Gardener (Collections)

Washington, D.C
Nov 18, 2020
Nov 25, 2020
Full Time


The AOC/United States Botanic Garden is accepting applications for a Gardener possessing a broad knowledge of rare and historical plants as well as the specialized living accessioned collections assigned to the Collections Section. Collections include, but are not limited to: plants from the Orchid family, Cacti and Succulents, Tropical and Subtropical plants with known medicinal or economic properties, plants of historical significance or institutional importance, rare and endangered species.

Learn more about this agency


This position is located in the United States Botanic Garden (USBG), Horticulture Section, Collections Department. The Collections Department is responsible for growing, maintaining and displaying the USBG's living accessioned collection. The incumbent serves as a Gardener and is responsible for broad knowledge of rare and historical plants as well as the specialized living accessioned collections assigned to the Collections Section. Collections include, but are not limited to: plants from the Orchid family, Cacti and Succulents, Tropical /Subtropical plants, plants with known medicinal or economic properties, plants of historical significance or institutional importance, rare and endangered species, and collections utilized to support mission functions. The incumbent will perform duties in any of the following areas: propagation, acquisition, cultivation, program development and maintenance for one of the collections. Learn more here: US Botanic Garden

*** This position is essential--Employee is required to report to work during emergencies and inclement weather situations***

The tour of duty will include weekends, evenings, and holidays on a regular and recurring basis. The tour of duty of will begin as a Tuesday through Saturday schedule.

The position may be filled at the Gardener journey-level or worker-level. Developmental assignments will be given with the goal of attaining the full performance level. Duties quoted below are at the WG-8 level.

Major Duties

Grows Specialized Plant Groups

Grows, manages, maintains, develops, and cultivates a specialized plant collection. Propagates and cultivates unusual plants, seeds, and plant materials. This process includes daily watering, fertilizing, and maintaining proper greenhouse conditions including temperature, humidity, ventilation, and light levels. Considers the unique needs and characteristics of plants in providing an optimum growing environment. Utilizes a computer controlled greenhouse environmental control system to manipulate the production environment to optimal plant growth conditions. Responsible for growing and maintaining the USBG accessioned Cacti and Succulent Collection or Orchid Collection.

In conjunction with the plant curator, exchanges materials, ideas, and information with other conservatories, museums, and botanic gardens.

Serves as an authoritative source of information on important practical horticultural issues. Explores methods to improve planting, cultivating, fertilizing, spraying and disease control to achieve optimum plant quality and recommends priorities and strategies for optimum growth.

Re-plants, divides, and prunes plant specimens to achieve and maintain optimum plant health. Performs propagation of the collection by division, cuttings, seeds, tissue culture and air layering at the appropriate time. Allocates space for plant production and ensures proper growing conditions for the living collections. Directs the work of other gardeners in propagating and growing plants in the collection.

Recognizes unusual plant diseases and unusual or poor plant growth and treats the conditions accordingly. Uses technical knowledge to recommend possible solutions to routine problems involving a broad variety of tropical plant genera. Records corrective procedures used and the results achieved. Monitors pest population and life cycles; determines threshold level and applies the appropriate physical, cultural, and biological or chemical controls.

Operates a motor vehicle when transporting plants and equipment to designated facilities. Completes property passes to ensure accountability of plants transported. Records the date, plant name, accession number, quantity, and plant destination.

Modifies and adapts existing procedures for preventative maintenance and greenhouse scheduling.

Installs Aesthetic and Educational Displays and performs other Mission Critical Duties

Designs aesthetic and educational plant displays, which include the layout and design of the display, selection and labeling the plants, and maintaining and rotating plants in the exhibit.

Takes the initiative to inform the public about plants cared for through leading classes, workshops, and tours for the USBG visitors. As required, directs a small group of staff, volunteers, and summer employees in the performance of plant maintenance and care projects.

Performs duties to maintain clean and orderly horticultural standards. Ensures that assigned areas are free of weeds and related problems. Organizes work areas, sweeps and cleans greenhouse floors with disinfectants, removes trash and debris, and coils hoses.

Is responsible for collaborating with other sections and divisions of the USBG to develop, execute, and maintain educational horticultural exhibits.

Removes snow and ice from sidewalks and steps in inclement weather. Applies salt, sand, and other melting agents to clear areas and ensure safe conditions.

Travel Required

Not required

Supervisory status

Promotion Potential


Conditions of Employment

  • You must be a U.S. Citizen.
  • You must be able to pass a drug test.
  • Your resume and question responses must demonstrate job-related elements.
  • Must possess a valid, unexpired State driver's license at application.


IMPORTANT NOTE: If the above required license is not held during employment, the incumbent will be terminated for failure to meet the conditions of continued employment.


You must meet all eligibility and qualification requirements by the closing date of the job announcement.

You must meet the following SCREEN-OUT:

-- Ability to do Gardening Work Without More Than Normal Supervision.

Qualification at the WG-6 level: Assists with gardening projects and has a working knowledge of gardening practices in order to maintain a diverse group of plants.

Qualification at the WG-8 level: Is able to work gardening projects independently and has knowledge of methods for propagating and cultivating a wide variety of plants.


