American Horticulture Society (AHS)

Horticulturist, River Farm


  • HORTICULTURIST is responsible for performing skilled gardening and landscape work and is involved with the operation of the River Farm. Work is performed under the general supervision of the AHS Director, with moderate latitude for independent judgment and action. AHS is committed to Ecological Gardening and these principles must dictate how we work with soil, water, products, compost, and plants. Annual performance goals will be set for the position.

ESSENTIAL FUNCTIONS (w/illustrative examples of work)

Maintain comprehensive program for the collection of plants and subsequent installation and maintenance of planted areas:

  • provide daily care for plants and planted areas which may include conducting soil tests, fertilizing, watering, pulling weeds, removing faded and/or dead leaves/flowers, pruning dead limbs/branches, mulching and edging
  • prepare planting areas and gardens which may include mixing soil and other materials, aerating soil, planting flowers, bulbs, shrubs and trees
  • ability to develop and maintain specific plant collections based on color schemes, families, forms, ecology etc.
  • identify horticultural needs and problems and initiate or recommend appropriate action
  • identify plants by common and scientific names
  • mix, maintain, and apply horticultural products, including compost, organic fertilizers, non-toxic/organic pesticides and herbicides
  • use and maintain appropriate safety equipment
  • use variety of equipment such as mowers, gator, pickup truck, string trimmers, dump trucks, chainsaws, front-end loaders to perform various landscaping work
  • minor Repairs and/or adjustments to equipment
  • perform manual labor as required in all weather conditions
  • assist in care and maintenance of turf, forested, waterfront and other non-landscaped areas
  • identify, locate and purchase plant materials consistent with the master plan and new collection development
  • ensure proper maintenance of planted landscaped and garden areas and assist with coordination of maintenance of grounds with AHS Director
  • monitor and remove invasive plant species as needed or directed

Assist with AHS Special Events:

  • monitor event impact on collections and landscape, provide rapid remediation as needed
  • assist with large public events such as Garden Market, plant sales, annual galas, themed events etc.

Supervise staff including seasonal employees and volunteers:

  • promote high levels of work performance and employee morale
  • analyze and assist in the resolution of employee work problems
  • determine workload, assign priorities, schedule employees and allocate resources for part-time/seasonal volunteers
  • instruct and train employees in proper landscape and gardening procedures consistent with AHS standards
  • inspect completed work for conformance to standards
  • enforce safety standards

Perform administrative duties:

  • maintain records of plant growth, chemical use, work schedules, weather conditions, and related topics
  • maintain attendance records, for volunteers
  • interview and hire applicants for part-time employment
  • recruit, train, and supervise volunteers
  • assist with ordering supplies and tools
  • assist with the preparation of the annual budget

Assist with management of facility operations and maintenance:

  • recommend staffing, maintenance, and development items for the budget
  • assist in the implementation of the operating budget for horticulture-related items
  • monitor operation to ensure customer satisfaction
  • operate facilities and fill in at all positions as needed ensure security of River Farm facilities and assets
  • identify maintenance problems and hazards
  • identify maintenance problems and hazards, repair if possible, if necessary hire and oversee contractor for repairs

Maintain and provide technical knowledge:

  • provide information to the public on plant materials, horticultural practices, plant conservation and landscape topics
  • keep abreast of horticulture and public garden standards and changes
  • advise AHS staff on horticultural problems
  • conceive and conduct regular educational and interpretive programs
  • implement curricula and guidelines for interpretive tours, programs, classes, exhibits, and demonstrations
  • provide information as requested by the public on such subjects as plants and gardening


Education:  Graduation from an accredited degree program with a four-year degree preferred (two-year Associate degree required) in Horticulture, Botany or closely related field.

Physical: Non-manual and manual work with strength and dexterity necessary to perform all required tasks, including lifting, stooping, bending, mulching and working in tiring and uncomfortable positions in outdoor settings; will perform heavy manual work routinely in all weather conditions, lift items at or greater than 80 pounds, climb ladders, use hand tools and operate equipment.

Experience: Three years of extensive experience in horticulture or public garden setting, or any equivalent combination of education, training, or experience which provides:

  • Considerable knowledge of plant materials with the ability to identify and properly utilize
  • Knowledge and experience in the supervision of other employees
  • Knowledge of materials and equipment used in horticulture and landscape maintenance
  • Knowledge of computers with the ability to use a variety of software
  • Considerable ability to communicate clearly and effectively with the ability to prepare and present accurate reports
  • Ability to maintain knowledge of current trends and developments in landscape architecture, horticulture, and public garden/historic house management
  • Ability to read and understand landscape plans and other technical documents
  • Considerable knowledge of potential hazards and safety precautions involved
  • Ability to operate landscape equipment and make minor repairs and adjustments
  • Ability to perform manual labor in unusual weather conditions
  • Ability to prepare and maintain accurate records and reports
  • Ability to interpret and explain AHS policies, rules, and procedures
  • Ability to deal effectively with the general public, private vendors, and other employees
  • Possession of or ability to obtain special licenses as required; must obtain a Virginia pesticide
  • Possession of or ability to obtain a driver’s license; must maintain a license with safe driving record
  • Availability for call in emergency situations, and to work occasional evening and weekends shifts

Duties and responsibilities are designed to be the essential elements of the job. They do not preclude the performance of related, or even unrelated, jobs which may be necessary to properly and efficiently complete all work assignments. AHS reserves the right to amend job specifications to meet emergent needs.

Please send your resume to AHS: Attention Horticulturist