Saturday, May 28, 2011

Continuing the Garden2Blog Experience With P. Allen Smith

This spring has been a whirlwind of travel and activity for me and while my intentions of keeping up with blogging about it all were good, it just didn't happen. But I'm home for a little bit now and hope to share what all I've been up to, continuing with where I left off, somewhere back in Arkansas! When I last left you hanging, we'd just visited the Arkansas Governor's Mansion and two private gardens. Let's finish out that day...

Because of the unstable weather and downpours of rain, we took a slight detour in our planned agenda on the first day of Garden2Blog with P. Allen Smith. Original plans had us ending the day at Allen's Gaines Street home in Little Rock for an outdoor dinner party. That wasn't going to be possible, so we took a quick visit outside while the weather held out.

Allen purchased the home for a dollar when he returned home from studying in England. The homeowner had wanted to tear the house down, but the city wouldn't allow it, as it was an historical home. It would be permitted, however, to move it to another location.  The owner sold the house to Allen for a dollar and he had it moved to its present location. A dollar! What a bargain! That is, until he put $300,000 into it.

Though we didn't see the inside of the home, our quick tour outside showed us landscaping that was classic P. Allen Smith, with its outdoor room style.

We hopped back on the bus and headed out of town to near Scott, AR, to see Marlsgate Plantation. This beautiful plantation home belongs to Allen's high school art teacher, David Garner, and is located in the Mississippi Delta.  When we arrived at the home, it was pouring down rain, so we opened our umbrellas and ran for the house.

Once inside, we found that Marlsgate had no electrical power and hadn't had it since the previous night's severe storms. This meant that we got to tour this mansion by candlelight, which really gave the whole experience a surreal feeling.

Though we didn't get to see things as well as we might have, Mr. Garner was such a gracious host, entertaining us with wonderful stories and refreshments of pecan cookies made with pecans from his own trees. The peach bellinis were wonderful and just may be my new favorite mixed drink.

Again, the weather prevented us from seeing most of the gardens, but we got a good idea of them as we waded the water to view one of the formal knot gardens.


More storms were forecast, so we hopped back on the bus and headed back to Little Rock for dinner.

We gathered in the Argenta District, home to the arts of Little Rock, and enjoyed a catered meal with entertainment by street entertainers that some of us had seen at the Farmer's Market that morning.

Teresa O'Connor, Mike Lieberman, and Jenny Peterson share a laugh.

I had my first taste of Limoncello, made right there in Little Rock by Lombardi.

A good night's sleep was in order, for we had a full schedule planned at Allen's Moss Mountain Farm the next day. Once more, I found a bag of English Toffee candy on my pillow when I returned to my hotel room. How did they know it's my favorite candy?

I was invited to attend the Garden2Blog Event by P. Allen Smith and Associates/Hortus, Ltd., free of charge. My airfare, lodging and meals were provided (with some exceptions) by them. Any opinions expressed on this blog in this post and any subsequent posts about my experiences or products associated with them are my own true and honest opinions, as always. Please note that they are just that - my opinions - and I was not asked to blog, tweet, or post on Facebook about any of it.


Jennah said...

That is a high school art teacher's house?! Um amazing. Also, I've always wanted to try a bellini.

Annie Haven | Authentic Haven Brand said...

Wonderful blog post Kylee on a truly fun filled event it was such an honor to meet you and all of the fantastic garden bloggers that attended. I so enjoyed seeing the pictures brought a smile to my face I can't wait to tweet up with everyone again. Shall we say G2B12 if not before Annie

Anonymous said...

How wonderful to be treated to such an extravaganza! I bet it was awesome! Thanks for posting about it Ms. Kylee! And I would have loved to have been there with y'all to see the Marlsgate manse in the dark!

Nutty Gnome said...

What a great tour - even in the rain! I love American houses, they are so very different to ours....and the candlelit tour was evocative of times past! :)

Mellon said...

Great post Kylee. I spoke with a man last night who was in David Garner's art club along with Allen. He agreed that Mr. Garner was an inspiration.

F Cameron said...

Great tour! Americana, Southern Style! :-)

I do covet that garden shed so much.

Dede said...

Would have loved being in that group!

blogger templates | Make Money Online