Findings have developed new ideas and knowledge concerning the role of the garden in the 'enchantment' of modern life, the importance of the act of 'occupation' in understanding the garden as an everyday landscape, and work to re-position the garden as an 'ordinary' or vernacular landscape in Britain.
In addition to the analysis of material submitted for the 'Gardens and Gardening' Directive, fourteen respondents were identified as 'telling' cases and their writings were analysed in depth across a range of different directives to interrogate their life stories further, following themes of the home, family, garden practices and memories.
In June 2007 'Imagining the Garden' - an exhibition of photos and graphic material from the MOA, was held at the central public library in Brighton, the Jubilee Library. The exhibition was jointly curated by the project research fellow and a Brighton-based photographer, Beatrice Haverich. An audience of around 2000 people attended the event over five days. The exhibition was linked to the 'Ordinary lives, everyday stories' event that contributed to the 70th anniversary celebrations of the MOA's operation.
Results have been presented at a range of academic, professional garden design and writing events. The project team organised and convened a session on 'Elemental matter: gardens and the geographies of horticulture' at the Royal Geographical Society with the Institute of British Geographers annual conference in 2008, and facilitated a writing workshop at the University of Exeter in 2007 as part of the AHRC Landscape and Environment network 'Understanding landscape through creative autoethnography'.
The project has revealed that through in-depth longitudinal analysis, the MOA can be used to go beyond analysing responses to particular events and directives to understand emotions, memory and experience over the life course, paving the way for future projects.
Data grounded theory concerning the relationship between gardening and subjective wellbeing from this project fed into a successful application for an ESRC award in the 'New dynamics of ageing' Programme entitiled 'Psychometric testing of the multidimensional older people's quality of life'. Three Arts and Humanities Research Council grants also followed on directly from the landscape and environment programme grant:
The difference creativity makes, Connected Communities Showcase Event. 2013.
Community gardening, creativity and everyday culture: food growing and embedded researchers in community transformation and connections. 2012-13.
Connecting health, health-behaviours and place through the work of community gardening. 2010-11.
Andrew Church's work on cultural ecosystem services as part of the National Ecosystem Assessment for the UK was also informed by the project's work on gardens and was even more central to the £128,000 grant from DEFRA, AHRC, ESRC, NERC for the National Ecosystem Assessment Follow On Work Package 4 - Cultural Ecosystem Services and human well-being, which explored the well-being benefits of domestic gardens using a major National data base the Monitor of Engagement with the Natural Environment.
Duration: November 2006 - October 2007 (12 months)
Professor Andrew Church
Higher Education Institution:
School of Environment and Technology, University of Brighton
Bhatti, M., Church, A. and Claremont, A. (2013) Peaceful, pleasant and private: the British domestic garden as an ordinary landscape, Landscape Research. 1-13
Church, A., Ravenscroft, N. and Gilchrist, P (2013) Property ownership, resource use and the gift of nature, Environment and Planning D. 31 (3), 451-466
Stenner, P., Church, A. and Bhatti, M. (2012) Human-landscape relations and the occupation of space: Experiencing and expressing domestic gardens, Environment and Planning A, 44 (7) 1712 – 1727
Claremont, A., Church, A., Bhatti, M. and Stenner, P. (2010). Going public: landscaping everyday life. Cultural Geographies. 17(2):277-282.