Seeing this mention of a documentary about “A Man Named Pearl” about Pearl Fryar, a self-taught topiary artist, and a modern-day Edward Scissorhands, got me thinking of the wonderful and magical visits my family and I took to several topiary gardens. Watching the trailer is inspirational, particularly the philosophy of the film, regarding overcoming obstacles. It’s now on my short lists of films to see.

A Man Named Pearl. Photo by Shadow Distribution via Washington Post

The most recent topiary gardens that we visited was Green Animals Topiary Gardens in Portsmouth Rhode Island, my husband’s home state. We wanted to check out our sons’ sister school, Portsmouth Abbey right down the road, at the time when they were attending St. Anselm’s Abbey School.

Side note: here’s an illustration I did as a gift and thanks to the school before our sons graduated and left St. Anselm’s, a school we still strongly support.

St. Anselm\'s Abbey School Illustration by C. Ashley Spencer

Green Animals photo via the Photo Garden Bee

This is the oldest topiary garden in the United States and has somewhat of a cottage style feel in comparison to Ladew Gardens, the other topiary gardens that we last visited in 1994. I think we need to go back. Here are some pictures we took — before the digital age, so I had to search and scan.

Ladew Gardens. Photo by C. Ashley Spencer/ArtIsEverywhere blog

Ladew Gardens2. Photo by C. Ashley Spencer/ArtIsEverywhere blog

The boys, now men in my life:

Ladew Gardens3. Photo by C. Ashley Spencer/ArtIsEverywhere blog

Ladew Gardens4. Photo by C. Ashley Spencer/ArtIsEverywhere blog

I love this last picture of my now 17 year old son, Jackson. What a cutie, boy I miss those days….

The Hunt Topiary scene via Ladew Gardens website

There is a lot of humor and each garden radiating off the middle fountain/ field has a theme – well worth visiting again and not too far from us, just outside Baltimore, MD.

Stop Making Sense

Yeah, I know this is an old song by The Talking Heads, but I just have to add a little revelation that I just discovered while on my recent trip to Rhode Island.

I was talking with one of my digital pre-press gurus, Phil, who went to school at RISD, where David Bryne (lead singer of The Talking Heads also went to school), about things to do in Rhode Island. We come up here every year to spend time with my in-laws, so for more than 20 years, I thought I knew almost everything there might be to do here, especially in this small state. However, I’m open minded enough to realize that there’s always more to discover. Phil asked me if I had tasted a “gagger”? Not knowing what that was, he went on to explain, it’s a type of weird hot dog, in that the ends have been cut off, the buns are a strange size and there is this secret meat sauce with raw onions served on top — why it’s called a gagger. It’s really called a New York System by the locals, so my in-laws tell me. Typically when ordering these gaggers, the server lines them up on one arm and fills them with all the toppings. This is the same chopping down the arm movement that David Byrne was referring to in his music video for Stop Making Sense.

New York System via

David Byrne, Stop Making Sense

I never knew that and always wondered why. Now I know. Strange uncanny connections are always out there….and just in time to Kick Start Your Weekend.

Hysterical video…Those shoulder pads bring back bad 80’s nightmares.  I had never seen this whacky interview, so David Byrne (back then). I guess, he’d get a gagger to eat…

Click here for a more recent interview with David Byrne to learn about his latest creative process.

David Byrne from the Telegraph.UK

Here’s a link to my other posts regarding David Byrne. I find him intriguing. I love that Toe Jam video — another one for the weekend.

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