Explore: Environment

Senior Gardener
National Trust

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Jane T

00:00:01 My name is Jane T. I’m senior gardener at Clumber Park, at Worksop. Day to day, I look after the glass house and the kitchen garden. There’s four acres of kitchen garden, and the glass house is four hundred and fifty foot long, and we produce fruit and vegetables for the use in the restaurant, and also obviously it’s a visitor attraction. We’re open to the public seven days a week from March through to the end of October.

00:00:34 When I was at school, I actually wanted, initially, to be a ship’s stewardess. It’s something I never did because you had to be twenty-three, I discovered, to do that, and when you’re only about sixteen twenty-three seems like really old. And it was pretty common to do things when I was at school like be a hairdresser, or be a nurse or something like that, and I didn’t really want to do anything conventional so I joined the police force.

00:01:07 My mother was a nurse, so I think she was quite keen that I should be a nurse, but I really didn’t want to do that, and by the time I think we had careers advice at school, I think I’d already decided that I wanted to join the police force and they seemed to be very keen on trying to talk me out of it.

00:01:26 I joined the cadets first of all, as soon as I’d left school, but when I was old enough to join the regular force I was posted back to my own town in Retford, and I think that was quite a good move really because I know a lot of policewomen in those days that are perhaps posted to bigger cities would just deal with shoplifters and things like that all day long, whereas I managed to get quite a lot of variety really. So whatever came up, and it might be just normal traffic offences, or people missing from home, sudden deaths, or… so it was quite varied really.

00:02:07 I did that for about four years, and then got married to a policeman and left shortly afterwards. Eventually, as the children grew up, I started working in a building society, part-time at first, and I ended up there for sixteen years and finished up as a mortgage underwriter.

00:02:28 Well, the turning point was definitely when I was ill. I had cancer eleven years ago and I think I decided there and then that I would have to change my lifestyle. It was some time before I actually did that because obviously there was quite a long period of treatment to undergo, so I then started looking at different options but always came back to gardening because that was the thing that I enjoyed most.

00:03:01 The love of gardening came from my granddad. He was a very keen gardener and had a large garden. I used to go and stay with him every school holiday and always used to help him in the garden. I think it developed from there. So, obviously, when I got my own garden then that became really my chief hobby, I think.

00:03:25 I think in five year’s time I’d probably see myself still being here and still doing this. I would hope so, anyway. We’ve got lots of exciting projects underway at the moment and it would be very nice just to see how they progress. Obviously, every garden takes time to mature, and we’re planting up some new borders this winter so it will be very, very nice to see how they progress in the future.

00:03:55 End

Jane T is a Senior Gardener at a National Trust property. She loved helping her grandad in the garden during her school holidays. So when she recovered from cancer eleven years ago, and was thinking about how to change her lifestyle, a career in gardening was the answer.

More information about Gardeners and landscape gardeners

average salary

The UK average salary is £29,813

average weekly hours

There are 37.5 hours in the average working week

91%  male 
9%  female 

The UK workforce is 47% female and 53% male

Future employment

Future employment?

? Gardeners and landscape gardeners cultivate flowers, trees, shrubs and other plants in public and private gardens, construct features to improve the appearance of existing terrain, and cut and lay turf.
There are no formal academic entry requirements. NVQs/SVQs in Horticulture are available at Levels 1, 2 and 3. Professional qualifications are also available.
  • Levels ground and installs drainage system as required;
  • Prepares soil and plants and transplants, prunes, weeds and otherwise tends plant life;
  • Protects plants from pests and diseases;
  • Cuts and lays turf using hand and machine tools and repairs damaged turf;
  • Prepares or interprets garden design plans;
  • Moves soil to alter surface contour of land using mechanical equipment and constructs paths, rockeries, ponds and other features;
  • Performs general garden maintenance.
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