A visit to Pearl Fryer’s garden

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April last year, I stopped to visit Pearl Fryer’s topiary garden.  I have been an admirer for a very long time.  As a volunteer regional representative for the Garden Conservancy’s Open Days tour, it did me proud when Pearl’s garden came under their protection.

It was a cold misty day when I visited April, 2008.  I plan to go again.   One night, a while back, the kids and I watched the documentary on Pearl.  They, as was I, were wowed by the man and the garden.  They want to see this garden.  It’s in a neighborhood where one might otherwise feel like an intruder – sweet, quiet, quaint.  But it’s OK, Pearl and the neighbors are use to the traffic.  Even when I visited, on a cold and misty day with no one in sight, the garden was welcoming.

Here’s an expert from my journal…

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.

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24 Comments »

  1. I can’t imagine the work and hours of preparation for such a garden as this. Thank you for all the beauty. It is truly amazing.

  2. tina said

    For some reason I was thinking he was in California. SC is so much closer. I am kicking myself because I missed the special last night! I will check and see when next it will be on. I did see him on Erica Glasener’s program. So talented and unique is his garden that I am grateful it will be preserved.

  3. […] gardening with confidence created an interesting post today on A visit to Pearl Fryerâ […]

  4. I SAW THE SPECIAL LAST NITE AND WAS SO INSPIRED. NOT BY HIS ART BUT BY HIS LIFE STORY. MY HUSBAND IS RETURNING FROM IRAQ NEXT MONTH AND WE’RE GOING ON A FAMILY VACATION TO MYRTLE BEACH. THIS IS DEFINATELY A PLACE I WANT MY HUSBAND AND CHILDREN TO SEE. I PLAN ON SENDING A DONATION TO MR. FRYER TO HELP WITH HIS MAINTENCE.

  5. Worth a trip Anna! And Pearl is so charming. I plan to take the kids when we go to SC for our summer vacation. I hope Pearl is home. I hear he likes to come out and chat.

  6. Yes Tina, not far and worth a trip. You can rent it from Netflex. When I was there, Iust stared in wonderment at this achievements. And he did it with a ladder and a chainsaw!

  7. Hey Melanie, Thanks for stopping by. First off, thanks to you, your husband, and your children with what you do for our Country! I grew up military and know that while your husband is in Iraq, it is a family affair. The whole family makes sacrifices. I appreciate what you are doing.

    Yes, it will be so worth the trip. He has a little mail box on his driveway for donations. I left one when I was there and he called. me!!! If he is there, he will come out…allow for extra time just in case.

  8. He’s such an inspiration for so many reasons beyond his gardening. I’ve never met him. Helen, you are so fortunate to have spent some time visiting him.

    Cameron

  9. Agreed Cameron. And as Melanie says above, it goes beyond his art, it is the man. But, really, isn’t that just the way it goes.

    Also, I cannot not emphasize how much it means to me that the organization I volunteer for, the Garden Conservancy, is there to help his works go on. And to writers like you who write about the gardens on the Garden Conservancy tour to get people excited about the tours and what it means. Thank you!

  10. […] April last year, I stopped to visit Pearl Fryer’s topiary garden . I have been an admirer for a very long time. As a volunteer regional representative for the Garden Conservancy’s Open Days tour, it did me proud when Pearl’s garden came .. View original here: A visit to Pearl Fryer’s garden « Gardening With Confidence ™ […]

  11. shelly said

    i saw pearl on hgtv. he is an amazing gardner, what a gift to us all !!!!!!!

  12. Lynn said

    I saw this on HGTV. This is incredible. He is a treasure in more ways than one. This is on my list of “Places to see”.

  13. kiokreations said

    we are going to Charleston on November and this is a MUST VISIT on this list! I cannot wait to go there. 🙂

  14. Rosita Wiggins said

    I stopped by Pearl’s garden on my way from Florida to North Carolina……….it was amazing!!! Unfortunately he was not home but I took many pictures and I plan to take my grandchildren to see the garden and especially to meet Mr Fryar.
    Don’t miss this man made wonder……..!!! It can teach our children many lessons.

  15. jeanie said

    This is a spiritual experience!
    Congratulations to Mr. Fryer for touching so many lives!
    And to his lovely wife..who lets him ‘be Pearl’

  16. Alice Thomas said

    I watched the program you featured on TV last night about Pearl Fryer and his garden. It was SO breathtaking and amazing! I failed to get the e-mail address as to how I may purchase a copy of the program. Would you be so kind to e-mail that information. Thank you soooo very much!

  17. Hey Alice,

    The Garden Conservancy may better answer your question. You can either call at 1-888-842-2442 or check their website at http://www.gardenconservancy.org

    Helen Yoest

  18. Helen: Thanks for pointing me in this direction from your comment at FG. This is amazing. Compared to the atrocities I showed at my site, it’s evident that pruning can actually be put to great aesthetic use. Pearl’s garden is astounding (in a good way!).

    Thanks for extending the conversation.

  19. You are welcome Billy! I’m glad to be the one to introduce to this astounding garden. H.

  20. Melissa said

    Can you just wander through his garden any time/day? Or are there set hours?

  21. dbrown said

    My family and I along with family members from Oceanside, CA was able to make this one of our visits while in SC for a vacation this year, it truly was a pleasure to not only see but to talk to Mr. Fryer and his wife. It was an honor and very interesting. I’m so glad that his gardens will be preserved because its and inspiration to see what he accomplished by hand.

  22. Dee and Richard said

    We were there in May on our way to Florida and he was out working in the gardens close to dusk and we had a charming visit with him. He pointed to 2 empty holes and said you say you are from Columbus, Ohio well folks from the Franklin Park Conservatory were here recently and took 2 of my trees to show by the entrance there. We go to our Conservatory here often and always stop and smile at Pearl’s art and it is art.

    Make sure you drive the whole street as many of his neighbors have decided to try to do the same way of pruning and some are very interesting. Also see the landscaping at Waffle House on your right close to the exit to Bishopville from the Interstate and his street is on the left not far from the Waffle House. Make sure you see the house at the end of the street as that is a good job of topiary art also but nothing compares to what Pearl has done on his 5 acres of pure magic.

  23. Yolanda Terry said

    I visited the Garden in October 2009 with my daughter and grand- daughter.
    I saw the DVD in the library and after that a few weeks later I was in Bishipville.I had a meeting in Sumter.SC and I mapped my visited to make a stop to see Mr. Pearl. The visit touched my soul and at this minute I am watching the DVD at 1:57 am in Gastonia NC. I always get a liftted feeling and a refreshed purpose about life when I see the DVD. Pearl’s wife was an Angel,very kind and loving. I hope and pray that this garden of art and peace continues to touch peoples life. I know that the word of the garden is still unknown to some ;so I always tell people about Pearl’s Garden in a town called Bishipville.

  24. Carla said

    We took a girlfriends trip this past Oct and this was our last stop on our way back to Ohio. What an enchanting place….almost magical. I feel so connected to this place.

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