Do you like the wreath at the top of the is article? That is what you have the chance to win! Its 20 inches and will be sipped directly from Berry Family of Nurseries to your home. Please follow the directions carefully at the bottom. The winner will be chosen at random from those who have followed instructions, on November 28, 2012. To choose the winner I will be using Random.org.
Over the past two years I have gotten to know Allen and his hard-working staff and really admire all they are trying to do.
I have also gotten to talk with Heidi Berry on several occasions and learned a bit about the family business.
The Berry Family of Nurseries partnered with P. Allen Smith to create the P. Allen Smith Holiday Collection. Fresh greenery such as Noble Fir, Western Red Cedar and Douglas Fir along with berries and cones are hand assemble and tied to create the perfect accent for your holiday home. The Berry Family of Nurseries strives to be sustainable and gathers fresh greens from the lower branches of the trees, they strive not to cut trees down, but prune them. This makes me very comfortable offering this giveaway.
How I got the chance to offer this – Yes, I am going to spill the beans.
One of this year’s great highlights was a social media event I was invited to, Garden2Blog.
Allen started Garden2Blog in 2011 and he had the idea of gathering 20-25 garden bloggers or so and brought them together at his Garden Home Retreat outside Little Rock, Arkansas where they could meet with garden product representatives, ask questions, share experiences, and learn about plants and products available on the American market. His idea was that these bloggers would come away with information that could help strengthen awareness and help them to relate to a broader audience that is out there on the web, create dialog and share within the online garden community. It was truly one of the highlights of my year.
Here is the NITTY-GRITTY
My contest has a couple of hoops. To enter you must complete a few things. Yes, nothing in life is completely free.
Number One – You must follow the link to my Pinterest account. This first link is specifically to the picture of the wreath on my Holiday board. http://pinterest.com/pin/174796029258844762/ Please leave a comment, if you have a twitter handle please sign the comment with it as it helps me contact you if you have won. Secondly re-pin this to your own Pinterest board and tweet it out attaching @PAllenSmith and @WherePlantsRock to the tweet.
Number Two. Please follow the link provided to my second pin on Pinterest. http://pinterest.com/pin/90212798757283651/ Please watch and leave a comment. I think you will like what P. Allen Smith is doing with bloggers from around the country, but it also gives you an idea of what Garden2Blog is all about.
Alright, most of my friends know that this past year I have geeked about three ladies of another era. Marie Antoinette, Georgiana Cavendish, and Catherine the Great.
The past couple months I have been really researching the life of Marie Antoinette. She was a public figure, ridiculed, revered, scorned. I have been looking at her life, the way she lived and the objects she lived with. Marie was a girl who decided to ‘buck the system’ and she had style. Unfortunately she lived during a very difficult time during the history of France and she ended up loosing her head.
Marie had been given her own little hideaway, Petit Trianon, and used it as a place to escape the French Court at Versailles. This was a gift from her husband Lois XVI and is was all hers. Louis XVI did not build it for Marie, Louis XV did for Madame de Pompadour, and then was used by Louis XV and Madame du Berry. Now this was given to Marie and she used it to escape and created her own pastoral world. Country was on people’s lips and Marie had made country life very fashionable. Well, her version of it any how.
Marie and Louis also had a few other hideaways, one was Rambouillet. Rambouillet was a château Louis purchased in 1783 because he liked the hunting in this area. He was a big sportsman and was up before dawn to hunt the stag. Marie thought the place was ‘a toad hole’ and loathed to be there. Louis in his ever appeasing way created something to make the ever needing to be distracted Marie happy.
Louis had a dairy, Laiterie, built at Rambouillet for Marie Antoinette as a little surprise. She was making country life fashionable, a statement, and being the queen of fashion herself, needed a place for her and her friends to hang. Now don’t go getting pictures in your head of her in a milkmaid outfit milking the cows. The outfit yes, her hands to an utter no.
This was not a dairy like we know it. It was a small but grande working milk house, or milk temple, a place for her and her friends to gather and sit. It had a cooling room with fountains in the floor, a grotto, and was lit by skylight. Furniture was especially made for this “temple” as well as a large assortment of Sevres porcelain-a few pieces of the porcelain survive. I think I just found another. It had a very ancient look, more Etruscan in detail and coloration.
Let me a back up a moment. I have gotten ahead of myself in a way.
