Symposium: The Art of Gardening

Our premier horticultural event

Symposia at Great Dixter offer a rare opportunity for gardeners to learn and practise traditional techniques first-hand in the Great Dixter gardens, to discuss aspects of border design and maintenance and to visit other nearby world-class gardens with Fergus Garrett and the Great Dixter team. Great Dixter has been running annual symposia for eighteen years and many participants return – they know they will receive excellent horticultural tuition, but what they hadn’t realised before their first visit was that they would come to be a part of the Dixter family.

Saturday 2nd November – Saturday 9th November 2019 (8 places)

Lectures and workshops with head gardener Fergus Garrett:

  • Planting and integrating bulbs in your borders, from permanent to temporary associations
  • Choosing varieties of bulbs, planting density and planting methods
  • Permanent underplanting of bulbs amongst perennials where perennials are cut down, lifted, split, soil improved, planted and then bulbs are planted amongst them
  • The timely protection of tender plants (dug up from the famous Exotic Garden).

The group will have an insight into how tender plants are lifted and stored or protected in situ and will also take part in the creative bedding decisions when spring bedding combinations are worked out and physically do the work so that they get a real understanding of planting densities and techniques. The aim of the week is to achieve a detailed understanding of working practices in bulb planting within a mixed border as well as other jobs relevant at this time of year such as composting, pruning, propagation, protection of tender plants, and the shutting down of a garden for the winter.

Also includes:

  • An in depth tour of the house with an insight into how garden and house intertwine
  • A visit to another world class garden
  • Supper in the house and at local inns with time for discussion with members of the Great Dixter gardening team.

This is a practical Symposium and subjects will be demonstrated in the garden as well as the lecture room with time spent working with Fergus and the team on the Great Dixter borders. Limited to 8 places.

Further information:

Great Dixter Symposia are one week in duration and this Symposium runs from Saturday through to the following Saturday. These courses are of both a practical and theoretical nature, are held in the lecture room and the garden, and include trips to other gardens. Attendees should prepare accordingly for all of these activities (see the check list below). Other than having the right gear and the necessary travel arrangements in place, attendees are comprehensively looked after by the Great Dixter team. Accommodation, meals, and transport to and from the airport are included within the price of the course.

Travel arrangements:

Attendees will be collected from the Heathrow Airport Meeting Point at 10am on Saturday, November 2nd 2019, where a member of the team will be waiting. Those from the UK or joining us as part of a larger travel itinerary or those arriving at a different airport should also make their way to Heathrow for 10am or go direct to the Flackley Ash Hotel (Peasmarsh, East Sussex TN31 6YH. Tel. 01797 230651) for midday.

On the following Saturday, November 9th 2019, attendees catching flights will be dropped off at Heathrow by 10am and should book their return flight long enough after to allow for checking in.

What to bring:

Check List: warm clothing; wet weather gear; comfortable clothing for outings and evenings; a warm hat and gloves and a sun hat; notebooks, pens and pencils; gardening gloves and secateurs.

Most attendees bring a camera. Please note that a UK adapter is needed for all electrical items (i.e. battery chargers) that require mains power (plugging in). Wi-fi is available at Great Dixter for those wishing to bring a portable computer. When on the Symposium, attendees can be contacted by emailing or on Tel. +44 (0) 1797 252878 ext. 3.


£2,750.00 per person (flights not included). A non-refundable deposit (£500) is required to make the booking. Lodging, breakfast, lunch, dinner, transportation to and from the hotel, and outings are included in the price. Great Dixter staff will pick you up and return you to the airport.

To book a place, please contact Perry Rodriguez:

Tel: +44 (0) 1797 252878 ext. 3


For further dates click here.