Christopher Lloyd Bursary

Fergus Garrett and the Great Dixter Charitable Trust see the Christopher Lloyd Bursary as a way of giving something back to the horticultural world by creating opportunities for trainee or young gardeners to widen their experience and gain inspiration from experts in the UK or abroad by traveling to, and/or learning in, horticulturally interesting places, attending courses and conferences and studying plants in the wild.

Nurseries who attend the Great Dixter Plant Fairs support the fund by giving 10% of their takings.

Applications are invited for up to a maximum of £1,500 with preference being given to applicants who might struggle to find funding from established organisations or institutes (Kew or Wisley applicants should first approach their bursary providers). Applications with connections to the style of gardening and ethos of Great Dixter are preferred.

How to apply:

For travel, please provide a CV and a description of your trip, including planned expenditure. We would also like to know where else you have applied and how much of the trip you plan to fund yourself.

Successful applicants will be required to write about their experience within a month of their return. This could be in the form of a written report, a blog, an Instagram feed, or other means but ideally something that can be shared on Dixter’s social media or website! They may also be asked to come and give a short talk to Great Dixter staff and Friends.

For training, please provide details of the course or conference you wish to attend, potential expenditure (including travel) and a short explanation of how the training will benefit you.

Successful applicants will be asked to send in a photo of themselves along with a brief paragraph about their training for our website.

To discuss the application process further or to apply please email: [email protected]

Deadlines for applications during the year are 1st April and 1st October. Applications will only be considered at these times.

Applicants will be informed of the decisions within two weeks of the deadlines. Only applications from EU residents are accepted.

Lawrence Weston- USA August/ September 2023- £500

Lawrence (pictured right) who is a trainee at RHS Rosemoor visited North East USA to look at established urban food growing projects to see how these ideas could be used in UK cities to make them more self-sufficient. Read his report here

Liam McPherson – RHS Level 2 -September 2022-23- £500

Liam started working in horticulture in 2021 after a change of career from project management in the charity sector. After a year of volunteering at Horatio’s Garden in London, he started a 12-month part-time traineeship in Sep 2022 as part of the Working and Retraining as a Gardener Scheme (WRAGS) through the WFGA.

He does this alongside working in private gardens and studying for RHS Level 2 at Capel Manor College. The traineeship gives time to learn about growing and maintaining a beautiful garden to a high horticultural standard, which provides a therapeutic space for the benefit of patients with spinal injuries and their families.

Selina Tan – Bhutan 2023- £250

In April 2023 Selina (pictured right) went on a 2-week trip to Bhutan with Kew apprentice Zoe Roberts. 

They spent the first week at the Royal Botanic Gardens Serithang and the second botanising in the mountains of the Jigme Dorji National Park.  You can read Selina’s report here.

Emma Leaper- New Zealand 2022 – £250

My name is Emma Leaper, I’ve just completed my RHS level 4 diploma in horticultural practice from Wisley. I’m currently undertaking a 4-week bursary trip looking at the native flora of New Zealand, focusing on woody plants that can thrive in Cornwall (my homeland).

I started in the Kauri forests of the North Island, and have slowly traveled down the country, visiting private and botanic gardens, national parks, and reserves. I’ve already greatly increased my plant knowledge, made useful contacts with horticulturalists out here, and have a better appreciation of how to use these plants to the best aesthetic effect. This is the trip of a lifetime for me…and I’m embracing every moment.

Cecily Eltringham- Hawaii May 2022- £300

The Intrinsic Relationships Between Nature and Humanity: Exploring Restoration on Kaua’i, Hawai’i In May 2022 I travelled to the island of Kaua’i on the Hawaiian archipelago in order to learn more about the ex situ conservation and restoration work being carried out on the island. The first 10 days of my trip were spent working in the nursery of the National Tropical Botanical Garden. The nursery is home to a host of endemic plants. Many are being grown for out-planting in the preserve as part of ongoing restoration work. Others are kept for ex situ conservation purposes as they can no longer be reintroduced due to habitat degradation and pollinator loss. Cats are one of the great enemies of the plant lovers of Kaua’i as they have brought endemic bird populations to the brink of decimation. Birds are key pollinators for many endemic plants so this has proved to be a significant threat. In addition to cats, the island is overrun with wild cockerels that escaped captivity long ago, and their calls sound out like insistent trumpets from dawn until dusk. Everything in the nursery is coated in a layer of fertile red dust that the island seems to exhale. The ironrich soil is used as a traditional dye, and t-shirts with red-tinged cockerels make for great tourist loot. It is derived from volcanic rock that has bubbled up from the oceanic depths over millions of years and which is now occasionally visible beneath its tropical green coat. It is the colour of bruises. In the extinction capital of the world innovation in practice is essential, and the nursery team are constantly experimenting. I am told a legend which describes a sky blackened by seabirds, but these have long since been driven away by human activity and the island’s only source of soluble phosphorous has now been lost. Fertiliser is therefore guano based, and the plants respond remarkably well. I learn a valuable lesson that stories and science are not mutually exclusive.

