Olbrich Home Rooted and Growing



JOB TITLE:  Horticulturist

Reports to:  Director of Horticulture

Employee Status:  Regular Part-time (50%)

FLSA Status:  Hourly

Purpose:  The Horticulturist is a member of the Horticulture team and oversees the planting and maintenance of assigned outdoor display gardens. The Horticulturist also assists in the planting and maintenance of other gardens and projects under the direction of the Director of Horticulture. This position supervises interns, volunteers and seasonal workers in order to create and maintain exceptional horticultural displays that fulfill Olbrich Botanical Gardens vision of being a locally treasured and globally renowned source of beauty and education celebrating the importance of plants in a sustainable world.


  • Cultivate - Plant, water, fertilize, prune, mulch and weed annuals, perennials, bulbs, aquatics, vines, shrubs and trees in assigned garden areas.
  • Design - Create innovative and inspirational annual designs in assigned garden areas and work as a team to design and maintain our annual indoor flower shows.
  • Organize, Supervise and Teach - Organize work for interns, volunteers and seasonal workers and supervise and teach them proper methods and techniques in order to turn out efficient, high quality work.
  • Manage and Maintain - Keep accurate plant records in OPAL database and work with the Plant Recorder, Mapping Specialist and volunteers to maintain up-to-date mapping and labeling within assigned gardens. Also manage and maintain the tools and supplies needed by staff and volunteers to care for assigned garden areas.
  • Monitor - Pests and diseases within the garden and manage them with sustainable practices to maintain healthy and attractive gardens.
  • Collaborate - Work with the horticulture team and all other departments at OBG on special projects, exhibits and events.
  • Assist - Assist horticulture and special events staff with Olbrich's annual plant sale -- attend meetings, order plant material, set prices, make signs, work with and manage volunteers, assist customers, organize surplus plants after the sale and assist with other tasks as needed. As the Plant Sale Order Manager, this position includes data entry and tracking of plant orders, making plant labels, coordinating vendor deliveries, production of inventory reports and submittal of invoices for payment amongst other specific assignments relating to inventory management.
  • General Office Duties - Maintain and organize horticulture materials, such as work calendars and plant databases.
  • Teach - Create and teach gardening classes, workshops and lectures for OBG's education programs and outside garden clubs and plant societies.
  • Write and Interview - Write garden-related articles for OBG's newsletter and conduct interviews for the media as needed.
  • Interact - Interact with and answer questions from our visitors on a daily basis and conduct scheduled tours as needed in a courteous and professional manner.
  • Perform Related Work as Assigned. 


Essential Functions

  • Ability to establish and maintain effective working relationships and communicate effectively to work as a team with horticulture staff and volunteers, as well as the entire Olbrich Gardens staff.
  • Significant ability to maintain adequate attendance and work weekend and holiday hours as required.
  • Ability to apply common sense understanding to carry out instructions furnished in written, oral or diagram form.
  • Significant ability to multi-task and complete repetitive tasks in a quality manner.
  • Significant ability to lift and carry up to 50 pounds, work on the ground, climb and work off a 10' ladder and bend, push, pull, walk, crawl, sit and stand for up to 8 hours per day.
  • Ability to work under adverse weather conditions, including rainy, hot and humid conditions, as well as cold winter temperatures.
  • Ability to perform heavy manual and semi-skilled tasks for extended periods of time.
  • Ability to prune woody plantings throughout the winter months.
  • Ability to plant, water, mulch, weed, prune and fertilize all types of plants grown in assigned gardens.
  • Knowledge to acquire a Wisconsin State Pesticide Certification within the first 6 weeks of employment and retain that certification during employment. Failure to obtain and maintain the required certification may result in forfeiture of the position.
  • Knowledge of the management of IPM program with limited chemical pesticide applications in accordance with all federal and state laws, regulations and safety policies, as well as work with biological control agents.
  • Significant ability to clear snow throughout the gardens from plants, paths, walks, patios and parking lots through shoveling, snow blowing and plowing.
  • Ability to use hand tools typically used in routine garden maintenance, such as pruners, saws, shovels, rakes, etc.
  • Ability to acquire and retain a State of Wisconsin Class D Driver's License.
  • Significant ability to safely operate small motorized equipment such as push mowers, power blowers, hedge and string trimmers, edgers and rototillers and to drive and operate larger machines such as utility vehicles, forklifts, trucks and tractors.
  • Significant experience leading teams of volunteers and interns to provide on-the-job training to volunteers and interns and training to permanent staff members as needed to maintain high quality gardens.
  • Significant ability to build productive and collaborative relationships with colleagues, the Olbrich Botanical Society membership and Board, volunteers, donors, the City of Madison Parks Division employees and external partners and the ability to alter work schedules to participate in donor/member events.
  • Significant ability to prioritize work and meet deadlines while juggling multiple tasks -- planning months in advance while responding to day-to-day demands.
  • Ability to solve problems and to communicate effectively both orally and in writing, as well as always act in a courteous and professional manner while providing excellent customer service.
  • Knowledge of botanical and horticultural plant nomenclature in order to maintain accurate plant database records and maps.
  • Knowledge of basic computer programs including Microsoft Office and ability to effectively learn Access, Gift Logic and Taggit for daily communication and for plant records management including plant sale inventory.
  • Ability to communicate to the gardening community, Olbrich's members and daily visitors through garden tours, lectures, workshops and visitor interactions.


Preferred Qualifications:  Associate's or Bachelor's degree in horticulture, botany, biology or related field and 3 years experience in the field of ornamental horticulture is preferred. Practical horticultural experience gained through employment or volunteering at other public gardens or related institutions is welcome. Thorough knowledge of the principles and practices of temperate ornamental horticulture as well as experience using various tools, equipment, materials and techniques applicable to the field of horticulture. Additional knowledge of botany, taxonomy, landscape design and the role of botanical gardens in public horticulture is also welcome. Candidates should be able to fulfill the Essential Functions listed above.

Work Schedule:  This is an hourly, regular, part-time (20 hours/week), year-round position. The work schedule is primarily Monday through Friday days, with flexibility required depending upon the time of year. Weekend and evening hours, especially for programs and events, may be assigned with an adjusted schedule as determined by the Director of Horticulture. This position includes the Plant Sale Order Manager duties which require 140-240 additional hours between September of the previous year and the May plant sale.

Benefits:  Health Insurance (with employee contribution to the premium); Short and Long Term Disability and Life Insurance; Retirement Plan; Vacation and Sick Leave; Paid Holidays.

TO APPLY:  Send a cover letter, resume, completed Olbrich Botanical Society application form (download from website) and a supplemental written statement. The supplemental statement should include a written description (750 words or less) of what you think the role of botanic gardens should be in communities across the country and what you can contribute to Olbrich Botanical Gardens, if you were hired for the Horticulturist position.

Submit all application materials to:

Jeff Epping

Director of Horticulture

Olbrich Botanical Gardens

3330 Atwood Avenue

Madison, WI 53704


Fax: 608-245-5790

DEADLINE:  Monday, April 4, 2016

Application (PDF)

Application (Word)


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Olbrich Botanical Gardens is operated as a public-private partnership between the City of Madison Parks Division and the Olbrich Botanical Society.
Olbrich Botanical Gardens | 3330 Atwood Avenue, Madison, WI 53704. | Phone: (608)246-4550 | Fax: (608)246-4719