City Gardener

City of Takoma Park, MD Class Specification

CLASS TITLE: City Gardener
DEPARTMENT: Public Works
REPORTS TO: Director of Public Works
DATE: 02/2009
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Under general supervision, plans, oversees, allocates, procures, selects and maintains all horticultural plant material within the City's parks, gardens, and other designated areas. Oversees a crew of workers performing garden operations.


Customer Service

Handles customer questions and complaints, communicates with customers, handles service problems politely and efficiently, always available for customers, follows procedure to solve customer problems, understands all City services, maintains pleasant and professional image. Anticipates, monitors and meets the needs of internal and external customers and responds to them in an appropriate manner. Continually seeks to provide the highest quality service to all customers. Listens carefully when dealing with the public and communicates concern through tone of voice and by taking action to solve their problems in a timely manner. Complies with the City’s Customer Service Policy, including 24-hour response time for telephone calls and e-mails. Explains departmental and City issues to the public in a manner that demonstrates interest and concern for their problems. Listens well, diffuses conflict before it starts, finds causes of and solutions to problems, handles difficult people.


Communicates well both verbally and in writing when required, creates accurate and punctual reports, delivers presentations, shares information and ideas with others, has good listening skills. Effectively conveys information and expresses thoughts and facts. Demonstrates effective use of listening skills and displays openness to other people’s ideas and thoughts. Keeps key employees informed regarding relevant information. Shares information with other members of the team to foster teamwork and to further attainment of the City’s goals. Written and oral information is presented in a manner that projects a positive and professional image of the City.

Reports problems, concerns, issues that should be corrected. Readily shares information and ensures that team members are kept informed and up-to-date. Establishes team and individual accountability for goals, objectives and outcomes. Intervenes as necessary to identify and resolve conflict among team members. Makes conscious and deliberate efforts to build team spirit and identity.

Job Knowledge

Understands duties and responsibilities, has necessary technical skills, understands the City’s mission/values, keeps job knowledge current. Demonstrates the appropriate level of proficiency in the principles and practices of one’s field or profession. Demonstrates a commitment to continuous improvement, including the understanding and application of technology where appropriate. Operates within the organization's formal and informal structures, builds allies and relationships across departments, uses allies to build consensus and create results, is appropriately diplomatic, understands others' roles and perspectives, can sell projects and ideas across the organization. Adapts to change, is open to new ideas, takes on new responsibilities, handles pressure, adjusts plans to meet changing needs. Prioritizes well and reacts to opportunities. Is attentive to detail and accuracy, is committed to excellence, looks for improvements continuously, monitors quality levels, finds root cause of quality problems, owns/acts on quality problems.



Adapts to change, is open to new ideas, takes on new responsibilities, handles pressure, adjusts plans to meet changing needs.

Budget/Cost Control

Plans for and uses resources efficiently, always looks for ways to reduce costs, creates accurate and realistic budgets and budget projections, tracks and adjusts budgets, contributes to budget planning. Prepares and submits budget within specified time constraints. Anticipates depart mental operating and capital needs and budgets adequately for needed expenditures. Reports departmental expenditures within specified time constraints. Bills are submitted for payment on time. Completes and files all applicable reports related to grants, agenda items, etc. within specified deadlines. Anticipates long-term budgeting needs in manner that allows the City to anticipate and plan for  sources of revenues for extraordinary future expenses. Controls expenditures to deliver department's services within agreed upon budget. Follows established procurement procedures in obtaining goods and services.

Decision Making/Judgment

Recognizes problems and responds, systematically gathers information, sorts through complex issues, seeks input from others, addresses root cause of issues, makes timely decisions, can make difficult decisions, uses consensus when possible, communicates decisions to others. Knows when to notify and/or involve the department head or the City Manager prior to making a decision.

Personal Organization

Keeps information organized and accessible, maintains clean/functional work space, works systematically/efficiently, and manages time well.


Meets all team deadlines and responsibilities, listens to others and values opinions, helps team leader to meet goals, welcomes newcomers and promotes a team atmosphere.


