Derek Jarman Pocket Park blog – part 12

Potting, planting & photography for Pride!

Now that the Derek Jarman Pocket Park is well established, we are keen to share it with as many people as possible.   Manchester Pride seemed a perfect occasion to decorate the garden and lay on some fun activities for everyone and anyone who wanted to take a closer look and try their hand at a bit of gardening and creativity.

aerial view of foliage with small yellow flowers

We have lots of flowering nasturtiums in the Pocket Park winding their way round the railings so we decided to invite visitors to plant nasturtium seeds in small, biodegradable pots that they decorated and then took home. At least one child enjoyed decorating himself with red felt tip as well as the pot …so hopefully it all washed off later!  It was lovely to watch children and adults alike totally engrossed as they planted the seeds.  Our volunteers, David & Philip gave advice, guidance and encouragement, inspiring everyone to try growing more plants from seed at home…after all, the only things you need are a bit of compost in a container, some water and a window sill!

aerial view of a wooden table with a sign with a QR code screwed on the left. Next to the right is the corner of a tray and in the center recyclable vases with floral decorations
a little girl wearing a denim jacket and pink shorts shows a recyclable vase with a smiling flower drawn on it in her room

Alongside the green-fingered activity, we also offered visitors the opportunity to try some photography.  Under the expert guidance of volunteer Mindy, visitors were shown how to use a magnifier, mirror and the zoom camera function to explore details of the garden and find their perfect shot. The group enjoyed exploring the garden from unusual angles and learning about depth of field. Mindy helped participants to use an editing app before the art gallery kindly printed each photo for people to take home.

a group of young visitors sitting in a semicircle shows four vegetable illustrations

You may remember that the weather over the Pride weekend was very mixed so we also offered an indoor drawing activity, which took place inside the art gallery.  With the guidance and support of artist, Nikita Gill, visitors were encouraged to closely observe a selection of plants closely, drawing and shading their work with a range of pencils and pastels.  Many of us feel inadequate as artists but this activity showed that we are all creative and putting pencil or pastel to paper needn’t be daunting!

Colored pen drawing of four fern leaves
black and white photo of a hand with a pencil drawing a thin and elongated leaf

Overall, we were pleased to welcome 65 people to the garden to take part in our Pride activities. It showed that there is definitely a place for calmer, creative activities during Pride as well as the partying and protest that are also an important part of the weekend.

a pointed sign with the colors of the LGBTQ+ flag and the writing Manchester LGBTQ+ trail. The sign is attached to the railing of the gallery. in the background foliage and part of the facade

We were excited to learn that the Derek Jarman Pocket Park has been included in Manchester’s recently updated LGBTQ+ Trail.

The trail, which was highlighted during Pride weekend, visits 16 buildings and sites around the city centre allowing participants to remember, reflect and celebrate our city’s LGBTQ+ history and present day life.

internal view of the pocket park hut. on the right portion of the mirror and on the left a notice board. at the bottom part of the yellow bench

If you have visited the garden recently, you may have noticed some changes in the bespoke shelter that was originally designed and made for the garden by Leon Davis.  Leon has added a mirror to the inside of the shelter, which has made it lighter as well as providing a new way of viewing the garden with interesting reflections of the containers and plants.

snail looking out over a portion of the fence

Photo by: Mindy Meleyal


We are continuing to monitor and record wildlife visitors in the garden. You will have noticed the slug in the photo above, which some of the volunteers are unhappy about despite the fact that it is so photogenic!  We have also noticed increasing numbers of pollinators visiting the flowers including various bumble bees and we have heard that a mouse was spotted although we don’t have photographic evidence!

macro image of a bee sucking nectar from a yellow flower

Photo by: Sue

However, our most unusual visitor to date is Barbie!  There is clearly a Barbie fan club in Manchester as we were surprised to find her hiding beside one of the planters in the garden soon after the recent blockbuster film was released!  She’s still there so next time you visit, see if you can find her!

a barbie doll with orange hair is leaning against the planter. on the other scattered foliage
a pass with the LGBTQ colors and the words equality wins

Finally, we are very pleased to welcome two new volunteers to our group. Sue and Peter joined us just before Pride weekend making the volunteer team up to six, all of us volunteers with the LGBT Foundation Pride in Ageing programme.

Hazel Errey – member of the Derek Jarman Pocket Park group



The Derek Jarman Pocket Park is supported by The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government Pocket Parks, Pride in Ageing at the LGBT Foundation ManchesterThe IGNITION ProjectRoyal Horticultural SocietyExterior ArchitectureThe Postcode Lottery Trust, Manchester Wellbeing Fund and United Utilities.