In December, a friend Mark Moisinski wrote a blog post on the quiet, unbelievably beautiful and uncanny place called Dungeness in Kent, England. It made me think of my visit last year with my friends from Great Dixter and I searched around for my photos. It was Emma's birthday trip, a strikingly beautiful Sunday in March, and she wanted to go to Dungeness and sit by the sea and visit the late Derek Jarman's garden at Prospect Cottage. I was eager to go as I had first heard about this place from a talk by Marco Polo Stefano the summer before. He showed slides (actual slides) of a garden, by the sea, but it looked like a desert, surrounded by sand, rocks, bright sun, and the infamous nuclear power plant. The images of sculptures, succulents, rocks and flowers against the backdrop of a blue, blue sky and distant towers were memorable, and I always hoped to visit one day.
Of course being there was better than the slide show. There is a very peculiar feeling about the place and it is unlike anywhere else I have ever been before. It is a little eerie, quiet, timeless, and so peaceful. The beach is long and very wide, with rolling, rocky dune-like hills and all along the way there are remnants of a fishing industry with amazing weedy, tough and miraculous plants growing in salty rocks. There are abandoned boats, odd pieces of metal and long lines of nets scattered along the coast.
The colors of the day were so vibrant- mostly of blues and yellows.
A glimpse of the rolling surf. The day was unseasonably warm and we all did go swimming- well, most of us anyway.
Emma Seniuk and Rachael Dodd standing outside Derek Jarman's garden. I love the crazy verticals in this shot. Rachael was just interviewed in this month's Garden's Illustrated as the first in a series showcasing the brightest new gardening talent!
The colors of the day were just spectacular- the yellow of the beach, to the flowers, to the tip of the rock sculpture- all against cerulean skies.
Evidence of work with a wheelbarrow and sod dug and new gardens turned over. You can see the power plant towers in the background.
The living and non-living were equally a part of the garden. The rocks, the structures, the sculptures, the beach, and the nuclear power plant were all valuable pieces- it was a garden that brought all of its surroundings into it (including us). It was more than a reflection, more like an extenuation, of this magical and mysterious place called Dungeness.
There were no borders keeping something in or out, nothing to separate- the landscape, garden, sculptures and towers were all continuations of each other.