2017 Public Garden Management Internship Program

This program at Rutgers Gardens provides Rutgers students with a firm understanding of how a public garden or park serves the community and operates. Through garden maintenance, students learn a variety of horticultural techniques and what is required to keep a public garden beautiful and functional. The comprehensive 14-week paid internship is complemented by a required 3-credit course on Public Garden Management, focusing on business, organizational, and other aspects of public gardens that they don't experience firsthand. As well, numerous trips throughout the NY and Philadelphia area provide unique educational and networking opportunities. The Internship Program in Public Garden Management is available for up to 10 Students. Applicants who are interested may also apply for the Plant Breeding option, which includes a more specialized plant focus.
The Public Garden Management students will intern at Rutgers Gardens 5 days a week, with occasional weekend rotations. In addition to various field trips to public and private gardens, the internship will include:

  • Zone Gardening – Interns will assist in the managing of the various garden collections, which will include the installation of public displays of annuals, perennials and woody shrubs in association with the staff and volunteers. Helps to establish Teamwork and Leadership skills.
  • Shrub and Tree Care – Evaluate how the different pruning techniques effect the growth of the plant as well as how the plants respond to the wounding. Discussions will include considerations about the proper tools required, including the basic techniques and safety considerations for chainsaw and chipper operation.
  • Basics of Turf Care – Covering the basics of proper lawn maintenance, including equipment maintenance and operation.
  • Basic Care of Perennials, Annuals, Vegetables and Ornamental Grasses – Layout, planting and care of the annual display garden, which is a major attraction of the Gardens. In addition, the various other mixed borders and displays will be maintained. Focus is upon the culture, identification, design considerations and pest issues of these various ornamental plants.
  • Woodland Maintenance – Rutgers Gardens includes a 70 acre woodland area, Helyar Woods. The care of the woodland and the removal of various invasive plants is an ongoing process and is an active part of the internship.
  • Public Garden Management (11:550:240 ) – A required part of the internship program, this 3 credit course provides not only a more intensive educational element, reinforcing what is learned from working at Rutgers Gardens, but also insights into professional development, etiquette, and business skills needed in managing a public garden.
frog pond succulent Garden

Preparing planters at the frog pond

Maintenance of the Succulent Garden

Goals for the summer

    • Overview of the management of public gardens.
    • A basic understanding of horticulture, garden design and maintenance as it applies to public gardens and parks.
    • Professional networking with public gardens, parks, and businesses in NY, NJ and PA.
    • Opportunities to interact and network with various members of the green industry throughout NJ.
    • Exposure to public garden programming, including youth and volunteer programs.
    • Time management (completing a task in an efficient, cost effective manner). An important expectation for subsequent review by parks, public gardens and other fields within the green industry.

Second Year Option
After completing the Public Garden Management Program, students have the option of applying for an internship experience at a public garden or park outside of Rutgers Gardens the following year.  During their internship here, the students will have been exposed to or visited many of the other parks and public gardens offering internships, including Central Park. The goal is to expose students to the complexities of issues facing a public park or garden and how these public facilities manage these issues in order to meet the goals of their mission statements.

2017 Internship Application download the PDF file to your computer, fill in the requested fields, save and email to Clayton Leadbetter. For more information please email Clayton or call 732-932-8451.
The internship will start Thursday, May 11, 2017 and end Friday, August 18, 2017
Completed applications must be received March 1, 2017.
Selected applicants will be contacted for interviews to take place in late February - early March.