He left Africa to study horticulture at Greenmount College in Northern Ireland. Having completed his studies he returned to Zimbabwe and worked as an advisor on horticultural crops, including tea and coffee. He left Africa to develop his career in horticulture and management by finishing his studies at the Welsh College of Horticulture with an emphasis on landscape design.
After working as a Head Gardener at a private London garden he was offered the post as Head Gardener to the late King Hussein and Queen Noor of Jordan at their private palace in Jordan, and was later promoted to Landscape Designer for the Royal Court working on a number of garden projects. On returning with his wife and young son to the UK he worked as the Head Gardener for English Heritage at Audley End House and Gardens, a Grade 1 listed site in Essex. With his team of gardeners, contractors and volunteers ensured that the garden landscape was maintained and restored following a five-year renewable management plan. Martin was commissioned to consult on a garden restoration project at a chateau in France. Martin was given the wonderful opportunity to work in Bermuda as the Senior Superintendent for the Department of Parks where he was responsible for overseeing the Botanical Gardens, Government House Gardens (home of the Governor of Bermuda) along with the island’s national parks. His team carried out numerous projects throughout the island, one of which resulted in being given a Bermuda National Trust award for planting up an island with native and endemic trees and plants to form a new conservation area.
On returning to the UK he worked as a Head Gardener for a private family in Hampshire where the gardens and estate were being restored. In 2009 Martin took up the fantastic opportunity of heading up the gardens at Arundel Castle, which have undergone a great deal of change over the past six years. Martin writes a garden article for the West Sussex on a fortnightly basis, has also been on BBC Radio Sussex and Surrey, and at the South of England Spring show for ‘Gardeners Question Time’.
"Over several years I have watched the gardens at Arundel Castle expand under the leadership of Martin Duncan. He is an inspirational character, passionate about plants and the gardens he tends. His staff respect him and therefore work well under his guidance. Martin is keen to provide opportunities for young people and encourages volunteers of all ages."
Jean Griffin, 2018
Spinning coronet activated by Martin - so that's how it's done!