|P. Allen Smith’s Garden Home Retreat along the Arkansas River.|
Shelley and I recently spent a beautiful spring day with our friend P. Allen Smith at his glorious Garden Home Retreat, located outside Little Rock, Arkansas.
P. Allen Smith is an award-winning designer, gardening and lifestyle expert. He is the host of two public television programs, P. Allen Smith’s Garden Home, P. Allen Smith’s Garden to Table and the syndicated 30-minute show P. Allen Smith Gardens.
Allen’s Garden Home Retreat, overlooking the Arkansas River Valley, encompasses more than 500 acres of a farm dating back to 1840. The centerpiece is the cottage, built in the American Greek Revival style and constructed in an earth-friendly manner. Directly behind the cottage is the croquet lawn, which is framed by a summer kitchen and art studio.
|Allen Smith enjoys a cup of tea at the end of the day with his dog Duncan.
Photo by Bruce Richardson for TeaTime magazine.
The surrounding garden includes a fountain garden that separates two wings of garden rooms filled with a mix of annuals, herbs, perennials, roses, shrubs, and ornamental grasses. Beyond the flower gardens are orchards filled with heritage apple trees, stone fruit and blueberries, acre vegetable gardens, a bluebird trail, wildflower fields and a daffodil hill, which overflows with more than 275,000 daffodils blooming each spring. Various outbuildings, from barns to mobile chicken homes, are located throughout the grounds and surrounding pastures.
|Shelley Richardson films an herb segment with host Allen Smith.|
The three of us share a number of things in common: a love of gardening, music, art, travel (especially England), cooking, and an interest in the life of Thomas Jefferson. It was a richly rewarding day filled with great conversation, good food, and a lot of work!
Over 13 hours, we recorded a radio show and filmed four video segments that will be included in this season’s television series. Our goal was to help educate Allen’s television and radio audiences on the growing tea culture spreading throughout America.
|Shelley Richardson, Allen Smith, and Bruce Richardson enjoy tea on the porch.|
I encourage you to become a regular viewer of P. Allen Smith’s Garden Home on your PBS station and check out his website at pallensmith.com. I think you’ll like what you see. Like all of us teaists, Allen has the mind of tea.
And that’s a good thing to have!