Charleston ’s most beloved artisan is the late Philip Simmons. Born on nearby Daniel Island in 1912, Simmons went through an apprenticeship to become one of the most sought-after decorative ironworkers in America.
In 1982, the National Endowment for the Arts awarded him its National Heritage Fellowship. His work is on display at the National Museum of American History, the Smithsonian Institution, and the Museum of International Folk Art in Santa Fe , among many other places.
In 1989, the congregation at Simmons’s St. John’s Reformed Episcopal Church (91 Anson St., 843/722-4241, www.stjohnsre.org ) voted to make the church garden a commemoration of the life and work of this legendary African American artisan, who passed away in 2009 at age 97.
Completed in two phases, the Bell Garden and the Heart Garden, the project is a delightful blend of Simmons’s signature graceful, sinuous style and fragrant flowers.