Nothing can be quite as humbling – or inspiring – to yard neatniks as a visit to the Pearl Fryar Topiary Garden ( www.pearlfryar.com), a three-acre yard Fryar started redoing in the 1980s in an attempt to win Bishopville ’s Yard of the Month award. His garden of topiary – roughly 400 trees and shrubs carefully barbered into living artwork – attracts perhaps 15,000 visitors a year.
The man and his mission were the subject of film, “A Man Named Pearl.” The national Garden Conservancy has designated Fryar’s garden a Preservation Project, and his “Heart Within a Heart” – a sizable Hollywood twist juniper – was transplanted to Columbia and replanted on the grounds of the South Carolina State Museum.
His acreage in Bishopville includes “found art” sculptures assembled from cast-off materials, but it’s his carefully pruned topiaries that draw visitors. Some shrubs are made symmetrical in shape and located in plantings that show a carefully ordered balance. Other creations are just as meticulously trimmed into flowing abstracts.
Though in his 70s, Fryar does the ongoing pruning and planting himself, with only a part-timer to lend a hand with grounds upkeep. Many of his plants started out as throwaways from nurseries.
The garden is open Tuesday-Saturday, year-round; admission is free.
The Charlotte Observer welcomes your comments on news of the day. The more voices engaged in conversation, the better for us all, but do keep it civil. Please refrain from profanity, obscenity, spam, name-calling or attacking others for their views.
Have a news tip? You can send it to a local news editor; email email@example.com to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Charlotte Observer.Read moreRead less