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Category: Horticulture

Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden
Des Moines, IA

Posted: Friday, October 5, 2012


The Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden, a nearly 14-acre urban garden along the Des Moines River, is preparing for a notable transformation. The Garden first opened in 1979 as the Des Moines Botanical Center, part of the Des Moines Parks & Recreation Department, with its iconic Geodesic domed conservatory. Starting in 2013 the Garden will be transformed through the 501(c)3’s leadership and fundraising with a $11.6 investment in the first phase of the garden’s master plan.

The master plan designed by Doug Hoerr of Hoerr Schaudt Landscape Architects in Chicago includes a water garden, shade tree allee, and a variety of specialty gardens. This position provides a unique opportunity to be to be part of a dynamic team during an exciting point in the garden’s history.


Horticulturist Job Description


Reports to:             Horticulture Manager

Function:               Responsible for year-round propagating, grooming and maintenance of the plants and gardens at the Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden

Status:                   Non-Exempt

Schedule:               Full-time, with mandatory weekend and holiday rotation and occasional evening hours


Primary Responsibilities

To perform this job successfully, an individual must be able to perform each essential duty satisfactorily.


The Horticulturist’s primary functions include:


·         Prepares the garden for daily visitors as well as special events, ensuring that the garden and surrounding are well maintained, that the plants and collections are healthy, and that the garden is safe and attractive for the public

·         Performs and supports horticultural practices that encourage overall plant health and soil nutrition, to include sustainable gardening and integrated pest management practices

·         Assists with the fulfillment of the Garden’s plant collection and plant records policies

·         Leads horticultural tours and assist with educational programming and special events, as needed

·         Maintains horticultural tools and equipment

·         Maintains records of work, garden maintenance, and plant health as required

·         Supervises horticultural volunteers, seasonal employees, and interns in horticultural tasks

·         Serves as part of the snow and ice management team during the winter months

·         Serves as a liaison to one of our partner horticulture groups such as the Bonsai Society, Master Gardeners, Orchid Group, Herb Study, or other groups

·         Collaborates with the Horticultural team on any and all tasks required for maintaining the highest standards of landscape management and horticultural operations

·         Working in the gardens and growing ranges of the Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden to establish and maintain plants for display and the collections.


The Horticulturist will be assigned to specific focus and duties, or a rotation by the Horticulture Manager. Additional job duties could include:


·         Leading the horticultural functions for the conservatory, show house and greenhouses

·         Managing container plantings, annual display beds, and specialty gardens

·         Greenhouse scheduling/ coordination, including the greenhouse system maintenance

·         Lawn and turf maintenance and overall tree care

·         Managing the entry and river front gardens

·         Managing the irrigation, fountain and pond systems

·         Coordinating the plant health and pest management program



The requirements listed below are representative of the knowledge, skill, and/or ability required for this position.


Education and Experience

·         High School Diploma or equivalent required

·         Associates or bachelors degree in horticulture, botany, natural science or related field of study is highly preferred

·         Minimum of 2-3 years of hands-on experience in a public garden or conservatory, with in-depth knowledge of plant culture, maintenance, and identification


Licenses and Certifications

·         Must have a State of Iowa Pesticide Applicators License for turf, ornamentals, greenhouse and aquatic pest management (or obtain within 3 months)

·         Must possess a valid State of Iowa Driver’s License (or obtain within 1 month)

·         Maintains insurability under the company auto liability policy


Language Skills

·         Ability to read and interpret documents such as safety rules, operating and maintenance instructions, and procedure manuals written in the English language. 

·         Ability to write routine reports and correspondence.

·         Ability to effectively present information in one-on-one and small group situations to customers, clients, and other employees of the organization.


Mathematical Skills

·         Ability to add, subtract, multiply, and divide in all units of measure, using whole numbers, common fractions, and decimals.

·          Ability to perform these operations using units of American money and weight measurement, volume, and distance.


Cognitive and Reasoning Ability


·         Ability to apply common sense understanding to carry out instructions furnished in written, oral, or diagram form. 

·         Ability to deal with problems involving several concrete variables in standardized situations.


Physical Demands

The physical demands described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.


While performing the duties of this Job, the employee is regularly required to stand; use hands to finger, handle, or feel and reach with hands and arms. The employee is frequently required to walk; sit and stoop, kneel, crouch, or crawl. The employee is occasionally required to climb or balance; talk or hear and taste or smell. The employee must frequently lift and/or move up to 25 pounds and occasionally lift and/or move up to 50 pounds.  Specific vision abilities required by this job include color vision and depth perception.


Work Environment

The work environment characteristics described here are representative of those an employee encounters while performing the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.


While performing the duties of this Job, the employee is regularly exposed to wet and/or humid conditions. The employee is frequently exposed to outside weather conditions throughout the year.  The noise level in the work environment is usually moderate.



To apply for the position

Qualified candidates should submit a cover letter and resume to

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