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Pearl Fryar, famed topiary artist, to appear at The Mount in Lenox | masslive.com

7/12/11 12:49 PM

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Home > Living - MassLive.com > Events

Pearl Fryar, famed topiary artist, to appear at The

Mount in Lenox

Published: Sunday, July 10, 2011, 8:00 AM

By Kyle Newcombe, The Republican Intern

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They are handsome pieces of art

shaped from nature and if you have

only glimpsed them as background on

Masterpiece Theatre shows like

“Poirot,” you can see them created in

person when Pearl Fryar, a worldrenowned

topiary artist who has been

called the “plant whisperer,” appears at

The Mount, Estate & Gardens, writer

Edith Wharton’s former Berkshire

County home in Lenox.

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“Love, Peace, and Goodwill: A Talk and

Demonstration with Topiary Artist Pearl

Fryar” will be presented on July 17 at

11 a.m. and again at 1:30 p.m.

Tickets are $20 each for the

demonstration and admission to The

Mount.

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The dictionary definition of topiary is

the pruning and training of shrubs and

trees into ornamental shapes and Fryar

has become one of its most famous

practitioners for his ability to fashion

junipers, cyprus and hollys into

Photo courtesy of Jean Grosser

Self-taught topiary artist Pearl Fryar uses a power trimmer to finetune

a high-level sculpture. Many of the abstract sculptures in his

yard are 20 to 30 feet tall.

amazing abstract shapes arresting in their silhouettes across land and sky. Many of them stand

20- to 30- feet high.

http://www.masslive.com/living/index.ssf/2011/07/pearl_fryar_famed_topiary_artist_to_appear_at_the_mount_in_lenox.html

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Pearl Fryar, famed topiary artist, to appear at The Mount in Lenox | masslive.com

7/12/11 12:49 PM

The plants become “living sculptures,” as he calls them.

With no horticulture background, Fryar, a retired factory worker and the son of a sharecropper,

began creating a garden in his Bishopville, S.C. yard in the early 1980s.

Today, The Pearl Fryar Topiary Garden is open to visitors who come from all over the world to see

his work.

“I have always been creative. When I moved [to Bishopville] in 1982, I decided to create a garden

from a creative point of view. I’ve been working on it ever since,” said Fryar, subject of the 2006

documentary “A Man Named Pearl.”

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Many of the plants in the Fryar’s garden were plucked from scrap heaps and nurtured and

sculpted, over many years, into the elaborate art forms they are today.

Fryar says “plants just happened to be my medium of expression.”

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“If I could paint or draw, it would be on canvas,” he said.

“I just took plants and created what I was feeling and the images I could imagine. The only thing

with plants is that it can take 10 years sometimes for the image to appear.”

Fryar, who received a medal of honor in 2006 from Winthrop University in Rock Hill, S.C., enjoys

inspiring the next generation through his passion.

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“A lot of times kids will think they cannot be successful because everything is geared towards

academic test scores,” Fryar said.

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“Those are the students who become stigmatized and sometimes they give up on life. My message

to students has always been ‘use what you have’. Whether you are gifted mechanically,

academically, creatively, it doesn’t make any difference, but you have to draw from your

strengths.”

Fryar, who says he was only an average student, speaks at many colleges and universities,

stressing that hard work and determination are what lead to success.

He has said on his website, www.pearlfryar.com, that he contributes to scholarships that “are

awarded to students who might not have done well in high school but who nevertheless show

‘potential.’”

“If kids are gifted academically or as an athlete, then they are going to be taken care of

financially. Usually students fall through the cracks due to the lack of financial resources to

develop their talents,” said Fryar.

His message is for adults as well. “I was 40 years old before I could use my talent. It’s never too

late.”

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Tickets for the event are available online at

http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/178121 or by calling (1-800) 838-3006.

Proceeds from the demonstration will go to the Lift Ev’ry Voice Festival, a celebration of African-

American history and culture in the Berkshires.

There will be a 5 p.m. reception that will include an auction of four pieces of Fryar’s topiary art.

Other items to be auctioned include a bottle of Chateau d’Yquem wine, two pieces of photographic

art by Jean Germain, of Monterey, whose work appears in her book, “Jazz From Row Six,” and an

overnight trip at Brandt House, a bed & breakfast in Greenfield. Cost to attend the reception,

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Pearl Fryar, famed topiary artist, to appear at The Mount in Lenox | masslive.com

7/12/11 12:49 PM

which includes champagne and food by Mezze Catering, is $55.

Proceeds will also benefit the creation of scholarships to be awarded to Berkshire County youth.

Continuous presentations of “A Man Named Pearl,” the 78-minute documentary about Fryar, will

be held in the stable from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The Mount is located at 2 Plunkett St., Lenox.

For more information, visit www.edithwharton.org.

Related topics: edith-wharton, lenox, pearl-fryar, the-mount, topiary

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Pearl Fryar, famed topiary artist, to appear at The Mount in Lenox | masslive.com

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