Additional information

Welcome Veterans. The Veterans Employment Opportunities Act of 1998 (VEOA) gives veterans' preference rights in the legislative branch to certain veterans as applied by the Congressional Accountability Act. Veterans' preference is applied on this vacancy announcement. If you are a veteran and have been separated under honorable conditions, you must submit a copy of your DD-214 or other proof of eligibility; SF-15, if applicable; and Department of Veterans Affairs documentation of disability, if applicable. For more information, please visit OPM vet guide

If you are a male applicant born after December 31, 1959, you must certify that you have registered with the Selective Service System. If you are exempt from registration under Selective Service Law, you must provide appropriate proof of exemption. Please visit the Selective Service System website for more information.

DRUG TESTING: The Architect of the Capitol (AOC) is a Drug Free Workplace. As part of the AOC's suitability assessment, a candidate tentatively selected for a position who is not currently an AOC employee is required to submit to screening for illegal drug use. Satisfactory completion of a drug test is a condition of employment with the Agency. A candidate must test negative prior to being eligible for appointment into a position. We will schedule, provide and cover the cost for the drug test.

The selectee(s) under the vacancy announcement for this position is subject to a criminal record check by the U.S. Capitol Police and satisfactory adjudication to be eligible for employment at the Architect of the Capitol.

The Architect of the Capitol is an E-VERIFY Participant. E-VERIFY is an Internet-based system that compares information from an employee's Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, to data from U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Social Security Administration records to confirm employment authorization in the United States. If you are selected for this position, the documentation that you present for purposes of completing the DHS Form I-9 will be verified through the DHS "E-VERIFY" electronic system. For more information on E-Verify, please visit

The Architect of the Capitol is an Equal Opportunity Employer and prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex, religion, age, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, genetic information and/or disability.

This agency provides reasonable accommodation to applicants with disabilities. If you need a reasonable accommodation for any part of the application and hiring process, please notify the agency. The decision on granting reasonable accommodation will be made on a case-by-case basis.

Moving expenses are not authorized.

Relocation expenses are not authorized.

Probationary Period - A newly appointed selectee is subject to the completion of a one-year trial/probationary period, regardless of whether or not a trial/probationary period has been completed previously with the Architect of the Capitol or another Federal agency.

This vacancy announcement may be used to fill additional vacancies in any of the jurisdictions of the Architect of the Capitol.

All application materials become the property of the Architect of the Capitol.

How You Will Be Evaluated

You will be evaluated for this job based on how well you meet the qualifications above.

Review your resume and responses carefully. Your eligibility for consideration and qualifications for the position will be determined based upon a review of your detailed resume and your responses to job specific self-assessment questions.

Your resume will be evaluated based on evidence of your ability to demonstrate the job elements for this position, possession of any specialized experience, and how well your background and experience relates to the self-assessment questions in the job announcement. The self-assessment questions relate to the following job elements and competencies:
  • Ability to do Gardening Work Without More Than Normal Supervision (Screen-out)
  • Knowledge of Technical Gardening Practices
  • Ability to Interpret Instructions and Specifications
  • Ability to Use and Maintain Gardening Tools and Equipment

Your responses to the self-assessment questions serve as the basis for your initial rating. You will receive a numerical score based on your responses to these questions. Next, your responses will be evaluated by a Human Resources Specialist and/or a subject matter expert against the information provided in your resume and optional cover letter. Your resume must support your answers to the self-assessment questions. Falsifying your background, education and/or experience is cause for non-selection or disqualification from further consideration.

To preview questions please click here .

Background checks and security clearance

Security clearance

Drug test required

Required Documents

The Architect of the Capitol's job application process is designed to ensure that we only ask you for the information that is absolutely needed to evaluate your qualifications and eligibility for the position.

To apply for this position, you only need to submit online the following: a) your resume and 2) answer the online vacancy assessment questionnaire. The online questionnaire contains eligibility and screening questions and other relevant supplemental information. No additional documentation or attachment is required at the time of application.

We ask that you prepare and submit a resume that best describes fully your background experience, skills, abilities, education, training and other relevant credentials. The resume should include dates of employment.

Nothing further is required until it is requested by the staff of the Human Capital Management Division. If additional documentation is required for a position, you will be asked to provide it during the selection process or upon selection. At that point, we may ask you to submit documentation to support statements made in your resume.

For example, we may ask you to provide documents such as college transcripts, copy of diploma or proof of Federal employment status. If the position requires a license or certification, we will ask candidate(s) to provide proof at the time of selection.

If you are claiming veterans' preference, we may ask you to submit proof of Veterans preference (DD-214, and, if claiming 10-point preference, the SF-15 plus proof required by that form).

If you fail to provide the required documents, we will withdraw a tentative job offer made and/or remove you from further consideration.

If you are relying on your education to meet qualification requirements:

Education must be accredited by an accrediting institution recognized by the U.S. Department of Education in order for it to be credited towards qualifications. Therefore, provide only the attendance and/or degrees from schools accredited by accrediting institutions recognized by the U.S. Department of Education .

Failure to provide all of the required information as stated in this vacancy announcement may result in an ineligible rating or may affect the overall rating.

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