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Mt. Cuba Center is a botanical garden in the rolling hills of Hockessin, Delaware, with collections focused on plants of the eastern temperate forest, particularly the Appalachian Piedmont. Mt. Cuba Center’s founders, Lammot and Pamela Copeland, were avid gardeners who’s ambition was that their Brandywine Valley estate would become a public garden that inspires an appreciation for native plants and healthy ecosystems and motivates conservation action by catalyzing community engagement.
“I want this to be a place where people will learn to appreciate our native plants and to see how these plants can enrich their lives so that they, in turn, will become conservators of our natural habitats.”
-Mrs. Lammot du Pont Copeland
Comprising 1,083 acres, Mt. Cuba Center features formal estate gardens, exquisite, naturalistic woodland gardens, and over 1,000 acres of natural lands managed to promote diverse habitats for plants and wildlife. Mt. Cuba Center is intent on growing its audience and impact in conserving regional biodiversity. A master plan was completed in 2018, led by landscape architects Nelson, Byrd, Woltz, and Beyer, Blinder Belle architects, to envision how Mt. Cuba will continue to enhance its capacity to inspire and motivate conservation action.
The Director of Horticulture leads and oversees all of Mt. Cuba Center’s horticultural objectives and is responsible for concept development, design, project management, plant selection, planting, and maintenance within Mt. Cuba Center’s gardens and grounds. He/she works collaboratively with the senior leadership team to lead the organization in carrying out the strategic goals and founding intention of Mt. Cuba Center. The position requires familiarity and proficiency gardening with plants native to the eastern United States; strong garden design skills, particularly in naturalistic settings; and qualities of leadership and vision to play an active role in realizing Mt. Cuba Center’s ambition to achieve and promote “gardening on a higher level.”
Horticultural & Landscape Oversight
Direct and oversee all horticultural activities inclusive of garden design, plant selection and installation, tree care, integrated pest management, chemical application, turf care, natural lands management, and horticultural landscape care and maintenance. Develop and implement standards of care for Mt. Cuba Center’s gardens to maintain quality and integrity and ensure a remarkable guest experience.
Horticultural Research and Project Management
Oversee contracts and project management of vendors utilized to carry out garden modifications, renovations, maintenance, and care. Collaborate with staff, universities, organizations, and others to engage in conservation and research initiatives related to horticulture.
Responsible for overseeing a team of 25+ staff members. Recruit, lead, motivate and develop employees who can successfully collaborate with all internal and external constituencies to help achieve the core objectives, inclusive of making all personnel action decisions.
Program & Project Administration
Oversee the envisioning, development, implementation and evaluation of strategies for furthering the achievement of MCC’s overall vision, mission and program goals, and direct all aspects of the execution of those strategies. Work cooperatively with the management team on adopting and implementing organization-wide systems, and help guide and execute the strategic goals of the institution to support Mt. Cuba Center’s mission.
Assist the Executive Director in maintaining MCC’s relationships with multiple external parties by interpreting and explaining MCC and its programs. Represent MCC in professional organizations and at professional and community meetings and events as requested. Serve as a strategic business partner by collaborating with the Board of Managers and serve on Board Committees to carry out the organization’s founding intention.
- Master’s degree from an accredited college or university in horticulture or related plant science field preferred
- 10 years’ experience in horticultural positions of increasing responsibility with at least 5 years’ of management experience preferred
- Exceptional written, verbal, and public speaking communication skills
- Proficient horticultural and plant identification knowledge with emphasis on native plants of the eastern United States
- Proficient in basic principles of botanical science
- Working knowledge of garden and landscape design principles
- Proficient in Microsoft Office Suite and ability to learn and adapt to various software and technology programs to complete work duties
- Sound reasoning and judgment in making practical business decisions
- Demonstrated ability in organizing, managing and motivating others
- Ability to effectively fulfill organizational leadership roles and build meaningful partnerships
- Excellent interpersonal skills and the ability to build strong professional relationships and persuasively communicate with Mt. Cuba Center staff and the public
- Self-motivated, organized, attentive to details, and the ability to manage time and effectively function without close supervision.
- Ability and willingness to flexible hours including evenings, weekends, holidays and special events as needed
- Ability to occasionally perform moderate physical activity including standing and walking over uneven terrain
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