Society of Garden Designers Conference: SGD celebrates the strong demand for conference this year

After exceptionally slow ticket sales caused the Society of Garden Designers (SGD) to pull the plug on last year's autumn conference, the event was back with a vengeance for 2009.

A total of 340 people attended the conference on 3 October, a turnout welcomed by SGD chairman Annabel Downs, who told HW she had been deeply disappointed at the cancellation of the 2008 event.

"We could have filled another three rows in the lecture theatre, so great was the demand for this conference," she revealed.

The popularity of the conference is a major success for Downs, who took over the reins at the SGD from Peter Thomas in January.

Thomas axed last year's conference — entitled The Privately Public: the Healing & Learning Garden — after blaming slow ticket sales on the economic climate.

The conference this year marked a drive by the SGD to get members more actively involved in their professional body.

"One of the ambitions of the conference is to show us how to think differently," Downs explained.

"We need to take risks and move ourselves and the whole profession on. We need active membership to raise our profile and keep us going."

Speakers at the conference included Julie Toll, John Wyer, US landscape architect Lisa Delplace, Declan Buckley and Anthony Paul.

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