It's been a couple of weeks of being on my own again and they've been very busy. First, I've just tried to get the house back in shape and my routines back to "normal". Some days have been busy and productive, others have been the opposite. The highlight of it all was meeting up with Jan and her friends, Katie and Frank, in Savannah. They were there only a couple of days and I met them on Saturday, their only full day in town. I got up and out early and met them in the dining room as they were finishing breakfast. From there, we walked every square in the historic district (22, I believe). I've probably been to all of them at one time or another, but not all of them at once and on foot......but with my walking routine, I really enjoyed the casual pace. The weather was perfect and both the pedestrian and automobile traffic was light......it was great. We had a light lunch at Forsyth Park before walking back to the hotel. Then, Katie and Frank headed for some shopping and Jan and I went for a glass of wine and some catch-up time. Armacons know that there's no greater fun than getting up with another Aramcon!! We then met up for an early dinner at Vic's on the River, after which I went home and they headed for Atlanta the following day. Our time was short but lots of fun and I'm glad they let me crash the day. It was great to see Jan again and I enjoyed meeting Katie and Frank, who were delightful. (I meant to ask the waitress at dinner to take a photo of all of us and I totally forgot.)
Lest you think all is calm, you have to know that my mother had no sooner gotten home than her cat bit her on the hand. He is toxic and her hand became red, infected and swollen. She wouldn't go to the doctor when I asked her....it was only after her neighbor called me and left a message on my phone that her hand was really bad and I should call her and tell her to go to the doctor - as though I hadn't already done that....or that she would listen to anything I might have to say. Once I told her that Rob had called me, she did go to the doctor. He then prescribed an antibiotic that I'd never heard of and it made her nauseous and gave her diarrhea. So, when I called her on Sunday (after enjoying my day in Savannah with friends), I learned of the problem with the antibiotic!! On Monday she called the doctor and he prescribed a different antibiotic....and did I mention that, in the meantime, her cat bit her on the other hand!! God bless my cousin Bill and his wife Betty, who came by my mother's the weekend I took her home and visited her again today......as well as my cousin Dennis, who called us both over the last few weeks. Their keeping tabs on my mother, especially, and me means a lot. Bill and Betty stopped by my mother's today, brought her strawberries and chocolate cake, checked out her vacuum cleaner, and other things.....all of which means a great deal to us both.
As mentioned last time, a real treat of the previous weekend was the Pearl Fryar Topiary Garden. Below you will find my many photos depicting a delightful experience that happened in a very serendipitous way. I had seen Mr Fryar on 60 Minutes and heard him on NPR several times.....and every time I pass through Bishopville on my way to my mother's I think of trying to find his garden. It so happened that the one time I actually had the opportunity to do it, there was a new sign (sponsored by Coke Cola) pointing the way. It was a Sunday and I didn't want to be intrusive, but as the Fryars were returning from church they invited me to look around and take as many photos as I liked. I was the only one there, so I savored the moment. Mr. Fryar came out and chatted a bit, answered questions and so on. When he purchased the property, it was a corn field.....nothing but corn. His first goal was to win the local "Yard of the Month", which he eventually did.....the first black person to do so. He had a vision of what he wanted to do, but no topiary training or knowledge of what he could or couldn't do. Many of the plants were nursery discards with which he worked magic. The good news is that he is now getting recognition and support. The Garden Conservancy is going to maintain his garden when he is no longer able to do so, and he now has an assistant or apprentice to help him. So, it's one of those things that will be preserved, which is a good, but I think I saw it at the perfect time while Mr. Fryar is still the driving force. It was a treat to have some time with him. (One of the interesting features in the topiary garden is a bottle tree, which is occasionally still seen in these parts. Slaves from the Congo in Africa brought the idea of the traditional bottle trees – live trees with colored bottles on the ends of branches – into this country. Bottle trees protected homes from evil spirits by trapping spirits inside the bottle, where they could do no harm. Recently, the bottle tree has seen new life as a tree-like metal structure with a steady base and branches, where colored bottles are placed. Mr. Fryar used the traditional style.)
From Home and Garden online:
"Pearl Fryar just wanted to win a local yard contest when he began artfully trimming his bushes in 1984. He wound up creating a horticultural phenomenon.
As an amateur garden artist with no training, Pearl spent years crafting a stunning topiary garden, pruning his way to international fame. What started with a few plants became a 3-acre masterpiece that attracted visitors from all over and put his tiny hometown of Bishopville, South Carolina, on the map.
Pearl, now 70, has grown 400 species of plants and made 150 topiaries, many of which began as salvaged seedlings from a local nursery. He's also expanded beyond the confines of his own property, creating living sculptures all over Bishopville."
For a better description than I can give, see this short article.
Mr. Fryar has made a very positive statement in his community and has a foundation to provide educational opportunities for young people. He shares his knowledge by teaching at various local colleges, writing for gardening magazines, and is a sought after inspirational speaker.