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The North Carolina Arboretum-Horticultural Specialist/Gardener-Wed, 02/06/2019 - 11:00am

Horticultural Specialist/Gardener


The North Carolina Arboretum
100 Frederick Law Olmsted Way Asheville
Asheville , NC 28806

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Job Description 

***You must apply for this position online at

The North Carolina Arboretum is currently seeking a full-time Horticultural Specialist/Gardner.

Nestled in the Southern Appalachian Mountains just south of Asheville, The North Carolina Arboretum offers acres of cultivated gardens and groomed trails featuring some of the most beautiful, botanically-diverse plants in the region.

The primary purpose of this position consists of the installation and maintenance of intensely planted horticultural demonstration areas through the 424+ acres of The North Carolina Arboretum property.

Reporting to the Garden Crew Leader, this position is responsible for the many duties required for maintaining the beauty and health and developing the educational aspect of the Arboretum’s landscapes. The Gardner is responsible for the maintenance of and the safety within a specific, Arboretum’s educational core garden areas. Within these garden areas, this position will be responsible for its care and continued development. Garden maintenance including preserving the beauty, health and safety of the gardens will be paramount as will integrated pest management, education and plant records. The goal of this position is to not only maintain a healthy and beautiful garden display, but also to develop and interpret the garden in such a way as to provide an educational opportunity for the visiting public.

The salary for this role will be $31,200,. A full job description and and application information is available at

Duties & Responsibilities 

Specific responsibilities will include

Garden Maintenance & Plant Health Care:

The North Carolina Arboretum gardens are home to one of the most valuable and educational plant collections in the state. Expertise in a wide range of horticultural techniques is required to insure the health and vigor of this outstanding collection. Proper installation of all new herbaceous and woody plant material is essential to the survival of species in the collection. This position is expected to be well versed in the most current standards for this pursuit. Several tasks follow planting to insure the survival of specimens adding to the collection. These tasks are as follows: choosing the correct mulch and applying it in the proper fashion, irrigating the collection and monitoring soil moisture, pruning both woody and herbaceous plants to insure optimum health, growth and safety and applying fertilizer at the appropriate rate to promote optimum performance. An extensive knowledge of a wide range of plants is required to address the needs of each distinct species. The control of invasive weeds and vines is also essential to the health of the collection. This position also addresses soil issues related to plant health care as follows: tilling, incorporating amendments, both organic and non-organic, adding nutrients, increasing drainage and stabilizing top soil.

General Maintenance:

Tasks performed on a set schedule to maintain the beauty and safety of the Arboretum are the responsibility of this position. A daily cleaning routine must be performed to remove unsightly debris and litter, trash cans and ash trays must be changed and kept tidy. All walkways must be kept clear of debris and in good order, including sand paths that are raked regularly. The gardens will be checked on a daily basis to insure the safety of our guests. All hardscape must be kept in good order including seating, containers, benches, trellises, gates, fences, arbors, stone work and sculpture. Birdhouses and feeders are to be monitored on a weekly basis. Snow removal, leaf removal, and storm damage clean up are also within the realm of garden maintenance.

Integrated Pest Management:
This position is entrusted with the task of protecting all plant material within the assigned garden from the damaging effects of pest and disease. The gardener will practice Integrated Pest Management as a means to control these pathogens. The plants housed in the assigned garden will be monitored on a set schedule in order to detect early signs of damage. This position must be capable of recognizing and interpreting damage symptoms and is expected to report their findings to the Garden Crew Leader. The most environmentally responsible treatment will then be applied by this position. The gardener is expected to keep up to date records, identifying key plants and key plant pest within the Assigned garden and treatments that are applied.


The significant increase in visitation in the recent years has dramatically increased the interaction of this gardening position with the general public. Increased contact with the public leads to an increased need for each Gardener to provide interpretation of the many and varied collections housed in the NC Arboretum Landscape Demonstrations. This position is also required to participate in educational programs within and outside of their specific area of responsibility, to include assistance with guided garden tours, symposiums, and other events as needed. The gardener also has contact with and provides horticultural information to the visiting public on a daily basis. Positive public relations require this position to be able to communicate effectively on a variety of levels.

In addition, the gardener will be asked to provide leadership, training and support to our valuable corps of volunteers, seasonal staff and horticulture interns who are vital to the success of our mission.

Plant Records:

The gardener is key in the active management of TNCA’s plant records data base. All plant material accessioned and de-accessioned from our collections must be recorded in the field and then entered into the data base (BG Base). These records must be kept diligently and this information must be relayed promptly to insure that material is well interpreted to the visiting public. As plants are either added to or removed from the landscape, appropriate steps for correct labeling will follow. Information is then provided for production of the labels. The Gardner is responsible for the proper installation of said labeling.

Education and Experience 

Graduation from a two-year technical college with a degree in horticulture, landscape, gardening or closely related field and one year in landscape maintenance; Or, graduation from high school and three years in horticultural work, or an equivalent combination of training and experience. Graduation from a four-year horticultural program will be considered as a substitute for the experience requirements.

The successful applicant will display significant knowledge of gardening and grounds-keeping principles, of the operation of grounds equipment, and of simple horticultural practices such as cultivation, spraying, deadheading, pruning, watering and fertilization of a wide variety of herbaceous and woody plants; and will demonstrate the ability to communicate effectively.

Additional preferred qualifications include: demonstrated knowledge of regional plant material, public garden experience, holding a public pesticide applicator’s license, and/or ability and experience in heavy landscape construction.

Application Instructions 
Full Name 
Amy Owenby