John and Yoko’s Garden at Tittenhurst

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Only avid, bordering on obsessed gardeners like myself watch a documentary about John & Yoko and pay more attention to their garden than to their music or marriage.

The garden in question is the 99-acre Tittenhurst Park about an hour west of London, where they lived from 1969 to 1971 and recorded the “Imagine” album.

They had a pond dug on the property.

And in John’s words there were “Swans and whatever they are. Geese.”

I love this too-brief view of the plant-filled balcony where they sometimes dined.

I watched and listened for the couple’s gardening ideas, and found two gems.

During their first visit to Tittenhurst as owners, they met the “proper English gardener” in charge of the estate grounds, who was promptly told (by Yoko), “We want only black or white flowers.”

Met with his surprised look, she continued, “I’m sure there are some tulips that are black.”

Horticultural reality seems to have won out because the result was “different colours.”

I found more of Yoko’s artistic garden vision in a comment I can’t quote exactly because I can’t find it again in the movie. She said something about wanting to mix all plant seeds together and then disperse them so that all plants would grow together happily (one assumes), like peaches and palm trees. Interesting!

On final note, we’re told that the couple spent most of their time at Tittenhurst either in the recording studio or in their newspaper-strewn bed. Enjoying the 99 acres? Not so much.

More about the Beatles and Tittenhurst from Wikipedia 

“The last Beatles photo session took place at Tittenhurst Park on 22 August 1969, and the photos were used for the front and back covers of their Hey Jude album (a collection of single sides) early in 1970. Also during that year, and in the wake of the Beatles’ break-up, Lennon built his own recording studio, dubbed Ascot Sound Studios, in the estate grounds, where he and Ono recorded their next several albums. The matching cover photos of their twin Plastic Ono Band albums were taken at Tittenhurst by the pair, using an Instamatic camera, and portions of the Imagine film-length video, which included selections from the Fly album, were also filmed in the grounds. The interior was also used as the backdrop for the film that was used to promote the single ‘Imagine‘, with Yoko seen opening the window shutters as John played a white grand piano.”

By 1973, Yoko had become bored with country life, so the couple moved to New York City and sold Tittenhurst to Ringo Starr, who later sold it to the president of the United Arab Emirates for 5 million pounds.