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.
GMG Chairman, Clare Foggett, gives the lowdown on what the Awards judges are looking for.
- The decisions of the judges and the GMG Committee are final and no correspondence will be entered into.
- Judges will provide feedback for the winning entries only. No individual feedback will be provided.
- Should the judging panels feel that none of the work meets the required standard, then an Award may not be given. No correspondence will be entered into.
- The organisers reserve the right to add or remove judges, amend entry criteria and amend or merge or withdraw Award categories without notice or explanation.
The Lifetime Achievement Award is decided by votes cast by Garden Media Guild members.
Here is the line-up of the 2016 highly respected judging panel. As soon as the 2017 judges have been confirmed, we'll update this page with their details.
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.
Sue joined the RHS, the UK’s leading gardening charity, as Director General in August 2010 with 30 years’ experience in the international leisure industry. Today the RHS has more than 460,000 members, the highest in its history.
In June 2014, Sue announced the RHS’ 10-year Strategic Investment Programme of £160m. Its aim is to enable the charity to provide even better inspiration and advice for more people – both its members and the British gardening public. Recently under Sue’s direction, the RHS has also launched a new campaign, Greening Grey Britain, 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’s two passions in life are travel and all things horticultural. She has been a member of the RHS for more than 20 years and has long been a regular visitor to RHS gardens and shows.
Louise has spent more than 25 years in radio, including being an editor at BBC Radio 5 Live and working in the management team of Radio 4’s PM and World at One programmes. She was Deputy Managing Editor of LBC radio and has held senior managerial roles across local and network radio.
Louise is also a keen gardener.
Kate Bradbury is an award-winning author and journalist, specialising in wildlife gardening. Her first book, The Wildlife Gardener, was awarded the Environmental Award by the Garden Media Guild in 2013. She edits the wildlife pages of Gardeners’ World Magazine and regularly writes articles for the Daily Telegraph, The Guardian, BBC Wildlife and BBC Countryfile magazines.
Professor Stefan Buczacki is an author, broadcaster, public speaker, consultant and expert witness and is recognised internationally as an authority on plant diseases and pests. Educated at the universities of Southampton and Oxford, he spent 14 years in horticultural research before starting a freelance career, and is the author of many peer-reviewed scientific papers, more than 60 books on gardening, natural history and political biography, and many thousands of newspaper and magazine features.
He appeared on Gardeners' Question Time as panellist and chairman for more than 12 years, devised wrote and presented several series of The Gardening Quiz on Radio 4 and has also been a Gardeners' World presenter, all part of a portfolio of more than 2,000 radio and television programmes.
He holds the RHS Veitch Memorial Medal in gold and the Garden Media Guild Lifetime Achievement Award, as well as honours from scientific societies, the Associateship of the Royal Photographic Society and honorary degrees from several universities.
Ursula Cholmeley has spent 15 years restoring and replanting Easton Walled Gardens: 400-year-old, 12-acre lost gardens in Lincolnshire. Biodiversity and good horticulture are at the heart of her gardens’ success.
She writes and discusses gardening for national and local press and publications.
Margaret Coffey is a journalist, trainer and founding-director of the training and content consultancy, ContentETC. As a trainer she works with major UK media owners and other organisations to design and deliver programmes to improve the performance of writers across all media channels. Recent clients include Time Inc, Haymarket Media, Bauer Media, Centaur Media, Sunday Publishing, Immediate Media and Briefing Media. She is a freelance journalist and trainer with experience in both the US and UK on publications including BusinessWeek, The Times and The Observer.
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 just about every audience.
World-class design thinking has seen Andy devise twelve 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. His workshops and conferences frequently sell out and he is a regular speaker at the UK’s biggest magazine conference, the PPA Festival, where has also hosted The Buzz, an all day content stream focusing on digital trends, apps, mobile, freemium, vlogging, social sharing, digital watermarking, and more.
