Derek Jarman discovered the shack he ended up purchasing in Dungeness in 1986 whilst filming on a beach with Tilda Swinton. After being diagnosed with HIV, Jarman took on the project to renovate the space, inside and out, ‘to get as much out of life as possible’.
What evolved as he endeavoured to do so was a project so uplifting that its story continues to be told, and has inspired others to create their own idyllic space.
The only contemporary garden to be made without a boundary, Jarman’s garden is potent in its environmental context: it stands beside a nuclear power station; the shingles, wind and salt from the sea provide an extreme version of gardening with the ‘right plant for the right place’ philosophy. It evokes resilience and an uplifting sense that if a garden can be made here – that is, on a stony beach, overlooked menacingly by a power station – it can be made anywhere.
Learn more about his story through still images and film, both of him and the project as it grew. It’s an inspiring tale of man’s desire to create peace. A chance to realise how important it is to take action on those things that you hold dear, in the short time that you have.
Whether that inspires a new green-fingered hobby, or just a desire for more flowers in your home, it’s a worthwhile trip of beauty. If brightening up your home quickly is the idea, might we suggest a purchase from locally based flowers-by-post angels, Bloom & Wild.
Exhibiting at the Garden Museum until September 20th, advanced booking is advised.