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Director of Horticulture
Category: Horticulture

Friends of the High Line
New York, NY

Posted: Tuesday, November 27, 2012



Director of Horticulture

Founded in 1999, Friends of the High Line (FHL) is the non-profit organization responsible for the creation of the public space on the High Line. Following the successful opening of the High Line’s first section in 2009, and its second section in 2011, FHL is now responsible for raising 90 percent of the High Line’s annual operating budget, as well as overseeing the High Line’s maintenance, operation, and public programming, pursuant to a license agreement with the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation. With nearly 4M visitors anticipated in the current year, FHL works to maintain and operate the High Line at the highest levels of excellence, commensurate with its world-class design.

Job Description

The Director of Horticulture will play a leading role within FHL’s Park Operations & Horticulture team. Under the supervision of FHL’s Vice President of Horticulture & Park Operations, the Director of Horticulture will be responsible for all aspects of management and long-term care of the High Line’s unique landscape.

Primary Tasks

• Act as a leading member of the High Line’s Horticulture Department, taking responsibility for long-term planning, as well as daily oversight of the High Line’s unique landscape and gardens

• Evaluate, build, and codify a cohesive landscape management plan that ensures consistency in best practices and management techniques along 1.5 miles of internationally renowned, highly-visited public greenspace, while working closely with the design team of James Corner Field Operations and Piet Oudolf to implement and reinforce the early design principles that have informed the High Line plantings

• Participate in FHL’s donor identification, cultivation, and stewardship efforts related to High Line horticulture; identify new opportunities for donor engagement around horticultural and operational initiatives

• Represent FHL to the High Line Design Team, helping to develop and implement a planting plan for the High Line’s third and final section at the Rail Yards, as well as necessary modifications to the existing plantings of Sections 1 and 2

• Help organize and lead a new High Line Horticulture committee comprised of members of the Board of Directors and High Line donors

• Actively promote and contribute to the High Line’s sustainability initiatives in landscape and park management

• Assess existing landscape challenges and work with horticulture staff, designers, and consultants to formulate appropriate responses and implement changes as necessary

• Create immediate and long-term departmental goals; communicate updates and plans through the appropriate channels to park visitors, the public, High Line donors, Board members, Department of Parks & Recreation, and audiences both locally and abroad

• Provide expertise and vision for a staff of eight full-time gardeners, as well as several seasonal gardeners and horticulture interns;

• Work directly with the Manager of Horticulture to oversee the day-to-day operations of the horticulture team

• Lead weekly meetings with the horticulture staff and articulate departmental priorities on a daily/weekly basis; ensure that work plans are designed and executed in conjunction with such priorities

• Provide direction related to individual and group projects, with attention to long term planning and problem solving


• Ensure the optimal staffing of the horticulture team, recruiting, hiring, and training to build out the department and ensure that gardeners receive ongoing instruction and evaluation, while continually expanding their diverse skill sets

• Communicate regularly with Vice President of Horticulture & Park Operations on the status of projects, providing information and feedback on all areas of High Line horticulture

• Act as part of High Line operations management team, participating in weekly team meetings, responding to emergency situations on the High Line (including, but not limited to, snow removal), and ensuring a positive visitor experience

• Draft RFPs for third party vendors as needed; review proposals, engage, and coordinate activities of third party vendors

• Evaluate existing plant records and create a long term plan for translating pertinent information to FHL’s online resources and print material

• Work with the Vice President of Horticulture & Park Operations, gardeners, and program staff to develop, organize, and implement horticulture programs, publications and tours

• Participate in a range of activities beyond the typical work day, including High Line events and programs, fundraising initiatives, tours, and stewardship and cultivation activities as needed


• Six+ years of horticultural experience with in-depth knowledge of plant culture, maintenance, and identification

• Successful track record managing a public or private garden and its staff

• Ability to engage with a wide variety of stakeholders, including high level donors, city partners, High Line Design Team, High Line Development Team, and Horticulture committee members

• Excellent staff management skills

• Advanced degree in Horticulture and in-depth knowledge of landscape care and maintenance is preferred

• Ability to represent the High Line externally by leading tours and giving presentations for a variety of audiences

• Ability to work long hours, holidays, and weekends as necessary

• Valid NY state driver’s license

• Pesticide Applicator’s license preferred

• Solid computer skills required (Microsoft Word/Excel/Outlook)

• Ability to operate electric equipment, power tools

• Team-player, willing to collaborate on all tasks required for maintaining the highest standards of landscape management and operations, programs, development, and communications

To Apply

Please submit your cover letter, resume, and salary requirements to Only those whose applications are being considered will be contacted. No phone calls please.

Friends of the High Line is an equal opportunity employer and considers applicants for all positions without regard to race, color, religion, creed, gender, national origin, age, disability, marital or veteran status, sexual orientation, or any other legally protected status.

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