The Grass Harp Garden is an actual and virtual garden in Loma Linda, California, a medical university town in the Inland Empire. It is currently not open to the public. This website was inspired by Truman Capote's 1951 novel, The Grass Harp:

"Below the hill grows a field of high Indian grass that changes color with the seasons: go to see it in the fall, late September, when it has gone red as sunset, when scarlet shadows like firelight breeze over it and the autumn winds strum on its dry leaves sighing human music, a harp of voices.


Beyond the field begins the darkness of River Woods. It must have been one of those September days when we were there in the woods gathering roots that Dolly said: Do you hear? that is the grass harp, always telling a story--it knows the stories of all the people on the hill, of all the people who ever lived, and when we are dead it will tell ours, too."


From The Grass Harp by Truman Capote


It was also inspired by years of friendships with avid horticulturists, especially Harland Hand [1922-1998] who wrote:

I have felt a growing need, indeed a longing for the West to have more special gardens created for no other reason than to be enjoyed for themselves, unusual gardens that expressed something about our place in the beauty, variety, excitement and emotional force found in nature.

[From Mr. Hand's unpublished book, "THE COMPOSED GARDEN"]




Marjory Harris, the former owner of the Harland Hand Memorial Garden [2000-2008], maintains that website to memorialize Harland Hand and his masterpiece, and to inspire website visitors to create their own innovative gardens, without regard to rules and conventions. In this website, she will focus on plants and plantings, cultural notes, and memories of the horticulturists connected to the plants.

"We are speaking of love. A leaf, a handful of seed--begin with these, learn a little what it is to love. First, a leaf, a fall of rain, then someone to receive what a leaf has taught you, what a fall of rain has ripened. No easy process, understand; it could take a lifetime, it has mine, and still I've never mastered it--I only know how true it is: that love is a chain of love, as nature is a chain of life."


From The Grass Harp by Truman Capote


Web Author: Marjory Harris  Photographs by Marjory Harris unless otherwise noted
Copyright 2009 by Marjory Harris