Hello! My name is Eliza Skakel, and I am currently a senior at Mount Holyoke College majoring in Environmental Studies with a concentration in Nature, History and Culture. This semester I will be participating in the Massachusetts Renaissance Center Garden Project (https://renaissancegardens.wordpress.com/). Along with other members of the research team, I will explore the effect of globalization on garden systems. Specifically we will investigate the impact of Columbus’ encounter with the New World on English and European gardens and gardening practices.
After taking a botany course last year I became very interested in the local flora and fauna of the Pioneer Valley, and the common names that often inform what the plants were once used for (service berry, blooms in the spring when the ground has thawed enough to perform funeral services). I am excited to reveal whether this naming trend is also apparent in English garden plants both pre and post Columbus.
This project perfectly mirrors my interests and compliments my major. I am very excited to participate and will enjoy exploring our final product.