Derek Jarman Pocket Park Blog – part 6

Derek Jarman Pocket Park – On your marks, get set, bloom!

Pocket Park
Photo credit: Andrew Brooks

The summer months have been full-on in the Pocket Park! The final structural work was completed and the planting has started to establish with a range of plants in flower at any one time. 

Pocket Park close up

Our launch and opening of the garden took place on Wednesday 22 June. It felt great to see so many people come together to celebrate the project and to enjoy the garden in all its splendour. We decorated the space with rainbow bunting for the occasion! 

Rob Cookson, Deputy Chief Executive of the LGBT Foundation and Neil MacInnes, Manchester City Council’s Strategic Lead for Libraries, Galleries & Culture gave speeches and we all raised our glasses to celebrate!

Pocket Park volunteers opening garden
Pocket Park Pride in Ageing volunteers

We’ll never know what Derek Jarman would make of the Pocket Park created in his honour. But it feels good to have a permanent place at Manchester Art Gallery that honours his work as an artist and gardener, as well as a pioneer for gay rights. 

We are very proud and grateful for the innovative partnership between Manchester Art Gallery and the LGBT Foundation that resulted in the creation of the garden. Of course, it would also never have happened without the generous sponsorship from so many organisations for which we are also very grateful.  

Pocket Park launch party

Garden & landscape designer Leon Davis worked hard to ensure that all the interpretation was in place. We have placed Derek Jarman quotes, as well as two interpretation panels around the garden, giving the background to the project and the sustainability features.

We hope that the quotes will add to people’s enjoyment of the space as well as introducing them to the extensive writing of Jarman, another of his many creative talents.

Jarman wooden quotes in garden

Prior to the launch, we were out and about in Manchester talking about the Derek Jarman Pocket Park, encouraging people to come & visit.  We were pleased to give a presentation at the Manchester Flower Show in Exchange Square at the beginning of June. We took part in several local radio interviews, publicising the garden and  talking about the project.

The pocket park was also the subject of a short film created and produced by Hubbub, an organisation that designs campaigns to inspire ways of living that are good for the environment.

volunteers talking at Manchester Flower Show

The Derek Jarman Pocket Park also features in an exhibition at RHS Bridgewater until 27 August. ‘Planting for the Planet’ celebrates different communities’ contributions to taking climate action by greening Greater Manchester. Demonstrating the importance of plants and nature in creating healthy and beautiful spaces for people and the planet to coexist.

rhs text panel

It’s been wonderful to experience the enthusiasm for the garden from so many different people and organisations within Manchester.  I don’t think any of us realised how much interest there would be in the project. But we are all pleased that it is already bringing so much pleasure to visitors, providing a green space with a difference in the city centre. 

It’s always a pleasure to talk with people when we are working in the garden and to explain the story behind it and what it means to all of us.  

– Paul Everitt and Hazel Errey, members 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.

Pocket Park from Mosley Street