Bzzzz 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.

A grand old oak tree dominates the entrance to P Allen Smith's Moss Mountain Farm home, Little Rock, Arkansas

A grand old oak tree dom­i­nates the entrance to P Allen Smith’s Moss Moun­tain Farm home, Lit­tle Rock, Arkansas.

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.

Robin Ripley and P. Allen Smith

Robin Rip­ley and P. Allen Smith

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.)

P Allen Smith Moss Mountain Farm Porch 2013

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.

P Allen Smith House

I have lots of pho­tos to share of inside his ele­gant home and, of course, the gar­dens. Come back again to see more.

Update: Tour the inte­rior of P. Allen Smith’s home here.

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Posted In: Gardening, Lifestyle, Travel

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Bzzzz 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?”

Gate to Potager June 2013

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.

Potager June 2013 3

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 orn­ing 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.

Potager June 2013

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.

Potager June 2013 2

So when that fel­low asked me how much time I spend gar­den­ing, my response was sim­ple. “Not nearly enough.”


Posted In: Gardening, Lifestyle

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