Derek Jarman Garden

Derek Jarman Garden

Emma DowneyByEmma Downey
Updated on 10/4/2022

Table Of Contents

Derek Jarman Garden, The otherworldly cottage and garden in Kent that belonged to the late director have been preserved for the nation's benefit despite being close to both poppies, sea kale, and a nuclear power station. You did that to ensure that the cottage and garden are available for future generations. That was done so that the house and garden will be around for future generations to enjoy using and appreciating. And now, I have some excellent news for everyone who can't contain how excited they are to find out what is hidden there.

When filmmaker and artist Derek Jarman began developing his garden on the vast shingle stretch outside of his house in Dungeness, the local fisherman was concerned that something otherworldly was taking place there. The following is a remark that Jarman made at the time: "At the time, many assumed that I was constructing a garden for magical purposes, a white witch out to gain the nuclear power station." "Many people were under the assumption that I was putting together a garden for esoteric purposes," you said.

Derek Jarman Garden

The reasoning underlying the explanation for why is not in the least bit challenging to grasp as a logical construct. As you make your way over the peculiar shingle desert on the point of the Kent coast, you will come upon a sequence of great stone circles bursting with red and yellow poppies. These circles are located close to one another. The silhouette of Prospect Cottage, smeared in black tar, may grow closer to these circles as time passes. Totems fashioned from driftwood perch atop the unruly clumps of sea kale; talismanic strings of pebbles drop from rusty iron posts; metal balls of fishing floats emerge from dense tangles of gorse, and all of this rests on rusty iron posts. Out in the distance, it can make out the intimidating presence of a nuclear power station, which takes the form of a rectangular hulk that produces a constant hum. It is one of the world's strangest and most magical garden settings — made no less so back in the 1990s by the sight of Jarman in a hooded djellaba, pottering about among the blooms. In other words, it is one of the world's oddest and most mysterious garden settings. Additionally, it is one of the most breathtaking garden settings seen anywhere on the globe.

The Coronavirus was shut down, and some charms have been moved to the Garden Museum in south London. There, a section of the cottage that formerly belonged to the late director has been repaired, and it is currently used to store some of the director's musical instruments, artworks, and film clips. This delightful small museum, located in the Lambeth Palace neighborhood and built in a church that goes back to the 14th century, is one of the first enterprises to reopen in the city's capital after the devastating fire that occurred in the summer of 2014. 

Derek Jarman Garden

The museum compels visitors to make timed reservations in advance and restricts six individuals each half hour on the number of people who can tour the facility. Hand sanitizer is conveniently located in every section of the facility for guests' convenience. It's been a few months since anyone has seen me in public, and this is the first time I've attended an event at a gallery where I'll be mingling with people I don't know. A horrifying experience does nothing but add to a sense of reverence that already surrounds the room and is displayed to the audience.

Not only was Jarman a highly well-known artist during his period, but he was also a well-known activist for the rights of LGBT people. His works such as Sebastiane, Caravaggio, and Jubilee, which have all been praised for the unapologetic homoerotic power that they possess, have earned him a reputation as an inventive contributor to the avant-garde film world. He is noted for his contributions. Since he passed away in 1994 from an illness associated with Aids, his house and garden have become a pilgrimage destination for art students, architects, and landscape designers. His death was due to a disease connected to Aids. On the other hand, the house has never been seen by the general public before, which is one of the reasons why this presentation is very much appreciated.

Those who have been to Dungeness will be familiar with the quite un-English experience of coming onto a private garden that does not have a fence around it as a form of perimeter security. Those who have not been to Dungeness will be unfamiliar with this experience. As a direct result of the regulations that are in place to regulate the protected nature reserve, the construction of fences is mainly prohibited. Consequently, the borders that designate property ownership are not obvious. Because of these laws, the boundaries between the different owners of a piece of property are not clear. 

Derek Jarman Garden

Jarman, who was responsible for supplying the program with both its name and its concept, is the one who is quoted as saying that "my garden's borders are the horizon." The result is an awkward ballet of curiosity and deference: nosey visitors gingerly wander among Jarman's plants and driftwood sculptures, gradually gravitating towards the cottage but not wanting to get too close in case the net curtains start twitching. The result is an awkward ballet of curiosity and deference. The end effect is an awkward dance involving both reverence and curiosity. Keith Collins, who had been Jarman's partner, took extraordinary care of the property when the artist moved on and continued to do so for the following 20 years until he passed away in 2018. During that time, the property was in excellent condition. 

