What Hugo did next

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Garden Design Journal – July 2011

Young and talented, Hugo Bugg has been seen as a rising star ever since he was voted SGD Student Garden Designer of the Year 2008…

As a role model for new garden design graduates, Hugo Bugg takes some beating. The last few years have been quite a whirlwind for him. In 2008, he graduated with a first class degree in garden design from University College Falmouth, and in the same year he was voted Student Garden Designer of the Year by the Society of Garden Designers.

He and fellow graduate Maren Hallenga then jointly took a six·month post with Cornwall County Council working on a £22million Lottery·funded project. As the six months came to an end, the pair put in a design for Future Gardens. The following year they were asked back to Cornwall County Council to be involved with the build of the Heartlands Project. At the same time, Hugo and Maren launched their own business ‘Hallenga and Bugg Landscape Design’ and built their garden for Future Gardens.

Future Gardens, part of the Butterfly World site in Hertfordshire, went really well, says Hugo. So well, in fact, that they were asked to hold a seminar at Grand Designs Live at the NEC in Birmingham, which led to some interesting private jobs. This was, however, also a difficult time for Maren whose twin sister Kristin had been diagnosed with breast cancer. Kristin went on to set up the charity Coppafeel!, to raise breast cancer awareness.

Work continued to flow in steadily for Hallenga and Bugg. At the end of 2009, Maren made the decision to spend more time with her sister and work full·time for Coppafeel! and Hugo went solo. Wanting to keep his name in the media and maintain the pace, he decided on another show garden. In 2010 he designed his first solo garden at Tatton for which he got Gold and Best in Show, and at the same time he won the RHS Young Garden Designer of the Year competition.

Hugo is setting his sights on Chelsea and on being the youngest designer to ever build a large show garden there. This year, he’ll be at Hampton Court with the Coppafeel! Garden (www.coppafeelgarden.com). It will be an interactive space that visitors can wander through, and aims to provoke thought and heighten awareness. Meanwhile, Hugo spends a lot of his time traveling between projects in London and Cornwall. Although it’s just him in the practice for now, he thinks it likely that he’ll be expanding by the end of the year. Sounds like a certainty.