Native Plant Gardens Horticulturist

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How to Apply

Applications are welcomed and encouraged from all qualified individuals regardless of background and identity. A one-page cover letter is required for consideration for this position and should be attached as the first page of your resume. The cover letter should address your specific interest in this position and outline experience that directly relates to it.


The Native Plant Gardens Horticulturist promotes using native plants in designed and intentional landscapes, understands basic cultural requirements for growing native plants, is familiar with garden design and composition, and engages with community partners and representatives of our region's sovereign Tribal nations.

The Native Plant Gardens Horticulturist is responsible for the active care and management of native plant focused gardens and collections at both Matthaei Botanical Garden and Nichols Arboretum (MBGNA), native plant production for plant sales and collections enhancement, and leads a diverse crew of volunteers and student staff to accomplish annual goals.

You will be a member of the Horticulture Team reporting to the Horticulture Lead and have collaborative relationships with MBGNA's Curators, Natural Areas, Education, and Visitor Experience teams. This position is an in-person opportunity with responsibilities at Matthaei Botanical Garden and Nichols Arboretum. Typical work schedule is Monday through Friday with occasional weekend and evening responsibilities.

Who We Are

University of Michigan's Matthaei Botanical Gardens and Nichols Arboretum (MBGNA) stewards over 840 acres of land and water across four properties in and around Ann Arbor, with Nichols Arboretum and Matthaei Botanical Gardens serving as its two anchor locations. Click here to view our Strategic Plan . With more than 500,000 annual visitors, MBGNA is committed to becoming a transformative force for social and ecological resilience through the lands and waters we steward. We put that commitment into action by:

  • Positioning humans as active participants within the natural world and compelling the university community and our publics to negotiate the full complexity that entails
  • Advancing partnerships, programs, user experience, and all that we steward to catalyze equity and justice in a radically changing world
  • Emerging as University of Michigan's premier partner for research, teaching, and public impact in sustainability, climate-forward practices, and biocultural diversity
  • Promoting healthier communities, cultures, and ecosystems through active care and cultivation of the gardens, fields, natural habitats, and dynamic systems that sustain our world

Why Work at Michigan?

Benefits at the University of Michigan:

In addition to a career filled with purpose and opportunity, The University of Michigan offers a comprehensive benefits package to help you stay well, protect yourself and your family and plan for a secure future. Benefits include:

  • Generous time off
  • A retirement plan that provides two-for-one matching contributions with immediate vesting
  • Many choices for comprehensive health insurance
  • Life insurance
  • Long-term disability coverage
  • Flexible spending accounts for healthcare and dependent care expenses


  • Operations and Coordination (60%):
    • Maintain native garden landscapes throughout MBGNA with Garden Management Plans including but not restricted to the Great Lakes Gardens, bioswales, Washington Heights entrance, and other native plant-themed spaces.
    • Implement proper and appropriate horticultural practices including Integrated Pest Management (IPM) principles and applying pesticide
    • Coordinate and implement native plant propagation from seed collection to finished crop for plant sales and garden improvements
    • Assist with long range planning for display gardens including garden design, plant selection, and implementing garden bed renovations
    • Support data management, including keeping accurate and current plant records, fixing/replacing labels and signs, ensuring content and mapping accuracy, and similar responsibilities
    • Participate in weekend watering schedules
  • Leadership and Management (20%):
    • Supervise technicians and student staff, including interns
    • Establish and lead episodic and recurring volunteer(s) and teams
    • Identify, plan, and implement special projects aligned with MBGNA's strategic plan and with the Collections Committee
  • Organizational Collaboration (20%):
    • Coordinate with Natural Areas Curator on native plant selection and placement
    • Assist Natural Areas team with annual management practices including prescribed burns, invasive species removal, seed collection and preparation, and similar tasks
    • Provide content, programs, and outreach activities with Education and Communication teams
    • Partner with Facilities team to ensure infrastructure improvement and maintenance
    • Meet with Education and Visitor Experience teams to ensure audiences and uses are foregrounded in care and design paradigm
    • Other tasks or responsibilities as assigned

Required Qualifications*

  • Bachelor's Degree in Horticulture, Botany, Biology, Ecology, Environmental Science, or a related field or at least five years of professional experience in horticulture, landscape management, or nursery/greenhouse production
  • Demonstrated familiarity with the native plants and natural communities of the Great Lakes Region including experience growing, planting, and caring for native plants
  • Experience managing volunteers and temporary staff
  • Experience providing educational programs

Additional Information

The salary range for this position is $45,000 - $50,000
For more information about Matthaei Botanical Gardens and Nichols Arboretum, please visit .

Application Deadline

Job openings are posted for at least seven calendar days. This job may be removed from posting boards and filled at any time after the minimum posting period has ended. Applications will be reviewed as received throughout the posting period and continue until the position is filled.

U-M EEO/AA Statement

The University of Michigan is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer.