European Gardens

Location: University of York

Subject: Art & Design

Dates: 1991-1999

Related ACE Cultural Tours: Historic Houses | York

Mission/Vision

Enabling individuals to develop their understanding of the care, conservation and history of gardens (and parks) by visiting a different European country from their own.

Project History

The course was based at the Institute of Advanced Architectural Studies in the King’s Manor at the University. The study visits to other gardens included meetings with other professionals to discuss working methods as well as opportunities to gain practical experience from fellow gardeners and landscape architects.

Project & ACE

The scheme was of particular interest to ACE because the fall of the Iron Curtain allowed a valuable new opportunity for exchange visits with central and eastern Europe. The first ACE-funded scholarship enabled Marek Ehrlich from the Czech Republic to travel to the UK; whilst the second was awarded to the National Trust’s John Sales, for a study visit to Poland. Marek Ehrlich arrived from the Regional Institute for the Preservation of Historical Monuments in Ceske Budejovice, a specialist in the care of the historic parks and gardens of Southern Bohemia. Following a week-long residential course at the university, he followed a programme of study visits. In the event, John Sales, who as Garden Adviser to the National Trust designed the winter walk at Anglesey Abbey near Cambridge, was unable to travel, but instead arranged a programme of visits for Tim Wilson who went in his place.

In 1999 we welcomed two more ACE scholars to the UK: Grazyna Novotna, a student from the Czech Republic, and Kalina Todorova, a lecturer in the Department of Landscape Architecture at the University of Forestry, Sofia. Kalina Todorova spent two months in the UK, the first based at the King’s Manor researching historic landscapes (then an almost unknown subject in Bulgaria), and the second visiting the North York Moors and Yorkshire Dales National Parks. Grazyna Novotna concentrated on the parks and gardens of the country house; she is now a lecturer at the Silva Tarouca Research Institute for Landscape and Ornamental Gardening, near Prague, and in 2008 was working on the restoration of Decin Castle park and gardens.