Oct 6, 2011

Pearl Fryar Topiary Garden, Bishopville, SC

Just off SC Interstate 20, just minutes, really, from the interstate, in the Bishopville area, lies the Pearl Fryar Topiary Garden.   The address?  Now... let me see... it looks like...

Yeah, 165.  165  Broad Acres Road.  I see it in the bushes... errr. topiaries.

With the fancy name and all the fame, I expected something different.  Something.... commercial.  Maybe a gift shop, museum, parking lot.  I don't know.  I was very surprised to find a regular house in a regular neighborhood with very little indication that this is the Pearl Fryar Topiary Garden.  Until I looked beyond the fancy hedges and found a garden of artistry.

"I like to let people see what they want to in my plants.  The creativity comes in making a shape that speaks to me in one way, but may say something else to everyone else." - Pearl Fryar, Lee County Observer, 3/24/93

Pearl started his garden in the early 1980s, they built the house in '80 and began planting in '83.   You know what's funny?  He created hedgerows to give his family privacy.  And now visitors from around the world drive up any day of the week and he goes out, greets them and gives them a tour around the yard.

A Man Named Pearl is a documentary released in 2006.  You can purchase a copy at Amazon.

Catch the Garden on ETV Video here.
Visit PearlFryar.com, he's got a great website.

We found Pearl in the backyard with a group of maybe 6 or 7.  He was giving them a tour of the gardens and we joined in.  He's quiet, serene, gentle, loving.  He loves talking with kids, but he says, "You have to be careful with kids.  They'll go home and start chopping up bushes around the house."  He's patient as he answers questions and hands out brochures.  As we leave, I'm still scratching my head about the whole thing. What a surprise to find this out in the middle of nowhere.

There are subtle and not so subtle messages strewn about the gardens in various art forms.  One message particularly catches my eye as we leave:  Hate Hurts.

1 comment:

sandy moss said...

This is extraordinary!! thank you so much for sharing. Wouldn't something like this be magical at Cedarberry?? ok I have to stop.. I cannot take on one more project!! but maybe..just maybe