Rachel De Thame
Rachel 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 has contributed to various publications, including The Huffington Post and Gardeners’ World Magazine.
Design projects include the LK Bennett Garden at Chelsea Flower Show in 2008 and floral decorations for the Royal Barge during the Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant in 2012.
Recent speaking engagements encompass events at The Ashmolean Museum, Highgrove and Hever Castle. Rachel 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.
Dr Stephen Dowbiggin OBE
Dr Dowbiggin has been the Principal of Capel Manor College since 1983, having previously been Vice Principal between 1982 and 1983. He is currently the longest serving Principal of a Further Education College in the United Kingdom.
Prior to being appointed to work at Capel Manor College, he was Head of Department at Hadlow College of Agriculture (Kent) from 1977 to 1982 and had worked as a lecturer at Houghall College Durham under the direction of the notable horticulturist Stephen ‘Jack’ Cox.
An ex-Wye College graduate, he is a past Chair of the Chartered Institute of Horticulture’s Standing Committee of Education and Training and was made a Fellow of the Institute in 1988. He is a member of the Livery of The Worshipful Company of Gardeners and served as their Master for the year 2010/11. He is a member of the City and Guilds Institute of London and of The Royal Horticultural Society’s Education Committee.
Nigel is Professor of Planting Design, Urban Horticulture and Vegetation Technology at Sheffield University, and an Ambassador for the Royal Horticultural Society. He is a leading voice on innovative approaches to landscape and garden planting, and ecological landscape design. He is a plantsman, designer and pioneer of the new ecological approach to planting gardens and public spaces. His work revolves around the integration of ecology and horticulture to achieve low-input but high-impact landscapes that are dynamic, diverse, and tuned to nature.
Nigel has authored and co-authored key books on water-sensitive design, naturalistic planting design, and green roofs. He was the principal planting design and horticultural consultant to the highly influential and ground-breaking Queen Elizabeth London 2012 Olympic Park. Nigel has regularly staged show gardens at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show (Gold Medal 2013) and these bring his ideas to a wide audience.
Raymond Evison OBE VMH FLS
Raymond Evison is the Founder and Chairman of The Guernsey Clematis Nursery, which is one of the leading producers of young clematis plants in the world. He is the Founder and Owner of Raymond J Evison, a plant breeder, an RHS accredited horticultural judge, photographer and a GMG award-winning author.
As an exhibitor of clematis cultivars, he has been awarded 28 RHD Chelsea Flower Show Gold Medals, as well as several annual RHS awards and the RHS Reginald Cory Memorial Cup for his breeding work with clematis.
He is a Vice President of the Royal Horticultural Society and a former member of its Council, a former President of the International Plant Propagators Society, a Honorary Fellow of the Kew Guild, a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Horticulture and President of the Guernsey Botanical Trust. His greatest love is to search for plants in the wild, especially in China.
Dr Bob Gibbons
Dr Bob Gibbons is a freelance writer, photographer and tour leader, specialising in flowers and nature. He has written or co-written 40 books, and his photographs have been published in 50 countries around the world. He runs a small tour company, Natural History Travel, taking groups to some of the most floriferous parts of Europe and the world. He is a Fellow of the Royal Photographic Society, and a member of their Nature fellowship panel, and a member of the Royal Horticultural Society's photographic committee.
Andrew Gill C Hort FCIHort
Andrew Gill has been engaged in the industry for almost 40 years working in the broad field of amenity horticulture and parks management. Andrew was hooked on gardening aged 11 and had a great start in the industry via a three-year apprenticeship in horticulture with the London Borough of Ealing in the late 1970s, studying at Norwood Hall in Southall and Merrrist Wood near Guildford.
Andrew went on to work as a horticulturist in private gardens, large cemeteries and a brief spell at a Commonwealth War Graves Commission site. Andrew’s first foray into management came in his mid-twenties as Contracts Manager for a provider of tropical plant displays. Other roles include managing the prestigious contract for the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea, working for the Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead, General Manager at Alexandra Park & Palace, the City of London Corporation and several charities.
