Landscape Architecture Students Tour the UK

Aug. 28, 2014

The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page.” –Saint Augustine (AD 354 – 430)

This summer several landscape architecture graduate students, along with students from other disciplines, had the opportunity to travel to England, Wales, and Scotland for over two weeks. While the focus of the trip was to gain an appreciation for world-class gardens and to learn how these historic sites influence designers, the itinerary offered an array of opportunity to explore the famous cities and landscapes across the United Kingdom.

Students were accompanied by Professors Garry Menendez and Brad Collett. Menendez has been taking students abroad for eight years. Each summer the location changes, but the focus remains the same – to explore the historic gardens and landscapes of the world.

With a blend of ancient agricultural land, medieval castles, historic walled gardens, modern architecture, and cutting-edge green infrastructure, there is much for designers to learn in the UK. Historical grounds transport you back in time, while modern additions give you glimpses into the future. As MLA student Clay Lezon put it, “It’s a unique experience to feel connected to the past and future at the same time.”

Starting in London, the students visited Hampton Court, Kew Royal Botanic Gardens, Wisley Gardens, Hyde Park, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, and many other landmarks along the way. From London they worked their way north to Wales, stopping at Stonehenge, Stourhead Estate, Bath, Bristol, Liverpool, and Hidcote Manor in the Cotswolds.

A day was spent driving through the beautiful countryside of Wales to visit Bodnant Estate where the students spent the morning learning to sketch landscapes with Professor Collett and participating in a falconry demonstration. On the way to Scotland, students stopped in the picturesque seaside town of Beaumaris, Wales, and at the Chatsworth House, home to the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire.

One of the highlights of the trip was the private tour of the Garden of Cosmic Speculation in Dumfries, Scotland. The garden is only open to the public once a year and by special appointment. According to MLA student Brandon Orrick, “It was surreal to be standing there. We’ve studied the garden and seen it in books, but it’s so much cooler in person. I mean, the scale is just huge. I had no idea from the pictures how dramatic it would be.”

Driving up the east coast of Scotland and then heading across the country to the west coast, the group stopped at Culzean Castle, the tiny town of Oban, Crathes Castle, Cambo Estate, Kellie Castle, and St. Andrews. Their final few days were spent exploring the city of Edinburgh.

At the end of the trip, many students were sad to say goodbye. Several students took the opportunity to travel outside the UK while on this trip, visiting Paris, Amsterdam, and Barcelona, making the most of their time in Europe before heading home.

Plant Science student Halee Jones said of the trip, “It was amazing. I saw so many things I didn’t even know existed in the world. It’s inspiring to just see all of that creativity and some of it from so long ago. It’s really special.”

Produced by Graduate Landscape Architecture student Whitney Tidd