Gardener, Conservatory and Shakespeare Gardens

Central Park Conservancy

New York, New York

Job Type Permanent
Salary Details $45K-$55K
Required Experience 2 - 6 years

Reports to: Curator of Gardens 

Department: Landscape Management  

Status:  Full Time, Non-Exempt  

About Central Park and the Central Park Conservancy

Central Park is one of the most famous and beloved urban public spaces in the world. Designed by Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux in 1857, the 843-acre park was the first purpose-built public park in the country and is a National Historic Landmark. The Central Park Conservancy, a private not-for-profit organization, was founded in 1980 to rescue the Park which had fallen into serious disrepair. Since that time, the Conservancy has overseen the investment of approximately $1 billion in the restoration of the Park, and now hosts over 40 million visitors a year.

The Conservancy’s mission is to preserve and celebrate Central Park as a sanctuary from urban life. The City of New York has formally entrusted the care of the Park to the Conservancy which is responsible for every aspect of its care, including landscape maintenance, capital improvements, and the visitor experience. Committed to sharing the best practices in urban park management, the Conservancy also serves as a resource for other NYC parks and for public-private partnerships around the world. The Conservancy employs roughly 400 people and has an operating budget of $100 million.

The Position

The Gardener in the Gardens Section (comprised of Conservatory and Shakespeare Gardens), working under the general supervision of the Curator of Gardens and Assistant Curators, provides all manner of care to the landscape, including established and seasonal ornamental plantings, hardscapes, fountains, and other architectural features, and provides support of the care and maintenance of all other landscape and hardscape areas within the assigned Gardens section.  

It is expected that the Gardener will work within and across the section and with other staff in Landscape Management, to perform their primary tasks.  

Essential Duties:  

Technical Responsibilities  

  • Care for and maintain all plant beds and their surrounding landscapes, and hardscapes, and perimeter in assigned section according to an established schedule to organizational standards. Monitors for insects and diseases of ornamental plants.  
  • Prepare landscape beds for planting. Plant annuals, perennials, bulbs, woody plants, and trees in compliance with approved design. Perform all manner of horticultural care, routine and seasonal maintenance on landscape plantings; woody, perennial and annual plants maintenance; cultivating, transplanting, irrigating, and pruning as necessary   
  • Hedging, mowing, leaf-blowing, string trimming, basic irrigation system maintenance, weeding, mulching, raking, sweeping, pruning, planting duties, and other related duties 
  • Installs and repairs fence as needed and as directed (excepting rustic fence) 
  • Support waste management operation by picking up and performing proper disposal of trash in landscapes, paths, perimeter, and gardens; empties trash cans as necessary; sweeps around benches, stairs, entryways, and paths 
  • Perform snow removal and ice mitigation on paths, entrances, perimeter, stairs, and other hard surfaces with machines and hand tools to provide appropriate levels of access as per established organizational standards  
  • Maintain surface drainage by keeping catch basins and gutters free of debris during heavy rainstorms and remaining snow and ice in the winter months  
  • Cleans fountain basins as needed  

Collaboration & Communication  

  • Assist in the preparation of special events as needed  
  • Work with volunteers (and seasonal interns, if available)  
  • Cooperate with other staff within the department and other departments’ personnel in completing assigned tasks   
  • Display the necessary initiative and dependability to work alone or in groups  
  • Interact with fellow staff and Park patrons in a professional manner.  
  • Answer plant identification questions   

Related Work  

  • Operate various types of equipment including utility vehicle, light or medium weight trucks, rototiller, mower, snowplow, snow blower and brush, leaf blowers, string trimmers, and hedgers  
  • Maintain tools and equipment in good working order and report items that require repair  
  • Participate in all training sessions and seminars  
  • Provide daily reports of malfunctioning infrastructure, furnishings, safety hazards, quality of life issues   
  • Perform related work as assigned    

Minimum Requirements   

  • Two years of full-time gardening experience, including experience in each of the following: planting, cultivating, and caring for trees and shrubs, perennial and annual plants, and lawns; or  
  • A certificate from a horticulture or botanic program containing college-level courses, such as programs offered by the New York Botanical Garden, the Brooklyn Botanical Garden, etc., or   
  • A satisfactory combination of education and/or experience that is equivalent to 1 above. Thirty semester credits from an accredited college, at least fifteen of which must be in horticulture, agriculture, agronomy, plant pathology, botany, landscape design or architecture, entomology, forestry, floriculture, plant production and/or crop management, may be substituted for the one year of the work experience described in 1 above   
  • Valid Drivers’ License that must be maintained for duration of employment   
  • Basic familiarity with computers and Office Suite 

Additional Requirements for Assignment to Gardener II  

  • A satisfactory combination of education and/or experience as described above that is equivalent to 5 years’ experience   
  • Demonstrated competency of essential job functions   
  • CPC Internal Candidates – A satisfactory performance evaluation during each year of employment.  

Abilities Required   

  • Familiarity with local and ornamental plant species; demonstrated plant identification skills   
  • Ability to work overtime, weekends and holidays as needed  
  • Ability to lift 50 lbs. and perform heavy physical labor daily in all weather conditions   

Salary range:  $45K to $55K (based on level of experience)

Note:  This is an on-site position.


The Central Park Conservancy’s work is guided by the belief that Central Park, and all public parks, must be managed and actively protected as an inclusive and democratic space for all.

Working closely with our New York City partners, we will always strive towards creating and sustaining a sense of belonging for all visitors and advocating for equitable and accessible public use of the Park.

In service of this belief, we are committed to fostering a workforce and organizational culture that is as diverse as Central Park itself and the dynamic city it serves.

Safety Requirements  

Establishment and maintenance of a safe work environment is the shared responsibility of this organization and employees at every level. The Conservancy will make every effort to assure a safe environment and be in compliance with federal, state, and local safety regulations. Employees are expected to obey safety rules and to exercise caution in all their work activities. Accordingly, employees should be aware of any hazards, which could cause an injury or accident (e.g., spills, obstacles in walkways, etc.). If an employee discovers a potentially dangerous condition, he/she should alert other employees and notify his/her supervisor immediately.  


The above statements are intended to describe the general nature and level of work being performed by people assigned to this classification. They are not to be construed as an exhaustive list of all responsibilities, duties, and skills required of personnel so classified. All personnel may be required to perform duties outside of their normal responsibilities from time to time, as needed  


Please apply here: https://www.centralparknyc.org/jobs 

When you apply, please indicate that you are responding to the posting on Conservation Job Board.

Category Botany, General / Stewardship, Land Trust