Horticulture Internship

Available in summer and fall

Internships with Grounds Management Operations are designed for students who seek work-related experience in a public garden with a diverse workforce.  They involve manual labor; exposure to adverse weather conditions (particularly heat and humidity); and exposure to dust, dirt, and possibly some horticultural chemicals. Internships that focus on the Smithsonian gardens and greenhouse operations include regular horticulture maintenance duties such as planting, watering, weeding, and pruning.

Special projects are typically added to an intern’s regular duties so that they can practice project management skills needed to see a project through from start to finish. Projects vary greatly and are determined on an individual basis. They may include everything from record-keeping, analyzing ecosystems and researching nomenclature to turf management and public programming. Interns will have the opportunity to network with a team of professional landscape architects, horticulturists and gardeners responsible for the design, installation, and maintenance of seasonal and permanent plantings on the Smithsonian campus.

Butterfly Habitat Garden at the National Museum of Natural History

ButterflyThe Smithsonian Butterfly Habitat Garden consists of four different habitats: wetland, wood's edge, wildflower meadow, and backyard garden. While working in the garden, the intern will be responsible for the daily gardening maintenance that sustains an ecologically balanced habitat. Through observation and analysis of the ecosystem, the intern will develop a record from which lists of plants can be produced for use in future plantings in the urban setting. The intern will integrate research conclusions into educational materials such as web pages and/or presentations for visitors.

Native Landscape at the National Museum of the American Indian

Native American LandscapeThe newest of all the Smithsonian museums! Opened in 2004, the National Museum of the American Indian features four natural environments – cropland, meadow, wetland and forest – within an urban setting.

Intern responsibilities may include, but are not limited to, maintenance of the native plant landscape, wetland mitigation, pest and disease identification and control, and helping with the increase of plant diversity. This position will offer the opportunity to promote an understanding of the relationship of Native Americans to this ecologically balanced habitat.

Victory Garden and Heirloom Garden at the National Museum of American History, Behring Center

Victory GardenThe National Museum of American History, Behring Center, has the largest turf and tree area of all the Smithsonian gardens located on the National Mall. Also found on the grounds of this museum are a developing woodland and two specialty gardens of interest--the Victory Garden and the Heirloom Garden.

Heirloom GardenThe intern will assist SG horticulturists with maintaining the gardens and grounds and researching appropriate plantings for the specialty gardens.

Kathrine Dulin Folger Rose Garden

View of Folger GardenThis urban rose garden was designed as a four-season garden and serves as an important backdrop to the Smithsonian’s iconic Castle building. Modern roses are displayed among a mixture of complementary plantings and enhance the many historic furnishings on display. The maintenance of this garden not only includes the watering, weeding, fertilizing, mulching, pest and disease control of all of the plants, but also the pruning and training of roses.

Enid A. Haupt Garden

View of Haupt GardenThis four acre garden was designed and built in 1987 with funds donated to the Smithsonian by philanthropist Enid A. Haupt. Interns chosen to work as part of this garden's horticulture team will have the opportunity to experience many aspects of grounds management in a large public display garden.

Enid A. Haupt Garden interns will assist horticulturists and gardeners with day-to-day management and maintenance of formal displays. They will take part in turf management, hanging basket and tropical plant maintenance, as well as annual plant care. Interns will learn about what it takes to keep the garden in top shape for special events and for the millions of visitors who explore it each year.

Mary Livingston Ripley Garden

View of Ripley GardenThe intern chosen for the Ripley Garden will have the opportunity to work in this densely planted garden which displays plants from around the globe. This garden is designed, planted and labeled for both its aesthetic appeal and its educational value to visitors and staff.

Working with the horticulturist and volunteers, the intern will assist with all aspects of garden maintenance, diagnosing and controlling disease, insect and weed problems, and maintaining containerized specimens and hanging baskets. The intern will have the opportunity to assist with interpretive programs including public tours, plant labeling and record keeping. They will experience first hand the challenges and joys of working in a public garden and will be called on daily to answer visitor questions.


If you have questions regarding the internship application process, please contact the Intern Coordinator at (202) 633-5840 or e-mail at gardens@si.edu.