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Director of Horticulture
Category: Manager

Reeves-Reed Arboretum
Summit, New Jersey

Posted: Monday, June 24, 2013

Director of Horticulture

Reeves-Reed Arboretum is the only public garden and one of the largest green spaces in the City of Summit.  It is a non-profit conservancy dedicated to preserving a 13.5-acre historic estate and gardens and to promoting environmental and horticultural education for children and adults.  The Arboretum is listed on both the National and New Jersey Historic Registers and receives approximately 60,000 visitors each year.


The Director of Horticulture is a hands-on position requiring a strong combination of horticultural expertise and administrative skills.  With a small staff, this position requires that the Director works side-by-side in the gardens with other horticulture staff and volunteers.  The Director is responsible for the implementation of institution-wide horticultural goals and objectives, established in collaboration with the Executive Director and the Buildings and Grounds Committee of the Board of Trustees.

SPECIFIC DUTIES include but are not limited to:

  1. Horticulture / Grounds Management
    1. Oversee maintenance, improvement, and repair of the grounds, historic gardens, propagation facilities, workspaces, and equipment.
    2. Perform horticultural maintenance tasks such as planting, pruning, weeding, mulching, edging, and watering.
    3. Oversee and perform winter snow and ice removal.
    4. Liaise with Facilities Manager to make facilities-related improvements on the grounds and to ensure that emergent problems are addressed promptly and safely.
    5. Design annual and perennial garden displays, and select woody plants for addition to RRA’s collection.
    6. Bid out and secure annual contracts for lawn and leaf maintenance, tree pruning, plant health care, irrigation maintenance, and other services as necessary.  Serve as the main organizational point of contact for grounds contractors, and supervise all contract work on the grounds.
    7. Work with staff, board, contracted professionals, and others, to plan for and implement capital projects related to RRA grounds and gardens (ex. disaster response and recovery, landscape improvement and renovation, grounds master planning).
  1. Personnel Management / Recruitment
    1. Recruit, oversee, and set work priorities for Lead Horticulturist, seasonal gardeners, volunteers, and interns.
    2. Develop individual and group volunteer opportunities, in collaboration with RRA’s Lead Horticulturist, Director of Education, and Environmental Educator.  Create a positive work environment where Grounds employees, interns, and volunteers feel supported and valued.
  1. Administrative / Operational Support
    1. Develop annual Grounds budget and track all related expenses.
    2. Set departmental priorities on both a day-to-day and mid-term basis.
    3. Assist Director of Development in preparing funding proposals for horticultural projects.
    4. Represent RRA in meetings and interactions with current and potential donors, partners, and other stakeholders.  This is of particular importance in collaborating with the City of Summit, a major partner of RRA.
    5. Assist in the planning and execution of RRA special events.
  1. Collections Management / Curation
    1. Maintain collections information in BG-Base, RRA’s electronic plant collections data platform.  Accession and catalog incoming woody plant material, update accession records, work with BG-Base staff to maintain and troubleshoot software.
    2. Generate accession and display labels for plant specimens in RRA collection.
    3. Ensure that plant acquisitions align with organizational mission, educational priorities, and aesthetic goals.
  1. Adult Education
    1. Develop annual Adult Education budget and track all related expenses.
    2. Plan adult workshops and courses (approx 6-8/ per yr).
    3. Teach adult courses (courses not taught by Director of Horticulture are assigned to Lead Horticulturist).
    4. Lead group tours of the Arboretum on an as-requested basis.


  • Minimum of BS/BA from an accredited institution required (advanced degree preferred) with a focus in Horticulture, Plant Science, Landscape Architecture, Natural Resources Management, Forestry, or other related field.
  • Minimum of 4 years experience working in a public garden.
  • New Jersey Pesticide Operator’s License, or ability to acquire same within 6 months of hire.
  • Excellent communication skills (writing and public speaking). Experience with social media a plus.
  • Ability to take initiative and set priorities.
  • Must be able to safely operate tools, vehicles, and specialized equipment.
  • The Director of Horticulture must be willing and able to perform duties of other divisions as directed, and be available for “stand-by” work on a predetermined basis or in response to emergency.
  • The Director of Horticulture will arrange with the Lead Horticulturist to alternatively cover weekend schedules.


  • Salary is commensurate with experience and in line with the Arboretum’s operating budget. 
  • Benefit package includes: employee health insurance; 3 week paid vacation; 12 paid holidays (per City of Summit schedule); 2 paid personal days; 5 paid sick days.

To apply, please send resume and cover letter to:

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