victorian laurel

George Harrison in the gardens at Friar Park, screen capped from the Brainwashed EPK.

“Though he loved architecture, George [Harrison] told Olivia he was happy to live in one room of the mansion and take on what he needed when he needed it. Originally, he intended to go about the garden in the same way, but gardens have a way of snagging you and not letting you go. By the time Olivia arrived [at Friar Park] in 1974, he had already developed what was the beginning of a life-long passion. He started by fixing the fountain up by the house, the lawns were mown, the ivy cleared and, fittingly, he put two goats on the Matterhorn to clear the brambles. One day he lowered himself on a rope into one of the subterranean caverns under the lakes only to find the incredible remains of the waterways and grotto that [Sir Frank] Crisp had created there. The grand project had found a new custodian.

‘We never set out to make the garden a restoration, we were just doing it for the joy of it,’ Olivia said of the process of unveiling the grounds. 'You don’t have to know anything or everything to make a garden and George set out quite independently to do it his own way. “It’s amateur hour” was a mantra and clearing away the dark Victorian palette of laurel and yew and overgrown box was key to being able to move the garden forward.’

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