Kathleen Leighton started her career in dentistry and entered horticulture in 1980 in a cut flower nursery prior to gaining a National Certificate in Nursery Practice in 1981. Kathleen then worked for a specialist conifer nursery in Herstmonceux, East Sussex. In 1986 she became a nursery assistant at Great Dixter. Kathleen worked closely with Christopher Lloyd over many years as a propagator and became nursery manager until handing over the position in 2011. Kathleen continues to work at Great Dixter and is assistant nursery manager.