Sissinghurst Castle Garden has announced it is launching a new horticulture scholarship – headed by Troy Scott Smith and his team – to nurture and develop Head Gardeners of the future.


Sissinghurst, which was voted the nation's favourite National Trust Garden in 2020, will provide successful applicants with practical hands-on experience in the art and craft of horticulture, with a particular focus on the traditions and practices of the garden’s founders, Vita Sackville-West and Harold Nicolson.

Sissinghurst Castle Garden
The Rose Garden at Sissinghurst © National Trust Images/Andrew Butler

Commencing in September, the 18-month scholarship is designed for already experienced gardeners and will provide a deeper understanding of topics including soil management, rose pruning, garden design, hedge care and plant health, with flexibility to focus on particular areas of interest. It will also cover topics not traditionally taught as part of typical horticulture courses, such as management skills, leadership, project management and working with the media.

In addition, a separate 10-month Growing Scholarship will begin in March 2023, with an emphasis on nursery skills and kitchen gardening.

Both scholarships are open to UK and international applicants with a minimum RHS Level 2 in Horticulture. For successful applicants wishing to stay at Sissinghurst during their scholarship, subsidised accommodation is available.

Sissinghurst Head Gardener Troy Scott Smith
Scholars will be under the tuition of Sissinghurst's Head Gardener Troy Scott Smith

Sissinghurst's Head Gardener Troy Scott Smith says of the scheme, “Sissinghurst Castle Garden has been a foundation of horticultural learning for decades. In fact, in 1997, Nigel Nicolson, son of Vita and Harold, wrote that ‘Sissinghurst is a nursery not only for plants, but for head-gardeners'.

“Now, as a leading international garden, we want to embed this legacy as a core principle, creating an informal but world-class training environment to keep the tradition of learning at Sissinghurst alive for decades to come.

“At the end of the placement, scholars will have had invaluable experience and a practical insight into how one of the world’s most famous gardens is managed through the seasons, helping give them – and horticulture – a bright future.”


To find out more about the Sissinghurst scholarship and how to apply, visit

Head to our round up of more gardening and garden design courses.


Abigail is a freelance writer and editor based in Hereford.