When anyone asks Trevor Jones, Head Gardener at The Alnwick Garden in Northumberland, to describe his average working week it is one of the few times that he is lost for words.
As Head Gardener he is no longer surprised at any of the requests made by his boss – The Duchess of Northumberland. From growing cannabis in the world-famous Poison Garden to modelling for The Alnwick Garden calendar, the “any other duties” part of his job description has been flexed to the max on many occasions.
But as he is about to hang up his gardening gloves and move into retirement, he is keen to find a suitable replacement who will pick up where he left off and push boundaries further than ever.
“In my 12 years working at The Alnwick Garden, I have donned a white chemical suit to conduct tours of our Poison Garden, flown around the world to deliver horticultural educational talks and hosted World Naked Gardening day. It’s fair to say that my job is somewhat multi-faceted.”
The Alnwick Garden is the brainchild of Jane Percy, The Duchess of Northumberland and a multi-award-winning visitor attraction based in Alnwick, Northumberland. The 12 acres of meandering and magnificent gardens are home to the world’s largest Taihaku Cherry Orchard, a Grand Cascade comprising 120 water jets, a Poison Garden filled exclusively with around 100 intoxicating and narcotic plants, the world’s largest Treehouse Restaurant and one of the largest rose gardens in the world.
With Trevor’s departure in 2020 he is keen to find a replacement who will be willing to not only undertake such a broad range of tasks, but someone who will push boundaries even further and take The Alnwick Garden to the next level.
“We are always looking to be different and push the envelope – our Halloween event this year saw people being chased by clowns, masked characters and our CEO carrying a chainsaw. I have become so used to it all that it becomes “just another day at the office”!
We have the largest collection of European plants in the UK, so when our visitors stop to ask me to name a plant I have to mentally flick through the rolodex to educate them!
My replacement has to be open minded and drive change – The Alnwick Garden approach is that nothing is too quirky!”
So, the hunt is now on to try to find this special person – someone with passions, knowledge, ideas and of course an open mind. Quirks aside, we are looking for someone with a huge experience and thorough knowledge of plants, because fundamentally the excellence of planting is what is at our core.”