Derek Jarman’s garden

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I love this series of photos of the shingle cottage-garden of the late film-maker Derek Jarman in Dungeness, Kent. The garden is unfenced and the tended areas blend in naturally with the natural vegetation. Jarman created the garden in the latter years of his life, in the shadow of the Dungeness power station. The house, called Prospect Cottage, was built in tarred timber.

Photos by Angsurf on a creative commons lisence. Click on photos below to see original large images on Flickr.

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Jarman was a relatively inexperienced gardener, and given the inhospitable conditions at Dungeness he initially had little hope of establishing a garden. But he succeeded with the help of friends, especially the photographer Howard Sooley, using local plants and gathering flints and stones to form large circular beds and standing stones, or ‘dragon’s teeth’. He also collected old fishing tackle, shells, broken garden tools, driftwood and pieces of twisted metal from old sea defences, using them as plant supports and garden sculptures. The front garden was more formal, the back garden more experimental, although there are no fences of walls anywhere. Tate

Derek Jarman’s Garden (book) It was an unprepossessing site?a bleak, desolate expanse of shingle facing a nuclear power plant in Dungeness, Kent. Battered by wind, the area had the strongest sunlight, lowest rainfall and longest growing season in Britain. On learning that he was HIV-positive, filmmaker Derek Jarman purchased a fisherman’s cottage and began to build an unusual garden. This book is his record of how it evolved from 1986 until his death in 1994. Jarman (whose films include The Last of England, Wittgenstein and Blue) started by collecting stones from the beach and arranging them in circles; he added driftwood, antique tools and found objects for sculpture, then put in native shrubs and flowers. Completed, the garden evokes serenity and pleasure, reflecting Jarman’s talents in the visual arts. Sooley’s stunning photographs are a fitting memorial to man and garden. Amazon

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