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Job Description for Director of Horticulture, Peckerwood Garden

Peckerwood Garden Conservation Foundation

Director of Horticulture

About the Garden

Peckerwood Garden, the creation of John Fairey, located in Hempstead, Texas, forty miles northwest of Houston, is an outstanding repository of rare and unusual plants from the United States, Mexico, and Asia. Balancing artistic expression and scientific discovery, it fosters educational and scientific programs, and encourages greater knowledge and appreciation of horticulture.

The Peckerwood Garden Conservation Foundation (PGCF) was established to preserve existing collections; support continued plant exploration and trials; and develop, maintain and preserve the land and facilities of Peckerwood Garden. Peckerwood is poised to operate as a public garden owned and managed by the Peckerwood Garden Conservation Foundation and is a preservation partner with the Garden Conservancy. The garden and the adjoining former nursery property encompass 40 acres.

Position Title

Director of Horticulture, Peckerwood Garden Conservation Foundation, Inc. (PGCF)

Position Objectives

The Director of Horticulture will work to maintain and preserve the vision and qualities that make Peckerwood Garden unique, will help to implement the Foundation’s vision and program plan, and will be a key player in the Foundation’s efforts to develop Peckerwood as a public garden, incorporating the grounds and facilities of the adjoining former nursery property and developing them in accordance with a newly-created conceptual master plan.

This is a full-time position, reporting to the acting Executive Director of the Foundation, and ultimately the Executive Director, to oversee management of the garden and its public programs.

The Director of Horticulture will collaborate closely with the garden creator, John G. Fairey, to continue the management and development of the garden in harmony with Mr. Fairey’s aesthetic vision.

Duties & Responsibilities

The Director of Horticulture’s primary responsibilities will include the following:

Recruit, manage, and work with employees on the daily maintenance of Peckerwood garden, following maintenance practices established by John G. Fairey and upholding Mr. Fairey’s standards of excellence. Especially during the first year at Peckerwood, the Director of Horticulture will be expected to spend time participating in the work of maintaining the garden. He/she will need to learn every aspect of current maintenance protocols from irrigation to weed control as part of learning the rhythms of the garden and recommending improvements.

The Director of Horticulture will be responsible for generating and monitoring weekly and quarterly work plans and keeping maintenance records.

Help develop volunteer program by training and supervising docents and garden volunteers. Help to recruit volunteers and docents.  Develop meaningful opportunities for volunteer participation in the maintenance and development of the garden, including propagation and nursery management.

Support public visitation, membership, tours and Open Days by greeting guests and giving tours; developing information such as plant sale lists and signage; seeing that garden is prepared for visitors and plant sales organized. Conduct private horticultural tours; answer questions.

Develop garden, including the former nursery property, according to the conceptual master plan. Direct new plant acquisitions, installation and design; supervise and assist as needed with maintenance of physical plant; including irrigation systems, garden equipment and supplies.

Manage the living collections: Lead and oversee plant record keeping system. Maintain and update plant records and mapping with ArcGIS. Lead the effort of PGCF to make the most effective use of plant collections information. Accession plants and record location, source, cultural information, status, maintenance needs and schedule, propagation information and photographs. Develop photographic record of collections. Update and maintain plant labels and accession tags. Monitor condition of collection.

Promote development of nursery and plant sales.  Oversee propagation and acquisition of plants for resale, in collaboration with Nursery Committee and with the participation of volunteers and office staff.  Oversee maintenance of nursery stock and sales area. Help re-establish and expand the seed exchange program by supervising the harvesting, cleaning, storing and packaging of seed.

Help develop and participate in programs to promote the garden and strengthen its educational outreach through educational programs, lectures, tours and workshops. Work in partnership with PGCF board to plan, execute and schedule programs to promote the garden, raise funds, and develop its educational outreach. Write plant information for brochures, website, and other publications. Cultivate relationships with relevant organizations to develop partnerships as outlined in the Program Plan. Help create and support collaboration with educational institutions and other partner organizations to foster research and exchange of information.

Knowledge, Skills & Abilities

Enthusiasm and passion about horticulture and garden design and an ability to communicate this to professionals and the public.

Knowledge of horticultural practices, especially relating to Texas and Southeastern natives, Asian, and Mexican counterparts. Degree preferred in horticulture, plant science, public garden management, landscape architecture or closely related field. Advanced degree a plus.

Managerial skills and work experience, at least 5 years of relevant experience including supervising staff and volunteers; prior public garden management experience desirable. Ability to supervise and lead employees, including organizing and prioritizing work assignments, identifying objectives and evaluating results.

Communication and interpersonal skills, including the ability to work with staff and volunteers and to represent the garden by public speaking, writing and educating. Strong interpersonal skills; must be a team player able to work effectively with a diverse group of individuals. Ability to work to a plan and adapt as conditions warrant.

Documentation and technical expertise. Facility with plant recordkeeping systems and plant identification skills. Strong computer skills and facility with ArcGIS, Microsoft Word, Excel, Outlook and PowerPoint. Strong recordkeeping and organizational skills required.

Physical fitness and ability to operate equipment. The garden is a labor-intensive work environment and some aspects of the job could involve heavy lifting and the use of power equipment. Proficiency in safe operation and proper maintenance of hand tools and power equipment as well as valid driver’s license required.


Peckerwood Garden Conservation Foundation worked closely with the Garden Conservancy to develop a Vision and Program Plan for Peckerwood Garden, as well as a Plant Collections Policy. These documents set a direction for garden documentation, research, education, interpretation, and outreach.

Peckerwood Garden Conservation Foundation is an Equal Opportunity Employer and all foundation activities are conducted without discrimination based on race, color, genetics, religion, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, national origin, disability, age or status as a protected veteran. PGCF is also committed to compliance with all fair employment practices regarding citizenship and immigration status.

Please email a cover letter expressing interest and a resume, including three references to: Applications will be reviewed beginning the week of September 28, 2015.