The remaining 10 days were spent working at the Limahuli garden and preserve, which sits in a valley between two bruised and wrinkled cliff faces that over time have grown green with dense alien vegetation. The site is managed based on the indigenous practice of ecomimicry as a form of resource management. This centers around an understanding of the structure and function of ecosystems, and acts to balance and sustain key ecosystem processes whilst manipulating the land to fulfill their needs – a “human-innature” system that is both easily and effectively adapted to the practice of conservation and restoration. Once more, I am struck by the beneficial relationship between culture and scientific practice that exists here. Of all the lessons which I take away from my trip, I believe that this is the most valuable. Thank you to the Great Dixter Charitable Trust for generously

Consuelo Franco- Australia June 2022- £300

I could not have imagined the incredible opportunity that was waiting for me. Kings Park is a hidden gem of around 1,000 acres of Park and City Bushland immaculately cared for by different dedicated teams for the public’s enjoyment but also for continuous learning. I went on a journey of discovery.

The team welcomed me and introduced me to species unknown to me in their research and plant development programs. Nursery production, propagation trials, seed collection, and conservation. Tissue culture lab, and their investment in native plants and relentless efforts on the conservation of western Australia flora.

I worked on rotation with different teams and every supervisor took the time and effort to teach me and explained what they do and how they do it, happy to answer every question. They accepted me as member of their team and allowed me to participate in study groups and plant ID sessions, such is the passion and the common connection, of those who have horticulture at their core.

The support from Christopher Lloyds bursary allowed me to spend the summer learning, and growing and gave me the chance to be able to take an unmissable opportunity and see just how important international pooling of ideas, skills and breakthroughs is. Looking forward to next year’s work placement. 

Holly McQuillan – South Africa 2022- £500

I’m Holly McQuillan, I recently completed my BSc in horticulture through the National Botanic Gardens Dublin and Waterford IT. Upon graduation, I spent a year on the Scilly Isles working in Tresco Abbey Gardens through the Studley College Elizabeth Hess scholarship. My time there sparked an interest in South African plants which has led me to the Western Cape. Currently, I am undertaking a three month internship at Babylonstoren Estate, gaining practical experience on this working farm and garden. So far I have visited many of the beautiful and diverse Cape SANBI botanical gardens, along with private estates in the Stellenbosch area. However, the most rewarding experiences have been found through hiking in the natural vegetation and seeing the incredible range and diversity that the fynbos kingdom has to offer in spring, particularly the geophytes. This trip has greatly increased my horticultural knowledge and I have met some excellent teachers along the way. It truly is a magical country”

Jess Orr: Beth Chatto Symposia – September 2022- £120

The Beth Chatto symposia live feed was a great two days for thought. A fantastic array of speakers and so much to think about. It’s helpful to be able to revisit some of the talks with some stand back. Two that have really stayed with me, were Fergus – always so passionate and insightful and the talk by John little. Perhaps in part because both have been working in the field for such a long time and have that depth of knowledge, experience and long-term thinking that is so powerful. We don’t need to reinvent the wheel, or throw out the babe with the bathwater, this is not new in so many ways – but is of course heightened for our times.

The symposia showed how many different ways in which these guiding aims can be brought to bear, and will hopefully help keep the dialogue broad and all-encompassing. I hope we can avoid prescriptive oversimplification as to how horticulture and all its neighboring disciplines might act going forward. So that the joy and creativity of this field are kept safe and as eclectic as possible. Not just for the privileged few but across all demographic – and across open and built up areas. I will be revisiting both this material and those recordings from 2018. A fantastic resource. Thank you again for the bursary to make this affordable to me. 

Previous awards

  • Alice Whiting, Eden Project Placement, October 2021, £1000
  • Sharon Horder, Greek Garden Design Course, October 2021, £200
  • Jo Wilson, Garden Design Course, August 2020, £500
  • Daniel Monge, Hawaii  February 2020, £150
  • Michael Wachter, Slovenia, May 2018, £300
  • Lisa Rue, Slovenia, May 2018, £160.
  • Rosie Anderson, Slovenia May 2018, £300.
  • Jamie McCormick, Himalayas, August 2017, £600
  • Eve Halliday, USA, July 2017, £600
  • Josh Taylor, RHS level 2 course, June 2017, £600
  • David Bull, USA, May 2017, £400
  • Christina Clowser, Italy, April 2017, £400
  • Harry Baldwin, USA, April 2017, £200
  • Rebecca Lane, Alhambra and Sierra Nevada, April 2017, £600 (shown right)
  • Olivia Steed- Munden, USA, April 2017, £200
  • Sean Harkin, USA, Autumn 2012, £500
  • Hannah Wilson, Vietnam, October 2011, £1500

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