Pierres, sel et fleurs. Dans le jardin de Derek Jarman by Aline GHEYSENS – Archives du Calvados

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Pierres, sel et fleurs. Dans le jardin de Derek Jarman by Aline GHEYSENS – Archives du Calvados

Stones, salt and flowers. In Derek Jarman’s garden

Kent, spring of 1986. Derek Jarman had taken to the road in quest of a daffodil wood for his next film. During a stopover in Dungeness, to relish in some fish and chips, in the midst of a superb yet desolate landscape, he discovered a fisherman’s cabin which he immediately acquired. On the pebbles a prodigious flora braved the salt winds and the sudden rains, the splitting sun and the ebb and flow of human activity, via lighthouses and boats, the railway track and the nuclear power plant. In a few seasons, as his sight and his health deteriorated, a garden devoid of fencing nor trees, gradually emerged in colour. It was his therapy, his workshop, his pharmacopoeia. Strange objects gathered along the foreshore, stones arranged in circles, sea kale, lovage, lavender and valerian drew the gaze of the artist’s friends in this improbable site. Prospect Cottage – which he spoke of in his notebooks as an adventure, a childhood dream. Over twenty years after his death, the black and yellow cabin still seems to exert unprecedented power. Like many others, I came here and remained pensive as I contemplated this living autobiography, with the desire to explore the works, the other gardens and the stories the site seems to summon.

Aline Gheysens

Aline Gheysens is a graduate of the School of Graphic Research in Brussels and the National Graduate Landscaping School in Versailles. She teaches in a transdisciplinary workshop at the ESA Saint-Luc art school in Brussels. She regularly accompanies tours designed to discover the art of gardens, with a particular fondness of those located in England.
Aline Gheysens was awarded the Michel Baridon grant by the Fondation des Parcs et Jardins de France (French Foundation of Parks and Gardens) in 2012 for La Petite Escalère (located in Landes).

Further reading :
Un dernier jardin, Derek Jarman, Thames & Hudson, 2013