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Manager, Kemper Center Programs and Landscapes

Missouri Botanical Garden, 2345 Tower Grove Ave., St. Louis, Missouri, United States of America Req #716
Tuesday, August 29, 2023

Summary: Manages and provides leadership for the Kemper Center for Home Gardening programs and technical work related to maintaining the landscapes and plant collections associated to the Center. Ensures landscapes and plant collections are maintained at the highest levels; requests plants for addition to the Gardens living collections and seasonal displays. Maintains and develops plant collections in accordance with Garden policies to support conservation, research, education, and display. Ensures information delivery and displays for Kemper Center programs are of the highest quality and staff approach to information delivery utilizes best practices in customer service. Maintains excellent plant records associated to living collections. Manages all horticulture maintenance operations for assigned Garden areas and interior Kemper Center programming; develops work schedules and quality standards; participates in developing budgets and managing expenses. Collaborates with management and other employees on garden development and/or seasonal displays, plant selection acquisition, production, and planting; manages a team of 12 employees and 50+ volunteers.

Essential Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Manage and provide direction to develop programs at the Kemper Center for Home Gardening; including but not limited to, Horticulture Answer Service, walk-in gardening questions and the Plant Doctor Program

  • Integrate interior and exterior horticulture themes and programming and develop innovative programs for the Kemper Center for Home Gardening

  • Manage internship and internal staff training programs

  • Ensure the success of and regularly evaluate the interior and exterior programs and make changes as necessary

  • Manage and oversee development of web-based content for gardening help, interior displays, the Plant Finder database, garden blogs, and the Master Gardener Program

  • Manage staff that deliver indoor and web-based programing associated to the Kemper Center for Home Gardening

  • Takes part in teaching and supervising students for the College of Horticulture and Master Gardener programs

  • Review and approves staffs garden / planting designs and plant material, seeks approval from SVP Horticulture and Living Collections as needed

  • Reviews and approves plant requests submitted by the Kemper Center Staff

  • Ensures that gardens are maintained in accordance with garden descriptions, policies, and guidelines (i.e., seasonal landscape design adherence, planning, installation, maintenance of landscape gardens and plant recording).

  • Ensure Kemper Center staff and volunteers answer incoming phone and email questions effectively

  • Work with the Senior Manager of Living Collections to optimize LCMS database functionality to support Kemper Center Programs

  • Aid the Master Gardener Coordinator in overseeing the Master Gardener program and be the point person for the University of Missouri staff and Master Gardener Committee

  • Regularly check in with Senior Vice President (SVP) of Horticulture and Living Collections to confirm direction for Kemper Center Programs and Landscapes

  • Ensure the highest level of excellence in landscape maintenance and plant collections development

  • Ensures horticulture staff are recording plant records to the highest levels using the Garden’s Living Collections Management System; conducts plant records on and ongoing basis and in a timely manor

  • Adhere to MBG’s collection development and sharing policies

  • Aid SVP in developing and managing the budget for Kemper Center programs and examine programs to look for cost efficiency

  • Participate in fund raising activities associated to Kemper Center programs, including grant writing

  • Complete purchase orders, submit for approval, and order materials, supplies and tools for the Center

  • Ensure staff maintain tools and equipment and keep program and storage areas clean and tidy; perform regular inventories of tools and equipment

  • Plan and schedule seasonal landscape and plant maintenance tasks and ensure necessary supplies and plant material are on hand to complete tasks prior to starting

  • Ensure that all applicable safety standards are followed (i.e., inform employees of safety rules and safe working practices and routinely monitor to enforce them; adapt or modify work methods to reduce hazards.)

  • Report accidents and injuries immediately using established processes

  • Perform tours, give presentations, and interact with the media as required

  • If required, participate in national and international travel / expeditions for plant collecting and horticulture capacity building

  • Manages and performs snow removal on Garden grounds, when called upon, to maintain a safe environment for staff and visitors

  • Maintain the highest level of expertise

  • Behaves and communicates in a manner that promotes and fosters a culture of teamwork and cooperation, within our division and throughout the Garden, with co-workers, supervisors/managers, volunteers, visitors and employees.

  • Performs other duties as assigned.

Supervisory Responsibilities: Varies, but generally between (12) employees and over sixty (60+) volunteers.


