One of my most treasured and well-thumbed books is Derek Jarman's Garden. Do you know it? It's a delight, recording how the late film-maker and artist Derek Jarman created his garden at Prospect Cottage on the shingle at Dungeness, Kent, in the shadow of the nuclear power station. Dungeness can be a bleak and inhospitable place, and provides a challenge for any gardener.
Jarman tells the tale of how the garden evolved over the years, beginning in 1986, and ending in the last year of his life (1994). He incorporated many indigenous plants, and others he introduced himself, along with driftwood sculptures, rusty old tools and discarded objects. He also used many hagstones (thank you Emma for introducing me to that word!) in his sculptures. I've always found Dungeness to be the best place for finding hagstones. With a little patience and searching I can usually find a handful or two.
The stunning photography is by Howard Sooley. A mix of vibrant colour shots and black and white give the book a quiet sense of place and manage to portray the desolate beauty of the shingle garden perfectly. The narrative mixes poetry and prose, drawing you into the tale so that the pages turn effortlessly from one to the other.
Today I was lucky enough to find a near-perfect copy in my local Oxfam going for a song. I couldn't resist it, and thought one of you might like it?
Leave a comment, and I'll draw a name in ten days or so..... I'm going to restrict this to uk post only, it's not the lightest of books!