Two alumni shortlisted for Society of Garden Designers awards

September 2015

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(NOTE: This is an archived press release.)

Two Writtle College alumni, who have gone onto successful and high profile careers as garden designers, have been shortlisted for Society of Garden Designers awards.

Patricia Fox, who was an Associate Student of Garden Design at the College in 2004, has been shortlisted in three categories in the SGD Awards 2015 - 'Medium Residential Garden', 'Small Residential Garden' and 'Pocket Garden'. Her shortlisted projects are also competing for the 'People's Choice Award', which is open to a public vote.

Patricia is now Managing Director of Hertfordshire-based Aralia Gardens, which has also just been named winner of the 2015 BALI (British Association of Landscape Industries) Landscape Design Excellence Award Over £50k. It is the latest in a string of awards for the garden design company – a multiple BALI Landscape Design Excellence Award winner and RHS Chelsea Flower Show Silver Medallist.

Helen Elks-Smith, who left Writtle College in 2004 with a HNC and College Diploma in Garden Design, has been shortlisted in the 'Paper Landscapes' category of the SGD Awards for a show garden design inspired by the landscape of the New Forest.

Helen now owns Elks-Smith Landscape and Garden Design, just outside of Southampton, which has also previously won a BALI Design Excellence Award and a Silver at RHS Chelsea Flower Show.

SGD is the only professional association for garden designers in the UK and counts some of the UK’s leading garden and landscape designers among its growing membership.

The SGD Awards, which cover all aspects of design from private domestic gardens to engaging public spaces, are the first and only awards scheme dedicated to rewarding outstanding achievement in the garden and landscape design profession.

The SGD Awards were judged by an illustrious panel that included landscape architects, university lecturers, design journalists and garden historians, who shortlisted 38 entries in total. Entries were open to projects with a practical completion period covering five years, reflecting the important contribution of time in the creation of landscape.

SGD Chair Philippa O’Brien said: “The SGD Awards are vigorously contested. With more entries than ever this year we know that we are looking at the very best in garden design. Our Awards recognise the skill and professionalism that go into creating an award-winning garden and celebrate the achievements of our Members.”

Helen and Patricia will find out if they have won at a glittering awards ceremony at London’s Landmark Hotel in January 2016, with TV personality and designer Joe Swift MSGD hosting the evening.

• You can vote for your favourite garden in the SGD Awards People’s Choice Awards from 1st October - 1st November 2015 on the SGD Awards website:

• To find out more about garden design qualifications at Writtle College, please visit