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GLAS Special: The Garden and Landscape Designers Association – Growing from Strength to Strength

The GLDA stand at GLAS 2017

From welcoming in new members to winning gold at Bloom, Gary Foran MGLDA reviews the association’s last 12 months of activity



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20 July 2017

2016 was a very special year for the GLDA as we celebrated our 20th anniversary; a milestone that was acknowledged at every GLDA hosted event and activity right throughout the year.

In October, following a lively AGM held in Dublin, and a meal afterwards, our newest group of ‘full members’, were formally presented with their membership certificates.

They are: Elizabeth O’Connell, Janet Dunlop Hawker, and Kevin Dennis, all ofPictured from left; Patricia Tyrrell (GLDA Chair) Elizabeth Barret Morgan, Elizabeth O'Connell, Janet Dunlop Hawker, and Kevin Dennis. whom had their portfolio work previously assessed by an independent professional panel of landscape architects and plant experts.

At the same event Elizabeth Barret Morgan MGLDA was presented with her Fellowship of the GLDA certificate, in recognition of her significant contribution to the development of the association over the years. We’d like to take this opportunity to wish all of them ongoing success in their future design careers.


Ongoing initiatives by the association continue to attract new garden design talent from across the country. This has been fostered in part by our inaugural ‘Meet the Designers’ night last December, organised by Michael O’Reilly MGLDA, where both newly qualified and established garden and landscape designers were invited to attend and meet with full and pre-registered members, and to learn more about the GLDA.

The event was held at the new HQ in NAAS of GLDA Corporate Member Sanctuary Synthetics, a highly valued and long standing supporter of our association. We plan to repeat this event later this year, and would encourage all garden and landscape designers out there to come along next time for an informal chat with members, and to learn more about the GLDA!

Design Workshops

In addition, our ongoing series of design portfolio workshops are proving to be a popular draw for designers interested in learning about the requirements and application process for full membership.

GLDA Meet the Designers eventDesigners are asked to bring along their design portfolio to discuss their work both on a one to one basis with a full member, but also if they wish, with other attendees in an informal and friendly environment, as a way of assisting them to gauge their application readiness.

Separately, our current programme organised drawing classes for new pre-registered members, providing them with an opportunity to fine tune their skills, with full members on hand to offer tutorial advice and support.

Annual Seminar

As a memorable 2016 drew to a close, GLDA Council members were already very busy organising all aspects of our annual seminar, which was held in Dublin in early February. This much loved and inspirational day always gets the season off to flying start, and this year’s event was no exception.

Pictured from left; Bleddyn Wynn-Jones (UK), Thomas Doxiadus (Greece), Patricia Tyrrell MGLDA Chairperson, Emma Mazzullo (UK), & Noel van Mierlo (Netherlands).

Pictured from left; Bleddyn Wynn-Jones (UK), Thomas Doxiadus (Greece), Patricia Tyrrell MGLDA Chairperson, Emma Mazzullo (UK), & Noel van Mierlo (Netherlands).

‘The Designed Garden, Completing the Picture’, as the seminar title suggests, brought together a diverse yet interconnected group of international speakers from the UK: Sue and Bleddyn Wynn-Jones, and Emma Mazzullo; The Netherlands: Noel van Mierlo, and Greece: Thomas Doxiadis.

Between them they represented the key players involved in the success of any garden design and build project, namely the designer, contractor, and nursery professional. A number of our corporate members exhibited a wide variety of products and services to receptive attendees, many of whom said it was the best GLDA seminar yet!

We look forward to hosting another exciting seminar next year, and would like to extend an open invitation to all landscape related and garden product companies out there, to contact our office early if you would like to exhibit at next year’s event. See contact details at the end of this article.

Other projects and Bloom

In March chairperson Patricia Tyrrell attended and spoke to an audience of students at Waterford IT’s ‘Land Science Careers Day’, whom the GLDA were delighted to engage with and support.

Garden designed by David Shortall MGLDA.

Garden designed by David Shortall MGLDA.

In April full member David Shortall and volunteer GLDA members created and built, over a number of weeks, a magical fairy-themed garden for a little girl called Brooke, working with the wonderful charity ‘Make a Wish Ireland’.

David and his design won the hearts of all those involved, especially Brooke’s. A word again of thanks to all who supported this special project, including GLDA Corporate Members Sanctuary Synthetics and the Landscape Depot.

Bloom 2017 certainly didn’t disappoint, with a number of GLDA members receiving awards. They were full member Kevin Dennis who won a gold medal, and three pre-reg members; Tünde Szentesi who won a silver-gilt medal, and Brian Burke who won a silver medal. Lastly, husband and wife team, Oliver and Liat Schurmann, jointly won a gold medal, and were also overall winners in the large garden category.

The GLDA continue to value year on year our participation at GLAS, seeing it as a very valuable opportunity to engage, in a meaningful way, with colleagues across all areas of our shared industry.

As well as core industry representatives, the day also attracts, emerging talent and up and coming business owners in a wide variety of sector areas.

Our association seeks to encourage and inspire both newly qualified garden and landscape design students, and established practitioners who visit GLAS, to consider what our association provides; a well-recognised and respected professional accreditation affirming their design talents and skills, and support of their continual professional and career development.

For more information on our association and membership options, please visit, email to, or phone (01) 294 0092.

Photographer: Vincent McMonagle


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