It was about a 40 minute trip up to Moss Mountain Farm from Little Rock, Arkansas. As we headed up the mountain, we were struck with the natural beauty that surrounded us. P. Allen Smith narrated this area’s rich history as the bus churned up the mountain toward the elegant and simple gate house guarding the entry to Moss Mountain Farm. As we neared the farmhouse, I was struck by the beauty of this amazing Sister Oak tree. For over 300 years, she has seen, heard and witnessed rural farm life on this mountain and now 300 years later she was here to greet me too. We gathered under this oak for the start of our Moss Mountain Farm Gardens tour.
P. Allen Smith is a man of so many visions. His fascination with history, especially that of Thomas Jefferson and the founding fathers’ lives, world, and travel has had a wonderful influence since P. Allen Smith’s early years. Their adventures and inspiration are a part of P. Allen Smith and are abundant as we walked along the grounds.
The farmhouses itself is not grandiose, but simply elegant and built to honor the architecture of the Thomas Jefferson’s time period. The brick exterior walls have had a lime treatment applied to help naturally age the brick to a gorgeous patina. Planters are abundantly filled with topiaries and sweet alyssum. A variety of impatiens, called SunPatiens, tolerate living in full sun. In fact, they have roots in New Guinea, so they thrive in the hot sunny summers of Arkansas.
As we headed to the side garden, these marvelous yellow roses filled the air with their citrus-like aroma. I found myself just standing there for a moment to breathe in their beauty.
We then zigged down behind the home to a lower level terrace. There we were greeted by these trio of custom trellises. The theme of this garden was purple blooms. Tall variegated grasses and allium took center stage with the Arkansas River filling in the backdrop. We passed by P. Allen Smith’s art studio and outdoor kitchen and then zigged left to meet his 100 year old fig tree.
This old girl was found elsewhere on the property. She is believed to be over 100 year old and still very active. She was transplanted and has thrived in her new location. She was filled with tiny baby figs and her leaves and branches filled the air with a sweet delightful smell. Her old gnarly roots share space with a yellow leafed sedum that form a soft bed for her feet. Next we ventured along to discover beautiful perennial, herb, and annual beds divided by espaliered fruit trees.
Next we walked over to the vegetable garden. I could not wait to see what was growing here. On Cape Cod, we still do not have leaves on our trees. Knowing that Moss Mountain Farm is about 8 weeks ahead of us, I was thrilled to see the garden abundant with life and food.
To the left of the entry is a delightful container garden. Wheelbarrows have been up-cycled into planters filled with peppers and other edibles. Peppermint Swiss Chard grows incredibly well in containers along with tomatoes too. I love the message that you don’t need a lot of room to successfully garden.
I also loved that the garden featured whimsical cement chickens. These three tend the crops growing below their feet. These are probably the only kind of chickens you want in your veggie garden during growing season. Cattle panels are folded over in the background of this photo to trellis indeterminate tomato varieties. How clever!
These cabbages are only babies. Hard to believe that they are just getting started. This variety is called OS. OS stands for over sized and we could see why. One kid in the Bonnie Plant cabbage program grew a cabbage of 49 pounds!
We also tasted these tomatoes from Sakata Seeds. This variety is called Sweet Treats. The focus was to try and develop a hybrid tomato to have more umami, or 5th sense. These are bursting with flavor.
Our final stop of the day was the rose garden. The height of the blooms were just about done but there were still plenty of beauties in blooms.
As the day neared the end, we gathered under the large Sister Oak where our journey began for a delightful evening of cocktails and dinner. It was a magical day of inspiration, connecting with new friends and learning. I am so grateful to P. Allen Smith and his team for inviting me to attend and sponsoring my trip to this year’s Garden2Grow event.
I hope you enjoyed these moment from Moss Mountain Farm Gardens. Stay tuned in the upcoming days where I share more from Moss Mountain Farm including a tour of Poultryville and the art of entertaining from Moss Mountain Farm.