Horticulture Apprenticeship Job Description

Horticulture Apprenticeship Program – 2020 Program Overview: This program is designed to provide recent college graduates the opportunity to gain hands-on experience and have exposure to all the workings of a public botanical garden. With more than 60 acres of gardens, arboretum plantings, natural areas, greenhouse and nursery facilities, Yew Dell offers an excellent opportunity for exploration in a variety of experiences. The apprenticeship is designed to provide a springboard to a creative and productive career within various fields in the green industry. 

The general framework of the program is to annually bring to Yew Dell a contingent of energetic horticulture students for a 1-year, fixed-length position. During that 12-month experience, the apprentices will operate as regular full-time horticulture staff members. They will work with and learn from Yew Dell’s staff of experienced horticulturists on garden maintenance, plant collections curation, inventory and mapping, nursery and greenhouse production, event support and other activities. They will also have the opportunity to attend professional meetings and other activities in order to develop a professional network. Each apprentice will work with their supervisor to develop and complete an independent project during the program. Independent projects can take a variety of forms from field research to development of a particular expertise (grafting, irrigation design etc.), creation of educational materials, garden construction, and much more. 

Yew Dell Apprentices will work closely with Yew Dell’s staff of horticulturists, development and marketing staff, operations and office staff and event/program planners, providing exposure to all aspects of the organization’s operations. During the length of the position, apprentices will live in on-site housing provided by Yew Dell Botanical Gardens. Completion of a housing contract is required. 

Apprentices are provided: 

  • Free on-site housing in a 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom house with washer and dryer, 2 living rooms, 2 full kitchens, outdoor patio and fenced in yard. 
  • All utilities (except telephone) provided at no cost to the apprentice (water, trash/sewer, and electric) 
  • Access to Yew Dell’s wifi network in the administrative offices and limited areas on the grounds 
  • Yew Dell shirts and hat to be worn during work hours 
  • Support for attendance at green industry conferences, programs and events 
  • Up to 20 days of unpaid leave during the 12-month apprenticeship 
  • An hourly wage no less than the prevailing federal minimum wage rate with potential for overtime, if applicable 

Apprentices are expected to: 

  • Complete the 12-month program 
  • Complete a housing contract and live in Yew Dell provided housing during the apprenticeship 
  • Provide appropriate transportation 
  • Work a 40-hour work week with varying days and hours 
  • Assist other Yew Dell staff with occasional program staffing outside normal work hours 
  • Complete an independent project (arranged with program supervisor) during the 12- month program 

Apprentices will have opportunities to: 

  • Assist and collaborate with the Garden Manager in garden maintenance, planting, pruning, watering, plant curation, designing and much more 
  • Work with the Greenhouse and Nursery Manager on greenhouse maintenance, plant production, propagation and plant sales 
  • Visit regional nurseries, garden center, public and private gardens 
  • Learn to use a variety of power equipment 
  • Apply and test for a Kentucky pesticide applicator license 
  • Build relationships with industry members, Yew Dell volunteers, staff and board members 
  • Work with and lead individual and group volunteer efforts 
  • Continue to grow professionally through attendance at regional plant and industry conferences 
  • Develop presentation and teaching skills by offering tours, plant walks and other instruction for the public, members, volunteers and staff 

Interested individuals may contact Garden Manager, Sayde Heckman, to arrange email contact information for several former horticulture apprentices. 

To Apply: Submit application with the following materials: 

  • Cover letter 
  • Resume 
  • Letter from an academic advisor 
  • Two letters of reference from former or current employers 

Send to: 

Yew Dell Botanical Gardens 6220 Old LaGrange Road Crestwood, KY 40014 

Or Email to: 

[email protected] 

The Institution: Yew Dell, Inc. is a 501(c) 3 not-for-profit corporation that was founded in 2001 to purchase and develop into a public botanical garden, the former Theodore Klein Nursery, family farm and homestead. The organization has grown to include a board of directors (19) full (8) and part- time (10) staff, over 1600 members and 300 volunteers. Yew Dell offers extensive education programs for audiences ranging from families and school groups to homeowners, avid amateurs and green-industry professionals. The research program concentrates on collection and evaluation of plants with potential for the region and breeding/selection of new plants for introduction to the landscape industry. Yew Dell offers a year-long calendar of community events and rental facilities for private events. The institution’s operating budget is supported by membership, facility rentals, garden shop and event income, donations and foundation grants. 

The Gardens: Yew Dell Botanical Gardens occupies a 60-acre site which is comprised of approximately half cultivated areas and half natural areas. The garden acreage covers the former Theodore Klein Nursery, family farm and homestead which operated between 1941 and 1998. The site includes extensive garden areas in varied styles, all operated as sites for evaluation of a wide variety of garden plants. 

The existing plant collection of approximately 12,000 specimens includes substantial collections of Cercis, Ilex, Fagus, Magnolia, Viburnum, Helleborus, Hosta and Carex. The collection grows each year through local/regional/international seed collection efforts, exchanges with collectors and breeders throughout the world and exchanges with other botanical and conservation organizations. The horticulture operation is supported by an expanding greenhouse and nursery operation. Our greenhouse and nursery manager is leading an effort to grow a commercial nursery, as part of Yew Dell’s horticulture operations, affording apprentices a new set of opportunities for learning. Supporting this effort is our solar/geothermal greenhouse and attached horticulture center. 

Yew Dell is adorned with a collection of unique historic buildings that were designed and constructed by Theodore Klein and today serve to support the current institution. In addition the grounds offer a collection of newly constructed, award-winning architectural projects including visitor center/garden shop, event pavilion and horticulture center. 

Yew Dell Botanical Gardens is a preservation project of the Garden Conservancy, a national non-profit dedicated to rescue and rehabilitation of America’s best historic gardens. Yew Dell is also listed on the National Register of Historic Places. 

For more information about Yew Dell, please visit the provided links below. 



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