May 19, 2008 / 10:40 AM / 12 years ago

Chelsea tribute garden to Beatle

LONDON (Reuters) - George Harrison’s widow created a special garden in memory of the former Beatle at the Chelsea Flower Show on Monday and felt the labour of love had brought her much closer to her late husband.

Former Beatle, Ringo Starr, and George Harrison's widow, Olivia Harrison, stand in the 'From Life to Life; A Garden for George' garden at the Chelsea Flower Show in London May 19, 2008. REUTERS/Luke MacGregor

“I really cannot think of a more joyful thing to do for George and I know he would approve,” Olivia Harrison said as she tip-toed barefoot through the garden putting the finishing touches to her floral tribute.

“I do feel close to him in the garden,” she told Reuters at the world’s most famous flower shower which Harrison eagerly attended every year. He died of lung cancer in 2001.

“He was a passionate gardener,” she said of her husband who loved to tour the show grounds, taking copious notes on the plants that took his fancy.

His horticultural playground was their Victorian neo-Gothic country home near Henley in southern England. He was a keen landscape designer and the family nicknamed him Capability George after famed designer Lancelot “Capability” Brown.

The Chelsea garden was created in conjunction with family friend and garden designer Yvonne Innes, a Chelsea gold medal winner and wife of musician Neil Innes. It is being sponsored by Harrison’s Material World Charitable Foundation.

“I hope it is a reflection of his spirituality,” she said of the garden which is being opened by fellow Beatle Ringo Starr at the lavish London showground on the banks of the Thames.

The guitarist from the world’s most famous pop band always felt at peace gardening.

The dedication in his autobiography “I Me Mine” was “To All Gardeners Everywhere.”

Harrison’s song lyrics are interwoven through the “Life to Life” show garden.

As she scuttled round the site tidying up any stray plants, the sun rose on cue behind the giant “Here Comes The Sun” emblem next to a sepia print of Harrison framed in cascading water.

The first part of the garden shows Harrison’s birthplace in Liverpool, the second symbolises the Sgt Pepper days with swathes of brightly coloured blooms.

The third more subdued section represents the calm after the Beatlemania storm and the last echoes George’s spiritual life.

Nature’s continuity clearly appeals to his widow.

“Whatever you plant with your own hands, you have a personal connection to that,” she said.

“I look at a tree we planted in maybe 1978 and it’s Within You and Without You.”

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