Suggestion: For an enjoyable Pee Dee Region day trip. Visit Kalmia Gardens in Hartsville, enjoy lunch at Bizzell’s 137 East Carolina Ave. in downtown Hartsville 843-857-9080 Hrs: M-F Lunch 11-2 Dinner 5-9. Sat. Dinner 5-10, then head for Bishopville to Pearl Fryar’s Topiary Garden & The S.C. Cotton Museum
(See details under Museums).
BISHOPVILLE: Pearl Fryar's Topiary Garden
145 Broad Acres Road www.fryarstopiaries.com
Long time admirers of topiary artist Pearl Fryar and his topiary garden, Breeden Inn owners, Wesley & Bonnie Park along with their visiting son, attended the debut of A MAN NAMED PEARL. The film documents the life of Pearl Fryar of Bishopville, SC. Pearl’s love for shaping and sculpting shrubs began in 1984 from a desire to win Bishopville’s coveted Garden of the Month Award. He collected local landscape nursery castaways, planted and nurtured them, and over time, shaped his grounds into a topiary wonderland, visited by landscape artists throughout the world.
Pearl, a self taught topiary sculptor, is an amazing man, and South Carolina is blessed to have this most interesting and creative artisan. He’s an inspiration to people of all ages and they visit his garden individually, in groups and by the busloads. Pearl has a very strong heartbeat for the young. Next to his incredible sculpting, his love to encourage children and young adults with a hope for their future is evident. His motto is…”There’s always gonna be obstacles. The thing is, you don’t let those obstacles determine where you go.”
He is a one of a kind amazing person who found work he truly loves, and it shows. His garden is unique and unmatched. He sculpts tirelessly from his heart so he can share his finished products with the many folks who drive by or stop to explore his garden for a fix of inspiration.
His garden is included on the S.C. Cotton Trail Tour. A nice half day trip from Breeden Inn, is a stop at the S.C. Cotton Museum, also in Bishopville (it’s open on Saturday) then explore the heavenly three acre garden of Pearl Fryar. Seldom does a movie compel me to encourage so many to see it. Soon out on DVD, my hope is this documentary will be shown throughout schools nationwide because of the impact I believe it will have on any student who views it. Actually, this movie of hope and inspiration is a must see for all ages! From a poor sharecropper’s son to a most positive influence on all who have the privilege to meet him or experience his garden, Pearl Fryar is one of the most amazing and creative individuals in our state. Through hard work and determination, he has provided a garden that reflects his heart, and he shares it with those who come his way. Though I’ve included his house number, there’s no real need for it. Just take a wide-eyed peek to the left, midway down Broad Acres Road, where you’ll be certain to take a matching deep gasp of breath once you’re within view…Bonnie Park, owner Breeden Inn B&B
To view excerpts from his documentary, visit www.amannamedpearl.com
Click ‘ watch the trailer’, then click the 1st left button beneath the viewing screen.
HARTSVILLE: Kalmia Gardens
1624 West Carolina Avenue 843-383-8145 www.coker.edu/kalmia Hours: Dawn to dusk everyday. The Hart House c.1820 is open by appt. only. Note: There are three
entry gates to the gardens. At least one is always open during garden hours.
Kalmia Gardens of Coker College is a 35 acre private botanical garden and historic house open to the public. Original owner Thomas Hart built the house in 1820. The town “Hartsville” was named in his honor. The property was known then as “Laurel Land”, due to the abundance of mountain laurel that still grows on the grounds. The land fell into total neglect. In the 1930’s David and May Coker, of Coker Pedigreed Seed Co. became owners. “Miss May” Coker, an avid gardener, along with the help of several hard-working men and a mule, turned the neglected property into a scenic attraction.
McBEE: McLeod Peach Farm
www.macspride.com (Click on “McLeod Farms Video”) to learn more
about the farm. Open 7 days Hrs: 8-7PM 29247 Hwy 151, McBee 843-335-8335
Market with bakery, McLeod Farm packaged food items, gift baskets, produce, restaurant and an antique museum. McLeod Peach Farm is one of the Southeast’s largest peach farms. Founded in 1916, 25 peach varieties are grown on 650 acres.
MURRELLS INLET: Brookgreen Gardens
1931 Brookgreen Dr. 800-849-1931 www.brookgreen.org
Hrs: Open everyday 9:30-5 (Summer: W,Th,F 9:30-9PM) Closed Christmas. Mother Nature’s Café 11-1
Great day trip from the Inn. Situated south of Myrtle Beach and north of Georgetown. In 1931, renowned sculptor Anna Hyatt Huntington and her husband, arts patron and scholar, Archer Milton Huntington, began designing 9,200 acres around walkways laid out by Anna. Today, the gardens, a National Historic Landmark, is known as the 1st public sculpture garden in America. More than 1,200 works by 350 sculptors can be viewed. The gardens are regarded as one of the nation’s most beautiful botanical displays.
SUMTER: Swan Lake - Iris Gardens
822 West Liberty St. (US 763) Visitors Center 803-436-2640
If experiencing Iris blooms are your heartbeat, we suggest calling ahead to check the blooming status. Iris bloom mid-May–through early June, peaking is near the end of May. Designed in 1920 by founder Hamilton Carr Bland. Gardens include a lake, many varieties of Japanese iris, paths, a cypress boardwalk, swans (most were born at the gardens,many are descendents of the birds first brought to the gardens in the 1930’s) and numerous varieties of birds for birders to observe.
Beyond the Pee Dee Region:
Wagram, NC: Cypress Bend Vineyards, located 33 miles from the Inn.