Pearl Fryar

Pearl Fryar Topiary Garden – Overview

A Cut Above – When Pearl Fryar moved to Bishopville in 1976, the three acres that surround his suburban ranch-style home consisted of nothing but flat, barren cornfields. In the early eighties, he began planting and pruning trees and shrubs. After two-and-a-half decades of near constant labor, he has transformed his yard into an internationally-known topiary garden that attracts 5,000 visitors a year. In May 2008, SCIWAY traveled to Bishopville to meet Mr. Fryar, who talked to us for the better part of two hours and treated us to ice cold bottles of water and our very first ride on a cherry picker!

Pearl Fryar's Topiary Garden
Pearl Fryar's Topiary Garden © SCIWAY

  • Pearl Fryar - Facebook page maintained by University of South Carolina

  • Evergreen Surrealist – Pearl Fryar - Excellent, in-depth article about the art behind Fryar's topiary sculptures - Originally published in The Oxford American - Pictures too - Definitely worth a read!

  • Pearl Fryar's Topiary Gardens: Yard of the Century - SCIWAY News article brings together some of the significant events in Fryar's life that led to his reincarnation as artist and topiary master - Focuses on how these events helped shape his garden's "message" of dedication, goodwill, and unity

  • Towering Ambition Gets Loose in the Yard - March 2005 New York Times article explores Fryar's motivations, frustrations, once uncertain future, and relationship with wife and neighbors

  • Pearl Fryar: A Natural State - Interactive overview of Fryar's philosophy and process - Includes several videos and some of the best shots of Pearl's garden online - Also features a special section on Fryar's community work with Sumter's Mosaic Garden - Great for school children and adults alike - Use pinecone-shaped Back button to return to homepage
Fryar's Fishbone Topiary
Pearl Fryar's Fishbone Topiary © SCIWAY

A Man Named Pearl – Documentary & Reviews

A feature-length documentary released across South Carolina in 2007, A Man Named Pearl is now taking national film festivals by storm.
  • A Man Named Pearl - Watch the trailer! - Not-to-be-missed footage of Fryar's garden ... and a good laugh to boot!

  • Pearl: Art Grows on Trees - Favorable Washington Post review from May 2008 - Note that Fryar's first lesson in the art of topiary lasted three minutes, not three hours

  • A Man Named Pearl by Asheville's Mountain Xpress - An especially thoughtful review - One small inaccuracy: Pearl and Metra decided to settle in a different, non-white neighborhood

  • Film Review: A Man Named Pearl - Charleston's City Paper laments film's lack of "conflict" but applauds the tonal quality of Fryar's commanding voice

  • Garden Rant - Humorous review paints Pearl as sexy "plant whisperer" - Writer regrets movie does not present topiary tips or how-to
Bishopville's Waffle House
Bishopville's Waffle House – © SCIWAY 2008

The Future of Pearl Fryar's Topiary Gardens

The Garden Conservancy, a national nonprofit preservation organization, has recently designated Fryar's garden as one of the Southeast's four most preservation-worthy garden properties. Their goal is to ensure that Fryar's masterpiece will grow and thrive for years to come.
Fryar Shows Off His Pot Head Hanging Sculpture

Pot Head Hanging Sculpture © SCIWAY 2008

Pearl in Pictures: Videos, Photos, and Podcasts

Almost all the links in our guide contain pictures of Fryar's amazing topiaries. The links below are dedicated to documenting Fryar's artwork via video and photographs. (The last link leads to a podcast of one of Fryar's lectures.)
Fryar Stands Beside His Love & Unity Sculpture
Fryar Stands Beside His Love & Unity Sculpture © SCIWAY 2008

Pearl Fryar – Further Reading

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