I recently traveled to Arkansas to visit Moss Mountain Farm, the home of P Allen Smith and the set for his television shows that include the Garden Home and Garden to Table. A group of two dozen garden writers and eight business sponsors gathered together with P Allen and staff for a few days of tours, presentations, networking, and fun filled activities.
Heading into the trip I wasn’t sure what to expect but I left Moss Mountain Farm impressed with the operations and grateful to have received the invitation to attend the Garden2Blog event. This was my first time setting foot within the state of Arkansas and I immediately took notice of the lush, beautiful countryside, and a climate that is very favorable for agriculture.
The Man and Vision Behind Moss Mountain Farm
P Allen Smith himself served as our host, tour guide, expert lecturer, historian, and head of the entertainment committee. In other words he was very generous with his time and accessible to all of us! Allen is personable, approachable, down-to-earth, and could not have been any more hospitable to our group of garden bloggers.
He expressed his concern over the current generations who have not experienced the knowledge related to the “Hand Arts” such as gardening, crafts, food preservation, and cooking being passed down to them.
P Allen acknowledged a revival of interest in these skills and the need for individuals to share the traditional knowledge. Moss Mountain Farm was created to represent hospitality and to demonstrate the “good practices” of agriculture, food preparation, animal husbandry, and sustainability. All of this and more was in evidence during our time on the farm!
Perfect Spot to Mark the Beginning of a Tour or a Farm
Our visit to Moss Mountain Farm began as we gathered underneath of a huge oak tree that is over 300 years old and served as one of the anchors that P Allen Smith used when he planned the layout of the farm and its facilities. The more you look the clearer it becomes that much thought, attention to detail, and care goes into everything at Moss Mountain.
Modern Home or Classic Farmhouse
The farm house may look just as old as that stately oak tree, but it was actually constructed less than five years ago, is designed to reflect the historic culture of the region, and includes modern conveniences along with its charm. The home and other new structures on the farm employ the latest in green construction technologies while maintaining a retro look and feel.
Enjoying Priceless Views and Endless Landscapes
The vision and foresight of Moss Mountain Farm is reflected in everything from the smallest details of the furnishings, to the overall sight lines where there is not a bad view from any window of the house! P Allen also has many stories to offer up related to the history and circumstances surrounding the artwork of his collections and creations.
A Garden Full of Colorful Roses
Outside the farm house there are assorted gardens that incorporate foliage, color, forms, and sculptures to greet you at every turn. As you tour the grounds there is always an air of suspense and surprise as one garden room opens up to yet another that you have no expectation of. Here are a few pics from a colorful garden to the side of the house.
Terraces, Espalier Fruits, and Water Gardens
There are abundant terraced gardens, fruit orchards, meadows of daffodils, water gardens and pastures spread over the 600 plus acres of land that is cut by the Arkansas River and framed with rolling hills that make Moss Mountain Farm a perfect retreat or location to stage an event.
Checking Out the Moss Mountain Farm Vegetable Garden
Of course I wanted to explore P Allen Smith’s vegetable gardens and was excited to learn of his work with heirloom varieties, trial gardens, and organic gardening practices. The edible gardens at Moss Mountain Farm contain a large assortment of vegetables, herbs, stone fruits, and berries.
Happy Hour: P Allen Smith Style
And I have to give props to P Allen for his expertise at creatively staging an event… for example, what began as a leisurely tour through the vegetable gardens, wound into a happy hour. As the veggie garden tour ended we caught the faint sound of music in the background and followed it down a path to discover a secluded ”garden room” all set with live entertainment and refreshments!
Taking a Trip through Poultryville
We also hiked over to Poultryville, the area of the farm where P Allen Smith raises a variety of heritage poultry breeds that include rare chickens, turkeys, ducks, geese, and even swans. His interest in poultry goes back to his childhood and that passion for feathered fowls has led to the establishment of the Heritage Poultry Conservancy.
I’ll have more Garden2Blog event experiences to share with you next week, but for now I’ll just say that if you ever have an opportunity to tour or attend an event at P Allen Smith’s Moss Mountain Farm I’m sure that you will enjoy the hospitality and have a great visit!
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