Tuesday, June 06, 2006

It's a Long Way to Topiary.....


It's a long way to Topiary, It's a long way I know....well, about 165 Miles to Bishopville, the Seat of Lee County, South Carolina. The mileage from Charleston just happens to coincide with the address of a most unusual botanical artist which he has rendered in topiary-numerics in his front yard. Just try working this out with your riding lawnmower. This is NOT Photoshop, but the real living topiary plants which form these numbers. Our apologies to demonologists as we could only come up with one 6, actually two if you add the first and third numbers. It's a shortfall for Lucifer.

There being no Academy of Topiary Art around these parts, the artist, Mr. Pearl Fryar, is a self taught man. He began experimenting by cutting plants on his property into unusual forms in 1984. It seems to have been a lark which begat a hobby which begat a stylistic art form which is both eccentric and captivating. He branched out into larger and more daring shaping of his plants and hedges from an apparent desire to win the " Yard of the Month " award.

Mr. Fryar wasn't working via cutouts from British garden magazines nor was he following any path known to him. He didn't call this art nor himself an "artist". He just went out into his yard and nipped and tucked or whacked and hacked his way with only imagination as a guide. Now he has a yard full of topiary art which has spread throughout his neighborhood.

The photo below reminds us of the science fiction classic, " Day of the Triffids ", in which people become threatened by a revolt of suddenly aggressive plants. We wonder if Mr. Fryar has these things under voice command as none seemed to be leashed.

Word of this extraordinary undertaking spread so far and wide that paved parking and a turning circle for tour busses has been laid to accommodate the flow of visitors. There is no charge to visit his grounds, but a donation box is available and donations optional.

We didn't get to meet Mr. Fryar, but have considered offering him a commission to render the GT in topiary form to see how far we can get in the " Yard of the Month " struggle locally. Even Kentucky's grass isn't blue enough so we'll just have to issue Mr. Fryar a can of Windveil Blue spray paint for the finishing touch.


Blogger Chip said...

If you drove 165 miles to get to Bishopville from Charleston, you wasted a good bit of gas. What way did you go? For future reference, go through Summerton to Sumter to Bishopville. Much shorter and quicker.

That being said, Mr. Fryar's yard is pretty cool, isn't it? I grew up there, so I've seen in dozens of times, but he's always got something new. Did you go down Main St. to view the new "Streetscape" in downtown? He's got some work there, too.

6:06 PM  
Blogger Windviel said...

Well, Chip, you've got us on an odometer overage wrap. Since we seldom get into 5th gear and often dwell on 3rd more than we should, we did use the equivalent fuel for a 165 mile trip. You're correct on the linear miles and the route. We liked Hwy 15 the best.

We've seen Mr. Fryar's work downtown as well. We've never seen anything quite like that. Thanks for your comment, too.

10:29 PM  

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