01 Feb, 2024

Head Gardener

  • Westport Estate
  • Westport, County Mayo, Ireland
Full time, Permanent Gardener

Job Description

Head Gardener Job Specification

It is an exciting time to join the team at Westport Estate offering the opportunity to become part of a truly transformational change in the Westport and Mayo region.

Westport Estate is owned by the Hughes Group, the Mayo family behind the globally successful clothing manufacturing company, Portwest. The overall vision of the Hughes Family is to reimagine the entire offering within the 433-acre grounds as part of a €75 million master plan, including the redevelopment of Hotel Westport.
Westport Estate is currently seeking to appoint a Head Gardener to join its team. The candidate will be responsible for managing the extensive gardens throughout the estate.

Objectives of the Role

  • Managing and motivating a growing team.
  • Managing the day-to-day, year-round maintenance of the numerous project areas within the Westport Estate.
  • Managing the continuing development of the historic estate, while working closely with the CEO and the landscape consultants on the design development and implementation of numerous project areas.
  • Client review of all future project areas and development of maintenance procedures for each project area.
  • Propagating plants and vegetables.
  • Management and recording of Invasive weeds and associated treatments.
  • Maintaining records for the garden, machinery, and health and safety.
  • Managing the estate's horticultural budget, staff resources and future landscape project areas in coherence with the Estate manager.
  • Ordering plant material and other sundries as necessary.
  • Liaising regularly with the estate manager, estate CEO and Estate Directors.
  • Planting displays in key areas for year-round seasonal interest.
  • Train and develop the gardening team to enable them to deal with all aspects of their roles confidently.
  • Subject to agreed criteria, recruitment, training, set action and targets, appraise and manage performance, development, coaching and general support of all gardening team members to ensure targets are met.
  • This job description is not intended to be either prescriptive or exhaustive, it is issued as a framework to outline the main areas of responsibilities at the time of writing.

Key Items to consider for future expansion and development of the Estate

The head gardener will be required to manage the staffing resources and will have overall responsibility for the landscape maintenance, management and presentation of the key areas as the estate develops over the coming years.

Key Horticultural Project Areas:

  • Lower Realm
  • Middle Realm
  • Upper Realm
  • Courtyard Curtilage
  • Westport House Gardens & Curtilage
  • Riverside walks and general historic core curtilage trails
  • Farmyard & Campsite Curtilage
  • Adventure Park Curtilage
  • Hotel Westport curtilage & Meadow Gardens
  • Entrances and Avenues
  • Estate properties (Quay Lodge & Orchard Cottage)

Additional Project Items:

  • Woodland Management
  • Invasive Weeds Management
  • Set up and manage propagation and plant nursery facilities.
  • Set up and manage the composting facility.
  • Management, maintenance, and procurement of landscape machinery & tools
  • Management of Watercourses and Westport Lough.
  • Delivery of small works project areas

    Required Skills
  • The ideal candidate will be creative and innovative and have a sense of excitement for ongoing and future projects with the flexibility to adapt and develop innovative eco-friendly maintenance techniques.
  • They will have a broad knowledge and passion for plants, with an understanding of current ideas in planting design and propagation.
  • They will be self-motivated, physically fit and able to work efficiently while observing the finer details.
  • They will be sensitive towards the historic and biodiverse elements of the estate and landscape.
  • They will have excellent leadership skills, with a track record and ability to grow and develop the horticultural team as the project areas expand.
  • Must have a proven track record for the management and development of plant propagation facilities.
  • Experience in the safe operation of landscape maintenance hand tools and machinery.Must have a proven track record for the management and development of maintenance strategies and resource allocation over a wide variety of projects.
  • A significant ability to manage staffing resources and the development of maintenance procedures.
  • Must have a strong proficiency in the Microsoft Office suite and a strong ability to work with construction drawings.

Preferred Experience & Qualifications

  • A recognized level 8 qualification in Horticulture and/or Landscape Architecture and relevant experience of at least 5 years.
  • A significant understanding of hard and soft landscaping construction.
  • Propagating skills and management.
  • Turf maintenance skills.
  • Familiarity with glasshouse and polytunnel culture.
  • Familiarity with organic principles and sustainable practice.
  • Knowledge of Latin plant names.

 Westport Estate is an equal-opportunity employer.
 We strive to create and maintain a diverse workforce where everyone is respected and included.


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