Imagine: A Lennon plaque in Bermuda

A quarter of a century after the late Beatle John Lennon visited Bermuda on what was to be his last summer holiday, plans are underway to create a permanent display of ?Double Fantasy? freesias in the Botanical Gardens where he found inspiration for the title of his final album.


A quarter of a century after the late Beatle John Lennon visited Bermuda on what was to be his last summer holiday, plans are underway to create a permanent display of ?Double Fantasy? freesias in the Botanical Gardens where he found inspiration for the title of his final album.

And a plaque to commemorate the numerous visits made by the famous musician to the gardens is to be put within or beside the flowering display during the coming year.

As the world this week marks the 25th anniversary of the day Lennon was assassinated outside his New York apartment on December 8 1980, can reveal Bermuda is preparing to create its own unique tribute to the man regarded by many as the guiding spirit of The Beatles.

A plaque to commemorate Lennon?s visits to the Botanical Gardens in the early summer of 1980 is being created by the Masterworks Foundation and it is intended to place it in a freesia garden in front of Camden House where the former Beatle came across the Double Fantasy freesia all those years ago. It is hoped the plaque will be surrounded by ?Double Fantasy? freesias, although tracking down the exact freesia is proving difficult for the Botanical Gardens and it may have to settle for the closest alternative available unless a supply of the illusive Double Fantasy can be found.

Lennon?s widow Yoko Ono is involved in consultation about the wording that will eventually appear on the Masterworks Foundation plaque.

The musician?s final summer holiday was taken in Bermuda during June and July. He briefly stayed at a rented home in Knapton Hill, near Harrington Sound, before moving to a bigger property in Fairylands. It was during his stay on the Island, with his young son Sean, that Lennon started writing songs and recording on a simple tape recorder for the first time after a five year hiatus from the music business.

He also paid visits to the former Il Chianti restaurant and cafe at the Botanical Gardens to enjoy a daily cappuccino or iced tea. And it was while strolling through the gardens that he came across a plot of Double Fantasy freesias planted near Camden House.

Lisa Outerbridge, of the Botanical Gardens, said it is generally thought Lennon stopped under a cedar tree and saw a label stuck in the ground bearing the name of the flower and may possibly have seen a late straggler Double Fantasy freesia, although the flower generally comes out in spring.

?We have not been able to get the exact Double Fantasy freesia since the 1980s. It used to come from a Dutch bulb seller and then the Department of Agriculture stopped the importation of bulbs from Amsterdam,? she said.

?We now get Dutch bulbs via the US and we?re trying to get the original freesia, which was a double cream colour. The Double Fantasy freesia is the number one question that is asked by people coming to the gardens on bus tours.?

In a book written by Lennon?s former assistant Fred Seaman, it is claimed the musician read the name of the plant and decided it would be the perfect title of his then forthcoming album.

Lennon also mentioned the freesia during interviews shortly before his assassination.

The Botanical Gardens sells T-shirts and other small trinkets featuring the Double Fantasy flower.

The cedar tree next to the former freesia plot where Lennon came across the flower was blown down during Hurricane Fabian in 2003. Only the stump of the tree now remains.

It is here that the Botanical Gardens intends to recreate a freesia garden and where a special plaque, currently being commissioned by the Masterworks Foundation, will be placed to inform visitors of the link with the former Beatle.

Elise Outerbridge, of the Masterworks Foundation, said: ?It is a work in progress. We should have it by next year once the phrasing has been agreed.?

She said the plaque would mention how Lennon had found inspiration from the flower as he wandered through the gardens and that he is remembered by many on the Island as being particularly happy during his final summer holiday, able to explore Bermuda virtually unhassled despite his world-wide fame.

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