Architect of the Capitol GARDENER in Washington, District Of Columbia

  • Duties



The United States Botanic Garden (USBG) is a living plant museum that informs visitors about the importance, and often irreplaceable value, of plants to the well-being of humans and to earth's fragile ecosystems.

Established by the U.S. Congress in 1820, the U.S. Botanic Garden is one of the oldest botanic gardens in North America. Since 1934, it has been administered through the Architect of the Capitol.

The Garden has been recognized as a museum and is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums. This accreditation is a widely recognized seal of approval that recognizes a museum's commitment to excellence, accountability, high professional standards and continued institutional improvement.

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The incumbent of this position is considered an “Emergency Essential Employee” and will be required to work in emergency situations and in inclement weather conditions.

Tour of duty may include holidays, weekends and rotating shifts on a regular and recurring basis.

-- Applicants must possess and maintain a valid and unexpired State driver's license at the time of application.

This position is located in the Architect of the Capitol (AOC), Executive Director, United States Botanic Garden (USBG), Horticulture Division, Horticulture Branch, Gardens and Grounds Section. This section is responsible for maintaining and developing the majority of the USBG's gardens and grounds, including Bartholdi Park, The National Garden and Conservatory surrounds. The Gardener will be responsible for propagating and cultivating a wide variety of plants and reports to a Gardener Supervisor but may be assigned to any section of the Horticulture Division as the workload demands.

The position may be filled at the Gardener (Advanced) level, journey-level or worker-level. If starting at the lower levels, developmental assignments will be given with the goal of attaining the full performance level. Duties quoted below are at the WG-9 level.

Major Duties:

Transplants, Aerates, Prunes and Trims Plants

Plants, transplants and cares for trees, shrubs and flowers.

Uses expert knowledge of seasonal schedules, project plans, weather suitability, soil moisture and plant growth stages to ensure optimum growth of a wide variety of plant species.

Plants seedlings, bulbs, shrubs and trees in patterns, beds and in selected locations to achieve a pleasing appearance of the gardens and grounds.

Cares for and maintains a wide variety of temperate plants as part of the USBG living collection. Waters and fertilizes plants and removes dead foliage and spent flowers and prunes according to ANSI, ISA and horticultural standards.

Prunes a wide variety of plants utilized as specimen plantings, hedge rows and focal points. Prunes plants to obtain the desired configuration for the garden plan. Monitors plants in surrounding areas to determine pruning requirements.

Propagates and Cultivates Soil and Plants

Serves as an authoritative source, utilizes various fertilizing techniques, as required, to provide optimum growth and health of plants.

Recognizes and controls cold damage, mineral deficiencies and plant diseases.

Selects, measures, mixes and applies appropriate chemical control agents to control weeds, common plant diseases and insects as part of an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program.

Prepares, Roots, Grafts, Layers and Documents Plants and Beds

Utilizes horticultural knowledge to properly prepare planting beds to encourage optimum plant growth and health.

The incumbent will adjust plant maintenance to safely accommodate thousands of daily visitor movements and takes initiative to inform and answer questions.

As required, directs a small group of staff, volunteers and summer employees in the performance of plant maintenance.

The incumbent must follow all relevant safety rules, regulations and standard operating procedures. The incumbent must utilize knowledge of and must comply with all OSHA safety rules and regulations to ensure that work progresses in a safe manner. Provides or receives training, either on-the-job or through classroom training, to ensure that all safety practices and equipment are fully utilized. Uses required Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).

Removes snow and ice from sidewalks and steps in inclement weather. Applies salt, sand and other melting agents to clear areas and ensure safe conditions.

Travel Required

Not required

Supervisory status


Promotion Potential


Who May Apply
This job is open to…

Applications will be accepted from all U.S. Citizens.

Questions? This job is open to 1 group.

