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Director of Horticulture and Garden Operations
Category: Clerical

Descanso Gardens
La Canada Flintridge, CA

Posted: Monday, March 11, 2013


Position: Director of Horticulture and Garden Operations


Status: Exempt


Reports to: Executive Director

Located 20 minutes from downtown Los Angeles, Descanso Gardens is a place of year-round natural beauty, with internationally renowned botanical collections and spectacular seasonal horticultural displays. Accredited by the American Association of Museums as a museum of living collections, Descanso Gardens welcomes 250,000 visitors annually. The principal collections include California native plants and oak woodlands; one of the largest concentration of camellia plants in the Western Hemisphere; a rose garden with specimens from all corners of the globe; and significant presentations of lilacs, maple trees, cherry trees and iris. It has been designated an International Camellia Garden of Excellence by the International Camellia Society. The Gardens are operated by the Descanso Gardens Guild, Inc., a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, in a public-private partnership with Los Angeles County. The annual budget of $4 million is funded by memberships, philanthropic gifts, fees and support from Los Angeles County.

Descanso Gardens is seeking a Director of Horticulture and Garden Operations who will be responsible for the direct management of all operations of the physical gardens—horticulture, collections management, landscape design, infrastructure, and facilities repairs and maintenance. Working collaboratively with the Executive Director, senior management, and the Board of Trustees, the Director of Horticulture and Garden Operations contributes to the planning, improvement, and maintenance of the gardens in order to achieve a beautiful and richly rewarding garden for the public to enjoy, for the ever-growing ranks of members to be proud of, and for philanthropic funders to be confident in supporting.



 Collaborate with the Executive Director and the Board of Trustees to establish the future direction, priorities and implementation strategies for Descanso Gardens.

 Participate as a key member of the senior management team to integrate the physical Gardens with programmatic content and revenue generation.

 Lead, direct, and supervise the day-to-day operations of the horticulture and garden operations department.

 Educate the internal community including staff, Board of Trustees, and volunteers, about the Gardens as well as represent the Gardens to the external community.

 Consistently demonstrate a full commitment to the quality care and presentation of a public garden landscape.

 Establish work objectives for garden operations, conduct team communications, and supervise progress of projects.

 Train and support various safety practices with an emphasis of leading by example.

 Prepare and manage budget for garden operations expenditures.

 Other duties as assigned.



This position requires

 BA or BS in ornamental horticulture, plant science, or landscape architecture, preferred

 a minimum of five to eight years of horticultural experience required

 a minimum of five years in a hands-on supervisory capacity required




 a demonstrated sensitivity to and understanding of aesthetics in a public garden setting

 must have excellent leadership, communication (both verbal and written), interpersonal, organizational, project management, development, technical and analytical skills

 experience working with government agencies, preferred

 ability to operate all tools, vehicles, and equipment required for use by the horticulture department;

 ability to interact with all levels of management and staff;

 good computer skills (MS Office preferred)

 a valid pesticide applicators license

 CA driver's license is required



This position is responsible for the safe operation and maintenance of a full range of manual and power tools; standard manual and gas powered gardening equipment and tools including hedge trimmer, extendable gas-powered tree trimmer, soil tiller, compactor, seated lawn mower, bypass pruner, loper and folding saw; Compost Tea Brewer and applicator; vehicles, computer and two-way radio.

This position also uses basic office equipment such as computer, printer, photocopier, fax machine, and calculator.



This is an outdoor position that requires working in various weather conditions, including working in the sun and, at times, extreme heat. This position requires the ability to carry out daily physical work and to lift and carry up to 50 pounds. This position occasionally requires heavy lifting, but not routinely. It also requires the ability to walk, climb, kneel, bend, stoop, sit, crouch, operate service vehicles, climb ladders, carry and operate standard gardening equipment intermittently throughout the day, and to work in an outdoor environment in various weather conditions for an extended period. Wading in and working with water may also be required.


To apply: Send a cover letter and resume to with DirHGO in the subject. We will accept resumes until the position is filled. No phone calls, please.

Descanso Gardens Guild Inc. acknowledges that equal opportunity for all persons is a fundamental human value. Each employee will be considered on the basis of individual ability and merit, without regard to race, color, age, religion, national origin, disability, sexual orientation, sex, or marital status.

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