Derek Jarman Pocket Park – The trees have arrived!
The warm, sunny weather we’ve had recently hopefully signals that Spring here! (Is it us, or has it seemed like a very long winter this year?!). The group has been busy making the most of the weather and getting the final plants in and putting the finishing touches to the garden. It’s been thrilling to see the paper plans turn into a living, breathing garden. The most recent additions were this lovely Silver Birch tree (Betula Pendula) that provides a focal point at one end of the garden and a smaller Acer with beautiful dark red foliage.
Over the next couple of months, you should see the garden come alive as the climbers start to grow over the trellis and the shrubs begin to establish. The shelter representing Prospect Cottage is resplendent with its sedum roof and ingenious chain watering system, offering a place to view the garden or take a moment to sit and reflect.
The garden has already come to represent so much more than just the plants in it, beautiful though they are. In the same way that Derek’s garden at Dungeness provided an escape from London, an outlet for his creativeness and solace from the burden of his HIV diagnosis, so too has our garden provided us with an opportunity to understand more about Jarman’s life and activism, the power of protest, and our own history as gay women and men. With this in mind, we were pleased to spend a morning at the Art Gallery with an inspiring group of young people from Action for Conservation, an organisation committed to bringing ‘the magic of nature into young people’s lives, inspiring a youth movement committed to conservation and to the earth.’ Action for Conservation has five core values that define their approach to creating the next generation of conservationists: Diversity, Wonder, Hope, Action and Change. These values intersect brilliantly with our own Derek Jarman Pocket Park project, which has focused on the nature of Protest! as well as being rooted in nature.
We joined the young people for a workshop, which was organised in conjunction with the IGNITION Project and led by Grace Collins from Short Supply. We started by exchanging ideas about what makes us angry and then explored ways of organising effective protests. To end the workshop, we all made our own mini protest placards and displayed them in the Pocket Park among the plants and flowers.
We were also thrilled to be invited to take part in the first Pride in Nature event at RHS Bridgewater in April. This event focused on the unique relationships the LGBTQ+ community has with our natural environment and the experiences and perspectives of LGBTQ+ people in the natural environment sector. It also celebrated the wider local LGBTQ+ community within Salford and Greater Manchester, showcasing some of the many organisations who do amazing work, including Manchester Youth Pride and our very own LGBT Foundation. Pride in Ageing volunteers, Philip & Mindy joined Lawrie Roberts (Pride in Ageing Manager, LGBT Foundation) to provide a presentation about the creation & development of the Derek Jarman Pocket Park, which was very well received by the audience. Philip also joined a panel Q & A session at the end of the day and once again did us proud! It was a great day (also blessed by the weather!) with a very positive energy and an opportunity to meet and talk with a whole range of people.
Bridgewater PRIDE event RHS Bridgewater in Gtr Manchester
And what’s next for the group? Well, gardening mostly! As the warmer weather develops and the plants start to grow, you’ll find us at the Derek Jarman Pocket Park on a regular basis, trowel and spade in hand keeping the garden looking its best. So come and say hello! and tell us what you think or just take a moment out of your day to sit and enjoy it.
– 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 Manchester, The IGNITION Project, Royal Horticultural Society, Exterior Architecture, The Postcode Lottery Trust, Manchester Wellbeing Fund and United Utilities.