Exploring Derek Jarman's Garden of Eden

25/02/2020

The garden Derek Jarman coaxed from the shingle at Prospect Cottage in Dungeness is one of the most iconic in the UK.

Not only does it thrive in one of the driest places in the country – making it a remarkable achievement that was visionary and revolutionary for its time – but it also acted as a place of refuge for Jarman who, in his diary Modern Nature, shared the joy he found in working on the garden against the pain he experienced as he and many of his friends contended with AIDS.

Dungeness is recognised for its importance in the environmental movement, in wild landscape gardening and in experimental art, and it continues to act as a source of inspiration for those who make the pilgrimage to Prospect Cottage.

But without our campaign, which will create a programme to restore and maintain the garden for the future, it is at risk of being lost to the harsh elements of the Kent coast.

Landscape designer Dan Pearson notes how the garden has ‘this amazing potential to inspire, and when you go there you can’t help but feel something more.

‘I know from people who’ve been working in the garden – for instance, young gardeners who go there – it’s somewhere that gets them thinking,’ he says. ‘It’s continued to do that since Derek made it and it will continue to do it.’

Read our feature to find out more from leading gardeners Jonny Bruce, Dan Pearson and Howard Sooley why it is so important that we #SaveProspectCottage, as they offer insight into the garden’s unique beauty and significance.

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