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The Garden Media Guild Awards 2017: Judges

Judging of the Garden Media Guild Awards is carried out by an independent panel of respected experts and horticultural professionals selected by the GMG Committee.

Judging decisions

GMG Chairman, Clare Foggett, gives the lowdown on what the Awards judges are looking for.

The Lifetime Achievement Award is decided by votes cast by Garden Media Guild members.

Judging panel

Here is the line-up of 2017's highly respected judging panel.

Marie-Louise Agius

Marie-Louise Agius

Marie-Louise Agius is a Director of Balston Agius Limited and a Director and Trustee of Exbury Gardens in Hampshire, a world renowned woodland garden of more than 200 acres, specialising in rhododendrons, azaleas, camellias and rare trees and shrubs. She is an award-winning designer, and member of the Society of Garden Designers, who trained in Landscape Design at KLC School of Design in London. Her portfolio is diverse, and includes numerous private gardens.

She also actively participates in regular board meetings at Exbury Gardens, whereupon the overall strategy for both the commercial and horticultural direction of the gardens is determined.

Camilla Akers Douglas

Camilla Akers Douglas

Camilla Akers-Douglas is a journalist and editor with an established interest in gardens, interior design and design excellence, and good food. She has worked for Country Life, House & Gardens and Homes & Gardens magazines and as Publisher of The English Garden and The English Home magazines.

She is currently studying for a Masters in Food Policy at London’s City University.

Dr Heather Barrett Mold OBE

Dr Heather Barrett Mold OBE

Dr Heather Barrett-Mold OBE has worked in Further and Higher Education for a number of years, and was Principal and Chief Executive of Pershore Group of Colleges – a land-based college. Heather is primarily an ecologist and was a member of the Government Advisory Panel on Sustainable Development Education also known as the Holland Committee for its lifetime of five years.

Heather is now a consultant for a variety of organisations; is a Vice President of the Institution of Environmental Science, a Past President of the Institute of Horticulture and an active member of the Worshipful Company of Gardeners.

Guy Barter

Guy Barter

Guy Barter is Chief Horticulturist with the RHS, and works in the RHS press team providing horticultural advice, expertise and information to the media. Previously he ran the RHS Gardening Advice Service, which answers gardening questions from members of the RHS and visitors to RHS flower shows, for 18 years. He took up horticulture after 11 years as a microbiologist, after which he gained a BSc in Horticulture at Bath University, had stints in industry and with Which? Gardening.

When not writing books and articles, he likes to keep his boots muddy supporting RHS community gardeners and on his allotment.

Sue Biggs CBE

Sue Biggs CBE

Sue Biggs CBE joined the RHS, the UK’s leading gardening charity, as Director General in August 2010 with 30 years’ of experience in the international leisure industry. In 2014, Sue announced the charity's 10-year Strategic Investment Programme of £160 million, its aim to raise the profile and impact of every aspect of horticulture including a new RHS garden and new inner city gardens. Under Sue’s direction, the RHS has also launched its Greening Grey Britain campaign, which aims to transform 6,000 unloved grey spaces over the next three years into planted-up, beautiful living spaces for people to enjoy while benefitting the environment.

Sue was awarded a CBE for services to the environment in the January 2017 New Year’s Honours List.

Mike Calnan

Mike Calnan

Mike Calnan is the National Trust’s Head of Gardens and has been with the organisation for more than 30 years. He oversees the conservation of the Trust’s 200-plus gardens, curation of historic plants and collections in Trust care and the development of skills of the Trust’s 650 staff and 6,000 garden volunteers. His interest in gardens are wide ranging, from eighteenth century garden restoration to garden aerial photography.

Mike has lectured widely at home and abroad and writes on gardens and their conservation.

Danny Clarke

Danny Clarke

Danny Clarke is a professional garden designer and landscaper, and an established TV presenter. Extensive travels abroad inspired Danny to pursue his love of nature and the great outdoors and begin a career in horticulture. He gained a keen eye for design, which led him to become an acclaimed garden landscaper and designer.

His creativity and fresh approach hasn't gone unnoticed; he co-presented BBC One's garden transformation show The Instant Gardener alongside Helen Skelton, has presented for the BBC at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show and RHS Flower Show at Tatton Park. He's also been a contributor across the BBC's Inside Out.

Lucinda Compton

Lucinda Compton

Following work in an art gallery, Lucinda Compton trained as a decorative surface conservator, eventually forming her own successful conservation company – Compton & Schuster. She moved to Yorkshire when her husband, Richard, took on the running of Newby Hall from his father, Robin, in 1999. Newby's collections range from extensive Chippendale furniture to Roman marbles, tapestries and paintings. The extensive gardens cover 25 acres and welcome 140,000 visitors a year. They are famous for their double herbaceous borders, recently completely replanted.

