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Who we are

The Trust's Gardens Team consists of over 100 horticultural experts and advisers who perform a wide variety of different tasks caring for Scotland's garden heritage, and who work closely with other disciplines to ensure that the Trust's gardens are conserved and maintained to the high standards required of such a conservation body. The Team consists of the following roles:

Property Gardeners

Just over 100 professional gardeners carry out the day-to-day maintenance of the Trust's gardens and designed landscapes and includes walled gardens, lawns, policy planting, woodland, walks, trails, wider landscape such as car parks and play areas on the property.

The larger and more complex gardens such as Brodick, Crathes, Culzean, Inverewe, Pitmedden & Threave are managed by a Head Gardener; a First Gardener and a team of under-gardeners. At large properties gardeners work closely with other property staff such as Rangers, Groundsmen and Foresters with general management overseen by the Property Manager. The smaller sites are managed single-handedly by a Head Gardener who may also act as a Property Manager. To fulfil their roles effectively, garden staff have often undertaken at least six-years of training at a number of different amenity and heritage gardens in order to acquire the necessary and extensive skills. Skills range from pruning, propagation, pest & disease identification and control to maintaining a wide array of modern machinery which they use to facilitate their work.

Garden Volunteers

Volunteers make the difference in gardens and they're not all getting their hands dirty! Across 65 of our gardens volunteers donate over 2000 hours a month carrying out a variety of essential conservation roles across Scotland.

Volunteers give their time through painting benches, weeding beds, administrative support, helping to raise funds, undertaking research, developing plant collection records, talking to visitors and much much more.

Each and every garden is beautifully different from the next. Alongside our expert gardeners, our captivating gardens are enriched through the remarkable generosity of our volunteers.

If you are keen on gardening and have some time to spend you could consider volunteering for your local NTS garden. By doing this you will not only be providing invaluable support to help maintain the garden, but will also be picking up a wealth of horticultural knowledge.

Click here for information on volunteering or contact the Head of Volunteering by email or phone 0844 493 2407.

Gardens & Designed Landscape Advisers

The Head of Gardens & Designed Landscapes is supported by a small team of regionally based Gardens Advisers who work closely with Head Gardeners at a number of assigned properties. They provide specialist technical horticultural advice and direction as well as setting and monitoring standards of presentation.

The Gardens Advisory Team comprises:

  • Robert Grant Head of Gardens & Designed Landscapes and Adviser for the North
  • Ann Steele Gardens Adviser for West & Highlands of Scotland
  • Colin Wren Coordinator for the Trust's School of Heritage Gardening and Garden Adviser for Central Scotland, the East & the Borders
The Gardens Office

The Gardens Office is based in the Trust's Central Office in Edinburgh. It is responsible for the development and dissemination of the gardens policy, strategic direction and the setting of national standards and operational guidelines. The department is managed by the Head of Gardens and Designed Landscapes Services who is supported by a small team of staff consisting of a plant collection specialist, a Heritage Garden Management Plan Coordinator. We are also supported through the generous efforts of volunteers whom undertake research and support projects. Finally, the gardens & Designed landscapes Department collaborates with interns undertaking research projects.

The Gardens Department is part of the Conservation Services and Projects division and works closely with the other conservation departments including Nature Conservation, Buildings, Curatorial, Collections and Library Services, Archaeology, Education and Interpretation to ensure that all aspects of property management and planning are undertaken in a coherent and integrated manner.