Il miglior fabbro
I grant you, it's not in peak bloom. It may appear a tad rectilinear, but little more than a week ago I stook in front of John Stireman's Sandy, Utah garden and experienced a strange sensation: never have I seen more challenging plants better grown, arranged more artistically and in such novel ways anywhere on planet Earth. You can question my judgment if you want, you can wonder at what I'm getting at. Mosey on down to Sandy some time in April, May, June, July, August, September or October (November to March is quiet season I speck) and you too will writhe with envy and humility. John Stireman is indeed "il miglior fabbro". Of course, I'm no Dante (and eschew the anagram of Toilets as Vlad the literary impaler once observed) but I know a thing or two about gardens, and I believe this may be the Greatest Garden on Planet Earth.
Why? To create a dazzling garden in Brazil or Italy or England is not difficult: you have the Tropical Rainforest or millenia of models to draw from (and nurseries galore). To have a mediocre or bad garden in a mild or maritime climate is like having a dirty house: a sign of sloth, stupidity and aesthetic turpitude. To capture the magic of the world's steppe flora in suburban Salt Lake City is a quadruple backward axel.
To create an artistic garden in a modest middle class neighborhood. to fill it with thousands of treasures new to cultivation grown to perfection, now THAT'S art and science blended to perfection. I know of few botanic gardens that can begin to compare with Mr. Stireman on a square foot basis (Gothenburg? Edinburgh? Huntington?...perhaps). Certainly not when it comes to daring and creativity.
I plan to be back in a month. And frequently thereafter for the rest of his/and or/my life. Mr. Stireman: I bow to thee. You have reaffirmed my sense of wonder and bolstered my humility.
A few more pix of his alpine/succulent house and closeups: tantalizing and so untrue. Sorry, no pix of the magical back yard: "dimmed is the fountainhead when stirred: drink at the source and speak no word".
Il miglior fabbro himself
Click on this picture: it will expand and give you a tiny sense of the density of choice goodies planted in this amazing garden. It is the showcase of the steppe flora: how annoying! In UTAH no less ugggh! Is there no justice?
Jan standing in his alpine/succulent house: more treasures beautifully grown than you can shake a stick at! This guy kills me.