Director of Horticulture, Berkshire Botanical Garden

Summary

Berkshire Botanical Garden’s next Director of Horticulture will oversee the continuing growth and transformation of one of the oldest public gardens in New England through the implementation of a multi-year Master Site Plan, in conjunction with the Garden’s long-term strategic planning. S/he will lead a team of (currently) five horticultural professionals and five summer interns responsible for the design, care, and maintenance of 20 acres of cultivated and natural land in a premier New England tourist and visitor area of tremendous beauty. The Director will collaborate with other senior BBG staff, including the Director of Education, Director of Marketing Communications, and Buildings and Grounds Manager, on strategic decisions as well as day-to-day operations. S/he will report directly to the Executive Director. This position will become available in March, 2020.

About Berkshire Botanical Garden

Berkshire Botanical Garden was founded in 1934 as a local community resource, and to this day we pride ourselves on informing, educating, and inspiring residents and visitors alike about the “art and science of gardening and the preservation of our local environment”. Our focus has always been one of education, and today BBG offers year-round adult and youth education and programming both on site and in the greater region. BBG currently encompasses more than 20 acres of land acquired over time, including woodland areas, meadows, and cultivated areas showcasing native and non-native annuals, perennials, bulbs, shrubs, and trees that thrive in our sometimes-challenging growing environment. BBG features more than two dozen different garden areas, including fruit and vegetable production gardens, mixed borders, a pond garden, rose garden, cottage garden, and a unique collection of mature topiary, to name a few. The Horticulture team also oversees three greenhouses (a historic glass conservatory housing a succulent and tropical plant collection, a polycarbonate production greenhouse, and a passively-heated solar greenhouse). BBG seeks to lead by example in protecting ecological resources, and
limits the use of harmful chemicals while encouraging IPM principles.

Our paid visitor season from May to mid-October draws more than 16,000 local residents and tourists annually, with another 15,000 participating in education and special events throughout the year. The Garden is supported by a large and growing group of more than 1,200 members and several hundred active volunteers, many participating in hands-on horticultural work under the supervision of the horticulture staff.

Over the last several years, BBG has created new garden areas on a regular basis, most recently adding a modern Entry Garden and a large collection of topiary sculpture called Lucy’s Garden. In 2017, an 18th-century building, the Center House, reopened to the public after a three-year planning and construction period and a successful capital campaign. The building now offers new programming spaces including an art gallery, a horticulture and garden-design library, and a teaching kitchen with adjoining classroom. The Horticulture, Education, and Special Events staff members all share an open-plan office space inside this building.

In 2019, BBG was successful in purchasing an adjoining five-acre parcel of land, and has since begun developing a comprehensive Master Site Plan with the help of a design team from renowned landscape architects Nelson Byrd Woltz. The Master Site Plan, to be finalized in early 2020, will be implemented in stages in the coming years, and will significantly improve and transform the existing layout and land uses at BBG, with the goal of providing an even-more-exciting and beautiful garden experience to our many thousand annual visitors and learners.

Duties & Responsibilities

  • Oversee all horticultural activities and projects at BBG: hire, train and supervise full-year and seasonal gardeners, interns, and volunteers to effectively maintain BBG’s cultivated gardens, natural areas, greenhouses, planted containers, and water features to the highest aesthetic and cultural standards; devise work schedules to ensure adequate attention is paid to all garden areas, from annual planting designs, to seasonal planting, and ongoing plant care; foster teamwork and mentor other staff members; oversee outside/outsourced contractors as needed.
  • Manage BBG’s living collections through an effective plant record-keeping system that will allow both staff and visitors to access useful information and increase the value of horticultural information at BBG.
  • Plan and oversee ongoing plant sales throughout the season, while implementing cost-effective ways to propagate and purchase plants for use at BBG.
  • Provide leadership in BBG’s ongoing efforts to improve and expand its horticultural offerings through implementation of the Master Site Plan and with the guidance of the current Strategic Plan.
  • Collaborate with other senior management on finding creative and effective ways to inspire and educate our visitors. This will involve some teaching as part of BBG’s adult and youth education programs and participation in BBG’s frequent garden travel programs.
  • Establish and cultivate professional connections in the public garden and broader horticulture communities, to ensure BBG identifies relevant and exciting speakers for its programs, interesting and important plants for its collections, and up-to-date information for its visitors.
  • Plan and oversee the annual Horticulture departmental budget and any capital project budgets with the Executive Director; report on the department’s activities to the Horticulture Advisory Committee as well as the BBG Board of Trustees.
  • Help to cultivate BBG’s members, volunteers, and donors through numerous year-round community-building outreach programs and special events.

Qualifications & Skills

  • Bachelor and/or Master’s degree in horticulture, botany, biology, plant science, landscape design, or garden management, or a related relevant area of study.
  • A minimum of five years of experience in a management/supervisory role at a public or private garden.
  • A minimum of seven years of experience in horticulture or landscape maintenance.
  • Prior experience implementing new garden designs or garden master plans helpful.
  • Good interpersonal and communication skills, and enthusiasm in sharing horticultural knowledge both one-on-one and through public speaking, are all essential for the position.
  • Knowledge of Integrated Pest Management, and ability to obtain/maintain necessary pesticide applicator license.
  • Must be comfortable with technology tools, including working in Mac or PC computer environments, and using Microsoft and Google programs and applications. An ability to efficiently collaborate with other staff via electronic means is essential.
  • Familiarity with plant records databases (IrisBG or similar) presumed.
  • Working knowledge of CRM platforms (Salesforce or similar) preferred.
  • Must be able to lift heavy loads and work outdoors in challenging weather conditions.
  • Must be able to safely handle power equipment and hand tools.
  • A valid driver’s license is required. Occasional overnight travel may be required.

The Director of Horticulture is a full-time, full-year, exempt, salaried position. BBG offers competitive benefits including paid health insurance and generous paid time off.

Berkshire Botanical Garden is an Equal Opportunity Employer and does not discriminate on the basis of race, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, religion, national origin, disability, age, veteran status, or any other protected status under federal, state, or local laws.

To explore joining our dedicated team of Garden professionals in this exciting leadership role, please submit a cover letter and resume together with three professional references, via email, to: Michael Beck, Executive Director, at: mbeck@berkshirebotanical.org. Qualified candidates will be contacted for telephone and in-person interviews.

2019-0219

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2019-11-07T11:36:10-05:00November 7th, 2019|Categories: Careers, Food/Agriculture, Senior-Level|