Thursday, July 17, 2008

Topiary Triumph

Monday was a long day for Pamela: after we toured the peach orchard, country store, and packing plant, we stopped at a fascinating topiary garden and Barnes and Nobles before heading home.

In the rural town of Bishopville, home of the Cotton Museum and stop along the cotton trail, is Pearl Fryar's topiary garden, featured in Smithstonian Magazine. A documentary called A Man Named Pearl, due out in December 2008, explores the man behind the garden. It all started in 1984 when he cut up a few bushes around the front door of the first home he ever owned. Then, he formed his street address with plant cuttings. The next thing you know he was filling his yard with trees and bushes cut into abstract shapes. He filled his art with words like love, peace, and goodwill and created metal art with messages like hate hurts, love unity, and faith.

Pearl set his mind on winning Yard of the Month by the local garden club, and he did three times! Winthrop University awarded him with a 2006 Medal in the Arts for his work as a self-taught topiary artist and his impact on his community. Many media outlets and travel websites have featured his topiary garden, so we expect some sort of commercialization at the site. We drove up to the garden surrounding his brick home in a residential neighborhood. There are no signs nor gift shops filled with tacky stuff for sale. The hours are dawn to dusk and, if you are lucky, you will catch him at work and get the chance to chat with Pearl. We were not that lucky! I just love stories like his and enjoy meeting inspiring people.

The photograph below cracked me up! When he was a boy, David loved collecting sticks. Whenever we moved, he would sort through his stick collection and keep the best ones. He even brought a few sticks with him on our last move to South Carolina. I can see that old habits die hard!

Pamela was tuckered out and, even though she wanted to go, she hung in there without any major meltdowns. About two minutes into the video, she worked her way to a little field behind the garden, flung out her hands, and said, "Here I am!" The focus of my video was interacting with Pamela.


Anonymous said...

Holy mackerel ... those shrub designs are something else! :-)

Maddy said...

Glorious - you did take pictures. That's my kind of place!

Mama Skates said...

what an amazing place!

walking said...

This is an amazing place, soon to be explored in the documentary coming out in December 2008. The funny thing is that it is in a residential neighborhood and is basically Pearl's extended yard!

JamBerry said...

Neat place, but I have to admit, I thought the best thing was about David and the stick collection--Sly is a stick man too!!!

JEMD1966 said...

Looks like the topiary garden worked out well! Glad that I could visit it through you guys.

Jennifer D