Saturday, October 22, 2011

George Harrison's "Dirty" Secret

I'm reading Olivia Harrison's intimate photo-heavy biography George Harrison Living in the Material World [purchase ] backwards so I've been immediately struck by how much the ex-Beatle loved spending time gardening. There's this quote that leads off the final chapter "Fresh Air":

Sometimes I feel like I'm actually on the wrong planet, and it's great when I'm in my garden, but the minute I go out the gate I think "What the hell am I doing here?"

His son Dhani says until he was seven he only saw his dad "in jeans, khakis, covered in dirt just continuously planting trees."

Harrison had a 63 acre estate on Maui where he shot the "This Is Love" video in 1987.

He also had a home off the coast of Australia. But, of course his best known crash pad was Friar Park aka "Crackerbox Palace", a huge 120 room Victorian neo-Gothic mansion that came with 35 acres purchased when George was 27.

Olivia told Radio Times her husband "never felt more at peace than when he was gardening. He loved the gardens( at Friar Park)and always said you felt closest to God when you were in the garden."

(It was, after all, in Eric Clapton's garden that George wrote "Here Comes the Sun".)

Friar Park was previously owned by an eccentric millionaire named Sir Frank Crisp. George's sister-in-law Irene says George would point out trees amazed that Crisp planted them as saplings knowing he'd never see them as a stand of trees. That's how George planned his own gardens,she said, doing the best he could...even though he knew he'd never see the final results.

Harrison's Ballad of Sir Frankie Crisp ( Let It Roll) is one our fave cuts on All Things Must Pass.

Years after George passed away from lung cancer, his friend Neil Innes (Bonzo Dog Band, Rutles) and wife Yvonne designed a garden in tribute to George for the Chelsea Flower Show. For Neil's designs and memories click here .

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