is a unique building of significant historical and global provenance.  It is, first and foremost, the home of the Archbishop of Canterbury and his family, as well as home to a wider, diverse and thriving, residential community.  It is also an office and the epicentre of the Archbishop of Canterbury’s ministry to the Church of England and the global Anglican Communion. It is a Grade I listed building comprising various listed buildings dating from the 12th to the 20th centuries, set within 10 acres of beautiful, landscaped gardens.

Post Introduction

This is a unique opportunity to manage a historic, fully organic garden in a registered conservation area.

We are looking for an excellent candidate to enhance the leadership of the onsite Estates Team and deliver fantastic service to our ‘Community of Communities’ at Lambeth Palace.

As Head Gardener, you will be responsible for the management and maintenance of the garden at Lambeth Palace, consisting of some 10.5 acres. This includes direction of future development and care of existing planting and design, in consultation with the Head of Estates and Steward and the Archbishop and his wife. 

To be successful you will need experience of managing a large garden and the ability to manage and motivate a team. Familiarity with organic garden management practices and enthusiasm and commitment are also essential, together with the requirements mentioned below.

For an informal conversation please contact charlie.smith@lambethpalace.org.uk 

Interviews will be held at Lambeth Palace on Tuesday 21 June 2022 with second stage interviews on Wednesday 22 June 2022.

The Church of England is for everyone and we want to reflect the diversity of the community the Church serves across the whole country. Therefore, while of course we welcome all applications from interested and suitably experienced people, we would particularly welcome applicants from UK Minority Ethnic Backgrounds. 

A comprehensive and supportive induction programme will be put in place for the post holder to ensure that they have all the information, access and contacts required to quickly acclimatise and excel in this role.

We offer a unique environment with opportunities for continuous learning, generous annual leave for work life balance, season ticket loans and a range of benefits including discounted entry to attractions and what we feel is a market leading package when it comes to our pension scheme.

Role Responsibility

The Role

  • Overall responsibility for the presentation, management, maintenance, upkeep and agreed development of Lambeth Palace Garden and line management of the garden staff engaged as employees and volunteers. 
  • Ensuring the front of house appearance of the entire garden site is kept to the best acceptable standard at all times.
  • Overseeing, directing, and training garden staff when they are working in the garden.
  • Responsibility for all garden contractors when they are working on site.
  • As and when necessary, reporting to the Head of Estates & Steward on all administrative matters affecting the operational and management activities of the garden.
  • Directing and assisting in the care, cultivation and maintenance of all plants, seasonal planting, borders, shrubs, trees, lawns and ponds.
  • Hands-on weeding, pruning, dead-heading, plant division and replanting where necessary.
  • Managing the garden budget in conjunction with the Head of Estates & Steward and Finance Officer. Submitting requests and invoices for expenditure within the agreed budget for Lambeth Palace Garden and producing a projection for the following year’s budget. Agreeing expenditure items with the Head of Estates & Steward and Finance Officer in advance.
  • Hands-on working with the garden team to ensure all lawns and hedges are kept trimmed to the required standard.
  • Hands-on working with the garden team to achieve autumn leaf clearance and appropriate disposal. 
  • In consultation with the Head of Estates & Steward, ensuring the safety of garden users by regular checks on trees, access areas, steps and paths and reporting or repairing any hazards.
  • Develop and implement a Garden risk management control plan which includes, but is not limited to, the inspection and periodic pruning of trees.
  • Ensuring that all tools, machinery and equipment are used, stored and maintained in an appropriate manner. This includes arranging machinery inspections and planning maintenance work for the machinery.
  • As requested from time to time, preparing flower and plant arrangements for special occasions hosted by the Archbishop at Lambeth Palace.
  • Ensuring at all times full compliance with Health and Safety at Work and COSHH regulations.
  • Lead on internal and external communications for the Gardening team, including attending office meetings.
  • Dealing with garden enquires and giving guided tours of the garden.
  • Irrigating all garden pots/planters and ornamental areas, including lawns, to ensure good growing conditions.
  • Monitoring and control of weeds and algae in gravel paths, paving, ponds and borders and taking appropriate action.
  • Monitoring of pests and diseases and taking appropriate action.
  • Carrying out Performance Development Reviews of garden staff and offering in-house and external training when needed.
  • Performing occasional minor duties outside of normal working hours, such as monitoring irrigation in certain parts of the garden and the greenhouse/nursery/vegetable garden area, together with other seasonal/irregular tasks.
  • Setting up garden open days and attending all garden events at Lambeth Palace as requested by the Steward, to help with stewarding, event presentation and security.
  • Propagation of garden plant material for use in the garden and plant sales at garden events.
  • Assisting with the interviewing and appointment of future garden staff.
  • Liaising with the wider Lambeth Palace Estates team to enable maintenance and restoration work via garden areas and agreeing making-good costs for the garden.
  • Liaising with the Hospitality team to enable smooth running of their events in both the Palace building and garden.
  • Provision of herbs, fruit and vegetables to the Executive Head Chef when available or requested in advance.
  • Recruiting, selection and installing of a continuing and manageable Garden Volunteer team.
  • Ensuring the Garden Bothy, Garden Office, Garden tool and machinery sheds, Potting shed and greenhouse are all kept in a tidy, safe and well-presented manner.
  • Attendance of Management training courses, H&S update courses and in-house training and briefing courses when requested.
  • Attendance at fortnightly staff meetings to brief about garden events and operations.
  • Attendance of regular Lambeth Palace Operation meetings to update on site work by other departments.
  • All staff working at Lambeth Palace share responsibility to promote and maintain a strong safeguarding culture with regard to children and vulnerable adults, including identifying the key actions they should take given their role and responsibilities.

