Archive for the ‘Travel’ 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.

 

Robin

One of the real dilem­mas for me as a gar­dener is that I want to travel and visit gar­dens dur­ing the summer—but I also want to be home work­ing in my own gar­den.  So unless work car­ries me to a place where I can visit gar­dens in my down time, I’m on an offi­cial vaca­tion or a gar­den is fairly close by, it’s hard to pry me away from home to go gar­den hopping.

But the Gar­den Blog­gers Buffa10 was an event I wouldn’t miss. This is the third year that gar­den blog­gers have staged a meet-up, orga­nized and hosted by vol­un­teer gar­den blog­gers. The Austin, Texas, gar­den­ers kicked off the idea and spread out a won­der­ful wel­come mat. Gar­den­ers in Chicago hosted last year. This year Eliz­a­beth Licata (Gar­den­ing While Intox­i­cated and Gar­den Rant) and Jim Char­lier (Art of Gar­den­ing) put together four days of fab­u­lous­ness in Buf­falo. I had heard from Eliz­a­beth about the hotbed of gar­den­ing activ­ity in Buf­falo, but I had no idea Buf­falo was such a charm­ing city.

As you can see, we were able to wan­der into the pri­vate sanc­tu­ar­ies of Buf­falo home­own­ers, many of whom had gussied up their yards in prepa­ra­tion for Gar­den Walk Buf­falo.  Most of the gar­dens we vis­ited are small, lush gar­dens in cozy neighborhoods.

Frankly, I found myself drool­ing over the tidy homes, well-maintained gar­dens and the idea that it was all so com­pact and bountiful.

These gar­den­ers have invested some time and love in cre­at­ing their out­door havens.

These were not just show houses though. It was clear that peo­ple lived in and enjoyed these gar­dens. There were pets, areas for din­ing, tools and whim­si­cal artwork.

If you’re a gar­den blogger—or are look­ing for another rea­son to become one—this event should con­vince you that there are some def­i­nite perks to shar­ing your gar­den sto­ries. What you don’t see here, but can see from many of my fel­low blog­gers’ blogs, is the great group of peo­ple who came together for the event. Many of us are old friends from pre­vi­ous years. We were happy to add new friends to our crowd. It was a beau­ti­ful and boun­ti­ful event on many levels.

Robin

Garden and food writer Robin Ripley is co-author of Grocery Gardening. Her new book, Wisdom for Home Preservers, will be released later in 2014 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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