SGD Spring conference line-up

Sex in the Garden – flowers, fruit & foraging‘ is the title of the 2019 Society of Garden Designers (SGD) spring conference on 27th April. A first-class line-up of speakers has been announced from the world of garden design, research and horticulture for the conference which is being held at the Royal Geographical Society in London.

Speakers will include French ecologist and nurseryman Olivier Filippi, fragrance and sensory research scientist Emma Desmier (pictured left)and naturalistic garden designer Noel Kingsbury. The inspirational leaders behind West Dean Gardens, Jim Buckland and Sarah Wain will also be speaking as well as world-renowned rose expert Michael Marriot and Henrik Sjöman, scientific curator of the Gotenburg Botanical Garden.

The speakers will explore improved strategies in plantsmanship; species selection for our changing climate; biodiversity and maintenance regimes, as well as revealing their strategies for extending the gardening season based on the most reliable, spectacular and valued flowering and fruiting plants.

In case you were wondering where the ‘Sex’ bit of the conference topic comes in, we can reveal that Emma Desmier will be looking at the relationship between sex and scent in the human world, before going on to explore the relationship between scent and sex in the plant world. She will be sharing her extensive knowledge, drawn from years working in fragrance research and development and look at how an understanding of scent can be harnessed to enrich planting design.

Rose expert, Michael Marriott, will be sharing his encyclopedic knowledge of the species to explain why roses are one of the most garden-worthy of all plants and how to look after them while Noel Kingsbury, one of the world’s most influential innovators, writers and teachers in the fields of gardening and planting design, will explain why we need to take a more rounded view of the plants we use.

Noel’s talk, entitled ‘The Whole Plant – beyond the blob on the planting plan’, will look at understanding plant architecture, lifecycles and their uses as both food and materials to create truly sustainable gardens.(Noel, pictured right)

Speakers from overseas include Oliver Filippi, who runs a specialist nursery in the South of France. He will explain his blueprint for future-proof gardening, inspired by the natural beauty of the Mediterranean garrigue. Henrik Sjöman, who is a Senior Researcher at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences and Scientific Curator at Gothenburg Botanical Garden will explore a range of flowering shrubs and fruiting trees to explain how the flowers, fruit, wood and leaves that woody plants produce, can be understood in terms of the unique physiological investment different species make in order to safeguard their environment.

Jim Buckland and Sarah Wain (pictured below) are the dynamic team behind the 100 acre West Dean Gardens, in West Sussex. Their talk, ‘Congress and Cornucopia – The innocent fruitfulness of West Dean Gardens‘ will explain how they believe, at its core, a garden’s function should be as a place of harmony, tranquillity and sensory delight.

Discounted ‘Early Bird’ tickets are available until 11th March 2019. Please visit the SGD website for more information and tickets online here.

Picture credits: ©SGD – image of Noel Kingsbury credit Amalia Robredo; image of Jim Buckland and Sarah Wain middle above, credit Charlie Hopkinson.