By Sarah Stoesz
“Gardens and all Things Green” began on Saturday at the Nickel Plate District Amphitheater in Fishers with a lecture and demonstration from noted topiary expert, Pearl Fryar.
Fryar started the Pearl Fryar Topiary Garden in in Bishopville, S.C., in the 1980s. Fryar said he created the garden with creative talent and recycled plants, as he did not have any training or education in horticulture.
“When I started, it was basically using my talent as a creative person because at that point in my life, no one had recognized my talent,” Fryar said. “I am the type of person that is creative, but I couldn’t put it on canvas.”
A documentary about Fryar and his garden titled “A Man Named Pearl” has been shown at the Heartland Film Festival and on HGTV. The garden had about 15,000 visitors last year from all across the United States. It is unlike any other topiary garden as it uses abstract forms and has a message of love and peace, Fryar said.
“I wanted to create a garden that within the garden there was a message,” he said. “I wanted to appeal to people from an emotional point of view. I wanted people to leave feeling better than when they came in.”
Fryar has spoken at universities across the country. He has a passion for education and has created a scholarship fund that supports average students attending a community college. Fryar says his scholarship benefits students with any college major as he believes that it is important to help average, unprivileged students so they can have bright futures.
“What I want to tell students, is don’t let someone tell you what you can and cannot do by some test score because what you may do well may not show up on a test score,” he said.
Pearl Fryar’s topiary garden and scholarship fund are both non-profit. Donations can be made at www.pearlfryar.com.
“Gardens and all Things Green” will last until June 21. The focus will feature classes, demonstrations, and tours of garden centers. For more information on “Gardens and all Things Green” visit http://www.visithamiltoncounty.com.