This past May I was invited to attend Garden2Blog12. This is the second time this event has been held and hosted by P. Allen Smith and his wonderful staff and sponsors. It is held in Little Rock, Arkansas at Smith’s Garden Home Retreat. Twenty to twenty-five garden bloggers, writers, personalities, or social media types are gathered from around the nation and flown to Little Rock. Sponsors are given slots to communicate their products, create events, or sponsor the meals. It is no small affair and not done on the cheap.
One of the highlights of the event was a trip out to a Marlsgate Plantation. We were bussed out on a warm sunny day across the Arkansas delta to view the gardens that Smith had designed and to meet his art instructor.
This is no little museum, but a home that someone lives in. It is a grand affair, and that is an understatement. The house, this is the 1904/1905 incarnation, is full of wonderful treasures amassed, accumulated, and unearthed by the family of David P. Garner, Jr.
David is an avid collector and very much a walking encyclopedia of the times, artwork, furniture, and bric-a-brac that fill Marlsgate to the gills. One thing David talked to me was about the several sets and pieces of Sevres. He knows the hallmarks, and who worked on the pieces by the way they were initialed. He is a definite authority and definitely entertaining.
Lately I find myself on Ebay looking at what pieces of Sevres people are attempting to sell. I just about geeked the other day. I am cruising around Ebay and here is this very unusual piece listed as “Gilded Porcelain Cachepot Jardiniere”. (see picture at top of posting)
OMG! This is something I have seen recently. No, not as a photograph, but a watercolor sketch in a book. I found the book I had seen it in recently and though this a sketch it is also spot on.
This odd piece that someone is selling as a pot to put a houseplant in is actually a glorified milk pail. Now in my reading I also discovered that the Empress Marie Louise, Empress Josephine’s successor, had these reproduced in white and gold. It is not Marie Antoinette’s milk pail. So much was looted, broken, or just vanished when Louis and Marie were taken into the custody of the French people. One would find some of the objects remarkable if not mind-boggling.Even though several of the ‘wooden’ buckets were made only a few survive.
Questions in my mind: Could this be a one of those that were made? How many are still out there in existence? Does this item need to be returned to the French Government?
I look forward to returning to Marlsgate in the future and talking more with David about some of his extraordinary family pieces and those he has hunted down himself. When I talked to David he extended the invitation to come spend the day and talk about the furniture, art, and beauty that is Marlsgate. I may do just that very soon.
It is spring once again and the harbingers of the season are just exposing their bright faces in Arkansas.
This spring I was fortunate enough to be invited to speak at the Arkansas Flower and Garden Show. I decided to stay an extra day to explore the beauty of the area and my host was none other than the hospitable gallant, P. Allen Smith.
Allen, as he likes to be called, picked me up at 7:30 in the morning at my hotel. He had just finished filming two segments in the studio and had a full day ahead of him. I was originally scheduled to have dinner with Allen on Friday evening, but filming had gone long into the day for him and his crew. Honestly, I was tired from my day of traveling but I did not want to admit it. Allen was wondering if I would care to come up to his Garden Home Retreat and see the farm and the early daffodils that were just breaking forth.
How could I refuse such and invite?
I quickly answered yes and Saturday morning could not come soon enough. As a gardener I relish spring and the earth awakening. As a designer I had been looking forward to the opportunity to see the layout of the farm, gardens and the interior of house.
Like a ride from “Wind in the Willows”, a half an hour to get to Allen’s home, set amongst the trundling landscape of Moss Mountain, and I arrived. Allen takes pride in welcoming the public into his home. He is very gracious and at ease amongst the padocks, meadows, Southern Shortleaf Pines, and oaks. Of course what caught my eye was the beginning of the daffodils. Now I have heard a couple of numbers, but it is an estimated 275,000 daffodils been planted in the meadow that lies like a carpet in front of the traditional Greek Revival farmhouse.
A glorious morning of sunshine, blue skies and unseasonable warm temperatures made for an impressionistic landscape. One could just smell the honey laden perfume of the myriad of yellow blooms as the day warmed.
I must admit I am very grateful for the time Allen took to show me his lair. Retreat is not just implied, but is modus vivendi overlooking the Arkansas River Valley.
Time does not stand still, but is certainly savored at Allen’s Garden Home Retreat. Daffodil Days will be starting soon. March 9, 16, 23, and 30. I would book sooner than later because of the unexpected warmth.
Thank you Allen and staff. I look forward to the Garden2Blog event in May and experiencing yet another season of Arkansas.