Amenity horticulturist: job description

Last updated: 25 Jan 2023, 13:39

Amenity horticulturists are responsible for designing, creating and managing a variety of leisure, recreational and garden areas such as woodlands, country parks, historic gardens, cemeteries and botanic/public gardens.

Well-manicured garden with a variety of lush plants and neatly trimmed grass.

Amenity horticulturists work for employers as varied as the National Trust and private gardens to media organisations.

What does an amenity horticulturist do? Typical employers | Qualifications and training | Key skills

Amenity horticulturists can find themselves doing anything from clipping lawns to managing forests. The typical responsibilities of the job include:

  • designing garden plans/planting layouts
  • advising about tree planting schemes
  • undertaking environmental assessments
  • planning restoration projects (visiting sites, researching plans etc)
  • overseeing horticultural cultivation, maintenance and weed/pest/disease control programmes
  • ensuring compliance with organic cultivation requirements
  • analysing horticultural yields
  • organising horticultural trials
  • maintaining financial and administrative records
  • developing, advertising and marketing services
  • liaising/communicating with colleagues, local officials, the public, professional groups etc
  • writing technical publications
  • creating advisory leaflets and reports
  • organizing or giving presentations and attending conferences
  • undertaking research
  • negotiating contracts with buyers and suppliers
  • writing and modifying business plans
  • supervising staff.

Typical employers of amenity horticulturists

  • Local authorities
  • National Park rangers
  • Highways Agency
  • National Trust
  • English Heritage
  • Historic Scotland
  • Botanic gardens.

Qualifications and training required

The majority of entrants into the profession hold a horticultural qualification. Degrees or HNDs in horticulture, agriculture, soil/earth sciences, environmental science or crop/plant science are beneficial. The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) also offers a range of qualifications.

A relevant postgraduate qualification isn't essential but it may be helpful for some opportunities.

Horticulture apprenticeships offer an opportunity to study horticulture while working. They tend to be aimed primarily at 16 to 19 year olds but may also be open to older applicants. The RHS runs a two-year horticultural apprenticeship scheme, and Kew Gardens offers an apprenticeship suitable for applicants interested in botanical or amenity horticulture.

The Historic and Botanic Garden Trainee Programme (HBGTP) is open to applicants aged over 18 who have previous paid or voluntary experience of working in horticulture within a team.

You may be able to gain relevant experience through a community gardening scheme or volunteering project. The RHS offers a limited number of unpaid internships.

Key skills for amenity horticulturists

  • Initiative
  • Commercial awareness
  • Problem solving
  • Communication
  • Practical cultivation skills
  • An aptitude for working with flora and fauna.

All candidates must be physically fit and capable of working well under the pressure of meeting tight deadlines. A full driving licence is also a common requirement.

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