Meet Pearl

When we first saw “A Man Named Pearl” on HGTV a couple of years ago, we knew if we got anywhere near Bishopville, SC, we had to visit.

Pearl Fryar is 77 years old, and has been creating topiaries since he built his house and started his gardening adventure in a corn field in the early 1980’s. He allows self-guided tours of his garden year round on Tuesday – Saturday, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Visitors come from all over the Country as well as many from England.

He pulled into the driveway as we were walking around. He immediately put the tailgate down, took a seat, and started chatting with us. It was a real thrill to hear about how he created all these beautiful garden sculptures and about the lectures he gives all over the world.


When Pearl created his first topiary, he used shears, then transitioned to an electric trimmer, and now uses a gas powered trimmer. During the growing season, he trims them every 4-6 weeks.

You can turn in any direction on his property and see an amazing piece of live sculpture that just makes you smile with amazement. There is one area that is devoted to three words – love, peace, goodwill. It is a positively humbling sight but a mere camera can’t capture it because of size. The garden handout includes a nice photo.


He also intersperses pieces of metal garden art and water features that he makes himself from salvaged metal pieces.


Pearl has one son who has no interest in topiary so he is working with other organizations that could potentially keep his garden going and open to the public.

In Pearl’s lecture to any audience, he suggests that the secret to being successful is three things: working hard, being passionate about what you do, and having a good marketing plan. Although Pearl has a four-year degree, he said his advice causes an interesting reaction at places of higher learning like Harvard because it doesn’t include anything about being educated or having a degree. I think he likes grabbing their attention.

As you start your week, take 2 minutes and 4 seconds to watch the trailer for “A Man Named Pearl.” Your week will be better if you do, and I guarantee you’ll have a smile on your face when it ends.

If you get near Bishopville, a visit to Pearl’s garden is definitely worth a detour because it will be good for your heart and your soul. Sometimes in life, you are lucky enough to meet someone or see something that truly affects you – Pearl Fryer and his garden is one of those times.

collage_fotorwafflehouseHungry on the way? Stop at Pearl’s favorite Waffle House right there in Bishopville because he created and maintains the topiary there as well.

Just for the sake of research and posting, we stopped.  The grits and the pecan waffle were very good. 🙂

About Judy@NewEnglandGardenAndThread

Master Gardener who enjoys gardening, quilting, photography, and traveling.
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60 Responses to Meet Pearl

  1. joyroses13 says:

    Wow! This si great! He sounds like an inspiring person. How cool that you could meet him in person.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. How wonderful and remarkable…and great photos too! xo Johanna

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Looks like an amazing place to visit, Judy.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Dan Antion says:

    This is very interesting, and beautiful. I’m so glad you stopped and shared. I do get the sense that this must seem larger than life when you’re surrounded by it. Please note that I appreciate your devotion to research (and your readers) in stopping to check out the Waffle House first hand.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Murphy's Law says:

    Wow! What a talent. I surely hope when the time comes that someone will be in place to keep Pearl’s garden flourishing. I watched the trailer with my mouth open.

    You must’ve been in “garden heaven” to have found this treasure. And to meet him…icing on the cake.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. How did I miss that episode on HGTV? And why did I know know about his garden in Bishopville? Thanks for this sharing your visit with us. If we ever travel that way again we will go out of our way to see it. And of course, the Waffle House always has good waffles and grits! Their scattered, smothered and covered hash browns are excellent, too!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Any day with Pearl is a great day. His unique and carefully-crafted garden is topped only by the man himself and the love, respect, and hope he models to everyone he meets.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Thanks for sharing Judy. Pearl has the passion! So sad that his son has no interest, yet the young people who visit do. I hope there is an organization that will be willing to keep his project alive when it is time for him to pass it along. The video trailer gives you a feel for the obstacles he had to overcome just to live in “the neighborhood”.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Brenda says:

    I am so glad that you shared this with us. Topiaries always carry a hint of magic to me. The trailer made me smile, although the racist attitudes that spawned this incredible creation are depressingly familiar. I love the fishbone Leyland Cypress. We will have to make a Bishopville detour next time we are down that way.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Karen says:

    Oh my, his gardens certainly make you smile.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Sue Harvey says:

    ” I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free” quote attributed to Michelangelo. First thing came to mind. What beauty he see and carves for us discover. What an artist!
    Thank you for searching this out and sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Joyce says:

    I have loved topiary since I first read Stephen King’s “The Shining”! What a magical place those living sculptures create! If I had the space for it, I’d attempt an awkward one of my own. It would probably be an animal, though. Maybe a deer. Pearl’s designs fit nicely into contemporary settings. What a talent!
    Thanks for another fascinating find along the way of your happy retirement years!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. How fascinating! I’ve heard of this man but have never been to his place. We’re going to Hilton Head in February. May check out how far away this is, and if it’s not too far, make a stop!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. What a neat garden that must have been in person. I like the unique fountains too. Did he make those too?

