The Adam Greathead Award is a unique opportunity, sponsored in part by the Ashwood Charitable Trust, for an aspiring horticulturalist to spend twelve months working and learning in two renowned gardens.

The famous Summer borders at Great Dixter

The Adam Greathead Award will allow the successful applicant to spend six months at Great Dixter in East Sussex, the garden of the late great Christopher Lloyd, and now a centre for horticultural education as well as a huge source of inspiration to everyone who visits.

They will also spend six months at John’s Garden at Ashwood Nurseries in the West Midlands. This outstanding garden, regarded as one of the finest private gardens in the UK, is the creation of nursery owner John Massey and has been featured on TV on numerous occasions.

Applications will be invited in 2025 for the next scholar. 

Looking towards the canal in John’s Garden

Please let us know if you require any adjustments owing to a disability which you wish us to take into account when considering your application.

All applications will be acknowledged and a short list may be drawn up before the successful applicant is chosen. All applicants will be informed of the result of their application. The decision of the trustees is final.

Additional information:

The successful applicant will receive the national living wage after deductions for statutory pension and national insurance contributions. There will also be a boot and thermal clothing allowance and some help with accommodation costs. Due to our country location, your own transport would be advisable.

Start dates and locations are to be agreed with the successful applicant and Great Dixter.


"Adam Greathead was my good friend and head gardener who died five years ago in his sleep aged twenty-seven. He was an excellent gardener, who loved colour and exciting plant combinations, a young Christopher Lloyd. At the age of 23 Adam was the head of his local gardening group, he was a natural with people of all ages and had a unique cheeky charm.A few weeks after Adam had died, I was giving a talk at the Chelsea Physic Garden. I was struggling to get going, suddenly the fire alarm went off and we had to evacuate the building. This break seemed to calm me down and on returning to the room I resumed the talk, and all went well. Unknown to me a gentleman in the audience Felix Appelbe was moved by my words about Adam and said he would like to create a fund for the Adam Greathead Award so that Great Britain could have another great horticulturist. Thank you Felix for sowing the seed for this award, sorry it has taken me so long to bring it to fruition. "

John Massey, Ashwood Garden and Nursery 2022.

Looking towards the canal in John’s Garden

Matthew Padbury is the first Adam Greathead Scholar. Matthew will spend twelve months working and learning in two of Britain’s much-loved gardens. The first six months in John’s Garden at Ashwood in the West Midlands. Here Matthew will be working along with Nigel Hopes and his team. The aim of the award is to teach good gardening practices and a love of plants. It will include planting, maintenance of shrubs, trees, conifers, herbaceous and alpines, propagation, creating and maintaining plant displays, plant association and transparency pruning.Matthew will also spend time up in the nursery to observe and help in the production of some of Ashwood’s speciality crops including cyclamen, lewisias, hepaticas and hellebores. Image: Matthew Padbury, Adam Greathead Award recipient 2023

Adam Greathead remembered:

The late Adam Greathead  enjoying a quiet moment

The Award is named in memory of Adam Greathead, inspirational Head Gardener at John’s Garden from 2014-2017.  Adam passed away suddenly aged 27 in 2017, a young life cut tragically short and a great loss to the world of horticulture. We hope that the Adam Greathead Award will honour his memory as well as being a lasting tribute to such a remarkable young man. Read more

About the Ashwood Charitable Trust:

The Ashwood Charitable trust is non-profit making and every penny of the money raised is distributed to good causes. All monies from charitable events, donations and any other giving is channelled to nominated charities.
It also strives towards the encouragement and improvement of the science, art and practice of horticulture in all its branches. Read more