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Job Board

Waterlily Registration and Hybridization Intern

Denver Botanic Gardens

Posted November 6, 2023

About Denver Botanic Gardens: Green inside and out, Denver Botanic Gardens was founded in 1951 and is considered one of the top botanical gardens in the United States and a pioneer in water conservation. Accredited by the American Alliance of Museums, The Gardens has a robust living plant collection, natural history collection and art collection along with temporary art exhibitions. The Gardens is a dynamic, 24-acre urban oasis in the heart of the city, offering unforgettable opportunities to flourish with unique garden experiences for the whole family – as well as world-class exhibitions, education, and plant conservation research programs.

For more information, visit us online at www.botanicgardens.org.

Denver Botanic Gardens is currently seeking a Waterlily Registration and Hybridization Intern in our Horticulture Department! Read below to see if the requirements might be a good fit for you:

To be considered, please submit your application before Friday, January 26, 2024.

Position Summary and Goals:

The intern will learn about the process of creating a new waterlily cultivar and will assist in collecting the photos and data needed to register a selection of hardy waterlilies in Denver Botanic Gardens’ collection.

Compensation package includes a housing stipend of $1,000.  Details to be covered during the interview process.


Denver Botanic Gardens has served as the growing site for the IWGS New Waterlily Competition in past years and many entries were donated to our collection. The internship mentor serves as the international registrar for plants in this family and would like to ensure these cultivars are registered and added to the IWGS (International Waterlily and Water Garden Society) database. Photos will also be added to Denver Botanic Gardens’ Gardens Navigator site.


Internship Highlights:

Interns will take part in field trips, lectures, and group projects. We at Denver Botanic Gardens feel strongly that there is no substitute for hands-on learning so in addition to the project and participating in the learning opportunities, interns are expected to work alongside their mentors and other horticulturists in the Gardens. This will include participating in the daily activities associated with public garden maintenance – weeding, watering, planting, accessioning, preparing for special events, etc.

The goal of the internship is to provide an overview of public horticulture as well as useful experience in a specific area which can help students define their interests in horticulture.

As a member of DBG’s staff, interns will participate in employee meetings and other day-to-day operations and will be subject to all DBG employment policies.

In Denver temperatures can reach a sizzling 100° in mid-summer, while temperatures at our Mount Goliath site can drop into the 50’s. Humidity is very low here, however, there are occasional days of rain or drizzle. Interns should be prepared to work in these environmental extremes as the work site is primarily outdoors.

Regular attendance at the work site may be required. As with all positions at Denver Botanic Gardens, the incumbent must be in good performance standing to be eligible for remote work. Remote work is at the discretion of management at all times.

All Gardens employees must be committed to the mission of connecting people with plants, especially plants from the Rocky Mountain region and similar regions around the world, providing delight and enlightenment to everyone.

General Duties and Responsibilities/Deliverables:

  • Data collection including measurements and photos.
  • Registration of cultivars and inclusion in the IWGS and Denver Botanic Gardens’ databases.
  • Presentation to staff and blog post detailing the project and what was learned at the end of the season.

Skills that will be learned or refined:

  • Cultivation requirements for waterlilies will be learned through hands on work dividing and repotting, fertilizing, and performing routine maintenance.
  • Data collection using the Nymphaeaceae registration form as a guide. Data will include flower and leaf measurements and characteristics and RHS color chart codes. Identifying similar cultivars using the IWGS waterlily database and noting distinctions of the cultivar being registered will also be important.

Horticultural knowledge that will be learned and how this project will link classroom theory with practical experience:

The intern will learn about the hybridizing process, how and why new cultivars are created along with the process of registering a new cultivar. Hands on work with the water garden team will give them experience with dividing, repotting, fertilizing, deadheading, and designing with waterlilies in a public garden display. Interaction with volunteers and visitors will round out the experience. The intern will also have the chance to create their own waterlily cultivar, though there will not be enough time to grow the seeds to blooming size plants.

Eligibility Requirements:

  • Candidates must be currently authorized to work in the United States
  • Candidates must be currently enrolled in an academic program or have graduated within the last six months.
  • Applicants must upload a job application, resume, cover letter, transcript(s) and two reference letters to be considered.
  • Must have proven excellent customer service, interpersonal, and communication skills in dealing with the public.
  • Ability to maintain stability under pressure and able to deal well with stressful situations.
  • Ability to be flexible and willing to modify plans, when necessary, throughout the day.
  • Ability to work a flexible schedule, including evenings, weekends and/or holidays.
  • Knowledge of Microsoft Suite products, specifically Word, Excel and Outlook and Teams.
  • Ability to work overtime as necessary.
  • Must be a positive representative of the Gardens both internally and externally at all times.
  • Must work with respect and cooperation at all times with fellow employees and the public.
  • Must be committed to working safely at all times.

Mentor Profiles:

Tamara Kilbane is the Curator of Aquatic Collections at Denver Botanic Gardens. Tamara earned her bachelor’s degree in horticulture from Oregon State University in 2001. Before coming to the Gardens in 2011, she worked as a horticulturist at Sarah P. Duke Gardens in Durham, NC for six and a half years and at a specialty water garden nursery in Portland, Oregon. It was at Duke Gardens that she began her collaboration with the International Waterlily and Water Gardening Society, growing entries in their new waterlily competition from 2006-2015. In addition to curating the aquatic collection at the Gardens, Tamara serves on the board of the Colorado Water Garden Society and as the international registrar for the Nymphaeaceae (waterlily) family.

To be considered, please submit your application before Friday, January 26, 2024.

Come work for a place that offers you SO much more than just a paycheck!

Compensation: $18.75 - Per Hour

Apply Here