Head Gardener

Hiring Organization: Oak Spring Garden Foundation
Employment type: Full-Time
Job Location: Upperville, VA
Application Deadline: December 19, 2018

Head Gardener

The Oak Spring Garden Foundation (OSGF - www.osgf.org) – a private operating foundation based in Upperville, Virginia – is seeking an accomplished, dynamic and forward-thinking Head Gardener to take responsibility for the iconic garden created by Rachel Lambert Mellon at the Mellon family home in the Virginia Piedmont. The garden comprises a half-acre walled garden enclosed by the main residence and guest cottages, a spectacular crab apple arbor, and a small, beautifully designed display greenhouse. The garden is the centerpiece of the Oak Spring landscape and is supported by a modern well-equipped production greenhouse.

Summary of Position:

  • Schedule:
    • Full-Time (40 hour) - rotating schedule which will include weekdays and some weekends, beginning immediately.
  • Location:
    • Upperville, VA. The Oak Spring estate is located in rural northern Virginia, 15 minutes from the nearest town.
  • Management:
    • Responsible for two full-time garden staff, two 6-month summer garden interns and part-time staff as required.
  • Closing Date:
    • Applications accepted on a rolling basis. Review of applications will begin Wednesday December 19th. The position open until filled.
  • The Head Gardener is responsible for the execution of the horticultural component of the Oak Spring Garden Foundation (“OSGF”) land management strategic plan. The management and development of the garden in the style and spirit of Mrs. Rachel (Bunny) Lambert Mellon is the primary focus of this hands on role. The garden will be maintained to the highest standards using creative plantings to provide an inspirational environment for OSGF guests.
  • The garden surrounding the main residence, including the walled garden and display greenhouse, are the most prestigious areas and the primary working location for the Head Gardener. Oversight will also be given to the support greenhouse and the horticultural maintenance adjacent to the Library, Gallery and Broodmare Barn.
  • The Head Gardener will work closely with her/his team and the Head of Guest Services to provide plants and floristry for the residences and meeting rooms as needed. The Head Gardener will support OSGF’s program of events, workshops conferences and interns as required.
  • The Head Gardener serves as the liaison between the President, the Project Development Coordinator, the Garden Team and any consultants that are hired to assist with Oak Spring’s horticultural planning. It is the responsibility of the Head Gardener to ensure that the Garden Team is aware of all horticultural and land management initiatives at OSGF.


  • Development and management of a beautiful, inspiring garden and display greenhouse.
  • Management of the support greenhouse and horticulture surrounding the Library, Gallery and Broodmare Barn.
  • Improvement of the garden ecology by the creation and use of compost, the use of environmentally friendly methods to control weeds, pests and diseases and by providing support to all OSGF sustainable practices.
  • Tracking trends and implementing practices in environmentally sustainable horticulture.
  • Coordination with OSGF staff to ensure the seamless execution of the horticultural plan while meeting the requirements of Guest Services, Programs and ongoing building maintenance.
  • Development and management of the annual work plan and budget for the garden, in coordination with the Director of Finance and the President.
  • Tracking all budgeted projects, personnel and other costs in coordination with the Director of Finance.
  • Supervision and mentorship of the Garden Team including interns, volunteers and part-time staff as required.
  • Ordering supplies and materials for the team.
  • Maintenance of tools and equipment used by the team.
  • Safety and technical training for the team.
  • Work with all OSGF staff, interns and volunteers to create a supportive work environment, based on mutual respect, which also encourages individual initiative and strives for continuous operational improvement.
  • Leading tours and providing talks about the garden for guests.
  • Rostered weekend duties in the display and support greenhouses.
  • Other special projects as assigned by the President.


  • Diploma in Horticulture or substantial relevant work experience.
  • Three years of professional, supervisory and management experience.

Skills and Knowledge:

  • Horticulture – cultivation, management and development of gardens that combine creative ornamental displays with vegetable and fruit production.
  • Ability to work independently and to manage a diverse team of full-time and flexible part-time staff, interns and volunteers to achieve excellent results.
  • Excellent time-management, communication, organizational skills and results orientation.
  • Strong commitment to effective teamwork and the delivery of results, at high levels of excellence.
  • Consistently excellent judgment, including especially strong interpersonal skills.
  • Personal qualities of commitment, credibility and integrity, with a “can do” attitude.
  • Expertise with word processing, scheduling and electronic communications software.
  • Must have physical stamina to participate in rigorous outdoor activities.
  • Ability to exhibit safe and responsible conduct in outdoor environments.
  • Ability to lift 30 pounds.
  • Ability to work with horticultural machinery.
  • Strong commitment to the mission of OSGF.

Working Conditions:

  • This position is primarily based outside with very limited desk-work and will also be exposed to a wide variety of temperatures including extreme heat and cold. Must be comfortable in a variety of settings including indoors and outdoors.

Salary and Benefits:

Salary will be based on the experience and expertise of the successful applicant. OSGF offers a complete and generous benefit package including Medical, Dental, Life and 403(b). OSGF is able to provide temporary transitional accommodation of up to four months at a nominal rent of $500 per month (including utilities) for the successful applicant.

Additional Information:

For illustrations of the garden on the Oak Spring estate see the recent book by Linda Jane Holden with photographs by Roger Foley, “ The Gardens of Bunny Mellon.”


To be considered for this position, please send a cover letter, resume and any additional material that is relevant to your work history. Please send to hr@osgf.org and include the position title and your name in the subject line. Review of applications will begin Wednesday December 19th. For more information, please click here.