Carries out supervisory responsibility in accordance with policies, procedures and applicable laws including: hiring, training in job skills; planning, assigning and directing work; appraising performance; addressing complaints, and resolving issues; actively performs along with staff.

Designs garden layouts, selects plants, and prepares budget. Installs plant material including: grading soil, determining initial watering requirements, planting execution, plant placement and individual plant display.

Maintains gardens including: fertilizing, weeding, identifying plants, dead heading, dead wooding, pruning, determining plant shape specifications and cultural requirements and evaluating garden conditions; reconstructs gardens as necessary due to damage.

Rejuvenates gardens and individual plants, design, procures plant material, selects plants, budgets and allocates plant material; oversees garden requirements and trains crews and contractors as necessary.

Removes leaves from City parks and gardens.

Determines watering requirements and methods to be utilized.

Serves as lead worker in the performance of gardening duties as required.

Performs general maintenance duties as assigned.

Supervises snow removal of City’s ROW sidewalks and pedestrian street crossings.

Sets up training programs for crew members.

Prepares and monitors the division budget.


Communicates with crews, co-workers and other department staff as required.

Instructs other departments on landscape design and ensures landscape integrity in City landscapes and gardens.

Work with and coordinate volunteers in planting and garden maintenance activities.

Performs other related duties as assigned.


  • Medium and light duty vehicles
  • Light duty Trucks/Plow
  • Hoses/Watering Devices
  • Various Power Tools/Equipment
  • Snow Blowers
  • Watering Systems
  • Chain Saws
  • Shovel
  • Rake
  • Miscellaneous ground maintenance equipment


Education and Experience

Completion of high school or equivalent and course work in horticulture with a preference for an associate level degree; and,

Two to three years of progressively responsible related experience; or,

Any combination of education, training and experience which provides the required knowledge, skills, and abilities to perform the essential functions of the job.

Licenses and Certifications

Pesticide Certification desirable

Master Gardener Certification desirable

Valid Class C Driver's License


Knowledge of:

Administration of staff and activities, either directly or through subordinate supervision.

All computer applications and hardware related to performance of the essential functions of the job.

Basic budgetary principles and practices.

Basic principles and practices of leaf grinding.

Basic principles of snow removal from paved road and paved pedestrian trafficked surfaces.

Principles and practices of horticulture and landscape design.

Plants and their cultural requirements.

The use of fertilizers and horticultural chemicals and application techniques.

Standard business arithmetic, including percentages and decimals.

Skill in:

Using tact, discretion, initiative and independent judgment within established guidelines.

Organizing work, setting priorities, meeting critical deadlines, and following up on assignments with a minimum of direction.

Operating all assigned equipment utilized in the performance of the essential functions of the job.

Utilizing and directing personnel to assist in accomplishing gardening tasks.

Mental and Physical Abilities

Ability to read and interpret documents such as safety rules, operation and maintenance instructions, procedure manuals, and so forth.

Extensive ability to identify plant material and ability to properly plant, prune, and maintain plant species identifies.

Ability to write routine reports and correspondence.

Ability to add, subtract, multiply and divide whole numbers, common fractions and decimals.

Ability to deal with problems involving several concrete variables in standardized situations.

While performing the essential functions of this job the employee is frequently required to stand, walk, use hands to finger, handle, or feel, reach with hands and arms, climb or balance, stoop, kneel, crouch, or crawl, speak and hear, and lift and/or move up to 50 pounds.

While performing the essential functions of this job the employee is occasionally required to lift and/or move more than 50 pounds.

Working Conditions

While performing the essential functions of this position the employee is frequently exposed to wet or humid conditions, work near moving mechanical parts, fumes or airborne particles, toxic or caustic chemicals, outdoor weather conditions, and work in high precarious places.

The incumbent's working conditions are typically moderately loud.

file: City Gardener

This class specification should not be interpreted as all inclusive. It is intended to identify the essential functions and requirements of this job. Incumbents may be requested to perform job-related responsibilities and tasks other than those stated in this specification. Any essential function or requirement of this class will be evaluated as necessary should an incumbent/applicant be unable to perform the function or requirement due to a disability as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Reasonable accommodation for the specific disability will be made for the incumbent/applicant when possible.