EARTH PERFECT? Nature, Utopia, and the Garden
is a four-day symposium showcasing the garden as an emblem of the ideal human relation with nature. The symposium is designed for an academic audience, garden professionals, and a general public interested in the importance and meaning of gardens.

Event Locations:

The University of Delaware, Delaware
Longwood Gardens, Pennsylvania
Winterthur Estate Gardens, Delaware
Chanticleer Garden, Pennsylvania
Mt. Cuba Center, Delaware
The Delaware Center for Horticulture, Delaware

Events Include:

Themed garden tours and exhibitions, and lectures and academic paper sessions focusing on topics such as wellness and the garden, environment and society, historic preservation and land use, green textiles, CSAs, the garden in the visual arts, the garden in literature, the meaning and function of domestic and public gardens, architecture and the garden, the spiritual associations of gardens, gardening the planet in the face of ecological decline, political aspects of gardening, and economies of the garden.

This symposium is interdisciplinary and international in scope. Participants will be both academics and non-academics from around the world working in a wide range of fields including art, art history, architecture, anthropology, agriculture, philosophy, literature, horticulture, botany, nutrition, landscape architecture, garden design, and law as well as earth and life sciences more generally. While ours is a topic appropriate for any "age," it is particularly appropriate now when people are more than ever engaged in discourse about our relationship with and responsibilities towards the natural environment.

Speakers Include:

Jane Knight, landscape architect of The Eden Project, Cornwall, UK.
Stephen Forbes, Director of the Adelaide Botanic Garden, South Australia
Emma Marris, author of Rambunctious Garden: Saving Nature in a Post-Wild World
Margaret Morton, photographer and co-author of Transitory Gardens, Uprooted Lives
Douglas Tallamy, author of Bringing Nature Home: How Native Plants Sustain Wildlife in Our Gardens
Rick Darke, landscape ethicist and author of The American Woodland Garden


This event is sponsored by the following University of Delaware entities:

In the College of Arts and Sciences: the Interdisciplinary Humanities Research Center; the Center for Material Culture Studies; and the Departments of Art, Art Conservation, Art History, English, Fashion and Apparel Studies, History, and Philosophy. As an interdisciplinary effort this event is also sponsored by the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources; the College of Earth, Ocean, and the Environment; the Delaware Environmental Institute, and the University of Delaware Library. Beyond the University, our backers and participants include Longwood Gardens, Chanticleer, Winterthur, Mt. Cuba Center, the Delaware Center for Horticulture, and the American Public Gardens Association.

Symposium Inspiration

Serving as the inspiration for the symposium, EARTH PERFECT? Nature, Utopia, and the Garden, a collection of 17 provocative essays, is published by Black Dog Publishing, London

More information: