Pearl Fryar

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Pearl Fryar (born 1940) is an African-American topiary artist living in Bishopville, South Carolina.

Biography[edit]

Pearl Fryar was born in Clinton, North Carolina, to a sharecropper family. He worked as an engineer at a can factory in Bishopville until his retirement in 2006.

Pearl Fryar Topiary Garden[edit]

Around 1988, he began trimming the evergreen plants around his yard into unusual shapes. In addition to the boxwood and yew found there originally, he began transplanting holly, fir, loblolly pine and other plants as they became available. His living sculptures are astounding feats of artistry and horticulture. Many of the plants in Pearl’s garden were rescued from the compost pile at local nurseries. With Pearl’s patience and skilled hands, these “throw aways” have thrived and have been transformed into wonderful abstract shapes. Pearl Fryar and his garden are now internationally recognized and have been the subject of numerous newspaper and magazine articles, television shows, and even a documentary, Man Named Pearl. Today, the Pearl Fryar Topiary Garden draws visitors from around the globe.

Visitors to the Pearl Fryar Topiary Garden experience a place that is alternately beautiful, whimsical, educational, and inspiring. Pearl’s garden contains over 400 individual plants, and few are spared from his skilled trimming.[1] His extraordinary topiary is complemented by his “junk art” sculptures placed throughout the garden. Pearl’s garden is a living testament to one man’s firm belief in the results of positive thinking, hard work, and perseverance, and his dedication to spreading a message of “love, peace, and goodwill.”

In 2006, the Friends of Pearl Fryar Topiary Garden and the Garden Conservancy formed a partnership with Pearl Fryar. Through this partnership, they hope to preserve and maintain the Pearl Fryar Topiary Garden and to further Pearl’s message of inspiration and hope.

Entrance to the Pearl Fryar Topiary Garden

References[edit]

  1. ^ Shear Brilliance, Smithsonian Magazine, May 2008, p. 32