Derek Jarman Pocket Park blog – part 14

Myriad shades of green…

This image depicts a lush, green outdoor area filled with various plants and vegetation. The center of the frame is dominated by a tall, slender tree trunk with overhanging leafy branches that create a canopy-like effect. Surrounding the tree are vibrant green shrubs, bushes, and grassy plants that add texture and depth to the scene. In the background, glimpses of buildings and urban structures can be seen, suggesting this green space is located within a city or town setting. The presence of benches and fencing hints at this being a public park or courtyard area designed for rest and relaxation amid the natural elements.

Despite the mixed weather throughout the spring, the Derek Jarman Pocket Park is flourishing and looking even more well established this year!  The hellebores and spring bulbs have been and gone already but were much admired. We are now waiting for the day lilies to bloom, providing another splash of colour.

Close-up of vibrant blue grape hyacinth flowers in an urban garden, with a background featuring a building and a fence.

There has been several weeks where we realised that we had very few plants in flower but during this time, we have grown to appreciate the foliage and structures of the planting.

This image contrasts the old and new architectural styles in a city setting. In the foreground, there is an ornate, historical stone building with decorative columns and arches, representing traditional architecture. However, directly behind it stands a modern, glass and steel high-rise building with a geometric design, showcasing contemporary architectural styles. The juxtaposition is further highlighted by lush, green foliage in the foreground, adding a natural element amidst the urban landscape. The cloudy sky and presence of pedestrians contribute to the dynamic, city atmosphere captured in the scene.

One of the garden volunteers expressed his love of the colour green within gardens:

‘Green, what would a garden be without the myriad of variations and shades?  It’s the fundamental building block for all that follows, bringing forth a multitude of riotous rainbow colours.’  (Philip)

The pocket park certainly feels like a green oasis during these ‘in between’ weeks.

Small seedlings in various plastic trays are placed on a stone surface in front of a planter with climbing plants and a quote that reads,

We have recently started to plant some summer bedding plants in the two planters that contain our two trees.  The plants were all grown from seed at home by David, one of the garden volunteers and include nasturtiums, larkspur, nicotiana, borage, calendula, helichrism and clary. We will be calling in at the garden frequently over the next couple of weeks to water them while they get established.  Fingers crossed!

You may remember that Barbie has been a surprise guest in the pocket park for several months now. During one of our spring gardening sessions, we were joined by another surprise visitor…a frog!  The frog had a good look around the pocket park and seemed to feel very at home!

a man in a green frog mask is walking and lceaning the sidewalk

We found out afterwards that our Froggie friend was in fact the artist, Simon Woolham.  He is based at Rogue Artists’ Studios and among other work, he performs the everyday as his alter-ego, The Frog. You can see more of The Frog here:  Needless to say, we were delighted that he chose to visit our pocket park and hope he may pay a return visit sometime soon!

As gardeners, we are always keen to visit other green spaces and gardens in the city to get ideas and collaborate with other groups of garden volunteers. In April, Peter, Mindy, David & Lawrie were very excited to go to the first RHS Urban Show held in Mayfield Depot.  The  Derek Jarman Pocket Park featured as a ‘Northern Star’ garden project in the RHS promotion for the show. The event itself showcased different types of urban gardening, from the use of small outdoor space such as yards or balconies to the creation of a green indoor oasis using sustainable house plants.

Our favourite exhibits included two ‘pop culture’ gardens by Amanda Grimes referencing the punk scene and Manchester’s famed Hacienda club. Both gardens used reused industrial brick and metal materials with hardy plants, which suit the northern climate of frequent lashings of rain followed by dryer spells.

We also enjoyed the variety of houseplants on show, including displays of glass terrariums, creating your own sealed miniature garden inside your home. Another highlight was Andrew Simpson’s starter-plants rainbow cube display, which featured bejewelled pots in rainbow colours referencing Manchester’s LGBTQ+ inclusivity and heritage.

Nathan Webster’s RHS Urban Forest at the Mayfield Depot

We also spent time in the indoor forest designed by award-winning designer, Nathan Webster with lighting by Kris O’Brine – it was an immersive experience that felt Wizard of Oz-like in its spookiness!  After a brief stop for coffee, we called in to see garden designer Leon Davis’ stall, showing off his latest water-saving designs. Leon’s designs including a rain chain, water channels and living roof are incorporated into our pocket park alongside other water-saving technologies in the planters.

If you get a chance when you’re in town during the summer evenings, please take a detour to admire the garden after dark! We have purchased some solar lights, which add another dimension to the space at night.  Although the garden is usually locked at this time, feel free to have a peek through the railings & enjoy our twinkling garden!

P.S. Just as this was going to press we were nominated for Britain in Bloom North West: It’s Your Neighbourhood category along with other volunteer garden spaces in Manchester.  The judges are visiting in July so wish us luck!

Hazel Errey & Lawrie Roberts

Photos by Mindy Meleyal, David Rhodes & Fiona Corridan



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.