Project is about our city and the beauty and history
we share with all who come to visit. It is about our community
and how we work together to honor our special citizens during
This Project is also about
a man of character, self assurance, humility, and an
artisan who shares his artistic vision with everyone who
admires a fence or decorative gate of his design. It is
for these reasons that on his 80th birthday, June 9, 1992,
the City of Charleston proclaimed that day "Philip
You are invited to join
in this exciting venture to develop the Philip Simmons Garden.
Through your financial support, this warm and strong man
will always be a living presence among us.
--Joseph P. Riley, Jr.
Mayor, City of Charleston
Philip Simmons, now in his 90's, is known for his
contribution to the craft of ironwork and to the black heritage
of Charleston, South Carolina. He designed the fence along
George and Anson streets, the "Single Heart" gate
to the walkway from Anson Street and the "Double Heart"
gate to the entrance of the topiary garden.
The Bell Garden
The ground was broken for the development of Phase I (Bell
Garden) in 1993 and blessed at the Sunrise Service on Easter
Sunday morning in 1994. Simmons brought the bell from his
shop that he had for over 50 years. The bell, as some of
you may recall, was the method of announcing meals; calling
the children to school, church services, as well as beginning
ending the work day. In this garden the bell is being displayed
at a place for children to play and invite others to reflect.
The Heart Garden
This garden can be entered from Anson Street or from Menotti
Street through the double heart gates designed by Simmons
and crafted at his shop by Carlton Simmons (nephew) and
Joseph Pringle (cousin).
A permanent installation of the Nature/Human Exhibit during
the 1997 Spoleto Festival USA, this second phase of the
Philip Simmons Gardens materialized with the topiary designs
of Pearl Fryar. He contributed the centerpiece from his
personal garden and also laid the heart-shaped stones in
the pathway The ironwork is by Simmons.
Additional funds and plants for this garden were contributed
through matching grants from the neighbors at 12 George
Street, garden clubs and from individuals. (Fryar is a self-taught
topiary artist who resides in Bishopville, SC.)
While walking through the garden you can enjoy the scents
from the plants, watching the birds taking a break with
a drink or a quick bath on their way to their destination;
name or those of friends and family in the commemorative
bricks on the pathways. Other recognitions of contributors
will be placed in the garden as well.
Considered a community-wide effort, this garden will be
one of the most visited in the city. It will also be a place
to have small weddings, receptions and gatherings. The pathway
around the perimeter of the garden will be laid with commemorative
Additional information can be requested from the Philip
Simmons Foundation, Inc., P. O. Box 21585, Charleston, SC
29413-1585 or (843) 571-6445. E-mail: