When our son was at Art College he bought me a book he had read called “derek jarman’s garden”, and I have always wanted to go there. “Derek Jarman’s public image is that of a film-maker of genius, whose work, dwelling on themes of sexuality and violence, became a byword for controversy. But the private man was creator of his own garden-paradise in an environment that many might think was more of a hell than a heaven – in the flat, bleak, often desolate expanse of shingle that faces the nuclear power station in Dungeness, Kent. Jarman, a passionate gardener from childhood, combines his painter’s eye his horticultural expertise and his ecological convictions to produce a landscape which combines the flints, shells and driftwood of Dungeness; sculptures made from stones, old tools and found objects; the area’s indigenous plants; and shrubs and flowers introduced by Jarman himself.” Taken from the flyleaf of the book. There are beautiful photographs throughout the book taken by Howard Sooley (www.howardsooley.com).
This the first view of the cottage, ‘Prospect Cottage’ showing the shingle and the plants
and one of the sculptures.
On the side of the cottage, is a poem by John Donne (1572 – 1631).
The Sunne Rising
Busie old foole, unruly Sunne,
Why dost thou thus,
Through windowes, and through curtaines call on us?
Must to thy motions lovers’ seasons run?
Sawsy pedantique wretch, goe chide
Late schoole boyes and sowre prentices,
Goe tell Court-huntsmen, that the KIng will ride,
Call countrey ants to harvest offices;
Love, all alike, no season knowes, nor clyme,
Nor houres, dayes, moneths, which are the rags of time…………….
Thou sunne art halfe as happy wee,
In that the world’s contracted thus.
Thine age askes ease, and since thy duties bee
To warme the world, that’s done warming us.
Shine here to us, and thou art every where;
This bed thy centre is, these walls thy spheare.
The Garden was part of a coach trip to the the Romney Marshes. They are on the coast of Kent. We visited Hythe, one of the Cinque ports, Dungeness where we had delicious fresh Fish and Chips and visited The Garden there. Imagine my surprise when as I got off the coach in front of the Garden, our son texted me on my mobile all the way from Melbourne, Australia. I was able to share that moment with him since he had triggered my wish to visit it in the first place! Not sure who was in the “right place at the right time” but one or both of us was!
Romney Marsh is very flat. In the 11th and 12th century there were several severe storms and sea receded and has continued to recede since. This part of the Marsh is shingle and only plants which can survive the winds and salt. The Marsh are famous for smugglers and the books and films about a parson, Dr Syn who was also a smuggler were set here. There are many sheep on the Marshes. It is said the Marsh is a bit like Marmite – you either love it or you hate it!
This amused me. It was in an old Church we visited. It was a box the priest took to burials to protect himself from the wind and rain before the umbrella was invented!