BISHOPVILLE, S.C. — The sound of gardening tools rung out in Pearl Fryar's Topiary Garden Monday.
Normally, Pearl Fryar is behind the gardening tools, but he's not able to do the work due to recent health challenges.
That's where Mike Gibson comes in.
He met Fryar in 2016 and the two developed a friendship over the years.
“Over 500 whimsical sculptures all over the place, just out of Pearl’s imagination ... Seeing this in person was just mind blowing,” Gibson said. “That’s what got me interested in the art of topiary and I aspired to do what Pearl was doing, to be free with your trees, to do whatever you wanted. There’s no restriction.”
Gibson would go on to create hundreds of topiaries of his own in Ohio before moving his family to Columbia to help Fryar.
He's just one in a number of people working through grant funding to preserve the decades-old project of the self-taught sculptor who transformed his home into a national landmark.
"This garden is a great example of following your dreams and aspirations and it’s just one man’s determination," Gibson said.
McKissick Museum at the University of South Carolina is another partner.
"It’s a lot to preserve and maintain a living work of art," Executive Director Jane Pryzbysz said.
They're hoping others in the community can help decide what happens next at a town hall on Tuesday.
"“How do they want this garden to be preserved?," Pryzbysz said. "What does it mean for Bishopville and Lee County to try to preserve this garden?"
The event is at 5:30 p.m. at Lee County Parks and Recreation at 397 Chappell Drive in Bishopville.