  • #### Job family (Series)

5003 Gardening

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  • Requirements


Conditions of Employment
  • You must be a U.S. Citizen.
  • You must be able to pass a drug test.
  • Your resume and question responses must demonstrate job-related elements.
  • Must possess a valid, unexpired State driver's license at application.
  • To apply pesticides in DC, must possess a DC Pesticide Applicator's License

-- A valid, unexpired State driver's license is required at the time of application.

-- To apply pesticides in D.C., employee must possess a valid, unexpired District of Columbia (DC) Pesticide Applicator’s License or a valid, unexpired State pesticide license with D.C. reciprocity in categories 3A, 3B and 3C.


The District of Columbia Municipal Regulations, Title 20, require each employee that performs pest control activities in the District of Columbia, including governmental and state agencies, progress from being a Registered Technician to a Certified Applicator and subsequently a “Licensed Pesticide Applicator".

Employees hired on or after January 1, 2016 must submit an application to become a Registered Technician to the District of Columbia Department of Energy and Environment (DOEE) within 30 days of the effective date of employment.

A Registered Technician is required to take two exams in order to become a fully Licensed Pesticide Applicator as follows:

The Registered Technician is required to take a general core exam within 180 days after submitting the application to DOEE. Registered AOC employees hired before October 1, 2014 are not required to take the “general core” exam. Employee will have the opportunity to take the test two times.

A second exam called a Category Exam must be taken within 3 years of becoming a Registered Technician. This is a requirement to become a fully Licensed Pesticide Applicator. Employee will also have the opportunity to take the test two times.

A Registered Technician who is unable to pass the category exam within a subsequent 3 year period will be ineligible to apply pesticides.

Employee will have the opportunity to retest twice for both exams.

Within one year after becoming a Certified Applicator, an employee can apply to become a Licensed Pesticide Applicator. Employees who possess this license must complete refresher training and renew the license each year in order to retain the license.


You must meet all eligibility and qualification requirements by the closing date of the job announcement.

You must meet the following SCREEN-OUT:

  • Ability to do Gardening Work Without More Than Normal Supervision.

Qualification at the WG-6 level: Assists with gardening projects and has a working knowledge of gardening practices in order to maintain a diverse group of plants.

Qualification at the WG-8 level: Is able to work gardening projects independently and has knowledge of methods for propagating and cultivating a wide variety of plants.

Qualification at the WG-9 level: Is an advanced gardener and has expert knowledge of methods for propagating and cultivating a diverse and wide variety of plants.

Additional information

Welcome Veterans. The Veterans Employment Opportunities Act of 1998 (VEOA) gives veterans' preference rights in the legislative branch to certain veterans as applied by the Congressional Accountability Act. Veterans' preference is applied on this vacancy announcement. If you are a veteran and have been separated under honorable conditions, you must submit a copy of your DD-214 or other proof of eligibility; SF-15, if applicable; and Department of Veterans Affairs documentation of disability, if applicable. For more information, please visit

If you are a male applicant born after December 31, 1959, you must certify that you have registered with the Selective Service System. If you are exempt from registration under Selective Service Law, you must provide appropriate proof of exemption. Please visit the Selective Service System website for more information.

DRUG TESTING: The Architect of the Capitol (AOC) is a Drug Free Workplace. As part of the AOC’s suitability assessment, a candidate tentatively selected for a position who is not currently an AOC employee is required to submit to screening for illegal drug use. Satisfactory completion of a drug test is a condition of employment with the Agency. A candidate must test negative prior to being eligible for appointment into a position. We will schedule, provide and cover the cost for the drug test.

The selectee(s) under the vacancy announcement for this position is subject to a criminal record check by the U.S. Capitol Police and satisfactory adjudication to be eligible for employment at the Architect of the Capitol.

The Architect of the Capitol is an E-VERIFY Participant. E-VERIFY is an Internet-based system that compares information from an employee's Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, to data from U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Social Security Administration records to confirm employment authorization in the United States. If you are selected for this position, the documentation that you present for purposes of completing the DHS Form I-9 will be verified through the DHS "E-VERIFY" electronic system. For more information on E-Verify, please visit

The Architect of the Capitol is an Equal Opportunity Employer and prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex, religion, age, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, genetic information and/or disability.

