Student placements

Christopher Lloyd established the garden at Great Dixter as a place where young and old gardeners would meet and share their excitement for plants. His writing in both books and the press stimulated gardeners all around the world.

Students come to Dixter to learn practical skills and develop a deeper understanding of the craft of traditional flower gardening. Fergus Garrett, Christopher’s friend and head gardener, continues his legacy, both in the borders at Great Dixter and through his work with students.

Great Dixter Nursery Apprenticeship
Now Open to Applicants

We have a fantastic new opportunity to learn the horticultural trade in our small but busy specialist nursery.

The apprenticeship will provide training in all aspects of nursery work and the apprentice will finish with all of the skills needed to work in a specialist nursery. Skills include: understanding soil and growing media, propagation, collecting and storing seed, potting on plants and plant sales.

The apprentice will attend college at Plumpton one day per week to gain a level 2 qualification in production horticulture.

No skills are required but the successful candidate will have an interest in working with plants, and ideally some knowledge of plants and propagation. This role includes working outside in all weathers in a physical job. The successful candidate will have a mature attitude to work and a keenness to learn. They will be expected to have a friendly and helpful manner with visitors and customers and be able to work well as part of a team.

cynara-cardunculus-seed-collecting-3-391photo by Carol Casselden

The apprentice will work 39 hours per week and receive £3.40 per hour rising to minimum/ living wage after the first year. In addition Great Dixter will assist with travel costs to and from college. The apprenticeship lasts 20 months.

The closing date is 31st January 2017. The role will start in March 2017.

To apply please email with a CV and letter explaining why you would like to train at Great Dixter. For more information about this apprenticeship phone 01797 254048

The apprenticeship is generously funded by the Finnis Scott Foundation.

The Christopher Lloyd Scholarship

The first Christopher Lloyd Scholar started at Dixter in September 2010. The scholar spends a year working in the garden at Great Dixter. They are paid minimum wage and are offered subsidised accommodation on site. The scholarship is advertised around February with placements starting in September.

The Christopher Lloyd Scholarship is part of the Historic and Botanic Garden Training Programme’s placement programme, which is funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund. As part of the programme the scholar is expected to complete a horticultural diary, four projects and weekly plant identification tests. The Programme funds half the scholar’s salary. As the programme is aimed at improving the skills within UK horticulture, the scholarship is open to EU applicants only. The Scholarship is also generously funded by Goldman Sachs Gives.

Sara Jackson become the 2016 UK Christopher Lloyd scholar in September. Sara grew up in the Sussex countryside and had previously been working as a Sward and Machinery Technician at Wakehurst Place. Sara’s desire to garden was initially realised when she went to work on a Portuguese small-holding as a vegetable gardener in 2013. A year of volunteering at Bateman’s National Trust garden gave her the horticultural experience to go onto concentrated training as a Gardens apprentice at Fulham Palace in West London.


Previous scholars were Edward Alderman, James Horner, Rachael Dodd, Maggie Tran and Jonny Bruce.

Click here to read the diary Maggie kept while she was with us.

The Chanticleer USA Christopher Lloyd Scholarship at Great Dixter

The USA Christopher Lloyd Scholarship was conceived in order to provide a gardener from the United States with a year-long, practical education in the traditional style of ornamental gardening as practised at two of the world’s most respected gardens, Great Dixter in East Sussex, England, and Chanticleer near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA.

The scholarship offers an American gardener a chance to develop deep practical skills and an understanding of the ‘sense of place’ needed to manage complex, innovative flower gardens such as those at Great Dixter and Chanticleer. It is hoped that the scholar, in turn, will inspire a future generation of North American gardeners, passing on knowledge and skills.

The scholar spends 11 months, from September to July, living and working at Great Dixter, immersed in all aspects of the garden’s operations. The individual will also attend symposiums and visit gardens, plant trials and garden shows. The final month of the scholarship is spent working at Chanticleer.

The scholarship, named in honour of Christopher Lloyd who lived and gardened at Great Dixter and established close ties with Chanticleer, is open to trainee gardeners who are U.S. citizens.

Applications are invited in November.

New scholar Coralie Thomas started at Great Dixter at the start of September

Previous scholar Ben Pick (shown above) kept a blog while at Dixter which you can read here.

The Anne Wright Scholarship

Named in honour of a great plantswoman, and friend of Christopher, the Anne Wright Scholarship is open to students studying horticultural courses at Hadlow College. The Scholar spends 6 weeks working at Dixter and living on site over the summer. Applications are handled by Hadlow College.

Other Placements

As well as formal scholarships, Great Dixter offers placements for trainee gardeners from around the world. Offered on a first come- first served basis, students are offered free accommodation and a small stipend to help with living expenses. Places are limited and book up long in advance, particularly during the summer months.

For more information about our student placements please contact Catherine Haydock. or tel: 01797 254048.