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 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 only accepted during October and November. The deadline for applications is November 30th. The application form is available on the website from the 1st October. Candidates are also asked to submit a CV and covering letter. Interviews take place mid- December via Skype.

2016/17 Scholar Coralie Thomas started at Great Dixter at the start of Septembercoralie

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.

The first Christopher Lloyd Scholar started at Dixter in September 2010. 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. Her placement is supported by Goldman Sachs Gives and the Historic and Botanic Garden Training Programme.


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.

Great Dixter Nursery Traineeship

Ellie Pay is our 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. After completing her education she worked on a smallholding where she found that she loved working outside and wanted to be outdoors all day, every day. Volunteering first at Farmshare, and then working as an assistant gardener for a hotel, Ellie knew as soon as she started her gardening career that she could never think of working as anything else. She has worked across a variety of horticultural roles ever since, from maintenance to design, but has so far found nursery work to be her favourite. As well as working in the nursery Ellie is studying for an RHS level 2 qualification in plant growth and is particularly enjoying the science and biology modules. She says her favourite plants are ones that attract pollinators or can be useful, usually in a cottage garden style, such as varities of Nepeta or Geranium.

You can follow Ellie’s progress at Great Dixter via her Instagram feed @greatdixternurserytrainee

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

The traineeship is generously funded by the Finnis Scott Foundation.




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.