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Director of Horticulture
Category: Manager

Massachusetts Horticultural Society
Wellesley/Dover, Massachusetts

Posted: Thursday, February 6, 2014

Director of Horticulture

Massachusetts Horticultural Society

REPORTS TO: President

LOCATION:  Wellesley/Dover, Massachusetts


Founded in 1829, The Massachusetts Horticultural Society’s mission is to develop the public's enjoyment, appreciation and understanding of plants and the environment.  The Society’s horticulture center and twelve gardens are located on the 36-acre Cheney Estate in Dover, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  The historic and contemporary gardens at Elm Bank demonstrate how plants and design are an integral part of everyday life for people of all ages, abilities, and backgrounds. Gardens connect people to plants and to the environment through sustainable design, interpretation, cultural practices, and pure enjoyment. Mass Hort offers educational programming to engage both adults and children so they may learn about plants and gardening, and contemporary issues such as health, sustainability, and stewardship of our natural world.

Mass Hort has successfully championed many important issues throughout its history, such as the introduction of food plants (Concord Grape, 1853), the garden cemetery movement (Mount Auburn Cemetery, 1831), the school garden movement (1880s), the adornment of Boston’s back alleys by establishing home gardens (1930s), the victory garden movement (1940s), and the garden history movement (1990).

Since 2001, the headquarters of the Massachusetts Horticultural Society has been at Elm Bank, located on the town lines of Wellesley and Dover. The Society is supported by revenues generated by membership (the organization currently has approximately 5,000 members), weddings and functions at our Elm Bank location, and by generous contributions from individuals, corporations and foundations. These funds support the Society’s mission throughout Massachusetts and at the Gardens at Elm Bank. Mass Hort currently receives no government funding.

The Director of Horticulture is responsible for furthering Massachusetts Horticultural Society’s horticultural mission while managing its display Gardens at Elm Bank and its educational programs.  The Director of Horticulture is also responsible for promoting and representing the Society as it relates to gardening, horticultural, landscape design, sustainable and best practices, and to the green industry partners, our members, and the public.

Duties and Responsibilities

  • Advise the President and the Board of Directors on the horticultural mission and prepare and carry out plans for developing The Gardens at Elm Bank as a world class botanic garden.
  • Oversee the Gardens and Grounds of Elm Bank, a Public Garden, including garden planning (day-to-day and long term), garden design and construction, maintenance, and horticultural staff supervision.  Responsible for all aspects of plant culture at Elm Bank.
  • Develop strategic and operational plans for Elm Bank, that will define a vision for the future of horticulture at Elm Bank.
  • Manage the Horticultural Department and staff, garden staff, and consultants. Responsible for program and project management, collaborating with the Finance and Administration departments on budgets, hiring, and personnel management.
  • Integrate and align Horticulture Department programs and efforts with the strategic plan and other Society departments as required.
  • Serve as horticultural spokesperson for the organization, making presentations at conferences, trade shows, garden clubs, schools, and other outreach opportunities, and contributing horticultural content to Leaflet (Mass Hort newsletter).
  • Promote Mass Hort’s endeavors in teaching horticultural to horticultural professionals and home gardeners.
  • Work collegially with Society staff to develop educational and collaborative public programs and publications that further the Society’s mission, and to establish and maintain productive connections with other like-minded organizations.
  • Interact with major stakeholders including other horticulture organizations, donors, trustees, committees, staff, volunteers, media etc. Maintain effective communications among all groups.
  • Participate in the design and preparation of Mass Hort events & education events.

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities

  • The ideal candidate will have an advanced degree― master’s level preferred―with an emphasis on horticulture and landscape design, and a distinct and strong horticultural background.
  • The candidate must have an intimate personal understanding of gardens, garden-making, and garden maintenance, including sustainable practices, as well as an understanding of how a garden ages over time. The ability to assess the horticultural significance of a garden and to articulate the parameters of its greatness and uniqueness is essential.
  • The candidate will have proven nonprofit― preferably public garden― administration experience, and a proven record in organizational and personnel management. Demonstrated experience and success in nonprofit finance, and an understanding of long-term operational business plans for public gardens, is required.
  • The candidate should embrace an entrepreneurial spirit with the ability to improvise, innovate, and attain desired results.
  • The candidate should be outgoing and personable, enjoy working with a range of constituents, and have the ability to quickly gain the favorable attention and trust of others.
  • The candidate will have five+ years experience in senior management at a major horticultural institution, preferably a public garden.
  • Skills to include: computer (MicroSoft Office, BG Base or other plant collection databases), communication, the physical ability for gardening and propriety management tasks, and a valid driver’s license.

Massachusetts Horticultural Society offers a competitive benefits package. Salary commensurate with experience and skills.

The Massachusetts Horticultural Society is an Equal Opportunity Employer

We are committed to providing equal employment opportunities without regard to sex, race, color, religion, national origin, age, disability, sexual orientation, genetic information or veteran status.

To Apply:
Please send cover letter and resume to No phone calls please.

Or mail: Massachusetts Horticultural Society, 900 Washington Street, Wellesley, MA 02482

For more information, please visit:

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