Sunday, April 6, 2008 Pearl Fryer

By the sweet smell of wood smoke coming from his chimney, I assumed Pearl Fryer was home – inside warm, dry, and cozy – outside 50, drizzling, and gray. Yet the sculpted gardens were bright and cheerful. I finally had peralbishopsvilleyoest-14the chance to visit the amazing topiary gardens of Pearl’s dreams. I’m glad I did. Located in Bishopville, SC, this garden is now being preserved by the Garden Conservancy.


We had a good 2.5 inches of rain this week. After checking out, and a lead story entitled Falls Lake Finally Full, I see, as of this morning, Falls Lake, Raleigh’s major water source, is at 252 feet. The lake is considered full at 251.5 feet.

City Council ruled that when we got at 90% capacity, we should be able to go back to Stage 1 watering restrictions. As promised, this begins on Tuesday. Unfortunately, Stage 1 also means lawns can be watered once a week. Of course, the irony is the grass doesn’t need watering because we have received enough to green it up nicely. This also means we will be able to water from the end of the hose twice a week. It is my hope, however, not to have to do so.

My friend Bill found me 250 gallon water container. This will become my main rain catch basin. From here, I will transfer water to various parts of the garden and use only when plants need watering – new plantings, those not yet established, those in the oasis zone and finally, those in the transitional zone in the absence of long periods of rain will benefit from this stored water.

Due to the recent rain, gardeners are shopping for spring flowers. I hope they do plant, but plant waterwisely…put the right plant in the right place, take time to properly prepare the soil, and only water when needed.

We had roller coaster weather this week – cold, then mild, windy, then cold, then hot and ending on a cold note.

The garden looks fantastic. Blooming on April 1 was verbena ‘Homestead Purple’, contorted crabapple , daffs, Brunnera macrophylla ‘Jack Frost’, Hellebores, Redbud (waning), Carolina Jessamine, pansies, Ajuga ‘Chocolate Chip’, Iris, columbine, Mrs. G.G. Gerbing azalea, Loropetalum (Sp.?), spirea (Sp.?), Rosemary, Spanish Lavender, Vinca, Camellias (still!), Chrysogonum virginianum green and gold ‘Allen Bush’, tulips, veronica ‘Georgia’, quince (Sp.?), Dogwood (Sp.?), Cross vine (just starting), Forsythia (Sp.?),

I took a couple days off to attend the Carolina Garden Magazine 11th annual garden tour. This year the tour was in Charleston. I had sensory overload. Good thing I have photographs to refer back too so I can further study all that I saw.

The biggest surprise in my garden when I returned from Charleston was the smoke bush (Cotinus Royal Purple) leafing out. I planted her in the midst of the heat and drought (but, post Easter freeze) and it did not do well. We couldn’t water and she lost her leaves. I thought it went to the big compost heap in the sky. During last year’s tough summer and fall, I followed the advice of Mark Weathington at the JC Raulston Arboretum with regards to maintaining our assigned collections. We were to treat any dead looking plant as viable. We did there and I followed this advice in my own garden ‘Helen’s Haven’…I am glad I did.

Helen Yoest (Philbrook)


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