Horticulturist- Meadowlark Botanical Gardens

Love Meadowlark just as much as Sue’s identification courses do? Well, then you’re in luck! NOVA Parks is now hiring a full-time Horticulturist for Meadowlark Botanical Gardens!

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Opportunity Announcement 22-02-09
Grade 9
Hiring Salary Range $37,849.79 – $41,530.92

The Horticulturist is responsible for performing skilled gardening and landscape work and is involved with the operation of the greenhouse/ propagation. Work is performed under the general supervision of the Botanical Gardens Manager and/or the Horticultural Specialist, with moderate latitude for independent judgment and action. Annual performance goals will be set for the Horticulturist.

ESSENTIAL FUNCTIONS (w/illustrative examples of work)

Maintain a comprehensive program for the collection of plants and subsequent installation and maintenance of planted areas:

  • Provide daily care for plants and planted areas which may include conducting soil tests, fertilizing, watering, pulling weeds, removing faded and/or dead leaves/flowers, pruning dead limbs/branches, mulching, and edging.
  • Prepare planting areas and gardens which may include mixing soil and other materials, aerating soil, planting flowers, bulbs, shrubs, and trees.
  • Ability to develop and maintain specific plant collections based on color schemes, families, forms, ecology, etc.
  • Identify horticultural needs and problems, and initiate or recommend appropriate action.
  • Identify plants by common and scientific names.
  • Mix, maintain, and apply horticultural chemicals including fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides; prepare and maintain appropriate records.
  • Use and maintain appropriate safety equipment.
  • Use variety of equipment such as mowers, string trimmers, dump trucks, and front-end loaders to perform various landscaping work.
  • Make minor repairs and/or adjustments to equipment.
  • Perform manual labor as required in all weather conditions.
  • Assist in care and maintenance of turf, forested, and other non-landscaped areas.
  • Identify, locate, and purchase plant materials consistent with the master plan and new collection development.
  • Ensure proper maintenance of planted landscaped and garden areas and assist with coordination of maintenance of grounds with Maintenance Supervisor.
  • Monitor and remove invasive plant species as needed or directed.

Assist with Garden-wide Special Events:

  • Work with the staff to help install the seasonal light show.
  • Provide horticultural and staff support for special functions at the Korean Bell Garden.
  • Assist with large public events such as concerts, plant sales, and children’s events.

Supervise staff including seasonal employees and volunteers:

  • Promote high levels of work performance and employee morale.
  • Analyze and assist in the resolution of seasonal employee work issues.
  • Determine workload, assign priorities, schedule employees, and allocate resources for part-time/seasonal Garden Specialist staff and volunteers.
  • Instruct and train employees in proper landscape and gardening procedures consistent with botanical garden standards.
  • Inspect completed work for conformance to standards.
  • Enforce safety standards with all employees and the visiting public.

Perform administrative duties:

  • Maintain records of plant growth, chemical use, work schedules, weather conditions, and related topics.
  • Interview and hire applicants for part-time employment with the Botanical Gardens Manager and Horticultural Specialist.
  • Recruit, train, and supervise volunteers for your specific areas of responsibility.
  • Assist with ordering supplies and tools.

Assist with management of facility operations and maintenance:

  • Recommend staffing, maintenance, and development items for the budget.
  • Assist in the implementation of the operating budget.
  • Monitor operation to ensure customer satisfaction.
  • Inspect facilities for adherence to NOVA Parks standards.
  • Operate facilities and fill in at all positions as needed.
  • Apply and interpret safety standards to ensure compliance.
  • Ensure security of park facilities and assets.
  • Identify maintenance problems and hazards.
  • Operate various pieces of maintenance equipment as needed and perform related work including manual labor.

Maintain and provide technical knowledge:

  • Provide information to the public on plant materials, horticultural practices, plant conservation, and landscape topics.
  • Keep abreast of horticulture and public garden standards and changes.
  • Advise park management personnel on horticultural problems.
  • Conduct regular educational and interpretive programs in cooperation with the Recreation Program Manager.
  • Implement curricula and guidelines for interpretive tours, programs, classes, exhibits, and demonstrations.
  • Provide information as requested by the public on such subjects as plants, gardening, herbicides, and pesticides.


Education: Graduation from an accredited degree program with a four-year degree preferred (two-year Associate degree required) in Horticulture, Botany, or closely related field.

Physical: Non-manual and manual work with strength and dexterity necessary to perform all required tasks, including lifting, stooping, bending, and working in tiring and uncomfortable positions in outdoor settings; will perform heavy manual work in all weather conditions, lift items at or greater than 80 pounds, climb ladders, use hand tools and operate the equipment.

Experience: Three years of experience in horticulture or public garden setting, or any equivalent combination of education, training, or experience which provides:

  • Considerable knowledge of plant materials with the ability to identify and properly utilize.
  • Knowledge and experience in the supervision of seasonal employees.
  • Knowledge of materials and equipment used in horticulture and landscape maintenance.
  • Knowledge of computers with the ability to use a variety of software.
  • Considerable ability to communicate clearly and effectively with the ability to prepare and present accurate reports.
  • Ability to maintain knowledge of current trends and developments in landscape architecture, horticulture, and public garden management.
  • Ability to identify and isolate problems or needs, and initiate appropriate solutions.
  • Ability to read and understand landscape plans and other technical documents.
  • Considerable knowledge of potential hazards and safety precautions involved.
  • Ability to operate landscape equipment and make minor repairs and adjustments.
  • Ability to perform manual labor in unusual weather conditions.
  • Ability to prepare and maintain accurate records and reports.
  • Ability to interpret and explain NOVA Parks’ policies, rules, and procedures.
  • Ability to deal effectively with the general public, private vendors, and other employees.
  • Possession of or ability to obtain special licenses as required; must obtain a Virginia pesticide certification within six months.
  • Possession of or ability to obtain a driver’s license; must maintain a license with safe driving record.
  • Availability for call in emergency situations, and to work shifts and weekends.
  • Certification or ability to obtain certification in CPR/first aid, and other licenses/permits as required.
  • Regular and predictable attendance is an essential function of the position.

Duties and responsibilities are designed to be the essential elements of the job. They do not preclude the performance of related, or even unrelated, jobs which may be necessary to properly and efficiently complete all work assignments. NOVA Parks reserves the right to amend job specifications to meet current needs.

Benefits:  This position is a benefit-eligible position.  Benefits include medical and dental insurance, life insurance, long-term disability, retirement plan, and more.

Testing:  The Horticulturist position is classified as a safety-sensitive position.  Candidates for full-time, safety-sensitive positions must submit to a pre-employment drug screening and achieve a negative result as a condition of employment.

It is the policy of NOVA Parks to prohibit discrimination on the basis of race, sex, color, national origin, religion, age, veteran status, political affiliation, genetics, or disability in the recruitment, selection, and hiring of its workforce.

Reasonable accommodations are available to persons with disabilities during application and/or interview processes per the Americans with Disabilities Act. Contact 703-352-5900 for assistance.

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