In the Nursery

Hiring a Full-time Nursery Manager

Be part of an exciting new expansion of an exceptional retail and propagation nursery. This is an opportunity for an innovative visionary who cares about sustainable gardening. You will be a key player in growing an already thriving business to support a unique Garden. We are seeking someone with strong plant knowledge and retail garden center experience.


The Ruth Bancroft Garden, is a public garden and a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization in Walnut Creek, California. The Garden is a 3 ½ acre internationally significant collection and unique display of plants from arid regions of the world that Ruth Bancroft originally selected for their ability to thrive in the inland East San Francisco Bay region. This is a full time position Tuesday-Saturdays.


Reports to: Executive Director

Classification:  Full-time, Exempt


Job Description


The Nursery Manager is responsible for overseeing the propagation facility and organizing efforts to grow, purchase, and sell plants to benefit the Garden, an operation which generates a significant portion of the Garden’s annual budget. This is a great fit for an individual with a love of plants and a desire to educate the public on garden sustainability. The nursery manager is both a people and plants person, and fulfills the mission of the Garden through educating the public and helping them create drought-tolerant gardens. The Garden will be opening a new environmentally sensitive parking area and visitor plaza in May, which will increase the sales area. The Nursery Manager will have a leading role in developing an exciting retail design and sales expansion.


Duties and Responsibilities

  • Oversee Propagation Facility
    • Build the annual Nursery budget. Manage the purchase of finished or young plants, liners and seeds to keep the stock interesting, relevant and current. Communicate with growers and our plant brokers to identify species of interest.
    • Work closely with the curators to identify garden plants to propagate, then create propagation project plans to have plants available for sale at the appropriate times of year.
    • Perform regular plant health checks in both the retail and propagation areas.
    • Conduct inventory of plants in propagation and retail areas (assisted by volunteers and Nursery Staff) for input into our Point-of-Sale database (POS).
    • Ensure the retail and propagation areas are clean and well-organized.
    • Ensure that any irrigation systems are in good working order and conduct supplemental watering if needed.
    • Ensure adequate winter protection.    
  • Nursery Sales and Special Plant Sales

The Nursery is open to the public six days a week and holds two large sales per year. There are also special events in the Garden that drive plant sales.


    1. Through reports from POS database and staff contributions, create sales forecasts and monthly plant order budgets.
    2. Based on forecasts, budget, staff input, and market trends, order plants, hard goods and organic materials in a timely manner with awareness of price competitiveness.
    3. Survey competitors on a regular basis for price comparisons and trends, constantly seeking to increase market share and build the business.
    4.  Ensure that both retail areas of the Nursery are stocked and attractively staged at all times.
    5. Ensure dish gardens and other decorative items are created in sufficient quantity to support nursery sales.
    6. The Nursery Manager consults with the curatorial staff frequently to identify desirable plants to sell and propagate.
    7. The Nursery Manager, working with staff, provides information to the marketing manager to create twice-monthly sales newsletters.  

Manage Volunteers and Staff

    1. Work with Volunteer Coordinator to determine how volunteers can best be used, and determine scheduling and tasks for the volunteers.
    2. Responsible for staff and volunteer safety training.
    3. Supervise staff in collaborative and positive way.
    4. Identify opportunities for professional development for staff and volunteers and work with appropriate staff to implement.

Plant Sales Support

    1. Assist in planning all RBG plant sale events. Number varies, typically two large events per year.

Garden Support

  • The Nursery Manager also works on occasion with the curatorial staff to improve the Garden.


Education and Experience:

  • Bachelor’s degree or higher    
  • Two years of management, preferably in a garden center or nursery
  • Knowledge and love of plants
  • Excellent customer service skills
  • Strong organizational and planning skills
  • Demonstrates collaborative leadership 
  • Comfortable working with databases
  • Ability to lift 50 pounds, bend, climb, use a ladder, and kneel
  • Competent in Microsoft Office Suite
  • Ability to communicate verbally and in writing
  • Able to work outdoors year round


Desirable Qualifications:

  • Sense of humor
  • Ability to inspire and motivate volunteers and staff
  • Attention to detail
  • Knowledge of plants, especially cacti, succulents and drought tolerant varieties suited to our region
  • Plant propagation experience
  • Curious and willing to learn

Salary is competitive with retail garden centers.


To Apply

Please send cover letter telling us why you want to work in a public garden, and a resume to Carol Laughlin, Executive Director:

Purchasing Plants at The Ruth Bancroft Garden

The Ruth Bancroft Nursery is open to the general public Tuesday through Sunday from 10am until 4pm. Here you’ll find a large selection of succulents and drought tolerant plants from around the world.

Our dedicated garden volunteers propagate many of the plants for sale in The Ruth Bancroft Nursery.
All of our plants are competitively priced and grown slowly (outdoors) with custom blended soil mixes.


You may schedule an appointment to purchase plants and receive personalized dry-garden advice in the Nursery, by emailing our Nursery Plant Specialist .

Container Design

Whether you have a balcony or just a love of containers large or small, we can bring them to life with custom arrangements to suit your needs and tastes. Make an appointment and bring your own pot or photos to the appointment, our nursery staff will help you select plants that require similar light and care. Our Nursery staff can create a custom container garden for you! Labor charges start at $20 ,depending on the size of container, in addition to the cost of the plants.

Care Sheets
Plant Warranty

The Ruth Bancroft Garden is a Non-Profit whose continued operation is in a large part dependent on its retail nursery.

We guarantee our plants to be healthy when they leave our care and true to name. We have no control over their success once they leave the nursery and therefore are unable to offer a refund should they not succeed.

We will gladly refund plants within three days provided they are in their original container and in the same condition as when they left our care.

We love our plants and want you to succeed with them in your garden. Please ask questions of our nursery staff to ensure success.

Garden Design Services

Garden Design

For lawn to garden conversions and garden design serices, in areas shown on map below, we recommend Troy McGregor of GondwanaFlora.  Contact Troy for service and pricing information.

Plant Donations to The Garden

Many people express interest in donating plants to the Ruth Bancroft Garden. These include plants that have grown too large for their space, may no longer be desirable for the owner, mature landscape plants that are being removed to make way for new plantings, or were owned by friends or loved ones. Plant donations to the garden are most appreciated but must be approved by staff prior to drop-offs. Many donations are repotted in our nursery and sold at our plant sales to raise money to support the garden, while a choice few plants will be accessioned into our collection, depending on the species and whether it is represented in our collection.

If you are interested in donating plants, we request that you email digital images of the plants along with any identifying information you may have to our Garden Curator, Brian Kemble. He will be happy to determine which plants are appropriate for donation.


To Plants in the Garden

Purchasing Plants

Garden Design Services

Plant Warranty

Plant Sales

Care Sheets

Plant Donations


Our members get a discount on plant purchases! Become a member of the Garden or renew your membership.

Mission Statement
The mission of the Ruth Bancroft Garden, Inc. is to preserve this exceptional example of garden design and to continue to develop its collection of water-conserving plants for the education and enjoyment of the public.  
Grant Funders

The Ruth Bancroft Garden would like to recognize the following grant funders:

The Quest Foundation for funding our Education Coordinator’s position

The Mervyn L. Brenner Foundation and The Stanley Smith Horticultural Trust for funding our directional signs

The California Horticultural Society for funding towards our restoration projects

The Bonita Garden Clubfor funding restoration and education projects


The Ruth Bancroft Garden GardenConservancy