Oak Spring

Horticulture and Horticulture/Landscape Apprentices position available.


The Oak Spring Garden Foundation (OSGF) is a 501(c)(3) private operating foundation based in Upperville, Virginia with a mission to perpetuate and share Rachel Lambert Mellon’s home, garden, estate and Library to serve the public interest. The Foundation is dedicated to inspiring and facilitating scholarship and public dialogue on the history and future of plants, including the culture of gardens and landscapes and the importance of plants for human well-being. For additional information, please visit www.osgf.org

OSGF is accepting applications for two full time positions i) horticultural apprentice; and ii) horticultural/landscape apprentice. Both positions are full time with benefits through December 2023.

Schedule: Full-time, beginning August 2021 (or soon thereafter once the position is filled) through December, 2023.

Location: Upperville, VA (housing potentially available, if needed); The Oak Spring estate is located in rural northern Virginia, 15 minutes from the nearest town. Having access to a car is desirable, but not essential.

Payment: Hourly rate of $16 (taxable). Local applicants that do not need housing are encouraged, but housing potentially available, if needed.

Closing Date: Open until filled, with applicants being interviewed on a rolling basis.

Summary of Positions:

The Horticulture Apprentice (“HA”) position provides a hands-on and practical horticultural experience in a formal garden, greenhouse and cut flower garden setting. The HA will gain experience in a wide range of horticultural tasks, with some consideration given to the specific areas of interest and background of the successful candidate. The HA, working with the Head Gardener and others in the Garden Team, will be responsible for the maintaining the excellence of horticulture at Oak Spring with the main focus on the formal walled Garden and surrounding areas, including the formal greenhouse. The HA will receive opportunities to expand their experience in pruning, planting, cultivation and harvesting in garden, greenhouse, cut-flower garden settings, as well as the management of weeds and invasive species.

The Horticulture/Landscape Apprentice (“HAL”) position will divide their work time approximately evenly between the duties and responsibilities of the HA position and other duties and responsibilities working as part of the Arboriculture, Conservation and Landscape team, which will include gaining practical experience in a landscape management. In addition to the experience gained in the HA role, the HAL will gain experience in a wide range of landscape tasks, including grassland and biodiversity management, arboriculture and invasive species management, with some consideration given to the specific areas of interest and background of the successful candidate. The HAL, working with the Head Gardener and the Head of the Arboriculture, Conservation and Landscape and others in their teams, will be responsible for the maintaining the excellence of horticulture and landscape management at Oak Spring.

Both the HA and the HAL will have opportunities to interact with staff working in other areas at Oak Spring, including the Garden team, Arboriculture, Conservation and Landscape team, the Biocultural Conservation Farm team, the Communications team, the Library team and the Program Team.

Responsibilities of the HA and HAL roles (divided as appropriate) include:

· Work closely with the Head Gardener and/or the Head of the Arboriculture, Conservation and Landscape to ensure that the formal garden and landscape is maintained to a high standard and in a style that respects the principles established by Rachel “Bunny” Mellon.

· Proper care, treatment and ongoing maintenance of the formal garden, display greenhouse, production greenhouse, and adjacent spaces including watering, planting, weeding, pruning, deadheading, mulching and propagation of cultivated species.

· Assisting with planting, removal and dividing of both annual and perennials, and also the cultivation of vegetables planted in the formal garden.

· Preparing planting beds and evaluating plants for overall health, including identifying and addressing problems with diseases and insect pests.

· Assisting with all aspects of landscape management especially of grasslands but also the development tree planting in the development of the Arboretum.

· Assisting with landscape scale management of invasive species and management activities to support and enhance biodiversity on the landscape.

· Working with Garden and Arboriculture, Conservation and Landscape Teams on on-site composting and recycling of garden organic waste.

· Assisting with the ordering of supplies and materials for the Garden and Arboriculture, Conservation and Landscape Teams.

· Assisting with, and performing, tours of the formal gardens, formal greenhouse, landscape and act as a representative and ambassador of Oak Spring Garden for potential future employees, external guests, and others.

· Liaising with the Biocultural Conservation Farm to ensure that vegetables produced in the formal garden do not go to waste.

· Assisting with propagation of plants and seed collection, and contributing to the development of protocols for these processes.

· Other special projects as assigned by the Head Gardener or Head of the Arboriculture, Conservation and Landscape team.

· Other duties as assigned.


· Relevant coursework or work experience in horticulture and landscape management.

· Ability to meet physical requirements of working outside, in varied weather conditions in a garden space.

· Capacity to operate normal garden machinery.

Skills and Knowledge:

· Basic working knowledge of horticulture and landscape practices including tree pruning, gardens, open space land management and ecological land management.

· Basic working knowledge of current trends and practices in environmentally sustainable horticulture.

· Ability to work with garden and farm equipment.

· Ability to do repetitive tasks.

· Ability to work independently and also as a part of a team.

· Excellent time-management, communication and organizational skills.

· Ability to concentrate on a task for long periods of time without being distracted.

· Dependable and collaborative team player.

· Must have physical stamina to participate in rigorous outdoor activities.

· Ability to exhibit safe and responsible conduct in outdoor environments.

· Ability to lift 30 pounds.

Working Conditions: Position will be mainly outdoors in all types of weather. The HA/HAL must be comfortable in a variety of settings – both indoors and outdoors. This position will also be exposed to a wide variety of temperatures likely including extreme heat and cold.

To be considered for either of these apprenticeships, please send a cover letter and resume to hr@osgf.org with HA/HAL and your name in the subject line.

The Oak Spring Garden Foundation is an equal opportunity employer and values diversity. All employment is decided on the basis of qualifications, merit and business need without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, or any other non-merit factor.