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USOAR Proposal

Roses in Bloom: Historic English Gardens


The Gardens of England are renowned for their beauty and magnificence, and also serve as some of the best natural designs on Earth. The study of these unique and illustrious gardens’ arrangement is beneficial to my undergraduate studies to further advance my skills of design and perspective. Gardens and horticulture have been a characteristic of my family and has sparked a personal interest of further research that may become a career choice, From the exposure and research of English gardens, I will be able to continue my practices of design and artistry over a time when many students take a break. I have been involved with summer school programs for the previous four summers and feel the independent study of English gardens is the appropriate step to further branch my learning capabilities. With this style of learning I can move at a self-determining pace, and concentrate on the aspects of English gardens that I consider key elements of composition including layout, flower type, color scheme, and other distinguishing characteristics. I can immediately use the data collected to reconstruct the English gardens on the computer program Auto CAD 2000. From the first hand experience of researching English gardens, I can better evaluate my decision towards an advanced degree in horticulture and landscape architecture. The new perspective gained from exposure and observation of English gardens will assist future design and layout choices due to the cultural experience.


Visiting historic gardens in England would be beneficial to the improvement of my design skills and perspective towards topography through independent research and study. With five years of design-oriented classes in high school and a continuation of Design I at NIU, I am learning the skills to become an expert in artistry. I have also taken Art History and am currently in Western Civilization and Computer Aided Drafting (CAD) here at NIU. My creativity and design talents will enhance from exposure of formal gardens in England. My experience in art, design, visual communications, along with spatial thinking, will advance exponentially.

I am familiar with horticulture, as I grew up on a country farm with many evergreen trees and a nursery next door. Our family owns a Christmas Tree Farm that has 10,000 trees, along with __________ Pumpkin Patch. Both of these family businesses have increased my love of nature and gardens. I believe through hands-on observation I will develop a better understanding of the composition of the English garden because all sensory perceptions will be enhanced by this experience.

Many goals are associated with the experience of English Garden Studies that will benefit my undergraduate academic career and carry throughout my lifetime. The key reasoning for my studies of true formal English gardens would be the knowledge acquired due to cultural exposure. I will then further appreciate the tradition of the copasetic honored gardens. Another objective in this proposed study is to learn the types of flowers and foliage used as well as the maintenance required for preservation of these gardens. The information acquired from such research will be beneficial in the pursuit of my studies of landscape architecture and the ability to operate a successful horticulture business in the future.

Along with these objectives, I will also research the history of the gardens. The changes that have occurred to the gardens and surrounding terrain, confirmed by the caretaker of the garden, will also be researched. Changes from weather conditions, trends, and cost that shape the land and garden products that may have occurred will accompany my study.

The proposed trip is 23 days with observations at multiple historic gardens. All locations are world heritage sites, some listed as so by the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). Roughly, two to three days will be spent at each historic garden for examination of the design layout, foliage, color scheme, and upkeep.

Visits will include Alnwick Castle, Arley Hall and Gardens, Belton House Park and Gardens, Broughton Castle, Durham Castle, Herstmonceux Castle, Hever Castle, Scotney Castle, Sudeley Castle, and Tatton Park. Counties include Cheshire, Durham, Gloucester, Kent, Lincoln, Northumberland, Oxfordshire, and Sussex, a diverse sample of England’s regions. Although not all gardens in England will be viewed in the time allocated, I will focus on some of the most famous and historic gardens.

When present at the gardens, I will photograph the majestic designs from a plane picture view, aerial spectrum (if applicable), and panoramic shot. The garden layouts will also be drawn, with focus on the flower type, pattern, and other characteristics to distinguish these gardens as the most historic and eye pleasing. I will collect precise scientific data regarding the area of the garden, along with individual sections of flowers and greenery types. Charts will be constructed to examine the layout design and color scheme used to recreate these magnificent living works of art. With my proficiency in Auto CAD 2000, I will also be able to reconstruct these designs on computer upon returning to Northern Illinois University. I will use this data as a reference in future projects related to horticulture and landscape architecture. With a continuation of design and computer aided drafting classes, I will be able to immediately apply these improved skills in the continuation of my undergraduate degree and advanced degree in artistry.

With the experience of visiting the historic English gardens, I will gain many useful references for future design ideas in undergraduate studies and real life situations.

The most important reason for the research and observation of the English gardens is the improvement of advanced independent research skills. I also will become a more cultured individual, which will advance my collaboration when working in team-oriented environments. Another gain I hope to receive from such research and investigation is the advancement and cultural molding of my design talents. By experiencing the sights, sounds, and feel of English gardens first hand I will become more familiar with garden design and better grasp visual communications in the spatial realm. From exposure to English gardens, I hope to advance my design skills, which will be beneficial to me in the pursuance of an advanced degree in landscape architecture.

Budget Proposal

Passport $ 75.00
International Student ID $ 25.00
Airfare (council travel) $650.00
Transportation (Britrail) $300.00
Lodging (Hostels International) $650.00
Food $500.00
Admission to Gardens $150.00
Research Equipment (journal, sketch book, film, etc.) $150.00
TOTAL $2500.00

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