This agency provides reasonable accommodation to applicants with disabilities. If you need a reasonable accommodation for any part of the application and hiring process, please notify the agency. The decision on granting reasonable accommodation will be made on a case-by-case basis.

Moving expenses are not authorized.

Relocation expenses are not authorized.

Probationary Period*-*A newly appointed selectee is subject to the completion of a one-year trial/probationary period, regardless of whether or not a trial/probationary period has been completed previously with the Architect of the Capitol or another Federal agency.

This vacancy announcement may be used to fill additional vacancies in any of the jurisdictions of the Architect of the Capitol.

All application materials become the property of the Architect of the Capitol.

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How You Will Be Evaluated

You will be evaluated for this job based on how well you meet the qualifications above.

Review your resume and responses carefully. Your eligibility for consideration and qualifications for the position will be determined based upon a review of your detailed resume and your responses to job specific self-assessment questions.

Your resume will be evaluated based on evidence of your ability to demonstrate the job elements for this position, possession of any specialized experience, and how well your background and experience relates to the self-assessment questions in the job announcement. The self-assessment questions relate to the following job elements and competencies:

  • Ability to do Gardening Work Without More Than Normal Supervision (Screen-out)
  • Knowledge of Technical Gardening Practices
  • Ability to Interpret Instructions and Specifications
  • Ability to Use and Maintain Gardening Tools and Equipment
  • Safety Practices Your responses to the self-assessment questions serve as the basis for your initial rating. You will receive a numerical score based on your responses to these questions. Next, your responses will be evaluated by a Human Resources Specialist and/or a subject matter expert against the information provided in your resume and optional cover letter. Your resume must support your answers to the self-assessment questions. Falsifying your background, education and/or experience is cause for non-selection or disqualification from further consideration.

To preview questions please click here.

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Background checks and security clearance
Security clearance

Q - Nonsensitive

  • Required Documents


Required Documents

The Architect of the Capitol's job application process is designed to ensure that we only ask you for the information that is absolutely needed to evaluate your qualifications and eligibility for the position.

To apply for this position, you only need to submit online the following: a) your resume and 2) answer the online vacancy assessment questionnaire.The online questionnaire contains eligibility and screening questions and other relevant supplemental information. No additional documentation or attachment is required at the time of application.

We ask that you prepare and submit a resume that best describes fully your background experience, skills, abilities, education, training and other relevant credentials. The resume should include dates of employment.

Nothing further is required until it is requested by the staff of the Human Capital Management Division. If additional documentation is required for a position, you will be asked to provide it during the selection process or upon selection. At that point, we may ask you to submit documentation to support statements made in your resume.

For example, we may ask you to provide documents such as college transcripts, copy of diploma or proof of Federal employment status. If the position requires a license or certification, we will ask candidate(s) to provide proof at the time of selection.

If you are claiming veterans' preference, we may ask you to submit proof of Veterans preference (DD-214, and, if claiming 10-point preference, the SF-15 plus proof required by that form).

If you fail to provide the required documents, we will withdraw a tentative job offer made and/or remove you from further consideration.

If you are relying on your education to meet qualification requirements:

Education must be accredited by an accrediting institution recognized by the U.S. Department of Education in order for it to be credited towards qualifications. Therefore, provide only the attendance and/or degrees from schools accredited by accrediting institutions recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.

Failure to provide all of the required information as stated in this vacancy announcement may result in an ineligible rating or may affect the overall rating.

  • Benefits



A career with the U.S. Government provides employees with a comprehensive benefits package. As a federal employee, you and your family will have access to a range of benefits that are designed to make your federal career very rewarding. Learn more about federal benefits.

Selected applicant(s) may be eligible to earn a higher annual leave accrual rate credit towards annual leave accrual based on prior non-Federal or uniformed service work experience. The amount of service credit will be based on specialized experience or qualifying experience that is provided on the applicant profile submitted. As such, if you are a new employee to the Federal Government or a rehire, it is important that you provide a work history that lists all directly related positions held, and it must include the dates of employment (month/day/year).

