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Society of Garden Designers announces new chair

The Society of Garden Designers (SGD) has announced Lynne Marcus MSGD as its new chair, replacing Sarah Morgan MSGD who steps down from the role after her three-year tenure.

Lynne is a registered member of the society and has been a director on the SGD council since February 2019, during which time she has overseen the running and development of the SGD Awards. She has been a garden designer since 1997, having trained under Professor David Stevens FSGD, after graduating in Politics & Sociology and enjoying a previous career as an HR director. Her work is recognisable for its innovative use of space, creative treatment of levels, strong, pared-down layout and the sensitive integration of natural materials and planting.

Lynne will take up the post on 7 September 2020 and will be supported by a new vice chair Andrew Duff MSGD, the current SGD council member for education and the garden design faculty director & managing director at Inchbald School of Design.

Speaking at the time of her appointment, Lynne said: “Sarah Morgan has been an energetic, wise and steadfast advocate for the society over the last three years, unequivocally promoting good practice, good design and good relations. We have greatly benefited from her experience, which gave her the vision, authority and integrity to lead the council and to streamline, strengthen and standardise our membership adjudication process – arguably the single most important function of a professional body.

“Sarah is a hard act to follow and luckily for me I will continue to benefit from her advice, as she remains on council, responsible for adjudication.”

Vision for the Society

In describing her vision for the SGD, Lynne said she wants the society to be “outward facing, nationally inclusive and collaborative”.

Touching on coronavirus and environmental issues, she said: “While the pandemic and environmental issues may seem overwhelming, the garden design profession is well positioned to make a positive environmental and social contribution while growing as a sector. Over these difficult months, people have found solace and delight in their gardens. With many seeing home-working as part of a better work-life balance, gardens may well be prioritised for investment in the future.

“As garden designers, we can choose to design gardens that increase biodiversity, pollination, optimise water use and minimise the use of unsustainable materials and waste, but we need to do more to inform our clients and the market. We have a responsibility to do so.”

SGD Initiatives

The SGD has moved swiftly to support its members during the last six months. The first digital-only SGD Conference was staged in July with great success and a programme of digital CPD courses covering all aspects of design was rolled-out in spring, many of which have been oversubscribed. In addition, the annual SGD Awards Ceremony, traditionally held at the start of the year, was rescheduled to June 2021, to follow the RHS Chelsea Flower Show.

While the new formats and timings of these initiatives were designed to ensure the safety of members, speakers and sponsors, they have offered members a greater degree of choice and flexibility, and in the case of the SGD Awards, an extended period in which to prepare submissions.

Next year, the society celebrates its 40th Anniversary. Plans to mark the occasion are underway and will be announced in the coming months.

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