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Mother Hen says:

    How very interesting!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. What a sculptor this man is. Wonderful!

    Liked by 1 person

  17. How lovely that Pearl shares his talent and knowledge with the world. I hope his work is maintained and cared for in the future.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Dawn says:

    What an amazing man! Thanks so much for introducing us to Pearl, Judy. His garden is truly a labor of love and skill. Watching the trailer made me smile… and my heart is still smiling! I just love traveling with you, Judy! ♡

    Liked by 2 people

  19. Joanne Sisco says:

    The first thing that surprised me was that Pearl was a man. The only Pearls I’ve ever known were all women.
    It takes a lot of persistence and dedication to maintain a property like this. Wow! I hope he gets all the local support he can to ensure this garden stays open.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Now that you say that, I had a great aunt Pearl. 🙂 When he was talking about maintaining the property after he was gone, the first thing I asked was if he had a local Master Gardener group. They might not have the artistic talent he has, but they could maintain. But, he said ‘no.’ I certainly hope someone steps up because it is a place of beauty.

      Liked by 1 person

  20. Eliza Waters says:

    I’ve seen a news piece on him – extraordinary passion!

    Liked by 2 people

  21. germac4 says:

    I always think it takes a special kind of artistic talent to stand back from an ordinary plant or hedge and then move in closer and create a garden sculpture. I just looked at the trailer…what a lovely man, breaking down barriers and creating peace and love. Thanks for the post.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Art comes in many forms and this stuff is rather amazing.

    Liked by 2 people

  23. joey says:

    That video gave me goosebumps! Awesome! When the lady said you could feel something there, I was thinkin, LOVE. That’s what I feel in any garden, the love the gardener shares — and then Pearl said he wanted to create a place where you feel love. Aw. That was amazing! Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 3 people

  24. Oddment says:

    Thank you! What a wonderful start to my day! My favorite part of the trailer was the look on people’s faces as they tried to take it in. It must have been quite a moment to actually be there. And grits! Wow. Seriously good eating!

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Amazing, Judy! Loved hearing about this and I will surely watch the film. I think you and Dennis should stay on the road and become roving reporters…… featuring gardens, food, American life. You bring us such interesting topics and experiences. Often these are just outside the mainstream, stories of places and people we want to know about and are so often inspiring. I’m serious! Keep your bags packed and hit the road…..maybe it’s just what we need right now! Aside from the fact that your experiences make us all want to sample the eateries you describe ( washed down with some good micro brew, of course). O.K. Judy, I’ll start looking for funding to keep you two on the road reporting ( and having fun)! Love it!

    Liked by 1 person

  26. KerryCan says:

    How wonderful! I love this sort of folk artist, someone who creates because of an inner imperative and passion! And how cool that you got to meet him–that’s gravy to the fun of going and seeing the gardens! I’m loving your travel blogging!

    Liked by 1 person

  27. lumar1298 says:

    Wow… What creativity… I’m certainly going to look him up… Interesting road trip…

    Liked by 1 person

  28. Annie says:

    Oh lucky you! I remember this special man from HGTV. He has the passion and work ethic that I wish I could tap. What a man!


  29. Julie says:

    Lovely post Judy, just watched the link and it did make me smile. The garden is truly amazing and what a wonderful inspiring man Pearl is. I wanted him to wear a hard hat up the ladder though.

    Liked by 2 people

  30. Oh, my goodness. That trailer made me cry! I just love hearing about extraordinary people, and this man is surely extraordinary. That shot in the video of him on the top of the ladder . . . made me nervous – lol. And I love his voice! Thank you so much for the post and the beautiful photos.

    Liked by 1 person

  31. I usually am not fond of topiary, but Pearl’s are inspired!

    Liked by 1 person

  32. carolee says:

    I met Pearl years ago, and took a busload of my customers to see his gardens one summer. He is amazing, and he and his wife made everyone feel so welcome. What a delight! Do go, if you are even somewhat close to the area.

    Liked by 1 person

  33. reocochran says:

    I enjoyed the living art in topiaries but must admit I absolutely love the metal yard artwork, Judy. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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