Lan Su Chinese Garden is a Suzhou-classical-style Chinese garden specifically designed for Portland's historic Chinatown and to serve a 21st century American audience. Lan Su's designers from the Suzhou Institute of Landscape and Architectural Design state Lan Su is the best classical Chinese garden outside of China. In designing Lan Su, they incorporated all of the following:
- Aesthetic traditions from Suzhou's famous historic gardens dating back over 1,000 years
- Visitor amenities for a 21st century public audience such as an entry courtyard, ticket booth, gift shop, Tea House, and restrooms
- The history and current features of Portland's Chinatown, including borrowed scenery (jiejang) from nearby buildings
- The wide diversity of Chinese plants available from Oregon's prolific nursery industry making Lan Su a genuine Botanical Garden with over 270 specialty species
- Modern American safety standards
The Garden Curator is responsible for the superior health of Lan Su’s rare plant collection at both the garden and greenhouse location.
The Curator leads a team including the Greenhouse Manager and Horticulturist and trained volunteers in the care and maintenance of the collection in a manner consistent with current best practices, traditional Chinese garden design and the high standards of a public garden.
The Curator sets a vision for the department’s future growth and development and implements annual plans and new initiatives in line with the garden’s organization-wide strategic goals.
The Curator is responsible for the financial management and all administrative duties for the department.
The Curator is responsible for all related educational materials, programs, displays and tours, as well as, providing expert help for members, visitors and the media.
Work with the Executive Director, Suzhou Landscape Design Institute and other relevant stakeholders to develop a long-range vision of the plant collection of Lan Su Yuan.
Within that vision, develop and maintain short-range plans for the Horticulture department.
Develop plant collection policy and define guidelines for acquisitions, accessioning, inventory, mapping, and de-accessioning.
Prepare periodic planning documents, survey, and evaluative reports.
- Develop annual budget and manage departmental finances to meet operational and capital needs. Monitor quarterly financial statements to achieve budgetary expectations.
30% Garden Management
- Work collaboratively with colleagues on interdepartmental projects or initiatives.
- Manage all staff with clear, consistent communication and a collaborative approach.
- Oversee and manage all specialized maintenance activities including watering, pruning, and grooming and pest/disease management with emphasis on sustainable, environmentally conscious practices.
_ Oversee annual cut-flower displays and serve as team-lead for the Ninth Moon Floral Design Showcase, an annual juried floral show.
_ Order and maintain tools, equipment and supplies in a timely and cost-efficient manner.
_ Select and manage work with outside contractors. Develop scope of services and review contracts.
_ Serve as first responder in emergency weather conditions.
_ Other duties as assigned.
15% Acquisition and Collection Building
Research appropriate species and specimen additions and seek their donation/acquisition. *
Seek out special and authentic plants via other collections, public gardens, and collectors. *
Seek out, acquire, and import clonal materials from Suzhou gardens (if importation is possible).
Analyze collection, identifying needs and developing strategies to meet those needs.
Cultivate connections with nurseries, corporate institutions and individuals in order to enhance collection.
Negotiate with potential donors to the collection.
Provide advice for plant placement and replacement in the Garden landscape.
10% Documentation (Mapping, Accession Records, Plant Records) Develop and maintain accession system.
Direct documentation of collection, including accession records and plant records.
Maintain records of each plant’s cultural significance and symbolism. *
Develop and maintain plant mapping system.
Develop and implement labeling system for plant collection in Latin, English and Chinese. *
Develop and maintain interpretative materials including seasonal bloom. guides, master species list, program signage and quarterly newsletter.
15% Community Collaboration
Develop and maintain partnerships with plant groups in the community, such as Chrysanthemum, orchid, lotus, Penjing, jasmine, Camelia, Peony and gardenia groups.
Promote relationships with botanical gardens, relevant associations, institutions, and individuals.
Collaborate with other organizations to draw appropriate touring speakers and exhibits.
Act as horticultural spokesperson for Garden to media, academic publications, and broader horticultural community.
Collaborate with Development Director to secure funding to maintain and expand the collection from granting agencies, corporations, and individuals through donations, endowment funds, or special purchases.
Provide information as requested by garden staff.
Reinstate annual plant sale or seasonal sales for revenue generation and to respond to member/community requests.
15% Education & Interpretation
- Maintain and draw upon records of each plant’s Chinese interpretation, symbolism, cultivation stories, history, and translation. *
Collaborate with Program Director and others to plan and design public educational events and exhibits centered on the Garden’s plant collection.
Develop sub-collections of plants surrounding important festivals, celebrations, and themes (e.g., Chinese New Year, Mid-Autumn Festival, medicinal herbs), and integrate these collections into the Garden setting and into public events.
Invite appropriate speakers, experts, teachers, and others to participate/ present.
Promote public and member programs together with other staff.
Evaluate public programs, their reception and impact.
Serve as lead resource for docent training for special botanical programs.
Provide tours for special horticultural interest groups.
* In collaboration with Horticulture and other garden staff, partners and volunteers
- M.S. in botany, horticulture, landscape architecture, a related field or equivalent experience.
- Five years of relevant curatorial experience, preferably in a nonprofit botanical garden or museum.
- Three years of human resource management/supervisory experience.
- English speaking, reading and writing skills at a superior level
- Extensive knowledge of horticultural and garden management practices.
- Knowledge of Chinese plants and specialized care.
- Strong organization, budget management, fundraising, and collaboration skills.
- Previous results-oriented collaborative work experience, internally and externally.
- Demonstrated experience in building relationships in diverse communities.
- Commitment to the Garden’s mission.
- Ability to lift 40lbs, climb ladders, prune, dig, water.
- License and ability to drive company pick-up truck and rented vehicles.
- Ability to work evenings and weekends as needed.
- Demonstrated excellence in verbal presentations.
- Experience with other classical Chinese gardens.
- Experience working with Chinese or Asian community.
- Demonstrated success in written presentations to a wide range of audiences: general public, business leaders, patrons of the arts, educators, and horticultural communities.
- Mandarin, Cantonese speaking.
- Floral arranging and presentation skills.
- Penjing pruning and care expertise.
- Experience managing special events/floral contests/horticulture displays.
Lan Su Chinese Garden strives to attract, hire, train and promote quality individuals who have a proven ability to perform in a professional organization. Lan Su makes employment decisions on the basis of merit. We want to have the best available person in every job.
Lan Su Chinese Garden is committed to maintain an environment where employees contribute to the organization’s achievement, take pride in the results of their work, are appreciated as individuals and are encouraged to develop to their fullest extent. Lan Su is an Equal Opportunity Employer. It is our policy that employees will not be discriminated against in the terms and conditions of employment because of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, marital status, sexual orientation, disability or any other classification protected by law.
This is a fulltime, exempt position. Salary range $50,000 plus benefits
Please email a cover letter explaining your interest or relevant experience for this position and a separate resume in pdf format.
Applicants will be contacted and notified if they are invited for an interview or not.
Position will be open until filled, but resume reviews will begin immediately and interviews should be scheduled to begin on May 16, 2018 or before. Initial interviews may be conducted by phone/video conference. Expect two formal interviews; one with Department Directors of Lan Su Chinese Garden and one more casual presentation to meet organizational stakeholders.
In the subject line please type: “Garden Curator Application”
No phone calls please
Email is preferred, but mailed materials are also accepted at:
Lan Su Chinese Garden Human Resources
220 NW Second Ave., Suite 1050
Portland, OR 97209