Matt McDermitt

Plant Buyer, Xquisite Landscaping, Inc., Stoughton MA

When Matt McDermitt accepted the annual internship at UDBG in 2016, he never expected the experience to lead him towards a career in plant curation. Matt developed a strong interest in plant ecology, taxonomy, and land management during his undergraduate degree in Wildlife Ecology and Conservation (he was a research assistant in that department) from the University of Delaware, but it wasn’t until after graduation that he discovered his passion for horticulture. According to Matt, the annual internship “allowed me to get my feet wet in horticulture with a well-rounded experience in public garden management, and I fell in love with the work.” Part of Matt’s internship duties at UDBG included curatorial work where he found himself fascinated by the history of accessioned plants and enjoyed collecting data.

In 2017, Matt applied to the Isabella Welles Hunnewell Internship Program at The Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University in Boston, MA and received an internship assisting the curatorial staff with annual inventory field checks. Field checks involve phenological observations, plant health care assessments, measurements, verifying label accuracy, and reporting any horticultural issues to the staff. He also helped process Spontaneous Flora, a collection of naturalized herbarium specimens from ~1920-1945, and catalog them in BG-BASE. This internship then transitioned into a position at The Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University as Curatorial Assistant.

As Curatorial Assistant, Matt assisted the Manager of Plant Records with the annual inventory. They field checked over 3,000 accessioned plants each year. Matt also worked on nomenclature. His main project was work on the Spontaneous Flora, where he input over 2,000 herbarium specimens into BG-BASE and developed content about the collection for the Arboretum’s website. Matt wrote for Silva, the Arboretum’s newsletter and Arnoldia, its quarterly magazine. One of his articles in Silva, entitled Cotinus obovatus, can be viewed here.

In May 2018, Matt accepted a position as Fine Gardener with Estate Gardeners in Wellesley, Massachusetts.  The company offers custom landscape design, installation, and maintenance services, with an emphasis on natural planting styles that use native plants and materials to create sustainable pocket habitats. Matt’s responsibilities were horticultural maintenance, softscape and hardscape installation, and garden and landscape design input. In order to build more extensive plant knowledge, Matt accepted a position with Xquisite Landscape Inc. as its Plant Buyer. The position offers him exposure to a wide range of private, corporate, government and academic garden and landscape projects.

Matt enjoys martial arts, snowboarding, hiking, camping, and botanizing in his free time.