Learning has long been at the heart of the work of Great Dixter. As one of the most dynamic and complex flower gardens in the world, we have a responsibility to pass on the skills needed to garden this way. For some years we have offered practical education for people who will become top level gardeners. This education, through scholarships and student placements for trainee gardeners is tailored to the individual and will vary depending on the person involved. This flexible way of teaching ensures that Dixter trainees go away with a deep level of understanding and the skill base needed to manage intricate flower gardens. Our students come from all around the world.
Adult education courses at Great Dixter include Study Days, week-long Symposia, courses, lectures and workshops. Run by Head Gardener Fergus Garrett, as well as other Dixter staff and friends with an intimate knowledge of the garden, they will help people understand the ethos, methods and plants that are used at Great Dixter.
Thanks to generous grants from the Monument Trust and the Heritage Lottery Fund, all the facilities and resources are now in place to work with, excite and enthuse younger people through our work with schools and families. Our programmes draw from the garden, our rich biodiversity and wildlife, traditional woodland crafts and our history and collections.
The Heritage Lottery project is now at an end. The project enabled the educational work of Great Dixter to be broadened, through the addition of new facilities and the appointment of Education Officer Catherine, who manages and develops most of Great Dixter’s education programmes, particularly those with younger audiences. A number of grants have been secured to support this work over the coming three years.
The Ernest Cook Trust provided £10,000 which to help fund Catherine’s work with schools and young people during 2014/15.
The Heritage Conservation Trust which is part of the Historic Houses Association kindly agreed to give us £3000 during 2014/15 (with a further £6000 over the next two years if they are happy with our partnership) to extend the Early Years Garden Explorers programme to include more activities centred around about the history of Great Dixter and our collections.
The Finnis Scott Foundation gave us £9000 towards our work with Secondary School Students. In spring 2016 we ran a conference for school and college careers advisors, about careers in horticulture. Speakers included Luciano Giubillei (Garden designer and Chelsea Flower Show Best in Show winner 2014), Nick Coslett (Palmstead Nurseries), James Pashley (Head of Horticulture, Plumpton College) and of course our own Fergus Garrett.
The day provided information on the diversity of horticultural careers, Higher and Further Education pathways leading to employment, and enthused attendees about the rewards of working in our industry.
If you are interested in joining any of our new programmes or would like more information please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.