Lucinda also sits on the executive committee of the North of England Horticultural Society, which organises the Harrogate Spring and Autumn Flower Shows.

Andy Cowles

Andy Cowles

Andy Cowles is a multi-award winning Creative Development Director with an international reputation. Successful at creating and reinventing powerful identities for brands in the UK, America and Australia, he’s fluent at presenting highly compelling multi-platform content in every market, for every audience. World-class design thinking has allowed Andy to devise 12 successful digital and print launches, along with an astonishing range of brand reinventions. Full time roles include nine years as Creative and Editorial Development Director for Time Inc UK, and Creative Director of Rolling Stone in New York.

His work has won many awards, including the BSME Mark Boxer Award for editorial service.

Terril Dobson

Terril Dobson

Terrill Dobson has been National Organiser for Scotland’s Gardens Scheme since 2015, the charity sharing the same roots as England’s NGS, helping garden owners open their gardens to raise money for charity. Her career began in business, working in IT, healthcare quality improvement and laterally as a lecturer in software development until, in 1999, she and her husband bought a farm in rural Scotland, which they converted to organic.

She has a BSc in Herbal Medicine and has established a demonstration garden of medicinal herbs, as well as a therapeutic garden at her local teaching hospital. She continues to practice part-time as a herbalist, opens her garden to the public, and provides talks and workshops about herbal medicine.

Owen Doyle

Owen Doyle

Professor Owen Doyle is Associate Professor and Head of the honours degree programme in Horticulture, Landscape and Sports-turf Management at University College Dublin, and the current President of the Chartered Institute of Horticulture. Owen started his formal horticulture education as a mature student in Kildalton College, Co Kilkenny. He graduated with an ACOT Horticulture Certificate and a General Certificate in Horticulture from the RHS in 1981. He went on to study Commercial Horticulture at UCD and completed a PhD in horticultural plant pathology at after studying at Cornell University, New York.

He has taught horticulture and retail studies at the Dublin Institute of Technology, worked in the biotechnology industry, at BioResearch Ireland and currently teaches food horticulture at both UCD and at the South China Agriculture University in Guangzhou, China.

Sarah Gardner

Sarah Gardner

Sarah Gardner is a professional photographer and surface designer who studied art and photography at college and has a degree in Fine Art. Her early career started in marketing and she worked with some of the UK's leading creative agencies, such as Ogilvy One and Abbort Meads Vickers AMV. After a career break to start her family, Sarah returned to her love of art, this time with a bias towards photography. Working digitally, she experimented with new processing ideas, layering multiple images and textures and crafting her own unique texture renderings. Sarah's work soon became recognised for her delicate and sophisticated use of digital textures.

She is the author of a how-to book, Art Beyond the Lens, in which she shares her background influences, photographic working practices and processing insights. Much of her floral work is now under license and she receives commissions for commercial shoots and styling.

Andrew Gill

Andrew Gill

Andrew Gill has almost 40 years’ experience in amenity horticulture and parks management, including 12 years in private sector contracts management and 15 years at senior management level in the public/charity sector. Proud to be one the first six Chartered Horticulturists in the world, Andrew is Immediate Past President of the Chartered Institute of Horticulture and a Trustee of Parks for London.

Andrew was an Advisory Board member of the Parks Alliance and has published his own plan for the green infrastructure of London.

Malcolm Goodwin

Malcolm Goodwin

Malcolm Goodwin’s first career was in information systems and he worked for Cap Gemini, The Channel Tunnel Project, ITV and the European Space Agency. His father was a keen gardener, designer and grower and Malcolm re-discovered his horticultural heritage at the age of 30, re-training to become a gardener. He soon became a Head Gardener and worked at Painshill Park, The Lost Gardens of Heligan and Borde Hill in Sussex.

A passion for teaching and sharing knowledge about plants and nature led him into the world of education and is now the Principal of Capel Manor College in London.

Cath Gratwicke

Cath Gratwicke

Catherine Gratwicke trained and worked as a textile designer before becoming a freelance photographer in 1998. Specialising in still-life and interiors, Catherine has worked with many of the leading interior and lifestyle magazines and publishers worldwide, as well as shooting commercially for the likes of Marks & Spencer, John Lewis and Dulux.

