2024 MSU Horticulture Gardens Summer Student Jobs

Position Description

The MSU Horticulture Gardens are seeking hardworking student employees to assist with a variety of labor tasks during late-spring and summer 2024. Positions may be available in the annual garden, perennial garden, rose garden, landscape arboretum, greenhouses, or for general labor.  

Summer Schedule and Hours

  • April 29th through late-August. Earlier (part-time) starting dates available (and needed!)
  • 40 hours per week, Mon-Fri, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
  • Occasional Saturdays and Sundays, on a rotating basis
  • We may be able to accommodate your summer class schedule (if applicable) with a reduced number of hours per week, upon request

Position Requirements

The ideal candidate will be able to accomplish a variety of tasks, work in all weather conditions, and work well as a team. Prior horticulture or gardening experience is not necessary, but a positive attitude is! 

Duties and Responsibilities

Regardless of the garden you are assigned to, employees will assist with garden and greenhouse maintenance including planting, weeding, watering, dead-heading, fertilizing, spreading compost and mulch, removing debris, pruning, edging, and other tasks as needed.


  • Real-world experience growing and maintaining greenhouse and garden plants
  • Field Trips to other gardens on- and off-campus
  • Attend biweekly workshops given by our staff throughout the summer
  • Get to know other student and volunteer plant geeks

Garden Positions & What to Expect

Michigan 4-H Children’s Garden

Come and be a part of the premier children’s garden in the nation! You will maintain the 4-H Children’s Gardens and have opportunity to work with a variety of plants to create educational plant displays. Some of the special opportunities in the children’s garden include:

  • Sow seeds, design beds, and maintain themed displays
  • Create and deliver educational programs including tours, field trips, and other programming
  • Help with fun summer kid’s programs such as the Pirate and Pixie Party, Bug Day, and Bubble Day!      
Clancy Lewis Landscape Arboretum

A world of its own, The Lewis Arboretum consists of over a dozen gardens spanning 7 acres starting at the corner of Bogue Street and Service Road. Each Garden is different in its own way regarding the plants they contain, the design intent, and the maintenance it receives. It contains a wide variety of plants including trees, shrubs, perennials, annuals, aquatics, tropicals, fruits, and vegetables. Aside from the plants, The "Arb" has many hardscape features such as patios, walkways, raised beds, and retaining walls, several other structures, and 6 ponds. Some of the special opportunities in The Arboretum include:

  • Learn the ins-and-outs of caring for a mature, diverse landscape
  • Potentially work on hardscape and/or pond projects, if interested
  • Learn to prune trees, shrubs, vines, hedges, and even topiaries
  • Opportunities to design/re-design areas, beds, and/or containers
  • Care for unique gardens like The Japanese Garden, Hobbit Garden, English Garden, Native Garden, Fruit Collection, etc.
Judith DeLapa Perennial Garden

The perennial garden is located in the heart of the Horticulture Gardens and provides a living laboratory of over 400 perennial varieties, along with a number of tree and shrub species. Many new plantings have gone into the perennial garden in the past year, creating a new palette to maintain and care for. Skillfully designed island beds are used as displays for teaching, extension, and general enjoyment for the university community and general public. Some of the special opportunities in the perennial garden include:

  • Installation of some annual display beds and containers
  • Daily maintenance of the perennial garden pond and waterfall, as well as designing containers
  • Maintaining and collecting data on our Clematis trial
  • Learn to identify perennials, annuals, trees, and shrubs
  • Help design and renovate areas throughout the perennial garden
Amien and Florence Carter Trial Garden

In the 2-acre trial garden, you will work primarily with annuals, but will also gain experience with perennials, vegetables, herbs, tropical plants, and houseplants. Half of the beds in this garden are used for new plant trials. The other half are display beds, which are redesigned annually. Some of the special opportunities in the trial garden include:

  • Evaluate new plant varieties, most of which are not yet available to the general public
  • Learn hundreds of varieties of annuals
  • Install and maintain 25,000-30,000 plants
  • Opportunity to design beds and/or containers
  • Propagate almost 10,000 houseplants and succulents for our fall fundraiser
Rose Garden

Within the rose garden you will find a collection of the All-American Rose Society’s winners from year’s past. The collection includes examples of floribunda, grandiflora, hybrid tea, climbing, shrub, and heirloom roses. Some of the special opportunities in the rose garden include:

  • Weekly deadheading of spent blooms and corrective pruning, as needed
  • Inventory and labeling of varieties
  • Rejuvenation of various collections
  • Pest and disease scouting

The Teaching Greenhouses have over 30,000 square feet under glass. They are utilized for various classes and to grow plants for use in the Gardens. Also, many events are held in the conservatory greenhouse during the summer months. Some of the special opportunities in the greenhouse include:

  • Learn the fine art of greenhouse watering, and how not to overwater
  • Greenhouse cleaning and sanitation to reduce pests and diseases
  • Mix fertilizer and maintain fertilizer injector systems
  • Gaining knowledge of our greenhouse environmental control computer
  • Setup and tear down of greenhouse layouts
  • Inventory greenhouse supplies and materials
  • Scouting of greenhouse pests and diseases
General Labor

Our general labor employees get to do a little bit of everything! Depending on our needs each day, this could include greenhouse watering, painting outdoor structures, cleaning greenhouses, or working outdoors in any of the other gardens listed. General labor employees should be able to transition from one task to another and carryout projects assigned by any of our full-time staff. Some of the special opportunities for general labor employees include:

  • Rarely have two days that are alike. Variety is the spice of life!
  • Gain experience in all the garden areas
  • Work with annuals, perennials, trees, shrubs, tropicals, and houseplants



To Apply

Download and complete the (.pdf) application. Please fill it out electronically and email to Hiring NOW through March 31st, 2024, or until positions are filled. Interviews will be scheduled first-come-first-served.