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125 Arborway
Boston, MA 02130


Rachel Lawlor

I was first introduced to horticulture while attending Norfolk County Agricultural High School in Walpole, Massachusetts. I decided to become a “plant” major there. I was lucky enough to be chosen for the Aggie internship, a six-week program at the Arnold Arboretum, my junior year. From there, it was clear horticulture was my calling in life. I quickly found my first industry job at a local florist and garden center.

After high school, I attended UMass Amherst for my Bachelor’s in Horticultural Science. There I gained interest in more specific topics such as plant identification, plant pathology, nematology, plant physiology, and entomology. During my freshman year, I started to work in the Nematology lab. This led to a project that allowed me to visit the Arboretum once again. I conducted a survey of the nematode populations found in the Lilac collection. In the summer of 2017, I became an Isabella Welles Hunnewell Horticulture Intern at the Arnold Arboretum, and during this time I truly fell in love with public horticulture. Throughout my time in college, I also worked as an assistant manager of a garden center, and as a teaching assistant for the Plant Pathology course.

I graduated from UMass in 2019, and started working as a seasonal term employee at the Arnold Arboretum alongside horticulture staff. In 2020, I became a full-time Gardener at the Arnold Arboretum, and in March 2023 I was promoted to Horticulturist, taking over the Bradley Rosaceous Collection, maples, and the ponds. I’ve also been a member of our Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging Committee since it was formed in 2021. Every day, I learn something new while caring for the collections. I get to appreciate, and contribute to, the astounding beauty of a place I’ve grown up in, and has inspired my life’s path. It is an absolute dream come true to work here, and I feel truly honored to serve this institution every day.



BS, Horticultural Science
University of Massachusetts Amherst


Certified Arborist
ISA Certified Arborist
OSHA 10 cardholder


Pesticide Applicator License (Core)
Cat. 2B Hoisting Engineer License