As well as her extensive work in interior photography, her striking, distinctive and painterly style has also lent itself perfectly to many still-life flower commissions, most notably books by Jane Packer – Flowers, Design, Philosophy and Living With Flowers – and Vintage Flowers, Vintage Wedding Flowers and David Austin Wedding Roses with Vic Brotherson of Scarlet & Violet.

Pippa Greenwood

Pippa Greenwood

Pippa Greenwood trained as a botanist at Durham University (BSc Hons) and then gained an MSc in Crop Protection at Reading University. In 1985, she joined the staff at RHS Garden Wisley, where she ran the Plant Pathology Department. Pippa began working for the BBC in 1988, joining Alan Titchmarsh on BBC 1’s Daytime Live, and between 1989 to 2002 she was a regular presenter on BBC 2’s Gardeners’ World. She is also a regular panellist on BBC Radio 4’s Gardeners’ Question Time and for several years Pippa was the Presenter on BBC Radio Solent’s Topsoil with Pippa Greenwood, a three-hour gardening and music show.

She was the gardening consultant for the ITV murder mystery series Rosemary and Thyme starring Pam Ferris and Felicity Kendal and has written many books including the bestselling New Gardener (in excess of 1.25 million copies sold).

Penelope Hobhouse

Penelope Hobhouse

Now retired, Penelope Hobhouse is a garden designer, horticultural writer and garden historian. Her books include Colour in your Garden, Flower Gardens, Garden Style, The Gardens of Europe (with Patrick Taylor), The Gardens of Italy, On Gardening, Plants in Garden History, Gardens of Persia and The Story of Gardening.

Her designs include gardens for Jil Sander in Germany and for Baron De Rothschild in France, a garden for the Queen Mother at Walmer Castle and a garden at Wisley for the RHS. Much of her work included private gardens in the United States, as well as a Herb Garden for the New York Botanic Garden.

Andrew Lawson

Andrew Lawson

Andrew Lawson is a garden photographer with an international reputation built up over nearly 30 years. A keen gardener himself, he brings a specialist eye to the photography of plants and gardens. Andrew has contributed to many titles, including five books on Highgrove by HRH The Prince of Wales and has illustrated books by such well-known gardeners as Rosemary Verey, Penelope Hobhouse and Sir Roy Strong, as well as contemporary garden designers.

An author himself, he has written two books: Performance Plants and The Gardener’s Book of Colour. He holds the Royal Horticultural Society’s Gold Medal for Photography and is a Garden Media Guild Lifetime Achievement Award winner.

Nicholas Marshall

Nicholas Marshall

Nicholas Marshall is CEO of Dobbies Garden Centres, one of the UK’s leading garden centre retailers. Nicholas has more than 30 years' experience in the garden centre sector. He founded and built two garden centre chains, Country Gardens PLC, which was sold for more than £120m and Country Homes and Gardens PLC. He was also CEO of Wyevale Garden Centres for four years, taking it from near administration to a successful sale for £300m.

This year marks the 200th anniversary of the birth of James Dobbie, the founder of Dobbies Garden Centres. Nicholas can trace the history of his family as pioneers in the world of horticulture back even further. His great-great grandfather was Sir Joseph Dalton Hooker, probably the most famous botanist in the world and director of Kew for 25 years. His great-great-great grandfather, Sir William Jackson Hooker, born in 1785, was Regius professor of botany at the University of Glasgow and director of the Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew.

Pilar Medrano Dell

Pilar Medrano Dell

Pilar Medrano Dell is Head Gardener at The Roof Gardens, the iconic 1930’s garden on the 6th floor of what used to be the Derry and Toms department store in Kensington High Street. With a background in Garden History, Design and Horticulture, Pilar’s professional trajectory has taken her through many high-end gardens in the UK and abroad like Wrest Park’s English Heritage and the Barcelona Botanical Gardens. She previously had an extensive career as a radio and television broadcaster and producer with the BBC and independent production companies in the UK and Spain.

She travelled the world making documentaries that would take her to meet and interview kings and heads of state, but more importantly to give a voice to people whose story wouldn’t have been heard otherwise.

Vicky Nuttall

Vicky Nuttall

As a professional marketeer, Vicky Nuttall started her career in IT, moved into construction and then found her way into the garden landscaping sector working for timber supplier Forest Garden, where she stayed for more than 13 years. In 2014, Vicky became Director of GIMA, the Garden Industry Manufacturers’ Association, representing and supporting suppliers in their commercial endeavours within the UK.

Throughout this time Vicky has developed a love of gardening, as well as accumulating a wealth of gardening knowledge from peers and colleagues, but only now, having recently moved into an old property with a large garden, is she starting to put everything she’s learnt into practice.