Andrew’s involvement in the running of the Chartered Institute of Horticulture (CIH) began in 2005 when he became Chair of the South East Branch and Branch Representative on Council, going on to become Vice President (Branches) and Chair of the Membership and Business Delivery Committee. As President of the CIH since October 2014, Andrew has been applying some his learning about charity management to improving the Institute’s governance, strategic management, financial reporting and marketing and fundraising.
Derek Harris an internationally recognized, award-winning garden and landscape photographer, artist and designer. His work has been widely used in the press, magazines, books, calendars, stationery, domestic products and as fine art prints in interior and recently fashion design.
His picture in the PGPA Kew Exhibition won the Photographers Choice for the year. He has been awarded four Royal Horticultural Society’s gold medals for his flower portraits. His fine art prints have been in gallery shows as limited editions and are in private collections around the world. He was commissioned to supply 30 extra large flower portraits to be the permanent decoration in the Cinnamon Restaurant in what was then the newest P&O Cruise Liner, the Ventura.
He has been able to combine his photography with business and in the mid 1980s started the first fully photographic stationery publishing company in the UK, which he subsequently sold in the mid-1990s.
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 RHS Garden Wisley.
Much of her work included private gardens in the United States as well as a Herb Garden for the New York Botanic Garden.
Wesley Kerr OBE is a broadcaster, journalist, heritage expert and previous winner of a GMG Award. He is currently a Board Member at the Royal Parks and for many years was Chair of the Heritage Lottery Fund’s Committee for London, in which capacity he was involved in restoration and renewal projects in hundreds of historic spaces, parks, gardens, museums, listed buildings and cultural heritage.
For many years he was part of BBC TV’s Chelsea and Hampton Court Palace Flower Show coverage. Before that he was Royal Correspondent, Social Affairs Correspondent, Newsnight’s Arts Correspondent and also a producer/director. He has worked in 40 countries and contributed to numerous newspapers and magazines, notably on history and horticulture.
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. He trained as a painter and brings a painter’s appreciation of colour, form and texture, and a meticulous eye for detail to his photography. He has built up a formidable botanical knowledge and works for the leading gardeners and garden owners in Britain.
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 has been awarded the Garden Media Guild’s Lifetime Achievement Award.
After graduating in Agricultural Botany at Reading University in 1976 and working for a short time in research in plant pathology, Michael went to the Pacific region to work on rubber, cocoa and oil palm estates. He started working with roses in 1984 on his return to the UK, joining David Austin Roses in 1985, first as nursery manager and then as head rosarian giving advice, designing rose gardens, writing, lecturing and generally promoting the nursery and David Austin’s English Roses around the world.
Michael has been a passionate gardener and plants person from an early age. He has a half-acre garden with many roses, three greenhouses, as well as two allotments that are all treated organically.
Andy McIndoe is a practical horticulturist with 40 years’ experience in horticulture. He has designed and advised on gardens of all sizes and has been responsible for 25 Gold Medal winning exhibits at the Royal Horticultural Society’s Chelsea Flower Show.
A regular contributor to blogs, magazines, and BBC radio, Andy lectures widely at home and abroad and has authored books on shrubs, trees, herbaceous perennials, flower bulbs, garden design and growing vegetables.
Andy’s garden, Sandhill Farm in Hampshire, is naturalistic in style, with extensive wildflower meadow and informal planting based on foliage. Open to groups by appointment, Andy welcomes visitors from spring to autumn.
Author, broadcaster and herb garden designer, Jekka McVicar is the owner and custodian of Jekka’s Herb Farm and Jekka’s Herbetum. A long-time exhibitor at RHS Flower Shows, Jekka has accumulated more than 60 RHS gold medals and in 2009 was awarded the Lawrence Medal. She won the Garden Media Guild’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2012, is President of the West of England Herb Group, President of the Friends of Bristol Botanic Garden and an RHS floral judge and Ambassador.