During that period, the state of the property was quite remarkable. The property and garden were saved for the nation in March of this year due to a crowdsourcing campaign administered by the Art Fund and aimed to raise a total of £3.5 million. The campaign was successful in saving both the home and the garden. That took place during which the path that its future would take was uncertain. In addition to providing private tours on an appointment-only basis, it is anticipated that a permanent public program currently in the planning stages will feature residencies for creative professionals such as artists, academics, writers, filmmakers, and gardeners. That is in addition to the fact that you can only arrange private tours through an appointment. In addition, preparations are being made to establish a public program that will remain in place.

Derek Jarman Garden

The exhibition at the Garden Museum will, up until it arrives, appease the curious minds of people who have prying eyes. The performance has an antechamber adorned with Dungeness shingle, which is the area through which people enter the venue. There, the walls are covered with a panoramic image mosaic of the nature surrounding the structure, and amid the gravel, there is a solitary driftwood pillar. Following this, guests will enter a chamber that has been painstakingly rebuilt to seem like the hallway and study of the cottage. There is a collection of Jarman's bright impasto paintings inside, as well as bricolage works made of found objects and a journal on the desk next to a miniature lead model of a house. 

In addition, there are works made of found things. In addition to it, there are bricolage pieces made from found objects. The room next door exhibits flickering high-speed video from his films that showcase the stunning beauty of Dungeness, with its enormous sky and fantastic cloud formations. These films were shot at Dungeness. It was his Super 8 camera that he used to film the footage. This section contains additional pictures that show the artist potting up his most recent specimens and meticulously arranging stones into mystical rings. You may find these pictures in this particular region.

The garden has taken on the air of a myth ever since Jarman passed away; this is one of its defining features. It suddenly appears to materialize in the dry landscape like a mirage and springs out from the sand in defiance of any expectations. The exhibition explains that it was not simply a case of selecting "the right plants for the right place" but a calculated process of deception, which involved burying large quantities of compost beneath the shingle surface to make the plants appear to be growing from the pebbles. 

Derek Jarman Garden

You did this to show that the plants were rising from the rocks. You did this to look like the plants were growing out of the stones, which was the intention. You did this to achieve the desired effect, which was to give the impression that the plants were growing out of the craft stones, which was the reason for doing it. It is a well-known fact among directors of photography and those who work in the film business that the creation of a movie requires a particular level of skill on the part of the individuals involved.

In 1986, Jarman was given the diagnosis of HIV. When he realized that his own mortality was drawing near, he turned to the garden in Dungeness that he had designed and cultivated to cope with the impending loss. He had created and developed the park to honor the memory of his father, who had died of AIDS. He planned, built, and cared for the garden during the period the subsequent ten years after it was first established. Within one of his sketchbooks, he has put the phrase "gardening on borrowed time" next to a planting plan.

In the book, there is an inscription that reads as follows: According to his close friend and fellow photographer Howard Sooley, who was profiled in the show book, "for a time he evaded death hiding among the flowers and dancing with the bees." In 1987, german paid the sum of £32,000 for the ancient fisherman's house with the inheritance funds left to him by his father. These funds had been left to Jarman in a will. At the time when he was filming on the beach with Tilda Swinton, he came across it. Jarman was the one who completed the transaction. He stripped the building down to its fundamental components, installed windows with bright yellow frames, and painted the exterior walls with gallons of pitch-black paint. This design has since become the preferred vernacular for other designer pieds-à-plage that have emerged along the beach.

Derek Jarman Garden

Ever since he was a little boy, Jarman had an unhealthy fixation on flowers, and he regularly daydreamed about a rose garden that sprang out of thin air despite the dry atmosphere of the shingle. When Jarman was just a young kid, he first became preoccupied with this topic. The illustrated guidebook Beautiful Flowers and How to Grow Them was first published in 1926, and his parents gave him a copy of it as a gift when it was first published. He started reading it for the first time when he was four years old. He enjoyed doing it throughout his childhood and even received recognition for one of the miniature gardens he designed and tended when he was away at boarding school.

