The Garden Guide

Derek Jarman Garden Prospect Cottage

Derek Jarman (1942-1994) was an English film director who made a famous garden on the shingle shore near Dungeness nuclear power station. Jarman believed that the Pilot Inn, nearby, provides  “Simply the finest fish and chips in all England". The garden design style is postmodern and highly context-sensitive - a complete rejection of modernist design theory. He disliked the sterility of modernism; he despised its lack of interest in poetry, allusion and stories; he deplored the techno-cruelty exemplified in Dr. D. G. Hessayon's 'How to be an expert' series of garden books.  Jarman's small circles of flint reminded him of standing stones and dolmens. He remarked that 'Paradise haunts gardens, and some gardens are paradises. Mine is one of them. Others are like bad children, spoilt by their parents, over-watered and covered with noxious chemicals.' The poem on the black timber wall of Derek Jarman's cottage is from John Donne's poem The Sun Rising and reads:

Busy old fool, unruly Sun,
Why dost thou thus,
Through windows, and through curtains, call on us ?
Must to thy motions lovers' seasons run ?
Saucy pedantic wretch, go chide
Late school-boys and sour prentices,
Go tell court-huntsmen that the king will ride,
Call country ants to harvest offices ;
Love, all alike, no season knows nor clime,
Nor hours, days, months, which are the rags of time.
In that the world's contracted thus ;
Thine age asks ease, and since thy duties be
To warm the world, that's done in warming us.
Shine here to us, and thou art everywhere ;
This bed thy center is, these walls thy sphere
Photograph © Jane Shankster/Arthur Road Landscapes
Photograph © Jane Shankster/Arthur Road Landscapes

Kent, England

Derek Jarman's garden can be seen from the road - and it is good manners not to intrude on the owner's privacy

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