July 24th, 2013
Country living can be elegant. P. Allen Smith’s Moss Mountain Farm is a perfect example.
Back in May I was surprised and pleased to be invited to join a bunch of other bloggers to visit P. Allen Smith’s Moss Mountain Farm in Little Rock, Arkansas, for Garden2Blog13. Even if you don’t recognize his name, you probably recognize his face. P. Allen Smith is the gently-Southern-accented spokesperson for Proven Winners plants, is a television garden celebrity and has a whole slew of books on food and gardening.
Smith’s Moss Mountain Farm is about a 45 minute drive from Little Rock. Although not a public space—after all, it is his home—even the average Joe can tour the farm with reservations and a paid ticket. Smith and his highly professional staff do such a volume of tour business that they have built public restrooms and opened a gift shop. Still, we were welcome to wander not just the gardens, but also his elegant home.
The Greek Revival house at Moss Mountain Farm looks as if it has been there for decades. In fact, it was built just built less than five years ago but with the benefit of meticulous research into historic houses. Like many older houses, the house looks as if it has been expanded here and there over the years. Even the exterior patina of the paint is artfully aged and chipped to resemble a historic home. (I’ll share some photos of inside the home in a separate post.)
Aside from enjoying wandering through the ornamental and vegetable gardens I particularly appreciated the intelligent and interesting presentations from Jobe’s Organics fertilizers and Star Roses and Plants. There was a cool hands-on demonstration from Troy-Bilt of their lawn care products. (I’m still disappointed I didn’t win the big prize of that one). Bonnie Plants, which I didn’t realize I have been buying for years, gave a fun presentation. And Laguna Ponds provided a multi-part, step-by-step demonstration of how to build a pond.
I have lots of photos to share of inside his elegant home and, of course, the gardens. Come back again to see more.
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June 25th, 2013
I had visitors to my potager garden in early June. As they wandered around, one of the men turned and asked, “Just how much time do you spend gardening?”
Part of me started to panic that perhaps he thought I should spend a bit more time weeding and tidying. Then I remembered that these folks weren’t gardeners, so his question was most likely amazed curiosity—something akin to my asking my neighbor with more than 20 cats how many cats she has.
Now, to be fair, I don’t spend nearly as much time gardening as some people I know. My friend at Fairegarden is out scrambling around early in the morning every day of every month of every year. She, like Gail at Clay and Limestone, even don head-to-toe clothing and netting to protect themselves from the tiger mosquitoes in Tennessee. And then there’s Layanee’s Rhode Island garden at Ledge and Gardens—a place so beautiful she must spend hours and hours keeping it just so.
But I do spend a fair amount of time out there gardening.
This year for the first year since we moved here that most of my time hasn’t been spent watering and weeding. Nature has favored us with regular rain and some beds have filled in so that weeds have no place to take hold. I have spent much more time planning and planting, moving plants to new locations and even just walking around and thinking about things.
Although I enjoy the whole process of gardening, from the digging to the hauling to the plant shopping (yippee!), I admit that the best of the best is wandering around and just looking at things grow. I never, ever tire of watching how the garden changes from day to day and even from hour to hour as the sun moves across the sky. I am amazed at the variety (and quantity) of the butterflies and bugs that make their home here. I am grateful for having a sense of smell so that I can appreciate the garden with that sense as well. Honeysuckle, roses, jasmine and cut hay combine to make the air better than any bottled concoction on sale at Nordstrom.
So when that fellow asked me how much time I spend gardening, my response was simple. “Not nearly enough.”