The next stop on our epic Garden2Blog adventure (see Part I) was P. Allen Smith’s original garden home, affectionately called Gaines, in downtown Little Rock. I fell in love with this charming place as soon as we walked through the front gate. Allen purchased the cottage for a dollar, rescued it from demolition, and moved it to its current location, a corner double lot that he acquired in trade for a garden design project. The cottage, a 1904 Colonial Revival, is surrounded by garden rooms that are connected by gates and pathways that draw you from one garden room to the next. This is my favorite garden design, because it adds mystery and whimsy to the garden, and the garden truly becomes an extension of the home.
As we strolled through the garden, Allen shared a few insights about garden design with us. I thought I’d share my interpretations with you.
P. Allen Smith’s Tip 1: Don’t ever pay more than $1 for a house. If you don’t like its current location, just move it. Also, consider sharing your time and talent with other friendly gardeners in trade for something you want. In Allen’s case, he trades his garden designs for land. For most of us, we are more likely to trade seeds or recipes. It’s a win-win in any event.
P. Allen Smith’s Tip 2: Use Proven Winners plants for your beds and borders. And don’t be stingy with them. Plant them in generous drifts and masses of color and texture. These newly-planted beds will be gorgeous in just a few weeks’ time.
P. Allen Smith’s Tip 4: Conceal some of the garden rooms with tall hedges or privacy fencing. There is no need to reveal everything at once. Because everyone loves a secret garden.
P. Allen Smith’s Tip 6: Use colorful container plantings as focal points along a garden path.
P. Allen Smith’s Tip 7: Garden sheds can be beautiful if you just give them a little TLC. This rose-bedecked shed marks the entry to the vegetable garden.
P. Allen Smith’s Tip 9: Use container plantings to soften pathways and add a little color and sparkle amidst the greenery.
P. Allen Smith’sTip 10: Share your garden with friends. Invite them to get involved in planting, growing, harvesting and enjoying nature. Above, garden bloggers Michael Nolan and Shirley Bovshow get ready to plant tomatoes, while below, LaManda Joy Minkel, Brenda Haas, Helen Yoest and Robin Horton celebrate victory as part of a container planting contest put on by our sponsors. More about sharing in the garden with friends in my next post, when we journey to gardeners’ mecca, Moss Mountain Farm…
For more stories from Garden2Blog, enjoy these shares from Garden2Blog participants:
DISCLOSURE: Attendees at Garden2Blog 2012, including myself, received transportation, accommodations and meals during the event. Event sponsors provided samples and product giveaways at no cost or obligation. All opinions are my own.