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.

We also offer a bursary for EU based young and trainee gardeners for travel and training.

The Chanticleer USA Christopher Lloyd Scholarship at Great Dixter

The Chanticleer 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 scholar may also wish to complete an internship at Chanticleer prior to beginning at Great Dixter. They will receive a bursary from Chanticleer to cover their living costs while in the UK. Accommodation is provided at both gardens for the duration of the scholarship.

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. The Scholarship is generously funded by Chanticleer.

Applications will be accepted through November 30th, 2020. The selection committee will consider all applications equally. Interviews will be held via Skype in December 2020.

Please complete the following application form and submit a cover letter and resume. Submit application materials to Catherine Haydock at or by mail using the address: Catherine Haydock, Great Dixter, Northiam, Rye, East Sussex, UK, TN31 6PHS.

For enquiries please email Catherine Haydock at /

2020-21 scholar Peter Slothower studied Architectural Studies and Environmental Studies at Ithaca College, in upstate New York, USA. His fascination with the interplay of humans and nature has led him through work in ecological restoration, landscaping, as a naturalist and planner in city parks, and into public-facing horticulture at Lurie Garden in Chicago and Chanticleer Garden near Philadelphia. With his interest in living systems and his love of getting his hands (and face, and legs, and arms…) dirty, he is excited to learn some of the Dixter magic of how to garden in this high intensity, layered and integrated way, bringing beauty and life into borders and to all our visitors – human and otherwise.

Peter in the Orchard Meadow helping with the haymaking and standing on the Long Border.

Previous Scholars:

Margaret Easter

Jack McCoy

Matt Burgesser

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

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 and the Fieldfenn Trust.

The first Christopher Lloyd Scholar started at Dixter in September 2010.

2019-20 scholar Jamie Todd (pictured above) is from Hitchin, Hertfordshire. He previously worked as a freelance illustrator and in Art Galleries and Museums in London. He has also spent time living and working in Japan where he taught English in small towns and villages in Miyagi Prefecture.

His path in horticulture began in 2013, volunteering at Growing People, an independent horticultural therapy project in Letchworth Garden City, followed in 2015 with a year volunteering at Chelsea Physic Garden and Royal College of Physicians Garden.

In 2016 he began working in horticulture full-time, undertaking a traineeship at Oxford Botanic Garden and Arboretum where he stayed for three years.

Jamie is very interested in observing communities of plants in the wild and has recently been on botanising trips to Kyrgyzstan and the Pyrenees.

Previous scholars were Ben Jones, Henry Witheridge, Jonny Bruce, 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.

Great Dixter Nursery Traineeship

The trainee spends a year working in the nursery at Great Dixter learning from the team of experienced and knowledgeable staff who work there. The nursery operates in a traditional way, using skills and techniques that are no longer seen in larger or more commercial operations. These include making loam based compost using soil extracted and sterilised from our turf heap to a John Innes recipe, and collecting seed and other propagation material from the garden. The nursery is low-tech with little heated propagation space available, so bringing on and managing seedlings in cold frames is also key. The plants produced in this way have strong root stocks and suffer less from transplant shock when they are finally planted out into a garden.

The nursery trainee is paid minimum wage and is eligible for subsidised accommodation onsite.

The aim of the traineeship is to ensure that these old fashioned but effective methods are passed on to the next generation of nursery workers. The training will essentially be a practical one although anyone joining without a Level 2 in horticulture will receive time off and funding to gain an RHS qualification during their time with us.

We look for someone who sees their future as working in a nursery, and would like to gain the skills necessary to do this. Some experience and training is helpful, although not essential. A willingness to learn and make the most of the experience is!

Places are generally advertised around June each year with the placement starting in September.

The Anne Wright Scholarship fund is kindly supporting the nursery traineeship for this coming year.

We have also received generous donations from Tim Brotzman, Troy Marden and other friends who wish to remain anonymous.

Our current trainee, Eliza Lass (tender annual with large headed flower late summer to early autumn brunette foliage with clump forming habit. Dislikes cold. 1.6m) started at Great Dixter in September 2020. Eliza has a particular interest in the social potential of propagation as a sustainable way of creating new plants at no or little cost from pre-existing material. She is especially excited to develop her propagation knowledge in order to share it with others, and believes that the giving and receiving of accessible information about plants and propagation helps to open up a world of horticultural knowledge that can often feel closely- guarded or intimidating to those with little growing experience. Eliza was attracted to Dixter by its community feel and by the prospect of learning from the nursery’s intimate and specialist team.

Eliza in the nursery stock bed preparing to take some rhizome cuttings

Our previous trainee Shaun Blower, (pictured below) has continued on at Dixter as a nursery worker and is now involved in training others.

Ellie Pay was our first nursery trainee at Great Dixter and now runs a wonderful Instagram feed from her work with Sue and Bleddyn Wyn Jones nursery Crug Farm Plants in Wales. You can follow her adventures here @elliekatepay

Along with our deputy head of the nursery Sophie Cook, Ellie has also been instrumental in setting up a Zine called the Young Propagators Society. You can follow it on Facebook and Instagram and download a copy.


Photo by Carol  Casselden


The Anne Wright Scholarship

Named in honour of a great plantswoman, and friend of Christopher, the Anne Wright Scholarship was previously open to students studying horticultural courses at Hadlow College. The Scholar spent 6 weeks working at Dixter and living on site over the summer. This year the Anne Wright Scholarship fund is kindly supporting the nursery traineeship.

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.

The Ruth Borun Scholarship

This Scholarship is generously funded by The Anna and Harry Borun Foundation in memory of Ruth Borun.

Ruth Borun was a friend of Christopher Lloyd. He visited her garden in Los Angeles back in the 70s and wrote about it in his book Other People’s Gardens. Mrs Borun died in May 2018 and her husband Dr Raymond Borun came from Los Angeles to Great Dixter later that year, aged 100 years old. With daughter Amy, he retraced the steps his wife had so often taken on the visits she made to Great Dixter over the years. Amy remembers her as, “a hands-on gardener who enjoyed living and working in her vibrant garden every day”. The scholarship is to honor Ruth Borun for her love of Great Dixter and to support education.

The first scholarship was awarded to Quentin Wallon an exceptional young man from Northern France with a passion for gardening. He began his career as an apprentice in a renowned landscape architects firm in Paris who enabled him to continue his studies in horticulture, first at college followed by the National Superior School of Nature and Landscapes of Blois-France. He hopes to take all that he will learn at Dixter back to France to share with other gardeners.