  • Communication: Combines listening skills, verbal and written communication skills and visitor relation skills.

  • Collaboration: Incorporates teamwork, mutual respect, active engagement, cooperation and visitor focus. 

  • Accountability: Initiative to take ownership of responsibilities, the ability to prioritize and the working knowledge and skills to take action.

  • Problem Solving: Blends problem solving skills, judgement and decision making skills along with creativity and resourcefulness.

  • Stewardship:  Merges the practical application of the Garden values and support for a positive organizational climate.         

  • Leadership:  Leadership competency incorporates a cluster of knowledge, skills and abilities required for management of people, budgets and assigned business functions/operations


  • Minimum of seven (7) years of practical, relevant work experience.

  • Minimum of five (5) years’ experience in personnel management including demonstrated abilities in staff support, coaching and development and conflict resolution.

  • Proven ability to develop and lead programs

  • fertilizers, herbicides, etc.)

  • Demonstrated experience in managing multiple landscaping operations.

  • Working knowledge of safe operating procedures for various types of landscape maintenance equipment.

  • Thorough understanding of different components and basic design requirements of automatic irrigation systems.

  • Working knowledge of budget development/management and forecasting.

  • Strong knowledge of social media platforms

  • Knowledge of web-design/development

  • Ability to read and understand construction blueprints.

  • Must possess and maintain valid driver’s license

  • Must be able to secure and maintain pesticide applicator’s license.

  • Proven ability to lead and direct the work of others to complete general projects, including but not limited to staff and volunteers is required.

  • Demonstrated ability to communicate effectively at all levels; must enjoy and feel comfortable interacting and working in close proximity to the general public, in a safe and friendly manner, answering questions regarding horticulture collection.

  • Scheduling flexibility that allows working weekends and holidays as needed.

  • Knowledge of and adherence to all health and safety guidelines.

  • The requirements and duties listed are representative and not exhaustive of the knowledge, skill, and/or abilities required.

  • Possess a good understanding of living collections and curatorial practices


  • B.S. degree in Horticulture, Biology, Botany and/or related field required; Master Degree strongly preferred

  • An equivalent combination of skills, education and experience may be considered.

Computer Skills:

  • Proficiency with Microsoft Office suite (i.e., Word, Excel, Outlook).

  • Solid Internet research skills.

  • Ability to use e-mail to communicate with Garden staff to answer questions and service their needs.

Other Skills and Abilities: N/A

Language Skills:

  • Ability to read and understand pesticide labels.

Mathematical Skills:

  • Requires ability to perform addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division; calculate percentages and decimals.

Reasoning Ability:

  • Requires ability to exercise independent judgment to apply facts and principles for developing approaches and techniques to problem resolution.

Certificates, Licenses, Registrations:

  • Ability to possess and maintain valid driver’s and a pesticide applicator’s license.

  • Other related certifications are a plus.

Physical Demands:

  • load, unload and move gardening supplies, medium to heavy weight tools and equipment).

  • Requires standing, walking, bending, stooping, and reaching for extended periods of time-- 50% or more of the workday is standing on feet.

  • Ability to transport cumbersome potted plants and trays of varying weights.

  • Ability to wear Garden-issued Personal Protective Equipment.

  • May be required to perform tasks at varying heights (i.e., climb ladders, etc.).

  • Ability to utilize computer keyboard (typing).

Work Environment:

  • Ability to work outdoors in all weather conditions (i.e., humid conditions, temperatures over 100°F as well as temperatures below 0°F, in rain, snow and other inclement weather conditions as needed).

  • 50% or more of the workday is standing on feet while watering or maintaining plants.

  • Wet conditions much of the time as watering is frequent.

  • Comfortable working in immediate proximity to general public, in a safe and friendly manner, answering general questions regarding the Garden’s operations, events, facilities, etc.

Contacts with Individuals/Organizations Inside/Outside the Garden:

  • Frequently works with green industry representatives, professional organizations, colleges, and universities

  • Delivers horticulture information to the visiting public and wider public through the web

  • Garden Employees, Volunteers, Guests

  • Occasional tour groups, media

Supervisor (title not person):

Senior Vice President Horticulture & Living Collections

Other details

  • Pay Type Salary
Location on Google Maps
  • Missouri Botanical Garden, 2345 Tower Grove Ave., St. Louis, Missouri, United States of America