It wasn’t a planned trip. But as we left Lizardman Fest, I saw a sign for Pearl Fryar Topiary Gardens and couldn’t resist driving down the lane and exploring.
The ornamental bushes and trees greeted us on our left. A kind gentleman noticed the quizzical expression on my face. He gently directed me. He pointed out where to park and encouraged me to walk around and enjoy. I found a spot and meandered through the carefully tended bushes and trees. It was mesmerizing. Was I daydreaming or dream walking? It was hard to say.
“I wasn’t important for me to create a garden. I wanted to create a feeling. That when you walked through, you felt differently than you did when you started, ” Pearl Fryar said.
Needless to say the artist achieved his objective. I felt happy, peaceful and delighted. We snapped pictures, stretched our legs and piled in the van for the drive home.
Back at the house I did and little research and fell in love with Pearl Fryar. That nice man who helped me? It was Mr. Fryar! He wasn’t a master gardener or a professional horticulturist. He was an engineer and a self-taught topiary artist. He transformed his yard into a declaration of peace, love and goodwill. He was faced with discrimination in his community. His response? Create something of beauty and joy. To top it off, many of the stunning plants on display were rescued from compost piles.
Mr. Fryar had the ability to look at plants others had given up on and see potential. He knew with time and care they too could flourish. He rescued the plants and gave them a future through consistent care day after day, season after season, year after year. There had to have been days when he wondered if all his hard work would pay off. He had no guarantee the effort would give him the desired outcome. But Pearl Fryar dared to dream big dreams.
Thank you, Pearl. You remind me to tend dreams and nurture the garden of the soul. You’re growing more than plants. And I’ve added watching the documentary A Man Named Pearl to my summer bucket list.