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Gardeners work in one of two main areas. One is amenity horticulture, where they look after parks and gardens, both public and private, so that they look attractive all year. The other is commercial horticulture, where they grow fruit, vegetables, plants or trees for sale.

The Work

In amenity horticulture you could be:

In commercial horticulture you could be:


The figures below are only a guide. Actual pay rates may vary, depending on:

Apprentice arborists will be paid the minimum wage for apprentices in Scotland. At present the apprentice rate, for those aged under 19 or aged 19 or over and in the first year of their apprenticeship, is £4.81 an hour (1 April 2022).

Starting salaries for gardeners in Scotland tend to be in the range £13,500 to £16,500 a year. Salaries are in the region of £17,000 to £25,000 a year for experienced and qualified gardeners. Senior or head gardeners can earn up to £30,000 a year, sometimes more.

Some gardeners are self-employed so their earnings will vary, depending on how successful they are.


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Getting In

Depending on the job, you could work in a plant or tree nursery, garden centre, orchard, vegetable farm, local authority park or nursery, garden open to the public or private estate or garden.

What Does it Take?

You need to be:

If you want to be a horticultural manager you also need to be:


Getting On

More Information

Vacancies are often advertised in relevant trade magazines and websites including:

Volunteering can be a good way to build up useful gardening experience. The National Trust for Scotland (NTS) has nearly 4,000 volunteers who do everything from guiding visitors around, to tending gardens and building footpaths.

You might also be interested in finding out about therapeutic gardening and the work of Trellis, the national Scottish charity that supports, promotes, and develops the use of horticulture to improve health and wellbeing.


Courtesy of Lantra Scotland


The following organisations may be able to provide further information.

Chartered Institute of Horticulture
Tel: 03330 050 181
Twitter: @cihort

Lantra Scotland
Tel: 01738 310164
Twitter: @LantraScotland

Lantra is the Sector Skills Council for the environmental and land-based sector.

National Trust for Scotland (NTS)
Tel: 0131 385 7490
Twitter: @N_T_S

Royal Horticultural Society (RHS)
Tel: 020 3176 5800
Twitter: @The_RHS

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