Head Gardener
Horatio’s Garden Stoke Mandeville – National Spinal Injury Centre
£30,163 FTE
National Spinal Injuries Centre Stoke Mandeville Hospital Aylesbury HP21 8AL
Flexible working considered, minimum 4 days a week
Job Description: 


Horatio’s Garden is an award-winning national charity creating and nurturing beautifully designed gardens in NHS spinal injury centres.

We are seeking an enthusiastic head gardener for this exciting role at Joe Swift’s designed hospital garden project at the UK’s largest spinal injury centre at Stoke Mandeville. This high-profile garden opened in 2018 and trail blazes the benefits of gardens and health. The project has had widespread publicity including being featured on Gardeners’ World.

The beautiful garden surrounds the spinal centre with contemporary planting designed for all year-round interest and includes a water feature, dense herbaceous planting and specimen trees. There is also a small area of wildflower meadow planting and a stumpery garden beyond the main garden.

Central to the garden is a large Garden room designed by architect Andrew Wells which give patients a warm sheltered place to enjoy the garden in all weather and is as a hub for garden activities and patient events. There is a large accessible greenhouse, cold frames and an area of raised beds for patients to get involved with gardening and a head gardener’s office.

As Head Gardener you will join a team of four other friendly Head Gardeners across the charity’s other projects. You will work with a part-time administrative assistant and a team of trained volunteers to nurture the beautiful space for patients of the spinal injury centre and their visitors. Joe Swift is closely involved, visiting regularly and offering advice.

The Head Gardener also works closely with the spinal injury centre team organising activities and events for patients and families in the garden.

The role is a fantastic opportunity for a gardener with an interest in gardens and wellbeing and a passion for people as well as plants. At Stoke Mandeville there are children with spinal injuries as well as adults and so a particular interest in gardening for children and families would be an advantage.

Knowledge, Skills and Experience


  • Practical experience as a gardener, including experience of garden management
  • Empathic, kind and have a love of people
  • Experience of leading and managing teams.
  • Able to manage budgets and petty cash.


  • RHS Level 2 Diploma in Principles and Practices of Horticulture.
  • Post Graduate Diploma in Social and Therapeutic Horticulture.
  • Experience of therapeutic activities.
  • Experience with gardening with children
  • Management of, and working with, volunteers.
  • Good IT skills, specifically proficient with Microsoft Office 365: Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint,
  • Supplier management and ordering.
  • Working in the voluntary sector.
  • NHS experience or work in a health care setting.


  • Able to meet the physical demands of the job.
  • Willingness to show commitment and flexibility in working practice.
  • Self-motivated and capable of working with the minimum of direction but understanding the limits of your knowledge and able to seek advice when required.



Contact Name: 
Olivia Chapple
Closing Date: 
Monday, 19 October, 2020
How to Apply: 
To apply please write a covering letter explaining why you would be suited to this role and send your CV to olivia@horatiosgarden.org.uk
Additional Information: 
We are an equal opportunity employer and welcome applications from all sectors of society. Flexible working considered, minimum 4 days a week. Salary depending on experience approx. £30,163 FTE The project is located at the National Spinal Injuries Centre, Stoke Mandeville Hospital, Aylesbury HP21 8AL We welcome informal enquires. Please ring Olivia Chapple 01722 326834. To apply please write a covering letter explaining why you would be suited to this role and send your CV to olivia@horatiosgarden.org.uk NOTE: DBS, medical and reference checks will be conducted as part of the recruitment process.