Saturday, May 7, 2011

A man named Pearl

If you go on Netflix you can watch an instant movie called, "A man named Pearl." He's from Bishopville, SC and a self-taught topiary artist. Big Al, T-Rex and I watched the documentary last weekend, and Brian surprised me today by saying, "let's go!" So we loaded up the three kids at home (Big Al was at a band concert at Carowinds) and drove up the road.

We arrived to find a typical ranch house on a little side street of 6 or 8 houses, parked, and started wandering around this man's yard. He has about 3 acres, and its constantly changing. I have this "thing" about geometric shapes in art, quilts, and gardens, and apparently boxwoods. My favorite set was by his driveway (right side of the house). There were boxwoods cut into saucers and balls that were absolutely wonderful. It was so very "Seuss-ish" to stand there and look at these bushes and trees.

He started by collecting the "throw away" plants of a local nursery and then training them into the shapes he saw for them. His yard is absolutely amazing. Thankfully, since the video came out he doesn't climb a gigantic ladder with a chainsaw anymore, he has a cherry picker type vehicle that keeps him safer. The tree below is the famous "fishbone" tree he planted after Hurricane Hugo.

Cheesie loved the umbrella/tent trees because there was a spot underneath them a lot like a fort (she thought they should go all the way to the ground), and Blondie liked his "found art" sculptures around the yard.

He doesn't use any fertilizers or pesticides in his yard (woohoo) so the little girls quickly started counting the ladybugs they found.

We didn't want to bother him, but Mr. Pearl eventually came over and chatted with us about his work, and how little education he had, but how he supports scholarships for at-risk kids. He also works with USC with speaking engagements and internships.

We didn't want to keep him from his work, but as we gathered up the kids he cleared off the seat next to him and said, "Now come sit here by me. You're going to make me famous." So they giggled and took their picture with him. Pearl Fryar is a SC treasure. To find out more about him you can visit


Anonymous said...

I'm so glad you went. It was a bit disconcerting to wander around someone's yard! It took a while not to feel like one was trespassing.


Kelly said...

It was a little odd but I loved it. He is such a genuine person and very much loves what he does. I figure his wife is a saint for putting up with all of it (and all of us traipsing through her yard).