Following Art School, Marie O’Hara has had a varied creative career working in graphic design and then the album design department for Decca Records. She subsequently moved on to advertising, magazines and books as a freelance stylist and then to photography, specialising in gardens, still life, and lifestyle. She co-founded The Garden Collection stock image agency, which specialises in garden imagery, leaving as a partner in 2009 to continue her freelance career in photography.
Appointed as HTA Director General in August 2012, Carol brings a wealth of retail and business experience to the industry’s lead trade association. Having started her career in high street retailing with roles at Harrods and Edinburgh Woollen Mill, Carol joined Cadbury Garden Centre as Retail Director in 1998, at the beginning of the Garden & Leisure development, and became Operations Director for the group responsible for operations, buying and HR.
In September 2013, Carol became the full-time Chief Executive of the HTA. Carol is a former President of the HTA and board member at the Horticultural Development Company (HDC). Carol is currently on the Policy Board of the British Retail Consortium (BRC) and the Trade Association Forum (TAF) and is a Trustee of Greenfingers and Perennial.
Jane Perrone is Gardening Editor for The Guardian and co-presenter of the Sow, Grow, Repeat podcast. She also contributes to other gardening publications, including The English Garden and Grow Your Own.
Thea is a Kew trained horticulturist, garden designer and landscaper with 20 years' experience. A passionate plantswoman, Thea divides her time designing and planting private gardens and TV gardening programme production.
She has spent many years working across a range of series, such as Gardener's World, Chelsea Flower Show, Great British Garden Revival, The Autistic Gardener and Love Your Garden with Alan Titchmarsh.
George Plumptre has been Chief Executive of the National Gardens Scheme since 2010. His first book, Royal Gardens, was published in 1981. Since then 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 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.
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. He became a very successful market gardener, specialising in tomatoes, grapes and pineapples. His four sons also started horticultural businesses growing 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.
He is the current Master of the Worshipful Company of Gardeners, and is committed to offering disadvantaged young people the opportunity to find their place in the world through the Company’s Future Gardeners pre-apprenticeship training scheme. He is also keen to promote the benefits of horticulture for those with mental health problems. He is President of the Royal National Rose Society and is helping to foster a scheme that offers gardening experience at the Society’s ground in St Albans. He would also like to develop further links between Future Gardeners and the RNRS.
Ian Roofe has a degree from Writtle College in Essex and also taught horticulture at Easton. He is now a freelance horticulturist working around the county in gardens including East Ruston Old Vicarage, Raveningham Hall and smaller country gardens. He runs workshops for the Notcutts group, undertakes talks, gardeners’ question times and broadcasts with BBC Radio Norfolk. He sits on committees for Plant Heritage, NNHS, Salhouse Garden Club and The Chartered Institute of Horticulture.
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 wellbeing.
Juliet also teaches garden design and planting on professional courses and to garden enthusiasts. Having stepped down as Chair of the Society of Garden Designers, she is now on the RHS selection panel for show gardens and acts as a judge as well.
She has won awards from the SGD for sustainability and hard landscaping design, and in 2016 Juliet won a Gold Medal for her first garden at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show. The Modern Slavery 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.
Gay Search devised and presented the two BBC 2 series Front Gardens, worked with the late Geoff Hamilton on First Time Garden, First Time Planting and Old Garden New Gardener and for six years was a regular presenter on Gardeners’ World.
She has written many gardening books, including Gardening from Scratch, Gardening without a Garden and in 2004 Delia’s Kitchen Garden the best selling gardening book of the year. She was Gardening Editor of Sainsbury’s Magazine for 13 years, has written for many other magazines and newspapers and has given many lectures for the RHS and gardening clubs in the UK and abroad.
