Having advertised the position for a new head gardener last August, the Garden Museum and trustees of Benton End have appointed James Horner to the role.


James will be taking on the position at the start of March, moving from Sussex to Suffolk to be the custodian of the gardens at Benton End.

James brings with him a wealth of experience, having been a gardener at Great Dixter under the mentorship of Fergus Garrett as well as collaborating with Luciano Giubbilei, travelling Europe and North America as a planting designer and consultant.

He has worked on a range of projects from public to private gardens across the UK and abroad, including the garden in Hastings Country Park of the artist Richard Smith. This ongoing project in particular has helped him to develop different colour palettes in borders, as Richard likes subtler tones and 'off-colours'.

James has always been aware of the work of Cedric Morris, having had plants including some of the Benton End Irises. "I've always said if an amazing opportunity like this came along I would be interested in exploring it," he told Matt Collins, head gardener at the Garden Museum.

"I’m super excited to be starting at the beginning of March," he says "in some ways that’s the perfect time, in terms of seeing most of the bulbs that remain in the garden from Cedric’s time. The site is going to be a challenge, but we are very much at the beginning; everybody’s forming their own ideas about what this project is going to look like. It will take a huge amount of sensitivity, but I feel like there will be a lot of excitement."

Keep an eye on the Benton End website for updates on the project.


Benton End is the former home of celebrated artist and plantsman Sir Cedric Morris and his partner, the artist Arthur Lett-Haines. It is now under the care of the Garden Museum and a board of trustees. The house is preparing to reopen as a place to learn about art and horticulture. While it remains closed to the public, preparations are underway to bring the house and gardens back to life for visitors.


Molly Blair
Molly Blaireditorial and digital assistant

Molly is the Gardens Illustrated's editorial and digital assistant. She has a roof garden and has her RHS level 2.