The Ideal Candidate

The Requirements



  • Similar experience of management of a large garden and familiarity with organic garden management practices.
  • Ability to motivate, develop and praise the garden team and be a good people manager.
  • Able to perform hands-on routine responsibilities whilst maintaining attention to detail.
  • Good communication skills, including delegation, negotiation and diplomatic skills.
  • An enthusiastic and committed gardener.
  • Desire to maintain the existing garden as well as provide development ideas.
  • Punctual and reliable.
  • Ambassadorial skills to promote and embrace the garden and its many uses.


  • Excellent plant knowledge.
  • Experience with specific and testing growing conditions.


  • Level 3 Diploma in Amenity Horticulture or equivalent.


  • Able to work to deadlines and prioritise workload.
  • Able to organise and take initiative.
  • Experience of managing rewilding natural spaces.
  • Hard working, confident gardener.
  • Hold a full driving licence.
  • Experience of maintaining a large garden or estate and use of garden machinery.
  • Plant and pest/disease identification.
  • Some knowledge of the structure of the Church of England, including the Archbishop’s ministry.


Whilst the NCIs are committed to wellbeing and work/life balance, a willingness and availability to work the shift pattern within the team, outside normal office hours (including some weekends) is required. Additional time worked will be given back in line with our TOIL policy.

About Us

We in the National Church Institutions support the mission and ministries of the Church all over England. We work with parishes, dioceses (regional offices), schools, other ministries and our partners at a national and international level.

Excellence, Respect, Integrity

We follow these three values in everything we do, whether we are of Christian faith, another faith or no faith. To learn more about working for National Church Institutions and our benefits, please click here

As a Disability Confident Leader, we actively look to attract, recruit and retain those of you who are disabled.

As a member of the Armed Forces Covenant, we welcome applications from those of you who have served in our Armed Forces and their families.

We are committed to being an equal opportunities employer and to ensuring that everyone, job applicants, customers and other people with whom we deal, are treated fairly and not subject to discrimination.  We will do whatever is necessary to provide genuine equality of opportunity. We continuously review our policies and processes to support our aim to create a workforce as diverse as the nation the Church of England serves.

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