Dr Henry Oakeley

Dr Henry Oakeley

Dr Henry Oakeley, FRCP, FLS, VMH, is Emeritus Consultant Physician to St Thomas’ Hospital, London; senior Garden Fellow at the Royal College of Physicians (RCP), London; Vice-president of the RHS; and Chairman of the Orchid Society of Great Britain with a special interest in a group of South American orchids about which he wrote the definitive monograph. His notebooks, photographs and herbarium specimens are at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

He has served on: RHS Council and its committees; the Asia Pacific Orchid Conference Trust; the World Orchid Conference Trust and others, and held three National Plant Collections. He has edited journals on speleology, National Plant Collections, and orchids; and written more than 300 articles on the latter subject, which have been published worldwide.

Philippa O'Brien

Philippa O'Brien

Philippa O'Brien is a Registered Member of the Society of Garden Designers. She has an honours degree in horticulture from Reading University and has also lectured on garden design at Capel Manor College. Prior to setting up her garden design practice, she was a horticultural journalist. Since she started designing in 1991, she has undertaken a wide range of projects throughout the United Kingdom and in Europe.

Philippa believes that gardens must be sustainable and ecologically friendly. An enthusiastic bee keeper, her planting tends to favour pollinators.

George Plumptre

George Plumptre

George Plumptre has been Chief Executive of the National Gardens Scheme since 2010. His first book, Royal Gardens, was published in 1981. Since then he has published a further 11 books on gardens of which the most recent, The English Country House Garden, won the GMG Inspirational Book of the Year Award in 2014.

He has enjoyed an equally long career as a garden journalist, writing for a wide variety of publications and including a spell as the Gardening Correspondent of The Times in the 1990s. He still regularly contributes articles on gardens to Country Life and The Telegraph.

Sarah Quarterman

Sarah Quarterman

Sarah joined Plant Heritage, the UK cultivated plant conservation charity that accredits the National Plant Collections, as Chief Executive in April 2014. Prior to the appointment she was Corporate Partnerships Manager at the Anaphylaxis Campaign, and before this a Trusts and Foundations Fundraiser for CHASE Hospice and the CKS Development Trust.

A trustee of three local charities (one as Executive Chair), Sarah has a strong background in the voluntary sector, following an earlier successful career in retail IT project management.

Simon Richards

Simon Richards

As a floricultural specialist, Simon Richards has worked with Marks & Spencer for the last 12 years as product developer for cut flowers, overseeing all range development and working with a global grower base to deliver the best ‘high street’ flower offer in the UK. Under Simon's steer, Marks & Spencer has exhibited at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show in the Grand Pavilion since 2013, showcasing its cut flower range and winning Gold Medals for the last three years.

Prior to Marks & Spencer, Simon spent five years working for Jane Packer Flowers, learning the craft of floristry at first hand. He has also recently been appointed trustee of the Floral Angels and is delighted to support an industry specific charity in its excellent work re-purposing surplus flowers.

Advolly Richmond

Advolly Richmond

Advolly Richmond is an independent researcher in Garden, Landscape and Social History based in Shrewsbury. She is a trustee of the Welsh Historic Gardens Trust, a member of the Shropshire Parks and Garden's Trust and she sits on the Gardens Trust Events Committee. Through her RHS training and qualifications, she went on to achieve an MA in Garden History from the University of Bristol. She contributes articles to relevant publications and gives talks on a variety of 18th to 20th century subjects.

Advolly is currently working on several projects, including a publication on the elite sport of archery (1780-1900) in the landscape park as well as her ongoing research into the life and achievements of Victorian botanist the Reverend Thomas Birch Freeman (1809-1890). Advolly is a passionate gardener and galanthophile.

Paul Rochford

Paul Rochford

Paul is a fifth generation nurseryman. His great-great grandfather, Michael Rochford, left the west coast of Ireland during the potato famines of the 1840s and settled in the West London area to establish a successful market gardening business. His four sons also started horticultural businesses in and around the Lea Valley in the 1860s. Of these, Joseph Rochford Gardens, a wholesale business supplying plants to the landscape industry, remains and is now run by Paul.

Paul was educated at Ampleforth College and Nottingham University. He graduated with a degree in horticulture and then trained in hardy nursery stock production in France and the United States.

Juliet Sargent

Juliet Sargent

Juliet Sargeant has been designing gardens from her base in Sussex for more than 20 years. Having previously been a medical doctor, she has a special interest in how gardens contribute to our health and well-being. Juliet also teaches garden design and planting on professional courses and to garden enthusiasts. She is on the RHS selection panel for show gardens and acts as a judge as well.

