George Harrison Memorial Tree killed ... by beetles; replanting due
By RANDY LEWIS
JULY 21 2014
In the truth is stranger than fiction department, Los Angeles Councilman Tom LaBonge, whose district includes Griffith Park, told Pop & Hiss over the weekend that the pine tree planted in 2004 near Griffith Observatory in memory of George Harrison will be replanted shortly because the original tree died as the result of an insect infestation.
A close up of the plaque (2013)
Yes, the George Harrison Tree was killed by beetles.
Except for the loss of tree life, Harrison likely would have been amused at the irony. He once said his biggest break in life was getting into the Beatles; his second biggest was getting out.
The sapling went in, unobtrusively, near the observatory with a small plaque at the base to commemorate the former Beatle, who died in 2001, because he spent his final days in Los Angeles and because he was an avid gardener for much of his adult life.
He famously bought a rundown mansion in England that once belonged to a British lord named Sir Frankie Crisp --the name showed up in the title of Harrison’s song “Ballad of Sir Frankie Crisp (Let It Roll)" from his 1970 solo album “All Things Must Pass” -- and over the course of many years transformed the overgrown gardens into lush, beautiful grounds surrounding his home.
The memorial tree in Griffith Park had grown to more than 10 feet tall as of 2013, but LaBonge said the tree beetle onslaught was too much for the tree. Trees in Griffith Park have occasionally been the victims of bark beetles and ladybug beetles, among other tree-unfriendly creatures.
LaBonge was on hand Saturday night at the Greek Theatre for the final stop on Ringo Starr’s All-Star Band 2014 U.S. tour.
A date hasn’t been set for the replanting.
Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
A plaque marking the George Harrison Tree, planted in 2004 in Griffith Park. The original tree died recently, the result of an infestation of beetles. It will be replanted soon. (Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times)
George Harrison Memorial Tree Felled by Beetles
by Nick DeRiso
July 22, 2014
In a strange twist, beetles have infested and killed the 10-foot-tall pine tree planted in remembrance of George Harrison near Los Angeles’ Griffith Observatory.
The former Beatle was an LA resident when he died in 2001 at age 58. The now-famous George Harrison Tree was dedicated some three years later, according to LA councilman Tom LaBonge. Included was a plaque recognizing Harrison “as a great humanitarian who touched the world as an artist, a musician and a gardener.”
LaBonge added that a new tree is to be planted as a replacement soon. No word on how the city intends to keep these insects — apparently as hungry as they are bitterly ironic — at bay in the years to come.
Then again, it could have been worse. George’s tree could have been felled by an avalanche of rolling stones.
Hulton Archive, Getty Images