Gardening for Biodiversity

It is now well known and understood that biodiversity in facing a catastrophic decline all over the world. As gardeners we are closer to the natural world than many- and yet so many of us feel powerless to effect change.

Between 2017 and 2019 Great Dixter undertook an audit to assess the biodiversity throughout our site including the garden, buildings and outbuildings, compost heaps, wood piles, meadows and woodlands. The results revealed that we are custodians to an unusually rich place, which through a mosaic of habitats, and a long flowering garden supports a large diversity of species.

This 4-part course led by Dixter gardener Michael Wachter will bring in some of the ecologists who carried out the surveys on the garden and wider estate to reveal why Dixter is so rich, and what you can do to improve the species richness in your garden. 

The course takes place at Great Dixter from 10am -4pm. Lunch and refreshments are provided except on day 3 when we ask you to bring a packed lunch as the course takes place off site. 

Part 1- 27th February 2024 – Habitats

This session will look at the habitats on site and the traditional ways in which we work: from woodland management, green woodwork, habitat structures, soil and compost, and our ethos of reuse and recycling.

It brings in the expertise of Andy Phillips, ecologist, who will examine steps we can take to improve the ways we work as well as practical action you can to take at home to provide habitats for invertebrates and other fauna.

Part 2-  29th May- Flora and food

View the garden and beyond through the eyes of plant ecologist Kate Ryland who will use Dixter to study succession in the natural setting. Kate will help the group to explore the importance of edge habitats and where and how gardens fit into this.

Part 3-  4th June- Beyond the lawn

This session will look at alternatives to lawns – using different mowing regimes to different effect without going “full meadow”. An examination of ecological gardening. This session brings in Gardener and lecturer Ed Flint who has experimented extensively on this topic and brings with him a wealth of practical experience. * this session will take place at a private garden near Wadhurst in East Sussex*

Part 4-  5th August- Food

Using sweepnets, pooters and beating trays you will explore the garden and Dixter estate from ecologist Andy Phillips’ eyes and learn how to identify and record species. You will learn about the importance of plants to support pollinator species and understand how the garden functions to provide a long season of nectar.

The course costs £600. Payments can be split if needed. Please email [email protected] for more info. 

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February 27, 2024 10:00 am - August 5, 2024 4:00 pm


Great Dixter House and Gardens, TN316PH