This two-year, tuition-free program is offered every other year to approximately sixteen individuals who have obtained at least a high school diploma and have one year of garden work experience.
Students work in all horticultural areas of the garden three days per week and receive classroom instruction from Longwood staff and outside instructors two days per week. Graduates are sought by public gardens, commercial horticultural enterprises and estate gardens.
Professional Gardener Students (PGs) work an average of three days per week in the Gardens. Students have duties and responsibilities similar to full-time gardeners. PGs do one-month work rotations in each of eight major indoor and outdoor areas at Longwood.
Two days per week, students attend classes taught by Longwood staff and local experts who bring years of experience, knowledge and professional training to the 44 courses. Students are also able to participate in occasional field learning activities, including field trips, lectures and/or self-guided study. Class work is evaluated by oral and written examinations. Students must successfully complete all courses, and maintain a cumulative grade point average of 2.5 on a 4.0 scale to graduate from the program.
Professional Gardener students rotate as the supervisor of a student work crew half a day a week, which helps develop people management skills. Additional part-time jobs and experiences in the local community are available.
Field trips permit behind-the-scenes visits to public display gardens and private estates as well as to nurseries, garden centers and greenhouses. These experiences emphasize plants, design, maintenance and business philosophy, and point out the diversity of the horticultural industry. In addition, students have access to Longwood’s 20,000-volume library, which provides extensive resource material.
Students receive a bimonthly stipend of $548.00.
While enrolled, students can live rent-free (a taxable benefit) on the grounds of the former estate of industrialist Pierre S. du Pont. The student houses are furnished and include kitchen utensils, dishes, laundry facilities, a computer with internet access and nearby garden space. Students have their own bedrooms and share common living spaces. They are responsible for cooking, cleaning, landscape maintenance and personal supplies.
During the program, students are given career counseling and assistance in preparing resumes. Position announcements are posted on a Longwood bulletin board, and assistance is given in finding a job.
Upon completion of the program, students receive a diploma from Longwood Gardens. Since the program’s beginning in 1970, approximately 85% of all graduates have pursued careers in horticultural industries such as nurseries and garden centers, floriculture, park and grounds management, landscape contracting, residential and public garden management and self-employment.
The program begins once every two years. The current group of students began in March 2006 and will complete the program in February 2008. The next class will begin the program in March 2008.
Open Houses include a program overview, discussion with graduates and current PG students, and tours of the work areas, classrooms, library, housing and student gardens. You must pre-register to attend. Check back here for dates for the next Open House (July/August 2007).
The 2008 application will be due August 31, 2007 and will be available in the spring. Please check back here to download the application in pdf format.
About 30 of the applicants will be invited for an interview with the Selection Committee. Interviews will take place in November 2007.
To receive an application by mail please send a letter of request to:
PO Box 501
Kennett Square, PA 19348
For more information and specific starting dates, contact Mark Richardson, Student Programs Coordinator at 610-388-1000 ext. 501 or e-mail mrichardson@LongwoodGardens.org.
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