Review our benefits

Eligibility for benefits depends on the type of position you hold and whether your position is full-time, part-time, or intermittent. Contact the hiring agency for more information on the specific benefits offered.

  • How to Apply


How to Apply


If you are a new user to the USAJOBS Site and have never registered for an account; you will first need to create an account profile with your basic contact information and a resume to begin applying. You must be a registered USAJOBS user AND you must be signed-in to your account in order to apply for this position. For help with setting up an account or for general assistance in using USAJOBS, go to USAJOBS Help Page.

NEED HELP? If you experience any difficulties with the application site, help is available! If you have problems completing your on-line application, contact the Monster Hiring Management Help Desk at 1-866-656-6831 or by e-mail at The help desk is available Monday - Friday 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Eastern Time. You may call and leave a voice mail message at all other times.

All required supporting documents will be collected electronically via the USAJOBS “Saved Documents” feature.

If you are unable to apply on-line, you may visit our Employment Center for technical assistance in entering your application. The Employment Center is located at 441 Second & D Streets S.W., Washington, D.C., Room H2-178, and is open Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. You may call (202) 226-7000 for directions.

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Agency contact information






Architect of the Capitol 2nd and D Street, S.W. Washington, District of Columbia United States

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Next steps

You will receive a notice generated by the USAJOBS System when you have successfully submitted your application. We will review your application and transcript(s) (if you are qualifying based on education) to ensure you meet the basic qualification requirements.

You can check the status of your application by logging into You may also sign up to receive automatic emails anytime the status of your application has changed by logging into your USAJOBS Account, editing your profile and changing the ‘Notification Settings’ to indicate that you want to be notified by email when the status changes. Information regarding the status of your application should be updated in the system within two (2) weeks after the closing date of this vacancy announcement.

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  • Fair & Transparent
Fair & Transparent

The Federal hiring process is setup to be fair and transparent. Please read the following guidance.

Equal Employment Opportunity Policy

The United States Government does not discriminate in employment on the basis of race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy and gender identity), national origin, political affiliation, sexual orientation, marital status, disability, genetic information, age, membership in an employee organization, retaliation, parental status, military service, or other non-merit factor.

  • Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) for federal employees & job applicants

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Reasonable Accommodation Policy

Federal agencies must provide reasonable accommodation to applicants with disabilities where appropriate. Applicants requiring reasonable accommodation for any part of the application and hiring process should contact the hiring agency directly. Determinations on requests for reasonable accommodation will be made on a case-by-case basis.

A reasonable accommodation is any change to a job, the work environment, or the way things are usually done that enables an individual with a disability to apply for a job, perform job duties or receive equal access to job benefits.

Under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, federal agencies must provide reasonable accommodations when:

  • An applicant with a disability needs an accommodation to have an equal opportunity to apply for a job.
  • An employee with a disability needs an accommodation to perform the essential job duties or to gain access to the workplace.
  • An employee with a disability needs an accommodation to receive equal access to benefits, such as details, training, and office-sponsored events.

You can request a reasonable accommodation at any time during the application or hiring process or while on the job. Requests are considered on a case-by-case basis.

Learn more about disability employment and reasonable accommodations or how to contact an agency.

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Legal and regulatory guidance
  • Financial suitability
  • Social security number request
  • Privacy Act
  • Signature and false statements
  • Selective Service
  • New employee probationary period

This job originated on For the full announcement and to apply, visit Only resumes submitted according to the instructions on the job announcement listed at will be considered.

Open & closing dates: 03/12/2018 to 04/09/2018

Salary: $21.26 to $30.55 per hour

Pay scale & grade: WG 06 - 09

Work schedule: Full-Time - This is an Excepted Service position and does not require or confer civil service Competitive Status

Appointment type: Permanent - Permanent, Full Time