Horticulture week – Custodian of the year awards

Horticulture Week - Alan Sargent



Gardens, parks and tree management stars sought as Custodian Awards 2018 opens for entries

Entries are open for the Horticulture Week Custodian Awards 2018 – the leading industry Awards scheme supporting, encouraging and broadcasting excellence in the professional management of the UK’s gardens, parks, grounds and trees.

Horticulture Week is delighted to welcome the Professional Garden Consultants Association as partner for the Custodian Awards which seek to ensure the outstanding achievements of the UK’s gardens, parks and tree professionals are recognised by customers, clients and stakeholders.

Management achievement is honoured in the Horticulture Week Custodian Awards, with categories celebrating outstanding work across all areas of activity including restoration and redevelopment, on-going management and maintenance, partnership working, volunteer and community engagement, and more.  And don’t forget as a member of the PGCA, you are entitled to a 10% discount on the entry fee


Why enter the Horticulture Week Custodian Awards?

  • Winning a prestigious HW Custodian Award provides you with a powerful selling point for your garden, parks, estate or organisation (winner and finalist logos supplied), helping you to market to potential visitors.
  • Just entering the awards earns you industry recognition for your teams and volunteers, providing you with a powerful staff-motivational tool.
  • As a winner you will receive year-round opportunities for your achievements to be promoted on Horticulture Week’s print and digital platforms, enabling you to highlight your achievements to customers, stakeholders, partners and peers.
  • Winners gain a permanent place in Horticulture Week’s Custodian Gallery, ensuring lasting recognition for your, and your team’s, achievements.
  • Gain the opportunity to take part in the leading national awards event for the UK parks and gardens industry, where you cannetwork with leaders in your industry.


Gardens management categories

  • Best gardens or arboretum initiative
  • Best gardens or arboretum team
  • Best gardens restoration/development project
  • Best gardens partnership
  • Best gardens or arboretum (1-5 staff)
  • Best gardens or arboretum (6+ staff)


Parks and grounds management

  • Best urban park initiative
  • Best urban parks team
  • Best parks restoration/development project
  • Best parks partnership – commercial
  • Best parks partnership – third sector
  • Best heritage park
  • Best neighbourhood park
  • Best grounds


Tree care categories

  • Best urban tree initiative
  • Best tree team
  • Best tree or woodland partnership


General categories

  • Best volunteer initiative
  • Best community initiative
  • Best environmental initiative
  • Best visitor initiative
  • Horticulture Week Custodian Award


Early Bird Deadline

The Early Bird Deadline for the Custodian Awards is 22nd February 2018.  For full details of how to enter please go to:   www.horticultureweeklive.com/custodianawards


Awards Reception & Presentation

Winners will be presented once again at Woburn Abbey in Bedfordshire on Wednesday 27th June at a prestigious afternoon Awards Reception & Presentation.


Parks & Gardens Live 2018

The Custodian Awards Reception & Presentation will once again be co-located with Parks & Gardens Live, a show launched last year which provides professional gardeners, parks managers and landscape maintenance teams with an exciting mix of practical learning, mentoring, inspiration, knowledge sharing and networking – all curated by the UK’s leading kit expert and HW technical editor, Sally Drury. Highlights of the day include product showcase tours and professional kit demonstrations led by Drury, while inspirational expert advisers and practitioners lead must-attend workshops.


Charity Partner

Thank you to industry charity Perennial for becoming our charity partner for the Custodian Awards and Parks & Gardens Live in 2018.


Managing As A Head Gardener

Managing As A Head Gardener

Seminar Saturday 28 th May 2016

Graffham, nr Petworth, Sussex.

Managing As A Head Gardener is a unique and bespoke seminar, designed specifically for Head Gardeners and Deputy Head Gardeners employed in the Private sector (including N.T and English Heritage gardens). The original seminar was presented in 2012 at the request of members of The Professional Gardeners Guild, and the notes for that event were published as The Head Gardeners Survival Manual.

