The inspiring story of self-taught topiary artist Pearl Fryar begins when he was house-hunting in an all-white neighborhood and a homeowner voiced the collective concern: “Black people don’t keep up their yards.” Pearl was stung by the racial stereotype, but rather than become angry and embittered, he was motivated to prove that misguided person wrong. Pearl bought a house in a “black” neighborhood and began fashioning a garden that would attract positive attention. His goal was modest, but clear: to become the first African-American to win Bishopville, South Carolina’s “Yard of the Month” award. This subtle and intriguing documentary offers an upbeat message that speaks to respect for self and others and shows what one person can achieve when he allows himself to share the full expression of his humanity. The Pearl Fryar Topiary Garden has been designated a Preservation Project of The Garden Conservancy. Directed and produced by Scott Galloway and Brent Pierson. Winner of the Heartland Film Festival Crystal Heart Award and Salem Film Festival Audience Award.
Introduced by Lindsay Hicks, Horticultural Education Programs Specialist, U.S. National Arboretum. Discussion with Pearl Fryar follows screening. Mr. Pearl Fryar’s appearance is courtesy of Friends of the National Arboretum’s Distinguished Lecture Series.