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'Still the best thing on gardening ever published' Observer
Derek Jarman (1942 - 1994) was an English film director, stage designer, diarist, artist, gardener and author.
Jarman, who died of AIDS in 1994, was a leading independent filmmaker best known for Caravaggio (1986) and Blue (1993). He was also a gardener. This book is his record of how he cultivated his garden from 1986 until his death. He created the garden outside a fisherman's cottage on the shingle at Dungeness, in southeastern England, beside a nuclear power plant. Jarman fashioned stone circles, sculpture out of driftwood and old tools, and a garden based on indigenous plants plus introduced shrubs and flowers that could survive in the area's inhospitable environment. Although his book is a tribute to a highly individual artist and to his struggle to create in the face of AIDS, both text and photographs are repetitive. Jarman says, "If a garden isn't shaggy, forget it." If you are not interested in highly individual and shaggy gardens, forget this book. Recommended only for specialized collections.‘Daniel Starr, Museum of Modern Art, New York
It was an unprepossessing site‘a bleak, desolate expanse of shingle facing a nuclear power plant in Dungeness, Kent. Battered by wind, the area had the strongest sunlight, lowest rainfall and longest growing season in Britain. On learning that he was HIV-positive, filmmaker Derek Jarman purchased a fisherman's cottage and began to build an unusual garden. This book is his record of how it evolved from 1986 until his death in 1994. Jarman (whose films include The Last of England, Wittgenstein and Blue) started by collecting stones from the beach and arranging them in circles; he added driftwood, antique tools and found objects for sculpture, then put in native shrubs and flowers. Completed, the garden evokes serenity and pleasure, reflecting Jarman's talents in the visual arts. Sooley's stunning photographs are a fitting memorial to man and garden. (Feb.)
'A moving reminder about the power of the humble domestic garden' - Waterstones Books Quarterly 'Simply beautiful. Howard Sooley's photographs of the garden are stunning and the book will immediately make you want to create a garden full of driftwood sculptures' - Active Life