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.

The Christopher Lloyd Scholarship

The Christopher Lloyd Scholar spends a year working in the garden at Great Dixter and learning from Fergus and the team. They are asked to complete a diary, horticultural projects and regular plant idents. They are paid minimum wage and are offered subsidised accommodation on site. As the programme is aimed at improving the skills within UK horticulture, the scholarship is open to EU applicants only. The Scholarship is generously funded by Goldman Sachs Gives.

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To apply please send a CV and a covering letter to, explaining why you would like to train at Great Dixter. The deadline for applications is the 25th April 2018.

Interviews will take place on the 2nd May in the morning and the 4th May in the afternoon, at Great Dixter. Placements start in September 2018.

The first Christopher Lloyd Scholar started at Dixter in September 2010. Sara Jackson become the 2016 UK Christopher Lloyd scholar in September.

2017-18 Scholar Henry Witheridge (Pictured left at Gravetye Manor) grew up always loving the outdoors and natural world but his eyes were truly opened to the joys of horticulture when spending holidays away from art school working in a Lutyens and Jekyll garden. After graduation he spent time abroad, pursuing his qualification and interest in photography, working for a newspaper and NGO. However, on his return home, he knew that working in gardens is where his future lay. He has spent the last two years working full-time at the National Trust garden at Standen and Gravetye Manor, gaining varied and invaluable experience.

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

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 will be invited in October 2018.

2017-18 Scholar Stephen Zelno (shown above) grew up in upstate New York. After graduating from Cornell University in 2009, he entered the US Peace Corps where he served as an agricultural volunteer in rural Guatemala. Upon returning to the US he began gardening, completing internships and seasonal positions at the New York Restoration Project, Wave Hill, Dumbarton Oaks, Stonecrop Gardens, and Chanticleer. He hopes to fine tune his horticultural training while at Great Dixter and pursue full time work in a public garden in the future

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

Great Dixter Nursery Traineeship

The Great Dixter Nursery Trainee spends a year working and learning in the nursery at Great Dixter. They are paid minimum wage and are eligible for subsidised accommodation onsite. We are currently working on funding for the traineeship, which we hope will be advertised in May 2018 and start in September.

Ellie Pay was our first nursery trainee at Great Dixter. She grew up in Sydney Australia where she played with a menagerie of free range pets in the garden and bushland behind her house. At eleven she moved to Kent, where she grew her first strawberries outside her window. Ellie knew as soon as she started her gardening career that she could never think of working as anything else.

“It’s been amazing to have the opportunity to be fully immersed in the work of such a well-respected nursery and garden”

Ellie has now started work at De Hessenhof nursery in the Netherlands, run by Hans Kramer, widely regarded as one of the best organic nurseries where plants are trialled, propagated and sold on site.

Ellie runs a wonderful Instagram feed. You can follow her adventures here: @elliekatepay

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

The traineeship is generously funded by the Finnis Scott Foundation.

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.