Director of Horticulture





Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden seeks a dynamic new colleague to lead the Department of Horticulture. 


RSABG is the largest garden in the world that is dedicated to the remarkable native flora of California. The 86-acre grounds have important missions in collections and conservation, and also in providing experiences for visitors that are both enjoyable and educational. 


The new Director of Horticulture will work with a team of dedicated horticulturists, as well as an enthusiastic group of inter-departmental colleagues including graduate students. S/he will have the opportunity to have long-term impact on the Garden by taking the lead in renovations in a number of Garden areas. 


For further information, see position description or contact Lucinda McDade, RSABG Executive Director ( This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ).


To apply, submit letter of interest, resume, and names of three referees by email attachment to:  Adeline Ojeda ( This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ). Letter of interest should speak directly to the applicant’s qualifications for the position. Review of applicants will begin on July 1 and continue until the position is filled.



Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden acknowledges that equal opportunity for all persons is a fundamental human value. Each employee will be considered on the basis of individual ability and merit, without regard to race, color, age, religion, national origin, disability, sexual orientation, sex, or marital status.



TITLE:                         Director of Horticulture


DEPARTMENT:          Horticulture


STATUS:                      Exempt, full-time indefinite


REPORTS TO:             Executive Director




Position Summary


The Director of Horticulture is responsible for management of the gardens, grounds and living plant collections of Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden in a professional, display quality manner with focus on plant care and health. Supervises departmental staff with regard to living collections and grounds, curation and records, and nursery. Works closely with inter-departmental colleagues, with emphases on those in Production and Sales, Visitor Services, and Development.




Essential Functions


  • Provides strong leadership for the Department of Horticulture at RSABG, guiding both people and plants to achieve RSABG’s mission.

  • Develops, manages and maintains existing gardens and plant collections at RSABG. Designs and installs new gardens and plant collections within the framework of the Master Plan, Strategic Plan, and Accession Policy. Responsible for oversight of routine and specialized maintenance of all areas of the Garden grounds, with emphasis on plant care, IPM and irrigation systems. Oversight of planting activities, including placement of all plants and record keeping. Creates a visually pleasing environment for garden visitors year around.

  • Responsible for departmental finances including preparation of annual budgets to meet operational and capital needs and monitoring of quarterly financial statements to achieve budgetary expectations; works closely with Director of Finance to ensure adherence to organizational policies regarding financial transactions and record keeping.

  • Establishes departmental goals and actively monitors progress in all areas, making mid course corrections as needed.

  • Manages, supervises and evaluates all horticulture department staff (currently ~10), including interns; provides direction to ensure optimal performance and productivity. Plans and implements professional development exercises and corrections to performance as needed.

  • Maintains appropriate files as required for the department’s operations and archival record keeping; exercises active oversight of the plants record staff and database.

  • Responsible for oversight of inventory of tools and supplies, maintenance of equipment, and ordering of supplies and equipment as needed to service Garden facilities and plant collection.

  • Develops scope of services, reviews contracts, selects and monitors outside contractors.

  • Directs departmental collecting and fieldwork activities in collaboration with other Garden departments.

  • Oversees sustainable best practices: develops environmentally friendly and sustainable garden management practices consistent with the overall goals of RSABG; researches best practices in the garden arena, including evaluating the work of other local and national organizations.

  • Facilitates, assists and develops departmental and institutional staff, researcher and graduate student use of experimental gardens.

  • Conducts guided tours of RSABG; lectures and writes on horticulture / native plant garden topics; attends events (e.g., exhibit openings, development events, dedications, media and PR events) as required; participates in community education and outreach (e.g., by teaching through the Garden’s Community Education Program or Volunteer training or in-service sessions).

  • Works cooperatively with colleagues in other departments to develop, install and enhance changing exhibits on the grounds, as well as organizational programs and activities, including but not limited to:  

    Director of Development on fund raising efforts including proposal preparation, outreach and interaction with donors.

    Director of Visitor Services on coordination and implementation of educational and interpretive programs, exhibits, and special events.

    Directors of Conservation Program and Research on content of interpretive materials.

  • Develops and manages earned-income opportunities in collaboration with other Garden staff;

  • Networks and maintains connections with other horticultural professionals in the garden and nursery spheres. Attends training sessions and meetings to keep current in areas pertaining to the position.

  • Assists with other aspects of Garden operations as required.


    Education, Experience and Skills Requirements