Portland Japanese Garden seeks Full-Time Senior Gardener  

Position Overview

The Senior Gardener works in concert with the other Gardeners, Director of Ground Maintenance, Garden Curator, Garden Asset Manager, and Garden Department Office Manager. They are responsible for all phases of ground maintenance and participate in workshops and any professional training provided. They must be willing to be on call, work weekends and garden events, and travel when needed. The Senior Gardener reports to the Director of Ground Maintenance.

Primary Duties 

  • Perform and manage garden crew on-site at all levels of ground maintenance duties
  • Participate in garden workshops and training seminars as an instructor
  • Coordinate work schedule with Director of Ground Maintenance
  • Give daily report to Director of Ground Maintenance 
  • Ensure garden staff timecards, time tracking, timelines, and correspondence within and outside the institution are completed timely and accurately
  • Participate in team planning, communicating tasks and assignments, record keeping and documentation, and working with staff, volunteers, and interns 
  • Perform pruning and shaping practices as it pertains to the Japanese garden aesthetic and tradition as established at the Portland Japanese Garden
  • Construct and maintain bamboo fences, stone pathways, and other garden structures
  • Install, maintain, and repair irrigation systems and water features
  • Assist with integrated pest management practices and fertilization application
  • Other duties as assigned

Other Responsibilities  

  • Be self-motivated, organized, and attentive to detail 
  • Provide effective leadership to make a positive team 
  • Manage time and effectively function without close supervision 
  • Assist Director of Ground Maintenance to plan, procure materials, and manage repair and renovation projects
  • Aid in development of the Department’s annual budget   
  • Contribute to task force groups/committee within the organization 
  • Ability to read and interpret landscape construction documentation 
  • Review occupational safety hazards with gardeners
  • Provide garden tours as needed
  • Maintain equipment, garden house tools, and garden vehicles
  • Be active in learning the Japanese garden tradition, seeking knowledge of its history, aesthetics, design principles and obtaining construction and maintenance skills
  • Familiarize oneself with the organization and the Employee Handbook
  • Get to know fellow staff members, developing trust, establishing credibility, encouraging teamwork, and creating an atmosphere of open, honest, two-way communication 
  • Maintain a high level of professionalism in manner and appearance
  • Be proactive in building relationships with peers from other gardens, committee members, and  with individual experts
  • Saturday duty once every 2 months


  • Minimum five years of landscape/garden construction and/or maintenance experience
  • At least two years of supervisory experience
  • B.A./B.S. degree in horticulture or a related field is preferred
  • Ability to write routine reports, correspondence and maintain data logs, and the ability to communicate effectively before oversight committees, staff, and others
  • Valid driver’s license and ability to drive manual transmission (stick shift)
  • Proficiency with email and basic Microsoft Office applications

Special Requirements

  • Required to have or obtain pesticide applicators license within 2 years
  • Ability to perform intense physical labor year-round in all weather conditions
  • Capable of using power tools such as leaf blowers, mowers, and chain saws
  • Ability to repeatedly lift up to 50lbs and maneuver heavy items
  • Ability to climb and work on tall ladders
  • Ability and willingness to work flexible hours including weekends, holidays, and special events as needed

Compensation & Schedule

  • Salary range: $54,000 – $58,000 per year
  • This is a full -time, salaried position with 40-45 hours per week. Shifts are typically 8 hours (plus ½ hour lunch), 7:00am to 3:30pm (6:30am to 3:00pm during summer), with some flexibility. Occasional evening and weekend work is required.
  • Benefits:
    • health, dental, and vision insurance (premium 100% covered for employees)
    • 401k plan (after 90 days, with 4% employer match after 1 year)
    • flexible spending accounts for medical and dependent care expenses
    • paid vacation, sick, and holiday time


To apply, please email a resume, cover letter, and three work-related references to humanresources@japanesegarden.org, with “Senior Gardener” in the subject line. Please no phone calls or hand delivered applications. Application review will begin immediately and continue until the position is filled.  

 All submitted applications will be held in confidence.

We encourage all potential applicants to watch our video entitled “Come to Understand: Welcome to Portland Japanese Garden” (5:56 minutes).

Organization Overview  

Portland Japanese Garden is renowned as the most authentic and finest Japanese garden outside of Japan. The Garden has a year-round staff of 95+ FTE’s and 35+ seasonal staff, supplemented by over 200 volunteers. All of our staff play a vital role in helping our visitors experience the beauty and tranquility of the garden and expand their understanding of Japanese culture.  

A few of the benefits our employees enjoy include:

  • Working for a beautiful, authentic Japanese garden, overlooking the city
  • Incentives for alternative transportation for your commute to work
  • A workplace culture that prioritizes hiring and promoting from within
  • Access to the Garden for you, your family, and your friends
  • The opportunity to attend a variety of cultural events
  • A 30% discount on most items in the gift shop
  • Reciprocal access to other area attractions, such as the Lan Su Chinese Garden, Portland Art Museum, and the Oregon Zoo

Portland Japanese Garden is proud to be an equal opportunity employer. We celebrate diversity and are committed to creating an inclusive environment for all employees. We recruit, employ, train, compensate, and promote without regard to race, color, national origin, creed, religion, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, marital status, parental status, disability, age, veteran status, or any other status protected by law.