We’re all at the mercy of the weather, espe­cially gar­den­ers. Even P. Allen Smith and his gar­den at Moss Moun­tain Farm is at the mercy of Mother Nature.

Remem­ber that beau­ti­ful film scene in the Keanu Reeves movie A Walk in the Clouds where all the work­ers fran­ti­cally build fires and dance with fans between the grape vines? A killing frost has descended on the val­ley and they are try­ing to keep the vines and grapes from seri­ous dam­age. They end up sav­ing the crop and romance was born.

P Allen Smith Moss Mountain Farm View from the House

Most of us don’t have dozens of ded­i­cated field work­ers to bat­tle the earth-cracking drought, biblical-proportioned floods or the weird, unsea­son­able weather that, strangely, seems to come about every other sea­son. We just suf­fer along and accept that we are part­ners with nature in the cre­ation of a gar­den. Some­times our part­ner is our friend. Some­times our part­ner is our enemy.

P Allen Smith in the Vegetable Garden at Moss Mountain Farm

Smith in his expan­sive veg­etable gar­den at Moss Moun­tain Farm

When 25 or so blog­gers vis­ited P. Allen Smith’s gar­den over­look­ing the Arkansas River Val­ley, it was dur­ing this year’s  unsea­son­ably cool spring. Huge swaths of the South and Mid-Atlantic had been blan­keted under some weird pres­sure sys­tem that fooled our flow­ers and veg­eta­bles into think­ing it was March rather than May. As we were squired around the 650-acre estate, more than one of Moss Moun­tain Farm tour guides rushed to explain, “It’s been so cool, every­thing is behind in blooming!”

P Allen Smith Rose Garden at Moss Mountain Farm

The for­mal rose gar­den at Moss Moun­tain Farm fea­tures a sym­met­ri­cal lay­out with a cir­cu­lar cen­ter lawn and brick folly.

Of course, there was noth­ing to explain since most of us on the tour had gar­dens at home that were sim­i­larly tardy. But even more, every­thing was per­fectly lovely and there were plenty of blooms to admire.

Rose Garden detail at P. Allen Smith's Moss Mountain Farm

Early spring in the rose gar­den at Moss Moun­tain Farm

(Is it more appro­pri­ate to say there is a gar­den or there are gardens?)

When you have 650 acres, there are many very sep­a­rate and dis­tinct areas.

There is the veg­etable gar­den, expan­sive enough to grow food for a small city. There are two rose gar­dens. There are peren­nial gar­dens and annu­als and a daf­fodil field and pond gar­dens and ter­race gardens.

(Well, that set­tles it. Gardens.)

Garden at P Allen Smith's Moss Mountain Farm

Gar­den at P Allen Smith’s Moss Moun­tain Farm

Indeed, plants there in Arkansas did seem to be a bit behind what you might expect for May. Nev­er­the­less, it was a lovely gar­den stroll and I expect it would also be lovely in the fall and even in the dead of winter—just a dif­fer­ent kind of lovely.

 

Robin
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Look at the col­or­ful char­ac­ters I was hang­ing with at the La-Z-Boy booth at the Blogher13 con­fer­ence last week in Chicago.  The La-Z-Boys!

Robin Ripley with La-Z-Boys

I believe the point was to show­case the con­tem­po­rary and fresh new fab­rics and designs of La-Z-Boy fur­ni­ture. This is not your father’s La-Z-Boy.

The nice folks there are giv­ing blog­gers a chance to win $5,000 of their fur­ni­ture. So here goes. Noth­ing ven­tured, noth­ing gained. Squeaky wheel gets the grease. Ask and ye shall receive.

Please, La-Z-Boy, please send me this Arden chair. I’m still shop­ping for the rest of my $5,000 in fur­ni­ture, so I will let you know. But I wanted you to get a heads up that this is the one I want first.

chair_23K_814

 

It’s not for me, of course. Sophie and Sarah asked for it. I’m self­less that way.

La-Z-Boy Chair with Papillons

 

 

 

Robin
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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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