garden centre manager

How to become garden centre manager

What does a garden centre manager do?

Horticultural managers manage facilities for the large-scale cultivation of plants.

They work in the following areas:

  • production horticulture - producing food crops and ornamental plants for sale to wholesalers, retailers, nurseries, garden centres and the public
  • garden centres – producing plants for sale to the public along with related products such as tools and garden furniture
  • amenity horticulture – designing, constructing, managing and maintaining areas such as parks and public and botanic gardens.

Depending on the type of facility their tasks may include:

  • supervising and possibly assisting in all aspects of cultivation
  • managing programmes for the control of weeds and pests within safety standards and increasingly according to organic cultivation principles
  • preparing and modifying operational and business plans
  • carrying out administrative tasks such as record-keeping, budgets and accounts
  • training and instructing staff
  • analysing yields and costs
  • developing new products and markets and negotiating with suppliers
  • designing layouts and developing planting programmes for ornamental gardens or parks
  • scheduling the planting and harvesting of crops
  • ensuring that health and safety regulations and procedures are observed.


What's the working environment like for a garden gentre manager?

Working hours may vary according to the season; early starts and late finishes are common, as is work at weekends and on public holidays.

Depending on the job, the work may be office-based or outdoors in all weathers. Travel between sites and to visit suppliers and customers may be required. A driving licence is useful for this job.


What does it take to become a garden centre manager?

To be a horticultural manager you will need:

  • knowledge of the practical, technological and scientific aspects of horticulture
  • organisational and planning skills
  • business skills and commercial awareness
  • interpersonal and management skills
  • IT skills for keeping records, preparing reports and producing designs and plans.

Though there aren't set requirements when it comes to entering the industry, a specialist qualification in a related area will be useful. 

Garden centre manager career opportunities

In commercial horticulture, nurseries and garden centres can be found nationwide, but production horticulture is concentrated in certain areas depending on local condition such as climate, soil and other factors.

In amenity horticulture, jobs are mainly in larger towns and cities, often with a local authority in the maintenance of public parks, gardens and sports grounds. Councils increasingly use private contractors to do the work, so opportunities exist with these.

Progress from junior to senior management positions is possible for those with experience and advanced qualifications. Specialisation into areas such as marketing or research and development may lead to promotion.

Many set up their own businesses offering garden design services or interior landscaping, or start small nurseries or garden centres. Others move into training or lecturing, journalism, landscape or urban design, horticultural therapy or quality inspection for supermarkets as a food technologist. Work abroad is possible.


Further information

If you would like to know more about becoming a garden centre manager that does not appear on Hotcourses, further information can be found below.

Institute of Horticulture
14-15 Belgrave Square

Royal Horticultural Society
Horticultural Training Officer
RHS Garden
GU23 6QB

Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew

Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh
20A Inverleith Row
Tel: 0131 552 7171

The National Trust

Lantra House
Stoneleigh Park
Nr Coventry
Tel: 0845 707 8007

Management Development Services Ltd
The Research Station
Great North Road
Tel: 01780 781 450

BASIS Registration Ltd
34 St John Street
Tel: 01335 343 945



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