Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Plant Sciences

Major Professor

Susan Hamilton

Committee Members

Mary Albrecht, Mark Fly, Carrie Stephens


Leadership and leadership development is an important topic facing those who lead and train people in the area of public horticulture. In the fall of 2007 an email survey consisting of 55 questions was sent to 448 executive directors of public gardens in the United States. This survey was divided into six major sections: demographics on each director‟s garden and their association with their garden; each directors view of leadership in their garden and in the field of public horticulture; each directors experience with, and their view on the importance of internships; leadership style; each directors level of confidence, and their views on the importance of different aspects of their job; general personal demographic information and each directors‟ comments.

Results from this study suggest current garden directors have an interest in furthering their own knowledge in the area of leadership. The results from this study also revealed leaders of public gardens in the U.S. lead using a participative style of leadership. This style of leadership fosters an environment where subordinates opinions are taken into consideration when making decisions. Respondents to this study also value experiences during college at a high level in regards to choosing their career path. This includes participation in hands-on work experiences such as internships. In conclusion, those who currently lead public gardens typically feel that the ability to communicate is the most important aspect of what they do. Unfortunately, this is also an area where current directors lack personal confidence and desire professional development.

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