Horticulture Internship

Brooklyn Botanic Garden is now accepting applications for its 2017 Horticulture Internship program. All people with a passion for horticulture, from those with experience who are looking to explore new avenues in the field to those who are just starting out, are welcome to apply. Prior horticultural experience is not required. Internships run for approximately nine months.

Internships are open to any adult over 18 who has a strong interest in horticulture. The applicant must be able to do physical labor outdoors and posses a valid driver's license. This program is designed for people interested in pursuing a career in horticulture. Successful applicants must be able to work the full eight months and are responsible for their own housing.

Applications are due on December 31, 2016. Please note that applications will not be reviewed prior to the due date.

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Overview

The Horticulture Internship program supports BBG’s mission to use the Garden as a working garden, living laboratory, and educational resource. Each year, interns have a nine-month, hands-on experience working directly with BBG’s internationally respected Horticulture staff.

BBG is committed to providing interns with both a solid education in the fundamentals of horticulture and practical work experience in preparation for a career in the field. Interns have a primary gardening assignment for the duration of the internship, selected from among several choices during the application process. Group projects, staff-taught workshops, and the Certificate in Horticulture program offer further training, and assisting at BBG’s Plant Sale and other Garden events affords interns opportunities to interact with the entire Horticulture staff and experience the wide variety of programs and initiatives at the Garden.

Hourly Rate: $11

Work Schedule: Monday through Friday, 8 a.m.–4 p.m., March 27–Dec 1, 2017

Application Requirements

  • Strong interest in pursuing a career in horticulture
  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Ability to do physical labor outdoors in all weather conditions
  • Valid driver’s license
  • Commitment to full term of internship and responsibility for own housing

Goals for Horticulture Interns

  • Acquire a basic foundation in gardening techniques and horticultural knowledge, with a focus on the skills of the specific internship.
  • Become familiar with horticultural tools, equipment, and vehicles.
  • Learn about career opportunities in horticulture and public gardens.
  • Learn about the resources and operations of a botanic garden and the mission of BBG.
  • Gain an appreciation for the global diversity of plants and people.
  • Experience teamwork, cooperation, and responsibility.

Internship Positions (9 total)

Most positions run from the last week of March through the first week of December. The conservatory position runs from the end of February through the first week of November. Your preference of a position is not guaranteed, but your top choices will be matched as closely as possible.

Conservatory (1 position)

The conservatory intern works with the propagator and six other conservatory curators, focusing on plant production and propagation as well as the care, culture, and maintenance of plants in the Steinhardt Conservatory, the nursery, and an outdoor garden. The intern learns methods of plant propagation from seeds and cuttings, potting, pruning, watering, and fertilizing and is trained to use small power tools such as a backpack blower, power washer, and weed trimmer. The intern assists with the maintenance of plants on display in the conservatory and outdoor areas, including large plant containers. Other duties include weeding, litter removal, and general organization.

Tree Work, Specialty Pruning, and General Landscape (1 position)

The intern in this position works with BBG arborists and the curator of the Japanese Hill-and-Pond Garden. S/he learns practices for the establishment and care of trees from youth through maturity throughout the grounds and becomes familiar with tree-climbing equipment and methods. The intern also learns specialty pruning for the Japanese Hill-and-Pond Garden in addition to general horticultural work in that garden, including watering, weeding, planting, mulching, and other general landscape care. In addition, the intern learns the basics of turf care and equipment through periodic workdays with the mobile crew.

Native Flora and Sustainable Landscape (1 Position)

The intern in this position works with the curators of the Native Flora Garden and Visitor Center gardens. The internship focuses on native flora of the northeastern U.S. and North America, and the use of plant palettes to display plant communities, educate the public, and contribute to plant conservation. The intern assists both curators with a variety of horticultural practices, including weeding, planting, pruning, mulching, and other work and also has the opportunity to study plant identification of native flora, native flora conservation work, and green infrastructure elements. In addition, the intern learns the basics of turf care and equipment through periodic workdays with the mobile crew.

