The Solution to our Climate Crisis is a Simple One – TREES 

This will be the strong message from an inspirational panel of speakers at the upcoming Garden and Landscape Designer Association (GLDA) 26th Annual Design Seminar taking place online on Saturday, 26th February 2022.

The world faces climate disaster but highly respected Irish and international experts will deliver a timely and optimistic message at the upcoming live-streamed seminar entitled “PLAN Trees, PLANT Trees, PLANET Trees”  which will appeal to everyone with an interest in horticulture, landscape design, gardens or the environment.

Speakers ranging from up-and-coming British designer, Charlotte Harris, and Ireland's renowned tree expert, Thomas Pakenham, will tell the seminar that rather than feeling helpless about the climate crisis, we can be proactive and plant more trees.

The line-up of inspirational Irish and international experts also includes Dutch landscape architect Thijs Dolders, a committed user of trees in his designs, Henrik Sjöman a Swedish botanist and plant hunter who is trialling species in the hope of finding the “plants of tomorrow”,  and Gerald Mills, Associate Professor of Geography at UCD. They will share their knowledge and show how, by using creative design, we can add more trees to our landscape, streetscape and gardens.

There is scope to double tree cover in cities but this is not being achieved because of a sometimes negative perception of trees in urban settings. The speakers will highlight how opportunities for urban forests in our parks, gardens, streets, squares, riparian corridors and rooftops can provide major health benefits for communities, pollution reduction, and flood amelioration, as well as being havens for wildlife and biodiversity. Recent research in the UK found that a single oak tree can support an astonishing 2,300 species. 

The GLDA’s 26th Annual Design Seminar comes against the worrying backdrop of a more than one degree rise in global temperatures.  The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has warned that global temperatures must not rise above 1.5 degrees C. Speakers will detail how trees are the ultimate machine for carbon capture, locking away atmospheric CO2 for centuries in trunk, roots, leaves, deadwood and surrounding soils and vegetation. 

The panel of experts will pose challenging but necessary questions and suggest positive actions. Can you grow small trees on your balcony or larger groups of trees in your garden? If you have already replaced your lawn with wildflowers, can you go another step and grow a small woodland? Can you get involved in a community-led project to plant more trees or protect existing trees and woodland?

The seminar will hear that rather than feeling helpless and wondering what we can do as individuals, there is something really beneficial we can do for the planet. Plant more trees. 

Tickets to watch the GLDA seminar live online on Saturday 26th February 2022, with access to videos of the keynote talks available on demand after the event, are on sale now on

● Full, Pre-Reg and Corporate Members & Friends of the GLDA: €60
● Friend + 1 year subscription: €110
● Student + 1 year membership: €45
● Non-Member: €70

For further information see editorial notes below or contact:

Peter Stam, PRO, GLDA
email: [email protected]


Who are the GLDA?  

The Garden and Landscape Designers Association is an organisation for garden designers, horticulturists and landscape designers. Membership is open to anyone with an interest in gardens or garden design. There are a variety of membership plans available including student, friend, professional and corporate rates. The website lists contact details and portfolios of accredited garden designers and landscape architects from all over the island. Currently celebrating its 25th Anniversary, each year the GLDA organises a seminar on a topical theme and has built up a reputation that attracts knowledgeable and highly respected speakers from around the world, who are experts in their fields. 

Speakers at the “PLAN Trees, PLANT Trees, PLANET Trees” 2022 GLDA 26th Annual Seminar

Charlotte Harris, garden designer and Chelsea gold medallist who, with Hugo Bugg, created Harris Bugg Studio in 2017. They were recently described by the Royal Horticultural Society as “pioneering design talents of their generation”. Their wide-ranging projects focus on the responsible use of materials, maintaining a sense of place and recognising the innate need of people to connect with nature. Harris Bugg Studio won gold for their 2021 Chelsea garden which portrayed a pocket park with robust and resilient planting and aimed to highlight the importance of beautiful and restorative green spaces in the places we need them the most – our towns and cities.

Thijs Dolders, a landscape architect and plant advisor at Ebben tree nursery based in Utrecht in The Netherlands. He specialises in designing attractive and accessible exercise and recreation networks within cities based on research and data. Designs are informed by assessing and analysing the positive and negative experiences of public space users - pedestrians, runners and cyclists. The aim is to improve the user experience of urban recreational areas by tracking usage and identifying issues of congestion, safety, quality of surfaces, lack of green spaces, connectivity and facilities. The result is a well-planned, well-functioning system of interlinked urban parks and green spaces.

Thomas Pakenham, who as Ireland’s tree expert, author and advocate for the preservation of trees, is better placed to discuss the importance and value of trees than anyone. He founded the Irish Tree Society in 1990 to promote the conservation, planting and maintenance of trees. Thomas has travelled the world to document extraordinary trees and is custodian of Tullynally Estate, Castlepollard, Co Westmeath where he is also the guardian of many of his own fine arboreal specimens. &

Gerald Mills is Associate Professor, School of Geography at UCD. He lectured for eight years in the US at Bowling Green University, Ohio and UCLA before taking up his post at UCD in 1997. His areas of interest include climatology and cartography, with a particular interest in climates that are generated by urban areas and the potential for planning and design to create comfortable and healthy outdoor environments.

Henrik Sjöman is a Swedish researcher, botanist, plant hunter and scientific curator at the Gothenburg Botanic Garden, Sweden. He is researching and trialling species in the hope of finding the “plants of tomorrow”, the plants that will stand up to challenging and changing conditions in urban environments. One of his main principles is that using a more diverse range of trees in urban settings means that urban plantings can better withstand pests, diseases and changes in climate, thereby providing a more reliable and sustainable ecosystem. He believes the more we learn about plants the better we can design and plan and the more diverse and resilient our urban environments will become.

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