Queer Nature at Kew Gardens: Like the Ecosystems, We Will Always Be Here

By Jude Jones

Queer people, it seems, have always had a certain affinity with nature.

As early as 600BC, the lesbian lyricist Sappho was dreaming of her Aphrodite draped in “many crowns of violets, roses and crocuses […] many scented wreaths made from blossoms around your soft throat.” In the Victorian period was Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass, which yearned for intimate touch with “comrades” on “paths untrodden” and among “body-leaves”, or Oscar Wilde’s famous language of green carnations and pansies. Then in the twentieth century rank the likes of Derek Jarman, who famously retreated to rural Kent to cultivate a garden before his untimely death from AIDS in the 1990s, queer landscape photographer Ingrid Pollard, or the surrealist icon Claude Cahun.


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