Assistant Gardener

This job has now expired
£10,441.83 per annum

This post gives a unique opportunity to work in a historic 4 acre garden in central Norwich. Bishop’s house garden is one of the oldest cultivated gardens in the country and has achieved national acclaim. The garden is both a quiet space for the Bishop, his family, staff and those on retreat, as well as a centre for the Bishop’s wider mission and charitable works.

An opportunity has arisen for a skilled gardener to join the team at the prestigious and historic Bishop’s House Garden, Norwich.

The 900-year-old Bishop’s House Garden lies in the very centre of Norwich and possesses a rich plant collection, with rare and choice specimens from across the globe. It is laid-out as a series of distinct areas and garden rooms, including an organic kitchen garden and production greenhouse, the Jungle Walk, a ‘Bambooserie’, herbaceous borders, shrub borders and a wildflower meadow and orchard. The garden also boasts a small plant nursery, with plants propagated in the garden being sold at open days and charity events over the spring and summer months.

The successful candidate will join a small and busy gardening team, working alongside a longstanding and enthusiastic group of volunteers and under the supervision of the Head Gardener. This is an excellent opportunity to be involved in some significant regeneration projects across the garden, including the designing and replanting of several prominent areas, and the broader ambition of raising the garden’s environmental and ecological credentials.

The successful candidate will have a positive, ‘can-do’ attitude and a demonstrable passion for horticulture. They will possess a minimum of an RHS Level 2 diploma or equivalent, and have experience of working in a professional horticultural environment. The candidate must be able to work well both on their own and as part of a team. Being physically fit and happy to work in all weather conditions is essential to the role.

Your working hours are 20 per week (plus one-hour lunch break) normally worked over 2 ½ days or spread over three days Monday to Friday.

There may also be an occasional requirement to water the garden after normal hours and tend to the greenhouse at weekends. The garden is open for charity open days on a number of Sundays, as well as evening tours, and attendance at some of these is expected for which time off in lieu if given.

Due to the nature of this role, the successful applicant will be required to undergo a full DBS disclosure.

Closing date- Tuesday 14th April 2020 (12 noon)


The main responsibilities are;

The role of Assistant Gardener is to support the Head Gardener to maintain the Bishop’s house garden to the highest possible standard.

Principal Responsibilities:

  • Working with and under the direction of the Head Gardener, the Assistant Gardener will be involved with:
  • Mowing grass and hedge trimming, including the use and maintenance of hedge trimmers, strimmer’s and pedestrian and ride-on machines.
  • General gardening tasks such as pruning, weeding, planting, lawn care, propagation from seed and cuttings, tidying and working with plants using best horticultural practice to produce work of the highest standard.
  • Working with volunteers, including vulnerable adults who have learning difficulties and mental ill-health.
  • Working ecologically and with a strong focus on the environment.
  • Observing correct health and safety procedures, including reading and following risk assessments and wearing the appropriate clothing and using equipment safely.
  • Working with a close-knit team that supports the Bishop and any family.
  • Undertaking any safeguarding training as necessary.
  • Undertaking general caretaking duties.
  • Endeavouring to continue learning and broadening your understanding of horticulture.

The Assistant Gardener will book leave off well in advance and liaise with the Head Gardener for leave cover. There will be an annual review with the Head Gardener including thinking about and establishing goals.

The ideal candidate should have;

Gardening/horticultural expertise;

  • Have a passion for plants and an enthusiasm to continue learning.
  • RHS Level 2 diploma or equivalent.
  • Lantra brush cutter/hedge trimmer ticket or equivalent, or prepared to undertake.
  • Experience of working in a professional horticultural environment.
  • Be able to use and look after garden machinery.
  • Experience of using ride-on lawn mowers.
  • Awareness of current health and safety guidelines and experience of following risk assessments where appropriate.
  • Commitment to the care of the environment.

Working with others;

  • Sensitivity towards the needs to the Bishop and any family, and other members of staff, and the privacy of all who live on site.
  • Ability to work closely with the garden volunteers being sensitive to their individual needs.
  • Demonstrate a good level of interpersonal skills with a diverse range of people.
  • Track record of being able to work both as part of a team and on their own.

Personal qualities;

  • Sympathetic to the Christian faith, the mission of the Church of England, and the ministry of the Bishop of Norwich.
  • The ability to undertake the physical demands of the role.
  • Communicate in a professional, respectful and courteous manner.
  • Have the ability to handle confidential information with discretion.
  • Have the ability to keep calm when busy or under pressure.
  • A full UK driver’s license.

This role will ideally suit an already competent horticulturist looking to get back into part-time work or split their time between gaining further work-based experience and studying a further horticultural qualification, such as RHS Level 3 diploma.

As the garden includes an apiary (looked after by the bishop and family), the role would therefore not be suitable for someone who has to avoid the possibility of a bee sting.

Non-clergy staff will be automatically enrolled into the in the Pension Builder 2014 Pension Plan (PB2014) in line with legislation unless they choose to opt out. Clergy already in the Church

of England Funded Pensions Scheme (CEFPS) will have the option of either remaining in this scheme or joining the CAPF scheme.

Bishops Staff have an income protection insurance arrangement. To be eligible for cover under this policy an employee must be a member of the (PB2014) scheme. Please note that insurance cover is not necessarily automatic, and that underwriting may be required by the schemes in some instances (for example if you do not join the scheme at the first available opportunity or opt out of the scheme and subsequently re-join). Cover will be subject to any terms and conditions laid down by the insurance company.

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

We are committed to building a culturally diverse workforce. As part of this commitment, we welcome applications from people, regardless of their background. As a Disability Confident committed employer, it is important to note that there may be occasions where it is not practical or appropriate to interview all disabled applicants who meet the minimum criteria* due to high volume. We limit the amount of interviews conducted to five applicants per open post we advertise. 

*Where applicable depending on post requirements.