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A Native Nod to “A Man Named Pearl”

I never expected to come across a great film about gardening. Not only is “A Man Name Pearl” a great film about gardening, it’s straight up a great film.  If you are interested in gardening, art, or good documentaries. please watch “A Man Named Pearl” available on Netflix and Amazon (best with popcorn).

Pearl Fryar’s immense artistry inspired me to create my first topiary using a young native eastern red cedar (Juniperus Virginiana) that was growing as a volunteer in our garden.

I chose a simple poodle cut.  I planted the small cone shaped tree in this pot and underplanted with heuchera for contrasting color and texture. First, I removed the lowest branches. Next, I pruned side branches back to the small trunk to create a gap at the middle of the tree and then did the same beneath the top of the tree. I then brought in the sides of the three spheres a bit. This topiary is in its second full year and above are the before and after of the second trim I just gave it.  It’s not Pearl Fryar caliber yet but at least I can trim it from the ground!

Common junipers (Juniperus communis), eastern red cedars and inkberries (Ilex glabra) all seem like good native candidates for topiaries. Thank goodness there are people like Pearl Fryar in the world.

For more info:

Pearl Fryar’s website.

How to start a topiary with Linda Vater, a guru on topiaries and gardening! Linda uses a boxwood in this video. For a native alternative, try inkberry.


We want you to be as excited about planting Chesapeake natives as we are. “Plant This or That” gives you a native alternative to popular plants. Other posts highlight really fabulous fauna native to the Chesapeake.

Nuts for Natives, avid gardener, Baltimore City admirer, Chesapeake Bay Watershed restoration enthusiast, and public service fan.

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