Horticultural Curator of the Asian Gardens

The Huntington Library, Art Museums, and Botanical
1151 Oxford Road
San Marino, CA 91108
United States

Manages Others
Experience Required
Degree Required
Employment Type
Work Schedule
No Travel

Job Description

About the Role

The Huntington’s Asian Gardens are among its most historic and beloved landscapes. They include the 110-year-old Japanese Garden; the largest classical-style Chinese Garden outside of China; and the Camellia Collection, which encompasses 80 species and 1200+ cultivars. The gardens continue to expand: the coming years will see the reconstruction of a 320-year-old Japanese house, as well as the creation of a Chinese medicinal plant collection.

The Huntington seeks an experienced and collaborative Horticultural Curator to join a dynamic team of botanists, gardeners, and historians in managing and interpreting these important Asian Gardens. In particular, the Horticultural Curator will help to develop and maintain these landscapes in a culturally sensitive manner for the education and enjoyment of The Huntington’s 800,000+ annual visitors. The ideal candidate shares the Botanical team’s enthusiasm for continuous learning and for evolving The Huntington’s living collections. S/he/they will also demonstrate a background of working directly with people from diverse racial, ethnic, geographic and socioeconomic backgrounds, using a welcoming, inclusive, and accessible approach.

Essential Duties

  • Manages the landscapes of the Chinese Garden, Japanese Garden, and Camellia Collection—a total of more than 25 acres.

  • As a hands-on, working supervisor, manages a team of nine gardeners, as well as the Curator of the Bonsai Collection. Develops and executes a yearly maintenance schedule for the Asian Gardens landscapes. Works with Head Gardener to set priorities and tasks for gardeners. Oversees scheduling, training, and safety training for team.

  • Collaborates with Curator of the Chinese Garden, Director of Cultural Programs, and Gardens Principal Designer to develop and execute an aesthetic vision for the landscapes of the Asian Gardens. Leads gardeners in Japanese- or Chinese-style pruning and other horticultural arts.

  • Coordinates with Superintendent of Gardens and Grounds and Systems Manager on projects, as well as supplies and equipment needs. Works with Botanical team more broadly to ensure coordination of maintenance standards, schedules, and aesthetic design/impact.

  • Curates specialized collections of camellias, bamboos, and magnolias, including acquisition, accessioning, survey/mapping, and control. Works with Curator of Living Collections and Curator of Woody Plants to ensure consistency and continuity of collections goals and policy, and to maintain highest standards of collections management and conservation.

  • Interprets collections though garden tours, etc. Trains volunteers and helps initiate appropriate educational activities. Works with Botanical and Education staff to ensure the collections are represented in educational offerings.

  • Works with Botanical and Facilities staff to ensure safety and improvement of gardens in general.

Other Functions:

  • Responsible for the upkeep of the ponds (including fish) within the Asian Gardens.

  • Supports Advancement, Communications, and Education staff in preparing grounds for events in the Asian Gardens—e.g., public programs, fundraising events, and film shoots.

  • May conduct limited research associated with collection.

  • May be required to serve on various committees within institution. Other administrative duties as assigned.

  • Encouraged to be active in professional or specialty horticulture, plant, and garden-making societies.

  • May perform other related duties as assigned.

Candidate Requirements and Experience

Knowledge, skills, and abilities:

  • B.S. in Horticulture, Botany, or Plant Science.

  • Well versed in general horticultural skills. Five years garden maintenance and cultivation experience within specialty area required.

  • Knowledgeable about the cultivation, classification, and history of plants that comprise the specified collections. Experience with Japanese- or Chinese-style pruning

  • Familiarity with traditions, history, and culture of Japan and China as they relate to gardens.

  • Documented experience and demonstrated skill in supervising five or more employees.

  • Experience with management of capital projects, including oversight of subcontractors.

  • Eagerness to work with a diverse team of gardeners, plant scientists, historians, artists, educators, and more.

  • Enthusiasm for continued learning.


  • Documented training and experience in Japanese- or Chinese-style aesthetic pruning strongly preferred.

  • Experience and knowledge of Southern California horticultural practice, plant societies, and green industry desirable.

  • Working knowledge of Spanish preferred.

Working Conditions

Physical Demands: The physical demands described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

  • May handle pesticides and other chemicals.

  • May work with or around large equipment.

  • Must be in good physical condition to stoop, bend, walk long distances, and lift moderate and, occasionally, heavy loads.

  • Must occasionally be able to work weekends during special programs.

Working Environment:

  • Daily work in the botanical gardens with some office work.