Sir Tim Smit KBE
Sir Tim Smit KBE worked for 10 years in the music industry before he moved to Cornwall in 1987 and ‘discovered’ and restored the Lost Gardens of Heligan with John Nelson together. Tim remains a Director of the gardens to the present day. He is Executive Vice-Chairman, and Co-founder of the Award winning Eden Project near St Austell in Cornwall. More than 18 million people have visited Eden since it opened in 2000, contributing over £1.7 billion to the Cornish economy.
Tim is a Trustee, Patron and Board Member of a number of statutory and voluntary bodies both locally and nationally. He has received a variety of national awards including The Royal Society of Arts Albert Medal (2003). In 2002 he was awarded an Honorary CBE in the New Years Honours List and In January 2011 he was appointed an honorary Knight Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (KBE) by Her Majesty the Queen.
Tim is the author of books about both Heligan and Eden and he has contributed to publications on a wide variety of subjects.
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 including The Herbert Art Gallery in Coventry, La Manege in St Petersburgh, The Royal Albert Hall in London and the Royal Photographic Society in Bath.
He 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 their ‘Food for Life’ campaign. In 2013 he was awarded the honour of the Fenton Medal from the Royal Photographic Society.
Jeremy Storey-Walker runs the Landscape Show in Battersea Park, the defining show for the industry bringing together the trade associations, media titles, manufacturers, suppliers and buyers in one event. His experience organising events for such diverse clients as British Telecom, The Millennium Commission, Universal Studios, Tiger Aspect Films and Chelsea Football Club means that Jeremy knows that it is imperative that things happen at the right time and in the right place.
He has also worked at a senior level for both EMAP and Maclean Hunter. This has given Jeremy a background in editing and publishing, which has ensured his inclusion on many creative design judging panels.
He has been a television presenter for GMTV and Children’s BBC and voiced many radio commercials both here in the UK and overseas. He has also worked to raise funds by for charities include NSPCC, Crusaid, London Wildcare, ChildLine and Breast Cancer Care.
Ceri Thomas is Editor of Which? Gardening magazine. She studied horticulture at the University of Reading and at RHS Garden Wisley before embarking on a career in gardening media.
Over the years, she has worked at Practical Gardening, BBC Gardeners' World and bbc.co.uk, before starting at Which? in 2007.
Tessa Traeger trained at Guildford School of Photography and Fine Art. She produced the Vogue Food Series for Vogue magazine for 16 years, which resulted in a book called The Visual Feast. Tessa exhibits regularly at the Purdy Hicks Gallery and has work in the collections of the National Portrait Gallery, the Victoria & Albert Museum, the Bibliotheque National in Paris and The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.
In 2003, she photographed the leading British horticulturists of the day and their gardens, for the National Portrait Gallery resulting in the book A Gardeners’ Labyrinth. Her work over 15 years in the mountainous Ardeche region of Southern France culminated in the book Voices of the Vivarais. Her most recent garden book is The Loveliest Valley with Stewart Grimshaw, which is a record of his gardens at Woolbeding House in Sussex, showing the garden in all seasons and all weathers.
Jonathan Ward is a skilled photographer with a great eye and encyclopedic knowledge of the flora and fauna he photographs. He is known as the man behind Ginger Horticulture, a company excelling in both imagery and consultancy, with an enviable client list that spans every continent, and whose images are used by some of the largest garden retailers across Europe.
He aims with his photography to enhance nature, revealing its beauty and presenting it as a package to his clients. Ginger Horticulture continues to be at the forefront of horticultural knowledge, innovation, design and plant imagery, both in Europe and across the world.
After a career in food process research and development with Cadbury Schweppes working across Eastern Europe, Bernard Williams studied garden design at Capel Manor as a stepping stone to re-constructing his own garden. He has been a Trustee of The Royal National Rose Society since 2008 and was President from 2011 to 2015.
He was Master of The Worshipful Company of Gardeners’ from July 2015 to July 2016 and continues to work to promote the benefits of horticulture with youth groups and those with special needs, but especially with the Company’s Future Gardeners project.