Friday, July 20, 2012

Pearl's Topiary Garden. {365 - Day 202}

What a day we had today.  I had a photo shoot this morning in Charleston, which went very well and very quickly, so we managed to pack up the car and head for home early.  We decided to take a little side trip through the middle of South Carolina to see Pearl Fryar's Topiary Garden.  You may have heard about Pearl from the small town of Bishopville, SC. 

Day 202 {Canon 5D Mark III}

He has had national recognition in stories in the NY Times and television news shows, and a documentary was made about him several years ago called "A Man Named Pearl"  (it's on Netflix.)  He is an older gentleman, son of a sharecropper, who, back in the 80's, started pruning his shrubs in hopes to win "yard of the month" from the Garden club.  He not only succeeded, but has turned his 3 acre property into a wonderland of abstract design.  You simply have to see it to believe that one man could do all this.  It is obviously a labor of love for him.  He has pieces installed at museums and various buildings (including the local Waffle House) and he speaks at colleges about his art. 

I'm not gonna lie.  It is off the beaten path and the ride is not the most beautifully scenic trip I've ever taken.  You pass through a lot of dirt poor towns with boarded up store fronts and dilapidated buildings.  It's painful to see.  That's part of what makes Pearl's work so special.  It is a sign of hope, a sign of life, in an otherwise forgotten small town.
Vintage Piggly Wiggly on the way to Bishopville.  Awesome.

Forgotten building in Bishopville.
 Where else can you shop for antiques and get a haircut?

We ate lunch here.  When you visit Pearl, be sure to stop here.  It was delicious and the people were so nice.  They gave Sarah Beth a stuffed dog which completely made the trip worthwhile for her.

Here are some highlights.  The photos don't do it justice.


The ongoing theme of his garden is Love, Peace, & Goodwill.  Written here in 8 foot letters.

Pearl also creates sculpture from discarded junk.

What I find so interesting is how Pearl envisions something that may take 5 or 10 years to grow into completion.  And he has the dedication to nurture that vision inch by inch.  Something about that kind of patience in a world of instant gratification is inspiring.

The fountains were Sarah Beth's favorite.

Pearl welcomes all visitors to his gardens.  How lovely is he to share this beauty with anyone who wishes to stop by!  We weren't the only visitors there today.  You'd think the neighbors may be bothered by the extra traffic on their street, but many of them have learned Pearl's art and sculpted topiaries in their own yards too.
If you are anywhere in the vicinity of Bishopville, stop by to see for yourself.  Maybe you'll be inspired too!

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