Killerton Gardens

Rising sharply out of the surrounding river valleys, the nationally important woody plant collection at Killerton dominates the landscape. Planted to impress, this former volcano now thrives with a rich tapestry of plants from the world over. One family’s love of travel and plant collecting is laid bare for all to see in a carefully manipulated landscape that surprises at every turn. With sweeping views over rolling fields and the Exe valley to the wilds of Dartmoor beyond, hundreds of years of careful planning, planting and care make Killerton what it is today.

With stalwarts like Veitch in the employ of the family from inception, the garden and wider estate at Killerton enjoyed a rich and varied creation that has developed over the centuries. Following the Picturesque style with minimal influence from other fashions, the garden remains a playground for plant lovers. Today, we strive to keep the spirit of the rare and unusual alive in the way we manage, develop and present the garden and its plant collection. You will be joining the team at Killerton at an interesting time as we undertake some significant conservation work to restore areas of the garden to their former glory.

You will be part of a busy team of staff and volunteers, and carry out a wide variety of tasks from pruning climbers on the house to propagating perennials in our garden nursery. The garden is part of one of the largest estates in the National Trust’s collection and you will have the opportunity to work alongside our Ranger team to learn about areas such as orchard management. The National Trust’s Plant Conservation Centre and Knightshayes Garden are also both close by and will present further learning opportunities.

Karl Emeleus, Head Gardener: “We have a long history of taking trainees here at Killerton. The Garden’s unique setting and unusual style make it a great place to work and learn. Both I and the team here believe that passing on skills is a fundamental part of any gardener’s role in maintaining and creating outdoor spaces for people to enjoy. Previous trainees have gone on to find employment in different areas of horticulture and one is now Senior Gardener here. I believe we offer a broad spectrum of skills within our team that will set up any trainee well for a promising career in horticulture”.

Placement opportunity: 2 year

Staff numbers: 4 full-time gardeners; 1 trainee assistant gardener; 18 volunteers

Ease of access: Pinhoe station is 5 miles away, Whimple is 6 miles away and Exeter St Davids Station is 7 miles away with mainline services. Bus links from Exeter and Cullompton are very regular and pass within a 5 minute walk of the property.

Accommodation: There is no dedicated accommodation.

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Killerton Front Wisteria Killerton garden pic 3 Killerton Garden pic 5 Killerton Bears hut Killerton Chapel

The Trainee Experience

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