Archive for the ‘Lifestyle’ Category

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.)

Coral red chairs make an accent statement on the front porch of P. Allen Smith's Moss Mountain Farm home.

Coral red chairs make an accent state­ment on the front porch of P. Allen Smith’s Moss Moun­tain Farm home.

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.

A view from the gardens of P. Allen Smith's Moss Mountain Farm home

A view from the gar­dens of P. Allen Smith’s Moss Moun­tain Farm home

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

View of the Arkansas River Valley from Moss Mountain Farm

View of the Arkansas River Val­ley from Moss Moun­tain Farm


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



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.”



Garden and food writer Robin Ripley is co-author of Grocery Gardening. Her new book, Wisdom for Home Preservers, is now available from Taunton Press. Bumblebee is about her life in rural Maryland, her garden, cooking, dogs and pet chickens. She also blogs about food and chickens at Eggs & Chickens. Follow her on Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook. Thank you for visiting.


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