February 25, 1943 George Harrison, the creator of Here Comes the Sun, was born. Did you know he wrote that song in Eric Clapton’s garden? Did you know he dedicated his memoir, I, Me Mine to “gardeners everywhere”? Did you know he was an avid gardener at his home as well as an advocate for urban gardens in blighted areas in cities?
Harrison’s life was celebrated at the Chelsea Flower Show in 2008 in a garden called Life to Life. The title was drawn from the line “floating down the stream of time, from life to life with me” from the Beatles’ song It’s All Too Much by his wife, Olivia, and garden designer Yvonne Innes, who worked together on the garden’s design. A quick online search can lead you to sites that show the beautiful four part tribute garden and the joyous opening. You can also learn about Harrison’s approach to his home garden, its experiments and whimsy, his complete dedication to it, and tender tidbits about him. Did you know Harrison was inspired by Capability Brown so much that his family called him Capability George?
After I first learned of Harrison’s life as a gardener, I came to love his songs even more. Now, when I hear Something, My Guitar Gently Weeps, My Sweet Lord and Here Comes the Sun, I picture George Harrison bathed in thin British light, carrying a fledgling plant to a newly dug bed, bending down to gentle the roots into the soil, and wishing it well. I have loved his music all along. But lately I have loved the gardener he was as well.
Saint Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1179), Benedictine abbess, writer, visionary, nature lover, was also a composer of music. She wrote “holy persons draw to themselves all that is earthly.” Harrison did just that.
I see birthdays as opportunities to tell people I am glad they were born, that the world is a better place because they are here. Well, George, I am glad you were born and that your music and gardens live on.
“Here comes the sun, it’s all right.”