Edible Displays, Educational Horticulture, and General Landscape (1 position)

The intern in this position works with the curators of the Herb Garden, Discovery Garden, and other gardens at the southern end of BBG. Such work includes watering, weeding, planting, mulching, pruning, and other general care of the landscape. The intern also learns techniques in the maintenance and care of seasonal displays of medicinal and food plants of the world suited to the climate in Brooklyn, as well as plants and approaches used in educational programming in the Discovery Garden. In addition, the intern learns the basics of turf care and equipment through periodic workdays with the mobile crew.

Beds and Borders, Seasonal Displays, and General Landscape (1 position)

The intern in this position works with the curator of Magnolia Plaza and Lily Pool Terrace, including the Annual and Perennial Borders, and the curator of the Shakespeare Garden, Fragrance Garden, and nearby collections. These gardens are located in high-profile areas and require constant attention to detail and seasonal display. The intern learns about planning and designing for seasonal interest in various types of plant beds and borders, both formal and informal. The intern also practices general horticultural skills such as watering, weeding, planting, mulching, pruning, fertilizing, and more. In addition, the intern learns the basics of turf care and equipment through periodic workdays with the mobile crew.

Roses, Formal Gardens, and General Landscape (1 position)

The intern in this position works with the curators of two of BBG’s oldest gardens: the Cranford Rose Garden and the Osborne Garden. All aspects of rose care, including identification, pruning techniques, and various methods of training roses, are practiced. The intern also learns about formal garden and larger landscape care, including hedging and pruning techniques in a symmetrical space, seasonal displays both in-ground and in planters, and shade and rock-wall plant beds. Such work includes watering, weeding, planting, mulching, pruning, and other general care of the landscape. In addition, the intern learns the basics of turf care and equipment through periodic workdays with the mobile crew.

Rock Garden, Woody Plants, and General Landscape (1 position)

The intern in this position works with the curators of the Rock Garden, Plant Family Collection, and Lilac Collection. With a focus on the Rock Garden, s/he learns about the care and maintenance of hardy woody and herbaceous plants, including particular plant families such as the Rosaceae and Leguminosae. The intern also practices general gardening work, including watering, weeding, planting, mulching, pruning, and other general care of the landscape. In addition, the intern learns the basics of turf care and equipment through periodic workdays with the mobile crew.

Turf and Grounds Care (2 positions)

The turf and grounds care interns focus primarily on the specialization of turf and lawn maintenance and gain experience with different types of power tools such as weed whips, lawn mowers, aerators, fertilizer spreaders, and blowers, both handheld and walk-behind models. They also learn about maintaining a healthy lawn, including grass species, turf weeds, irrigation methods, and the difference between an organic lawn and a conventionally maintained lawn. Good cultural practices are stressed. In addition, the interns gain experience in general landscape care, such as weeding, watering, mulching, planting, and more.

Additional Training

Horticulture Certificate

Horticulture interns are required to attend classes toward earning the BBG Certificate in Horticulture. The eight certificate courses are offered in the evenings by the Continuing Education department and are scheduled so that interns can complete the program by the end of their internship. Classes are free of charge to interns.

Field Trips

Horticulture interns are generally offered field trips during the nine months of their internship. This is a great opportunity to visit gardens and parks and experience different aspects of public horticulture. These field trips take place during the workday and are usually outside the New York City area. Past trips have included Old Westbury Gardens and Planting Fields Arboretum, Longwood Gardens and Chanticleer, and Stonecrop Gardens.

Individual Projects

Interns are encouraged to undertake a six-month-long project during their internship. Garden resources include the Library and Gardener’s Resource Center and of course, BBG’s 52 acres of gardens and plant collections. BBG’s Horticulture team and other staff are also good sources of expertise. Past projects have included a compost tea demonstration, a survey of the trees of BBG, a plan for improving nursery sustainability, and the uses of LED lighting in horticulture, and other topics.

Group Projects

Group projects are scattered throughout the internship period, depending on the need and season. One of the first group projects of the year is cleaning out the brook that runs through the center of the Garden. Other group projects have included mulching lilac beds, cleaning out the border mounds, summer plantings for the Annual Border and fall bulb planting.


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BBG's Horticulture interns planting bulbs on Magnolia Plaza. Photo by Blanca Begert.
Horticulture intern Ronen Gamil trims a hedge.
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