Thursday, 19 June 2014

Derek Jarman's garden

We've been galavanting, a couple of nights away exploring a different part of the country. The first garden that we saw involved driving through some desolate countryside. The road went beside Camber Sands where the film, "The Monuments Men" was filmed with the actor George Clooney, amongst others. (Whenever Himself goes for a haircut he asks if they will make him look like George Clooney. Ha ha. They usually indulge him with a smile but on the last visit he had a new young hairdresser. "Not a chance," she replied.)
It was bleak - the landscape, not the haircut.
We were looking for the garden of the artist and film director Derek Jarman who died in 1994. He created his garden in Dungeness within sight of the nuclear power station. "Paradise haunts gardens" he said, "and some gardens are paradises. Mine is one of them...."
Then we saw it, 'Prospect Cottage'
"Stop the car!"
It's a small timber building with a tin roof, and it could be described as a shed.
But, oh, those windows with the black - I'm a sucker for a bit of colour!
The planting is simple but effective, linking the building to the ground, the plants needing to survive the salt air and winds and possibly also the effects of being so near to a nuclear plant! (You can see the power station in the distance in the left hand corner of the photo above. You wouldn't get me living there.)
Clumps of sea holly growing in the thick layer of pebbles looked quite sculptural

and old beach groynes set into the ground were like standing stones.

The house was not occupied but is privately owned so I walked respectfully around the perimeter and didn't intrude.
On this wall wooden letter forms had been attached,
from John Donne's poem, 'The Rising Sun.'
"Busy old fool, unruly Sun'
Why dost thou thus
Through windows and through curtains, call on us?"
What a special place, it was a wonderful experience to see such a personal and well-loved creation.

17 comments:

  1. A very interesting place, I could spend weekends there but not live there.
    Merle..............

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    1. I would enjoy a weekend there, but only one. I think the nuclear plant would give me a sleepless night!

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  2. I love this, all of it. The house, the colors, the garden, the poetry.

    Magic. Nuclear plant, whatever.

    xo J

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    1. It felt wonderfully complete. We had the whole space to ourselves, a little erie (spelling!?) but magical.

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  3. Minus the nuclear plant...

    Add in a few more edibles...

    May be my dream home!

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    1. No, not mine, but I did love the strength and completeness of house, garden and setting.

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  4. Looks really interesting...
    we recently watched the film and thought it quite good.
    The garden seems to beckon one to walk to the house...great restraint not to go up and knock on the door!

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    1. I haven't seen the film. The house did not advertise that it had been Derek Jarman's and felt very much a private property so I felt sufficiently intrusive just padding round the perimeter!

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  5. I have read his book all about the making of this garden 'Modern Nature' but have never been far south enough to visit - so glad that someone is still keeping it up - in my mind a very special work of art.

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    1. I must read the book. Prior to seeing the garden I was expecting to be underwhelmed, so the pleasure of it was great and, as you say, it does feel special.

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  6. I love the coastal landscape but would probably miss the variety of our inland gardens.

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    1. Oh, it's a bleak bit of coastline, Doc, and certainly not for me.

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  7. Just found you, from 'Living Life' blog. had a quick look so I've signed up to follow, I lived in Dartmouth & on Dartmoor before I moved to France so I look forward to seeing more from you.

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    1. Hello Barbara and welcome. You'll probably get a whole lot of moaning about the weather from me - but not at the moment!

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  8. Kleines nettes Haus, aber was mich in der langen mete wenig zu d├╝ster.
    http://www.letsdecorate.ch/ch/

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  9. I agree, Diawol, the house and garden are great but the surrounding landscape is very inhospitable.

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  10. Derek Jarman is definitely a very talented man, for creating a wonderful place such as this. Everything seems to complemented one another; from the cottage, garden, up to the landscape. This is a great inspiration for anyone who's planning to renovate their garden. Thanks for sharing!

    Mitchell Knapp @ Scenic Landscaping

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