derek jarman's gardenbook, annual rereading thereof, due to it being such a horticultural inspiration. came across it since maybe more than 15 years ago and instantly thought: that's how i want my gardens to be. gardens of course, plural. there needs to be space for the occasional exuberance.
i like his general ideas & observations about gardening: not using too much chemicals (only against the slugs, but that's ok), not using plants that one would not normally grow in the area and making use of all kinds of other things like stones from the beach and so on:
Lawns, it seems to me, are against nature, barren and often threadbare - the enemy of a good garden. p7
Once, when I was transplanting a small seedling to a garden, I was assaulted by an ecological puritan from Canterbury.
'Do you realize you could be doing damage?'
'Yes,' I said.
'Well why are you planting that rose?'
'It's a Dungeness plant. If the world stopped still and humanity ceased, who could tell if it had been planted by me or by a bird?'
He drove off. p30
Gardens that deny paradise: Hidcote Manor, known to us as Hideouscote, which is so manicured that not one plant seems to touch its neighbour. The national trust must have a central nursery as all their gardens look like that. You won't find this in Great Dixter; it's shaggy. If a garden isn't shaggy, forget it. p41
Dungeness is at its best in the golden light of summer. The black house turns gold and casts a shadow that nearly touches the sea. The pale shingle reflects the light long after the sun has set behind the power station, turning pink to bone. Twilight here is like no other. It lingers in a perfect calm. You feel as you stand here that tired time is having a snooze. p44
Here at the sea's edge
I have planted my dragon-toothed garden
to defend the porch,
against those who protest their impropriety
even to the end of the world.
A fathomless lethargy has swallowed me,
great waves of doubt broken me,
all my thoughts washed away.
The storms have blown salt tears,
burning my garden,
Gethsemane and Eden.
A cold, grey day. I write these poems, and while the poems form the rain blows in. Slowly the puddles gather at the roadside. Then, as the day draws to a close, sunlight floods the Ness and the wet shingle glisten like pearls of Vermeer light. p89
I would like anyone who reads my book to try this wildness in a corner. It will bring you so much happiness. p105