A recent conference allowed me to discover South Carolina and visit the amazing Pearl Fryar Topiary Garde, a true yard of dreams. “If you build it they will come,” is a whisper out of an Iowa cornfield in the fictional movie Field of Dreams. I am not sure if he was inspired by a whisper but in Bishopville, S.C., Mr. Pearl Fryar built a home with a stunning topiary yard in a former corn field.
Mr. Fryar, who had no formal training in topiaries, created a yard and garden that became a tourist attraction. Junipers and hollies have been sculpted into large, artistic, abstract shapes and Leyland cypress, pines and oaks offer some shade. What makes this all more amazing is all the trees and shrubs he planted were rescued from nursery compost piles. There are also a handful of sculptures made with reclaimed materials, such as a fountain made with brass instruments and abstract art formed with scrap metal with many having messages of “peace” or “love.” In an open area, “Peace, Love & Goodwill” is spelled out with plants.
Walking through the yard is magical and felt as though I was through the Edwards Scissorhands movie set but it was all very real. Pearl Fryar began his garden in the early 1980s with the goal of creating an outstanding yard to be awarded Yard of the Month by the local garden club. In 1985, that garden club bestowed him with that honor. By the mid ’90s, Mr. Fryar and his Pearl Fryar Topiary Garden earned national media attention and in 2007, the docurama, A Man Named Pearl, was released. It tells the inspirational story or Pearl Fryar and anyone who has been told they cannot do something should watch it.
Admission is free, donations are welcomed, and the property is dog-friendly, as long as canines are leashed and owners pick up after them. Radcliff was my companion during my visit and although he watered a shrub or two, he was more concerned with the cats hiding in the foliage. Pearl Fryar’s home and yard is in a neighborhood and by the looks of it, he inspired some of his neighbors to emulate his yard. If you visit, please don’t ring his doorbell and if you are lucky, you will meet him while he’s maintaining his yard.
Check out my brief video of the Pearl Fryar Topiary Garden below.
Nuts & Bolts About Pearl Fryar Topiary Garden
145 Broad Acres Road
Bishopville, SC, 29010
Tel: (803) 484-5581
Tours are self-guided.
Open Tuesday – Saturday, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
View additional photos on my Flickr channel.