In 2016, Juliet won a Gold Medal for her first garden at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show. The Modern Slavery Garden was the first campaign garden at the show; it attracted a great deal of attention, as well as endorsement from the then Prime Minister, David Cameron, and a visit from the present Prime Minister, Theresa May. Juliet has recently been added to the Evening Standard’s Progress1000 List of influential Londoners.

Martin Simmons

Martin Simmons

A qualified horticulturist, Martin Simmons has more than 30 years' experience in the garden industry working for major brands including Four Oaks and Butters and internationally through the Proven Winners plant marketing group. His career has encompassed sales, marketing, product development and intellectual property management.

Martin joined the Horticultural Trades Association in 2006 as Business Development Manager North and has progressed within the Association, joining the Senior Leadership Team in 2013 as Head of Operations before becoming Director of Operations in 2016.

Sir Tim Smit

Sir Tim Smit

Sir Tim Smit is best known for his achievements in Cornwall. He ‘discovered’ and then restored The Lost Gardens of Heligan with John Nelson, which is now one of the UK’s best loved gardens. Tim is Executive Vice-Chairman and Co-founder of the multi award-winning Eden Project in Cornwall. Since its opening in 2001, 19 million people have come to see a once sterile pit, turned into a cradle of life containing world-class horticulture and startling architecture symbolic of human endeavour.

The Eden team is now creating projects in China, the USA, Dubai and Australia with the ambition to have one on every continent.

Howard Sooley

Howard Sooley

Howard Sooley is a photographer and film maker based in London. After leaving college in the 1990s, he made an influential book with Derek Jarman about Jarman's garden in Dungeness. Since then he has worked all over the world and across a broad range of areas from portraits, fashion, landscapes and gardens. Recently he has ben working on a series of garden films for Nowness and a series of fashion films for the Italy-based fashion company High.

He has exhibited at the Tate (The Art of the Garden) and Prada Foundation in Milan. In 2016, Howard exhibited Flower Nation at London's Garden Museum and previously photographs of Dan Pearson’s garden (Homeground) made while working with him on a column for The Observer magazine and subsequently published by Conran.

Ray Spence

Ray Spence

Ray Spence is a fine art photographer, author and lecturer. He is a Fellow of the Royal Photographic Society and the co-author of five books on photographic technique. He has exhibited extensively at many venues, has lectured for many academic and private institutions including Warwickshire College and Birmingham City University. His work spans all photographic genres from digital to wet plate collodion. Having gained an honours degree in Microbiology from University College London, much of his work involves natural forms including plants and the body.

He was chief photographer for Garden Organic creating images for its Food for Life campaign. In 2013, he was awarded the honour of the Fenton Medal from the Royal Photographic Society.

Rachel de Thame

Rachel de Thame

Rachel de Thame is a regular presenter on BBC2’s Gardeners’ World, and reports from the major RHS flower shows. Other television credits include Small Town Gardens and Gardener of the Year for the BBC, and Countrywise for ITV1. Rachel’s original concept for a Gardeners’ World special The Fate of the Cottage Garden (2008) and episodes of Great British Garden Revival (2014) and Gardeners’ World (2015) in which she appeared, received GMG Awards for Television Broadcast of the Year.

Rachel has written two gardening books and co-authored a third. She is a regular columnist for The Sunday Times and co-curated the RHS London Rose Show in 2016. She is Vice President of wild flower charity Plantlife and a keen supporter of Perennial and Flowers From the Farm - the network for the UK’s cut flower growers.

Ceri Thomas

Ceri Thomas

Ceri Thomas is the Editor of Which? Gardening magazine. She studied horticulture at University of Reading and RHS Garden Wisley before embarking on a career in gardening media.

Over the years, she worked at Practical Gardening, BBC Gardeners’ World Magazine and bbc.co.uk, before starting at Which? in 2007.

Tamsin Westhorpe

Tamsin Westhorpe

Tamsin Westhorpe divides her time between freelance garden writing and caring for her family's four-acre garden, Stockton Bury in Herefordshire. She has more than 25 years' experience in the industry and has been a previous Editor of The English Garden magazine and deputy of Amateur Gardening. Tamsin’s career has included time as a parks gardener, green keeper and lecturer at Kingston Maurward College. She has lectured at home and abroad and runs practical courses from her small garden school.

Tamsin is now training to be an RHS judge and is the founder member of the Herefordshire Horticultural Hub that unites small businesses in the county.

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