On the sunny side of life – Sunnyslope

Sunnyslope Rock Garden – Grover Cleveland Thompson

? — 1978
10023 N 13th Place
Phoenix, AZ
Environment with rocks

“I don’t think his wife liked it so much.  Maybe that’s why he spent so much time out here working on it.”  That’s just a theory, but if anyone has earned the right to hypothesize about the marvels of Sunnyslope it’s Marion Blake.  After all, like Victor Kiam in those old shaver commercials, she liked the place so much she bought it.

That was nearly thirty years ago, and the magic of Mr. Thompson’s backyard endeavors still tickles her.  Though she admits, Phoenix is awfully hot, and maybe it’s time for someone else to feel the love.

Of course, it was that desert sun that originally brought this garden maker down from Seattle when he retired. (Hence the Space Needle.)  For twenty years or so, he kept adding walls, fountains, rows of heads made with Halloween masks and other ornamentation that often featured broken Fiestaware and medicine bottles supplied by a friendly nurse.

Compared to some rock gardens we’ve seen, Sunnyslope is pretty compact, but with its childlike proportions and gently goofy faces, it may be the sweetest.

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(Photos and info courtesy of Rare Visions and Roadside Revelations)

Bibliography & Links:

“Rare Visions and Roadside Revelations Coast to Coast Travel-o-Pedia” by Randy Mason, et. al., Kansas City Star Books, 2009.

On DVD – Rare Visions and Roadside Revelations, “Cali-Zona, Here We Come,” KCPT, Kansas City Public Television, 2007.

“Self-Made Worlds: Visionary Environments” by Roger Manley and Mark Sloan, Aperture, New York, 1997.

“Phoenix Outsider Art Environments” text and photos by Ron Gasowski, Folk Art Messenger, Vol. 19, No. 1, Fall/Winter 2006.

Roadside America