Sunday, May 1, 2011

The Garden2Blog Event With P. Allen Smith - The Governor's Mansion

Here it is, four days after the first annual Garden2Blog event wrapped things up and I've still got images and thoughts running through my head. So many wonderful things happened in the matter of two short days!

Allen and his staff had as their objective to share gardening trends and to further the sharing of information with as many people as possible.  It is Allen's wish to get people growing by showing how easy it is, once armed with basic knowledge. This includes both growing beautiful ornamental plants as well as growing our own food, no matter how large or how small our growing space might be.

Allen and First Lady Ginger Beebe

Azaleas were in full bloom.

Despite the struggles with the weather, the sun shone on us for the first part of the afternoon as we made our way to the Governor's Mansion in Little Rock, home of Arkansas Governor Mike Beebe. We were greeted by Allen and First Lady Ginger Beebe (she's a Master Gardener!) at the side of the home. After introductions and a brief history of the gardens, we moved on to see them.

Cameras were snapping and cell phones were tweeting the information
given to us by Allen and First Lady Ginger Beebe.

A few years ago, a tornado destroyed much of what was growing on the property here, and Allen was called to help restore beauty to the grounds.

We were introduced to Allen's design team, most of whom have been with him for many years. They include Sarah Burr, Ward Lile, Mary Talbot, and Nicole Claas Moore (left to right, in photo above).

'New Dawn' rose, which is climbing on the beautiful colonnades

The tree on the right is one of just two that remained after a tornado went
through the property, destroying most of the mature trees.
The 8.5-acre property contains a vegetable garden, which is maintained by the Arkansas Master Gardeners.

It seemed a little like "Alice in Wonderland" when Mimi (COO of Hortus, Ltd.
and P. Allen Smith Associates) and Jim (VP of Marketing at Corona Tools)
stood in front of the "Mini Mansion."

As we left, I spied a beautiful Kousa dogwood tree in full bloom.

Next up: A visit to two private gardens designed by P. Allen Smith - those of Chip & Cindy Murphy (of Murphy Oil) and Mark & Kim Brockington.

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.


Leigh @LarrapinGarden said...

Love it! Great pics. I live in Arkansas but have never seen this garden....a great treat to do so here.

Erin @ The Impatient Gardener said...

All those roses! Wow and they all look lovely. I love the idea of a vegetable garden on the grounds as well.

Christopher Tidrick said...

Kylee, great photos but the close up of 'New Dawn' is spectacular. A new favorite of mine among your photos!

Shawna Lee Coronado said...

Great photos Kylee - love it!!


Annie Haven/Authentic Haven Brand said...

Hello, wonderful post about a grand time with P Allen Smith and staff it was a pleasure to finally get to meet you! Annie

Lona said...

Looks like you are having fun Kylee. What a beautiful place. I love the brick walls and the roses.

Mellon said...

Great pics of the Governor's Mansion Kylee! So glad you joined us for Garden2Blog.

Louise Hartwig said...

Love the picture of the Dawn Rose. A wonderful experience for all of you. I knew P Allen would be a wonderful host. You know about his southern, proper up bringing.

Wendy said...

I love this guy. Try to catch him on PBS as much as possible. Don't you just love these gardens? Thanks for sharing....

Debra Lee Baldwin said...

Kylee, You drew me right in with your photos. What a great experience, described so that I felt like I was right there with you. There's nothing like great architecture to set off a garden, and vice-versa. Love the brick archway smothered by roses!

Kerry said...

Beautiful photos, Kylee!

Kylee Baumle said...

Leigh ~ I would guess that there are times when you can visit the gardens. You really should!

Erin ~ You can tell that a real gardener lives here!

Chris ~ Thank you! Those roses were out of this world!

Shawna ~ Thank you, girlfriend!

Annie ~ I looked so forward to meeting you, Annie, and I'm glad I finally got to! You give great hugs, my dear!

Lona ~ Oh my goodness, what a wonderful time it was. It went too fast! There was so much to see and take in. Yes, those brick walls were captivating with the roses clambering all over them!

Mellon ~ I'm glad you like them! It's such a beautiful place and I'm so glad I got to see it!

Mom ~ Yes, Allen was as charming as ever and so very nice to be around.

Wendy ~ Allen is really the perfect host for his show and for this event. He's extremely knowledgeable and has a great wit. Quite patient, too, I might add.

Debra ~ This truly was an experience that exceeded all expectations and my expectations were high. I can't say enough nice things about it!

Kerry ~ Thanks, my dear! *hugs*

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