SGD Spring Conference 2021

At a time when the benefits of embracing and immersing ourselves in nature have become more prominent than ever, the Society of Garden Designers Spring 2021 Conference will be taking place on Saturday 17th April 2021 to explore in detail how the restorative power of nature can impact our future health.  

The Spring conference will be live-streamed as an online event only and will take the theme ‘Our Future Health‘, with a panel of leading experts who will examine the growing evidence showing how important green spaces are to our mental and physical wellbeing.

Speakers will explain how we can mitigate the many health problems we face in the modern world through the gardens and landscapes we design, from sowing seeds at rehabilitation centres and community garden projects to the principles of user-led design, plant selection and spatial layout.

Speakers will include psychiatrist, psychotherapist and author of The Well Gardened Mind, Sue Stuart-Smith, who will explain how gardening can help people recover from experiences of loss and trauma, alongside her husband, world-renowned garden designer Tom Stuart-Smith, whose projects include the Serge Hill Project for Gardening and Health and a therapeutic garden in South East London for the charity Horatio’s Garden.

Other speakers include Chelsea gold-medallist Olivia Kirk, a garden designer who specialises in creating healing and therapeutic gardens for hospices and Johanna Gibbons, a landscape architect whose work includes exploring how the urban environment affects mental wellbeing.

In addition, Dr Tijana Blanusa, who leads and delivers RHS research on the environmental benefits of gardens and urban green infrastructure and has a particular interest in the contribution of plants to the improvement of air quality, is also a speaker.

US based artist Topher Delaney whose medium is the land, will talk about her work creating healing spaces and sanctuaries.

Chair of the SGD Conference committee Stuart Towner said: “As garden designers we often wonder what it is about the garden that is so appealing. Most of us appreciate the sensory qualities of plants, the calming nature of a garden pool, the soothing power of green; what can be harder to pin down is the science behind this sense of wellbeing.

By examining the health benefits of green spaces, the SGD Spring Conference will, in essence, be explaining why so many people have sought sanctuary from their gardens and nature to help them endure this past year.  As the pandemic continues to keep us close to home and as modern life in general spawns ever increasing mental and physical health problems, it is a day not to be missed.”

The conference will be chaired by garden and planting designer Faith Ramsay, who has designed five therapeutic and healing gardens and is the Chair of Thrive and will be streamed live on 17th April 2021 – available to watch on-demand at any time over the coming year. Information and tickets are available from the SGD website.

Images: Banner top page: Horatio’s Garden, Salisbury; middle: ©Sue Stuart-Smith; bottom: Rikers Island, credit Lindsay Morris