Horticulture Apprenticeship

Training the next generation of industry leaders.

Want to work in an inspiring environment with inspiring people?

Yew Dell Botanical Gardens’ Year-long Horticulture Apprenticeship provides 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 provides a springboard to a creative and productive career within various fields in the green industry.

As an Apprentice you will...

Participate in Garden Maintenance

Taking the classroom into the garden! Hands-on experience is key to understanding most facets of the horticulture industry from mulching, weeding, planting, watering, and pruning; you’ll do it all! Apprentices will work alongside the Garden & Arboretum Manager in the maintenance of Yew Dell’s 30+ acres of display garden, arboretum, and natural areas. Apprentices will also occasionally assist with our in-house nursery operation to grow and supply plants for everything from trees to tropical.

Assist in Collection Management

A botanical garden is defined as a place where plants are grown for public display, research, and conservation (a living museum, you could say). With that comes the duty to educate the public about what they see as well as keeping records of the plants in the collections. Apprentices will be exposed to the processes of plant curation including assisting in plant inventories, plant signage installation, and plant database management via IrisBG.

Lead and Educate Volunteers

Having over 500 volunteers annually, Yew Dell has an outstanding network of gardeners. From the Master Gardeners to beginners our volunteers have a wonderful wealth of knowledge and a huge passion for plants. Apprentices will work with and educate the people that make Yew Dell such a special place, through leading a variety of garden workdays and tours.

Build a Professional Network

A huge part of a successful horticulture career is creating a thriving professional network and continuing education outside of a classroom setting. A professional development itinerary will be curated each year for apprentices to continue their professional and personal development through attending a variety of fully funded green industry conferences, classes, workshops, and field trips.

Provide Education to the Public

The best way to learn about plants is through teaching others! Apprentices will hone their public speaking and presentation craft by organizing and leading a variety of plant walks, workshops and demonstrations for staff, volunteers and visitors. Through this, apprentices will have the chance to explore topics of interest to them and their audience.

Work with Hundreds of Plants

Yew Dell displays, produces, and sells the widest diversity of plants in the region. Apprentices will be exposed to the inner workings of both an operational nursery and public display garden. With opportunities to install garden plantings, assist in plant sales, design seasonal displays, and starting seeds! The nursery program has grown tremendously since 2018, from adding multiple new greenhouse structures, another onsite plant market, and an online plant market. By the end of the program you’ll struggle to answer the question “What is your favorite plant?”

Operate a Variety of Equipment

Apprentices will utilize a variety of power equipment and tools for making the job more efficient and simpler. Examples include a Kubota loader backhoe, zero-turn mower, golf carts, Toro Workman, hedge shears, backpack blowers, string trimmers, and chainsaws.

Participate in Yew Dell Events

As a small and growing non-profit organization teamwork and flexibility is key, especially with Yew Dell events such as plant sales, seasonal festivities, workshops, and fundraisers. Apprentices will be involved in these events, alongside other staff members, through event setup, filming virtual workshops, leading garden tours, setting up educational booths, assisting plant sale guests, or collecting special event tickets.

Apprentices are provided:

  • Free housing including all utilities except telephone
  • An hourly wage equal to the then prevailing federal minimum wage rate
  • Access to Yew Dell’s wifi network (in office and limited areas on the grounds)
  • Yew Dell shirts 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

Apprentices are expected to:

  • Complete the 12-month program
  • Live in Yew Dell provided housing
  • Provide appropriate transportation
  • Work a regular 40-hour work week with varying days and hours
  • Assist other Yew Dell staff with occasional program staffing outside normal work hours

Interested in becoming a Horticulture Apprentice in the future?

Visit Yew Dell: Potential apprentices are encouraged to visit the gardens on a tour or participate in a volunteer shift.

Questions about the program? Interested in visiting? Please send an email to our Gardens and Arboretum Manager below for more information.​

Hear from past Horticulture Apprentices:

Alice Kimbrell

2016-2017

The apprenticeship program is a rewarding experience for anyone looking to expand their knowledge in horticulture, communication skills, and the world of public gardens. The staff at Yew Dell are incredible to work with, and without the my experience at Yew Dell, I wouldn’t be where I am today!

Nick Kreevich

2017-2018

The apprenticeship program allowed me to explore the many facets of public gardens, such as garden design, volunteer management, and plant production. This opportunity opened many doors for me at other well-known and renowned gardens and I couldn’t be any prouder to be a part of the alumni of this program.

Lori Carlos

2019-2020

Yew Dell is a family, you feel at home when you are away from your own.You never know what to expect when moving to a new state, with new faces, and a new job; I can wholeheartedly say it was meant to be. The skills you obtain are invaluable and prepare you for a bright future in horticulture related fields.