Courtesy Billy Graham Evangelistic Association
Published April 25, 2014
Pearl Fryar Topiary Garden
Bishopville, South Carolina
In 1985, Pearl Fryar was determined to win the local Yard of the Month competition. With no prior experience in topiary, he began to trim the shrubs in his yard and found he had a knack for the art. He won the competition and continues to maintain a garden full of exquisite plant sculptures to this day, some of which are 30 feet tall and took 30 years to reach their final shape.
Visitors park on the street and walk into the garden on their own. At the entrance is a kiosk with brochures that include a walking tour visitors can take at their leisure. Guests enjoy taking pictures of the garden and listening to the fountains, mockingbirds and doves. If Fryar is outside, he will say hello, answer questions, take photos and maybe give an impromptu tour.
Lindsey Kerr, communications director at the Pearl Fryar Topiary Garden, said that Fryar himself is as much an attraction as his work.
“Pearl is a fascinating man,” she said. “He is smart, warm and just has a magic about him. Everyone is drawn to him. When he speaks, people listen. I have seen grown men tear up as they hear Pearl speak.”
Kerr said that for Fryar, the garden is more about love and art than plants. The place serves as an inspirational site for people of all walks of life, races, incomes and religions.
Old Salem Museums and Gardens
Winston-Salem, North Carolina
Visitors to the Winston-Salem area, can travel back in time to 1766, when the Moravians, a Protestant group that originated in what is now the Czech Republic, founded the town of Salem. The town was part of the Wachovia Tract and served as a trading and religious center. Today, visitors can experience how the Moravians lived.
The self-guided Historic Town Tour allows groups to learn about the town at their own pace while also interacting with interpretive staff. The employees dress in period clothing and demonstrate aspects of daily Moravian life such as cooking and gardening. Visitors can see original buildings and reproductions of gardens containing a variety of vegetables, herbs and flowers.
Kitty Walker, manager for group tours and reservations, noted that visitors can see a variety of places, depending on their interests. The Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts showcases work by Southern artisans from the time of Jamestown to the Civil War; the Single Brother’s House depicts how boys learned a trade; and the Doctor’s House includes an apothecary and a museum of early medical instruments.
The Tannenberg Organ Tours are especially unusual and feature an 1800 Tannenberg organ that was restored 10 years ago. Built by David Tannenberg, the best-known organ builder of his time, it is one of the most complicated pieces of machinery from the era.
“It is a gorgeous place to spend the day,” Walker said. “It’s totally relaxing. You can sit in the square in front of the college or eat bread from the 1800s bakery fresh from the oven.”