Landscaping students admire gardens, scenery

Posted: October 10, 2012

Twelve students in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences recently discovered some of Ireland's greatest natural treasures in a two-credit course that included a nine-day trip.

The students were exposed to different cultural practices and technologies while increasing their awareness and respect for diverse cultures.

Beginning in one of the liveliest capitals in Europe, the students explored Dublin, pondering the cultural differences between Ireland and the United States. From there, they traveled to the Hill of Tara to see where the High Kings of Ireland reigned and to explore huge circles of earthworks.

During the trip, the students visited botanical gardens, the Cliffs of Moher, the Dingle Peninsula, the beautiful Muckross Gardens, the church ruins at the Rock of Cashel, the National Irish Stud and the Powerscourt Gardens.

These areas presented them with history and current information on all sorts of agriculture, including horse breeding, gardening and natural phenomena.

Andrew Haverstick, a senior Landscape Contracting major from Lancaster, Pa.,, said his favorite place to visit was the Powerscourt Gardens.

"I enjoyed the variety of plant material and Italian-style gardens that were on display," he said. "Also, the views of the surrounding mountains from the garden areas are spectacular."

Although the landscapes in Ireland seemed somewhat similar to those in the United States, Haverstick explained that those in Ireland were significantly greener.

"This is a result of the moderate yearly temperatures and the vast amount of rain that falls in Ireland every year," he said. "The biggest difference, though, was that there were small stone walls that acted as property borders throughout much of the countryside."

Haverstick said his experience helped him to gain a better understanding of how history and culture influence designs and styles used in landscaping.