Director of Horticulture
Employment TypeJob (Full-time)
The Director of Horticulture is responsible for management of the gardens, grounds and living plant collections of Betty Ford Alpine Gardens (BFAG) in a professional, high quality manner. Supervises and works alongside a small but skilled horticulture staff team with regard to living collections and grounds, curation and records, and greenhouse operations. Works closely with colleagues in other departments and as part of the senior management team, attends meetings of the Board of Trustees as needed. Responds directly to Executive Director.
Betty Ford Alpine Gardens is a botanical garden specializing in alpine and mountain flora at 8,200. Situated in the ski area of Vail in the Southern Rocky Mountains of Colorado. It is a small, 5 acre garden within Ford Park. The Gardens has a small staff but a high profile in alpine plant conservation and holds the National Collection of Colorado’s alpine flora. In the busy resort town of Vail the Gardens enjoys more than 150,000 visitors in summer and snowshoers in the winter.
Duties & Responsibilities
Provides strong leadership for the Department of Horticulture at BFAG, working to achieve the organizational mission. Develops, manages and oversees the maintenance of existing gardens and plant collections. Oversees the design and installation of new gardens and plant collections within the framework of the Ford Park Master Plan, BFAG Strategic Plan, and BFAG Collections Policy. Responsible for oversight of routine and specialized maintenance of all areas of the Gardens grounds. Responsible for making sure record keeping is up to date to ensure the accuracy of the plant records database. Responsible for the continued involvement with the Plant Collecting Collaborative.
Accountable for departmental finances including preparation of annual horticulture budget to meet operational and capital needs and monitoring of financial statements to achieve budgetary expectations; works closely with Executive Director to ensure adherence to organizational policies regarding financial transactions and record keeping. Establishes departmental goals and actively monitors progress in all areas, making ongoing corrections as needed.
Manages, supervises and evaluates the horticulture staff team and provides direction to ensure optimal performance and productivity. Plans and implements professional development exercises and corrections to performance as needed. Oversees scope of services, reviews contracts, selects and monitors outside contractors. Directs departmental plant collecting and fieldwork activities in collaboration with other Garden departments. Oversees sustainable best practices and researches best practices in the garden arena.
Conducts guided tours of BFAG with visiting experts as needed; lectures and writes on sustainable horticulture / native plant garden topics etc.; attends events (e.g., exhibit openings, development events, dedications, media and PR events) as required; participates in community education and outreach. Maintains an active role in relevant local and national organizations and networks such as but not limited to American Public Gardens Association, Botanic Gardens Conservation International, North American Rock Garden Society and collaborating with horticultural professionals at Denver Botanic Gardens. Attends training sessions and meetings to keep current in areas pertaining to the position.
Assists with other aspects of Garden operations as required.
Education and Experience
Master’s degree or equivalent in horticulture or related field and five years of experience in public garden or arboreta environments (extensive successful work experience demonstrating appropriate knowledge and skills may replace degree requirements).
Excellent management, supervisory, communication and leadership skills; ability to lead teams of diverse individuals to achieve small and large-scale projects.
Knowledge of Colorado plants especially alpine plants and their horticultural requirements (or willingness to learn quickly on the job and background necessary to do so). Knowledge of the pests and diseases of Colorado native plants and their appropriate biological and/or chemical controls (or willingness to learn quickly on the job and background necessary to do so).
Computer literacy preferably including BG-Base as well as other MS Office applications.
Ability to maneuver in narrow or confined places around fragile plants. Must be able to lift carry and carry 20 pounds for 100 yards.
Clean Driver’s License.
Qualified candidates please send cover letter and resume with references to:
Betty Ford Alpine Gardens
Attention: Nicola Ripley
Compensation DOE but a beginning salary in the range of $75-$85K is anticipated.
Full benefits package including Health Insurance at 80%, Dental, Life, Long-term Disability and 401k Retirement Plan.
April 29, 2024