Pearl Fryar's Topiary Garden: A Cut Above Average

This self-taught topiary artist has created more than a collection of living sculptures.

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Hide CaptionShow CaptionThe son of a sharecropper, Pearl began his garden with near-dead shrubs, salvaged from the scrap heap of a local wholesale nursery. "Pearl spends so much time in the garden, he has an almost mystical communion with his plants. He talks with them – he's almost like a plant whisperer," says Charles Holmes, an arborist.

All About

Pearl's only training in topiary work was a three-minute lesson in maintaining a throw-away shrub he bought for $2 back when he wanted to win the yard of the month title. Horticulturists are usually astounded at what he has managed to do with plants. "They say, 'You shouldn't be able to do that,'" Pearl says, "and I say, 'I didn't know that.'"