Horticulture Internship

Brooklyn Botanic Garden offers an annual Horticulture Internship for individuals interested in pursuing a career in horticulture, from those who are just starting out to those with experience who are looking to explore new areas of the field. Interns commit to an eight-month, hands-on learning experience working directly with BBG's internationally respected horticulture staff.

Internships are open to any adult over 18 years of age who has a strong interest in horticulture and some experience working outdoors (paid or unpaid). The applicant must be able to do physical labor outdoors and possess a valid driver’s license. Successful applicants must be able to work the full term and are responsible for their own housing.

Applications are due on November 30, 2019. Please note that applications will not be reviewed prior to the due date.

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Leadership funding for the Horticulture Internship program has been provided by the Amy P. Goldman Foundation.


BBG's Horticulture Internship provides both a solid education in the fundamentals of horticulture and practical work experience in preparation for a career in the field. Interns have a primary gardening assignment for the duration of the internship and two or more assigned mentors. Group projects, staff-taught workshops, and the Certificate in Horticulture program offer further training, and assisting at BBG’s Plant Sale and other Garden events affords interns opportunities to experience the wide variety of programs and initiatives at the Garden.

Hourly Rate: $15

Work Schedule: Monday through Friday, 8 a.m.–4 p.m., March 23 through December 4, 2020.

To be accepted into the program, interns must be able to work the full eight months at 37.5 hours per week and are responsible for their own housing.

Areas of Focus

There are nine intern positions available among the areas of focus listed below. Mentor assignments are determined in early 2020.

  • Conservatory Work: Indoor plant displays, collections maintenance, nursery care, and propagation. 1 position; runs February 24–November 6, 2020
  • Woody Plants: Care of trees and shrubs, formal garden styles, naturalized plant forms, Japanese pruning, and/or rose care 2–3 positions
  • Native Flora: Care of native plants, prairie plants, and naturalized plant communities 2–3 positions
  • Display Gardens: Care of annuals, perennials, herbs and vegetables, and/or riparian plants 3–4 positions
  • Turf & Grounds1 position

Most positions run from the last week of March through the first week of December. The Conservatory Work position runs from the end of February through the first week of November. Mentor assignments will be made in early 2019.

Training Goals

Every intern will receive training in basic gardening techniques and horticultural topics including:

  • Garden maintenance strategies
  • Plant identification
  • Weed identification and management
  • Mulch types and application methods
  • Understanding seasonal impacts on horticulture
  • Irrigation, fertilization, and other plant care techniques
  • Factors that affect plant placement
  • For the Conservatory Work intern, the above topics will be applied to indoor plants and conservatory environments, along with the basics of propagation and nursery management.

In addition to gaining specialized knowledge appropriate to his or her area of focus, each intern will have the opportunity to:

  • Become familiar with horticultural tools, equipment, and vehicles.
  • Learn about career opportunities in horticulture and public gardens.
  • Learn about the resources and operations of a botanic garden and the mission of BBG.
  • Gain an appreciation for the global diversity of plants and people.
  • Experience teamwork, cooperation, and responsibility.

Additional Training

Horticulture Certificate

Horticulture interns are required to attend classes toward, and successfully complete, the BBG Certificate in Horticulture. The eight certificate courses are offered in the evenings by the Continuing Education department and are scheduled so that interns can complete the program by the end of their internship. Classes are free of charge to interns.

Field Trips

Interns are generally offered three field trips during their term. This is a great opportunity to visit gardens and parks and experience different aspects of public horticulture. These field trips take place during the workday and are usually outside the New York City area. Past trips have included Old Westbury Gardens and Planting Fields Arboretum; Longwood Gardens and Chanticleer; and Rodale Farm Institute.

Individual Projects

Interns are encouraged (but not required) to undertake a six-month-long project during their internship. Garden resources include BBG’s 52 acres of gardens and plant collections, the Library, and the Horticulture team and other staff. Past projects have included a demonstration of making natural dyes from plants, research on heirloom seeds, a plan for improving nursery sustainability, and the uses of LED lighting in horticulture.

Group Projects

Various group projects take place throughout the year, depending on the need and season. These are large-scale projects all the interns work on together, along with several Horticulture staff. One of the first group projects of the year is going through all the lawn areas to clean up after winter. Other group projects have included mulching the Cherry Collection trees, removing spent plants from display beds, cleaning out the border mounds, summer plantings for the Annual Border, and fall bulb planting.

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Horticulture Interns
BBG's Horticulture interns planting bulbs on Magnolia Plaza. Photo by Blanca Begert.
Horticulture intern Ronen Gamil trims a hedge.
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