It was the first time he had the opportunity to create a complete garden of his own from scratch, and he started by bringing thirty rose plants to the coast from a nursery in Kensington. It was the first time he had the opportunity to do so. It was the first time he got the chance to design and cultivate a whole garden all on his own. You initially allowed him to engage in such activity at Prospect Cottage for the first time. "Derek envisioned himself to be encompassed by a thicket of impenetrable thorns," which, according to what Collins stated about Derek, "would ultimately be hacked down by a good-hearted, lovely prince."

When the finding was discovered, you determined that the vast majority of roses had already perished or were in the process of doing so at the time. That was the case when it came to the roses. Jarman concluded that it would be more beneficial to concentrate on cultivating native plant species such as sea kale, wild peas, viper's bugloss, teasels, and sea holly rather than growing alien plants. According to Sooley, he would use driftwood sticks to mark out the little purple shoots of the sea kale, which were "buried beneath the shingle-like long-abandoned land mines." Sooley claims he would do this when the sea kale was "buried under the shingle." 

To harvest the sea kale, he would conduct these actions. The sticks would next be ornamented with flotsam scavenged on his regular beach-combing excursions, including everything from chains and anchors to sea-smoothed bricks and sun-bleached crab shells. This process would continue until the sticks were complete. You would repeat this procedure until the posts reached their final form. And so it came to pass that the garden expanded, with new plant life developing in the areas where you had dispersed its seeds throughout the terrain. This was one of the fortunate outcomes of the events. "as if some robed alchemist were conducting a spell," writes Sooley, "waving dry seed heads over an area that may profit from a foxglove or yellow horned poppy." [Citation needed] Sooley, "as if some robed alchemist were executing a spell." In addition, he drew up winding pathways that were "designed with the need of plants in mind, rather than the other way around."

The lockout ultimately benefited the Garden Museum, even though it forced the opening to be postponed due to the situation. The program's sequence has been changed to make it appear more chaotic than it otherwise would have. You did it this way to widen the existing social divide between the participants. Stage designer Jeremy Herbert, who has worked on sets for the English National Opera, enlarged the scenography beyond the typical exhibition space into the nave of the former church. You did this to provide the audience with a more immersive experience. Rustic seats may be found here, as well as room for two of Jarman's bigger striking paintings. These canvases have the words "Acid Rain" and "Oh Zone" scrawled. Under the church's stained glass windows is a copy of a wooden navigation tower with the appearance of a crucifix that you found on Dungeness beach. The original building was unearthed on the sand there. This detail dominates the entire picture and fits nicely inside the Romanesque style.

Derek Jarman Garden

Because of this extra room, it has also become possible to incorporate Jarman's communication with the renowned landscape designer Beth Chatto. That was made possible due to the inclusion of this additional space. The gravel garden that Beth Chatto tends to at Elmstead Market, which is located close to Colchester, has become a prominent example, recognized on a global scale, of how to produce plant species that can flourish in dry environments. This recognition comes from the gravel garden's success in producing drought-resistant plant varieties. 

Gravel gardens have been heavily impacted by it, which are rising in popularity as people become more conscious of the need to limit their water. Gravel gardens are becoming more popular as people become more aware of the need to minimize water consumption. As a direct consequence, a significant number of gravel gardens have been developed. Who or what served as the source of all of her innovative ideas? Unexpectedly paying a visit to Prospect Cottage resulted in the discovery of a handwritten list of plants that Jarman had personally recommended to the homeowner. 

There were many other types of valerian on the list, including the red and white valerian, the sea campion, the woody nightshade, the Star of Bethlehem, the crimson pimpernel, the cinquefoil, the hound's tongue, the yellow rocket, the hop trefoil, and the Nottingham catchfly. At the very end of the movie, the director of the film, who was getting closer and closer to the end of his life, is reported as saying, "Every blossom is a success. Derek Jarman Garden region has provided me with more enjoyable experiences than the entirety of the other things I've encountered in my life combined, and I can't think of a more proper location to spend my time than here. If I'd known what I know now about gardening, I probably would have gotten into the industry as a professional gardener.