The author and presenter – Alan Sargent FCIHort – has since written many articles concerning the work and responsibilities of Head Gardeners in various forms and forums including The Professional Gardener Magazine, LinkedIn Head Gardeners Group, The School of Garden Management www.tsogm.org plus The Horticulture Week magazine, (winning the Dr Hessayon Columnist of the Year Finalist Award 2014).

Managing As A Head Gardener seminar is held every year, and constantly updated to ensure that the information and advice is the most recent and relevant. Numbers are strictly limited to no more than half a dozen people, and the subjects covered tend to be those most likely to affect delegates in a personal manner.

Each person is sent a questionnaire once an expression of interest has been received, the contents of which are strictly private and confidential. By stating your reasons for wishing to attend, and the answers you seek, you will drive the programme for the day.

Whilst following a general progressive path, subjects will (usually) include examining the question of ‘What is an Employer?’, ‘What is a Head Gardener?, which may appear peculiar topics for a seminar, but so many Senior Gardeners find themselves in difficult positions of insecurity, without proper Terms of Contract – or indeed, with no written contract at all!

Help and advice on a very wide range of subjects, including applying for a senior position, both as a new employee and internal promotions, dealing with difficult staff and employers, taking control as a new Head Gardener, site assessments, evaluations and future potential, method statements, dealing with the Public, carrying out inventories of staff, equipment and buildings – every type of question may be asked, and it is always the case that these are subjects that are of importance to all delegates – we all have the same problems!

Managing As A Head Gardener is a totally unique seminar. Designed and presented not only for Senior Gardeners in general, the day is bespoke to the attendees. Nothing is by rote – it is a ‘No Holds Barred’ in-depth day of advice from someone with nearly fifty years of practical experience in the industry.

Garden Media Guild Annual Awards

Garden Media Guild Annual Wards

In 2014, Alan won the Doctor Hessayon Award as Finalist in the category of Columnist of The Year for his work for The Horticulture Week’s ‘Sargent’s Solutions’ column, and he has been entered again for the 2015 Award in the same category. The event is being held at The Savoy, London on November 26th 2015.

LOGO of GMG award

Contracts and Commisions


Harrow Boys School – London

 Alan has been commissioned by Harrow School to undertake a wide variety of projects, with the overall aim of continuing to enhance the gardens and grounds (not playing fields) of this wonderful historic site. Working with the Gardens Team to introduce ‘Landscape’ skills and logic into their working patterns, and increase their personal enjoyment of maintaining the very diverse and complex gardens, both ‘Private’ and ‘Public’. This commission is likely to end during the Spring of 2016.

New Head Gardener for a major Private garden in Weybridge. Part of Alan’s Management services includes finding the right New Head Gardener for individual sites. He is not an Employment Agent, but undertakes the whole programme (as required) including writing the job specification, advertisements and interviewing prospective candidates before making a recommendation to the owners. This work is a big responsibility (!) and a great deal of thought, research and trepidation is called for!

Professional Gardener Magazine (The Professional Gardeners Guild quarterly magazine)

Professional Gardener Magazine (The Professional Gardeners Guild quarterly magazine)

The subject for the latest (October issue) is titled ‘Selling Yourself – Part 2’ and discusses the presentation of your curriculum vitae – for Senior or Head Gardeners who are thinking of applying for a new post. (‘Selling Yourself – Part 1’ is an advisory guide to building your personal portfolio, published in the July issue, and is posted on www.Allandscapers.org library site.)

Futurescape 2015 – The Public Launch of The School of Garden Management!

Futurescape 2015 – The Public Launch of The School of Garden Management!

We are delighted to announce that we have taken stand space at Futurescape (Sandown Racecourse, Sandown Park, Portsmouth Road, Esher, Surrey KT10 9AJ) open from 09.00 until 17.00 on Tuesday, 17th November 2015.

Our stand is number is 145. We would be delighted to see you there!

Horticulture Week series ‘Sargent’s Solutions.

Horticulture Week series ‘Sargent’s Solutions.

The subjects for the current and next month will be announced, again at monthly intervals.
The current issue concerns ‘Questions that arise at a job interview’ – a very alternative look!

Next month the topic will be Late Acceptance of Quotes, of interest to all contractors.