In Bloom: Town to hire horticulturist

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In an effort to keep the town’s flowers flourishing, Collierville has created a new position for a horticulturist. 

The town’s Board of Mayor and Aldermen agreed on Monday night to eliminate two full-time positions for maintenance workers from the budget in order to fund the new job.

The maintenance positions had not yet been filled so no workers will be relieved of their jobs. 

“The Grounds and Parks Maintenance Division will be able to continue to meet the responsibilities of maintaining the town’s grounds and parks at the standard expected by residents through the department’s previously approved outsourcing requests for the majority of mowing responsibilities,” said Derek Honeycutt, the town’s director of General Services. “The reduction in mowing allows the division to be restructured in a way that creates the ability to do more while doing it cheaper.”

The horticulturist position will serve as a supervisor over the current landscape and irrigation crews, which maintain more than 4 acres of shrub and flower beds throughout the town. 

“By adding the new position,” Honeycutt said, “the town and crews will benefit from the specialized knowledge of a horticulturist, which will improve the appearance of town parks, buildings, medians and overall landscape.

“With the town having thousands of trees growing on its properties,” he continued, “the horticulturist will be responsible for assisting in the maintenance of them and improving the crew’s knowledge of pruning.” 

Savings from having an experienced horticulturist on staff will be recognized by eliminating the purchase of annual flowers and replacing them with perennial flowering plants.

The long-term plan will be to cultivate all the plants by seed, which will eliminate the need to buy plants from nurseries. 

Applicants must have a Bachelor’s Degree in Horticulture or Botany and three years if professional experience.