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Gardener II

Apply now Job no: 494408
Work type: Full Time
Location: Swarthmore
Categories: Staff

Swarthmore College is a highly selective liberal arts college located in the suburbs of Philadelphia, whose mission combines academic rigor with social responsibility. Swarthmore has a strong institutional commitment to inclusive excellence and nondiscrimination in its educational program and employment practices and encourages candidates who will further advance the goal of fostering a diverse and inclusive community. As one of the nation’s finest institutions of higher learning, Swarthmore College is global in outlook and draws students from around the nation and world. The 425‐acre campus is a designated arboretum, complete with gardens, rolling lawns, a creek, wooded hills, and hiking trails in the Crum Woods.

Swarthmore College is located just west of Philadelphia. The Scott Arboretum was established in 1929. Its mission is to delight and educate all visitors and inspire them to enjoy the many benefits of horticulture. The Arboretum, which is approximately 425 acres that makes up the Swarthmore College campus is often named one of the most beautiful in the country, and is well known for its collections of flowering cherries, crabapples, magnolias, hollies, lilacs, tree peonies, organic rose garden and witchhazels and for the numerous courtyard gardens around the College’s academic and residence hall buildings.

The Gardener II provides timely and reliable support for gardening care and maintenance of the Scott Arboretum’s plant collections and landscaped areas, and performs other campus grounds keeping duties to maintain and keep safe the paths, roads, turf areas, fields, and additional properties of the College. Tasks performed with minimal supervision include: maintaining plant collections and garden areas by doing timely planting, weeding, mulching, and other horticultural duties; maintaining safety and aesthetic aspects of the campus, including trash, leaf and snow removal, and other grounds keeping duties; operating hand and power gardening tools and equipment safely and proficiently.

Essential Responsibilities:
The Gardener II must have the physical ability to plant, weed, mulch, rake, and perform other grounds keeping duties including; trash and snow removal, operate hand and power gardening tools and equipment, pesticides and other chemicals used in the trade.


  • Performs horticultural tasks and maintains the plant collections by doing timely planting, weeding, mulching, pruning, fertilizing, irrigating, leaf raking, and other plant cultural practices with minimal supervision in order to maintain campus aesthetics and provide proper horticultural care.
  • Performs detailed horticultural work to maintain specialty garden areas consisting of Bond Rose Garden, Cosby Courtyard, Lang Fragrance Garden, cherry border, peony collection, gravel culture, various courtyard gardens and major horticultural collections with minimal supervision in order to provide proper horticultural care and maintain these garden areas as the most intensively-maintained gardens on campus.
  • Demonstrates familiarity with the identification and maintenance of a broad range of trees, shrubs, vines, herbaceous perennials, annuals, and turf grass; has the basic knowledge to provide proper horticultural care in a timely and efficient manner with minimal supervision.
  • Demonstrates ability to decide a course of action relative to soils and fertilization, and is up-to-date on accepted practices relative to soil care, pruning and planting in order to provide current and approved methods of horticultural science.
  • Demonstrates familiarity with the common diseases, insects, weeds, and cultural problems of landscapes and turf in the mid-Atlantic region in order to make proper decisions for the daily maintenance and care of the landscape.
  • Demonstrates familiarity with sustainable landscape/gardening practices, organic principles relating to soil and plant health, and maintenance and restoration process of natural areas such as Crum Woods.
  • Maintains Pennsylvania pesticide certification for ornamentals and turf in order to legally and safely apply pesticides or organic control materials as part of job duties.


  • Keeps campus areas, turf, roads, sidewalks, and patios maintained in an efficient way, and has the ability to prioritize the work, in order to provide a safe and aesthetically-pleasing campus.
  • Performs in a timely way trash removal, irrigation, turf renovation, turf mowing, snow removal, and leaf raking in order to efficiently maintain safety and high horticultural aesthetics on campus.
  • Assists with special function set-up and tear-down in order to prepare the facilities in a timely way for College-hosted events.
  • Present for and assists in College emergencies, bad weather occurrences, and special College functions in order to maintain campus safety for students, staff, and visitors.

Equipment Operation And Maintenance

  • Safely and proficiently uses all hand gardening tools, consisting of pruners, shovels, rakes, loppers, hedge shears, and other gardening tools.
  • Safely and proficiently uses Grounds power equipment consisting of tractor, loader, trucks, lawn mower, chain saw, weed whip, turf aerator, turf slicer/seeder, snow plow and thrower, brush chipper, and other grounds maintenance equipment.
    With proper training becomes proficient at performing the daily maintenance of all grounds, hand and power tools and equipment.

Required Qualifications:

  • Minimum of high school diploma plus formal training in horticulture or related science (two or four-year accredited program) and three to five years of gardening/horticulture experience.
  • Must have demonstrated knowledge of ornamental plants and turf: identification, culture, insects, diseases, weeds, and cultural problems.
  • Must be familiar with the care, operation, and maintenance of hand and power gardening tools and grounds maintenance equipment.
  • Ability to work under harsh weather conditions and perform emergency storm-related damage services is required.
  • Ability to work occasional scheduled weekends.
  • Read and understand pesticide labels, machinery safety manuals, and new information related to horticultural practices is required.
  • Maintain written maintenance records and keep a journal of daily work.
  • Ability to work with diverse crew, faculty, staff, and volunteers.
  • Must posses a valid driver’s license.

Physical Demands:

  • Frequently lift objects weighing up to 50 pounds and possess the physical strength to perform groundskeeping/gardening operations.
  • Carry a 35-pound backpack sprayer for extended periods and hand, arm, and back strength to do shoveling/pruning motions for extended time.
  • Manipulate vibrating, hand-held power machinery for extended times.
    Perform kneeling, bending, squatting motions for extended times. Visual ability to do detailed pruning.

Application Deadlines: Applications must be submitted by May 6, 2021 for full consideration, the position will remain open until filled.

Swarthmore College actively seeks and welcomes applications from candidates with exceptional qualifications, particularly those with demonstrable commitments to a more inclusive society and world. Swarthmore College is an Equal Opportunity Employer. Women and minorities are encouraged to apply. 

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