Rock Stars

photo-128Mineral Point’s own John and Jennifer Sharp were recently featured on Shelly’s Ryan’s Wisconsin Gardener.  Here’s a link to the 6-minute segment.

These two artists and tireless community volunteers have created a garden that is something to behold.

The garden surrounds their house – which they built with their bare hands.  The house is set intriguingly low to the ground and is partially hidden by giant rocks.  Visitors,  including those who tune in tomorrow night, are in for a treat. photo-125

Not only does the Brewery Creek run behind the house . . .


but every aspect of  their surroundings has been crafted by the Sharps themselves.  For example, here’s the door John carved.


Jennifer is a scholarly author and a highly regarded painter.  Her work depicts detailed garden scenes as well as some of the town’s landmarks. Here’s a link to her painting of Mineral Point’s Pendarvis, now in the Wisconsin Historical Society’s collection.

Recently they’ve devoted their considerable talents to beautifying Mineral Point’s Library Park. You can thank them for some of the giant Leverite stones there.  (As John explains, that’s a technical term for stones that are too large to move. You have to just “leave ‘er right” there.)

The Sharps have been residents of Mineral Point since the ’70’s. For many years they had a gallery on Commerce Street. On a whim they decided to retire to Oregon in the late ’90’s.  But it didn’t take.  A year later they moved back and began building their house.  They designed it to be handicap accessible so they’ll never have to leave.

Before they began building, the place was a dump. Literally. It was an auto salvage yard and looked like this:


They transformed it into this.


The Sharps incorporated some of the old car parts into their gardens – like this spring from an old truck.


The hallmark of their gardens is their extensive use of rocks.


They pulled these white rocks from the creek.


The Sharps are wizards with rocks.  They made a table out of a rock.


They know how to get flowers to grow out of rocks.


Their creativity with rocks extends into the house where they built a rock wall in their living room.


They even built their bathroom out of rocks.


For more about the Sharps and their rock gardens watch this segment of Shelly Ryan’s Wisconsin Gardener.

And to own a piece of the Sharps’ garden, head to the Uplands Garden Club annual plant sale, Saturday May 18th at Dodgeville’s Harris Park.  Shown below is just a  small sample of the plants the Sharps and the Garden Club will be selling at rock bottom prices.  Usually the plants are snatched up in the first two hours, so it’s best to come early.  Sale starts at 8am.


Contributed by the Hays

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7 Responses to Rock Stars

  1. Monica Dunn says:

    Absolutely incredible. Thanks for sharing!

  2. jonyhauck says:

    Jen and John are simply a beautiful couple and breathtaking artists! A true asset to the city of Mineral Point, Wisconsin!

  3. Sue Okas says:

    I have visited this garden many times and it always amazes me! Jennifer and John are truly in a class of their own. Ask them about the plaque on the rock as you enter the driveway.
    Shelley knows that her audience will be thrilled by what they see in this unique garden.
    Congratulations, John and Jennifer!

  4. lucille may says:

    What a wonderful post. Sharps have done a spectacular job with the “old Junk Yard”. They are also doing an awesome job at the library park grounds.

  5. Susan Webb says:

    Wow! I saw the show tonight and it’s nice to look at these pictures and see more of the details. What an amazing place!

  6. Pingback: Wisconsin Gardener in Mineral Point | High Street Beat

  7. Bill Cordray says:

    I’m a classmate of John from Salt Lake City’s Olympus High School. He was impressive then but I had no idea of his creativity. I love his house, sculpture, and garden. I’m also an architect, like his cousin Scott, so I like his attention to details, like his roof edge drains. We all missed him at our fiftieth reunion.

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