Moss Mountain Farm is the home of the well known gardener, conservationist, designer, life style expert, and all-round media guy, P. Allen Smith. Although it is located only about 20 minutes from my home in Little Rock, Arkansas, this was my first time to take one of the Moss Mountain Farm Tours!
We enjoyed our lunch tour of the P. Allen Smith home and gardens and I would highly recommend it to anyone interested in gardening or design.
P. Allen Smith
P. Allen Smith grew up loving horticulture and the natural world. He is a descendant of a long line of farmers, nurserymen, and horticulturalists for whom a love of nature came easily. He told us a great story at lunch about how he acquired his first chicken as a young boy! If you attend a tour at Moss Mountain Farm you should ask him about it.
Mr. Smith received formal training in English garden and landscape design during his graduate studies in Cheshire. Over the years he has imparted his extensive knowledge to the public through television shows, interviews, seminars, books, and now streaming media.
He is truly one of the most recognized gardening and design experts in the US.
P. Allen Smith is also dedicated to healthy living and conservation. His cookbooks use healthy, often home grown, produce and he is the founder of the Heritage Poultry Conservancy.
Moss Mountain Farm General Information
The Moss Mountain Farm home and gardens are located on over 500 acres. This is a gorgeous plot of land overlooking the Arkansas River. Mr Smith has used the rolling and sometimes steep topography to the best advantage in his gardens.
Check out the Moss Mountain Farm website to learn more about the aesthetic and ethic of the farm.
Moss Mountain Farm Tours
So, you’ve decided to take a Moss Mountain Farm tour? Let me give you an idea of what to expect.
The lunch tour started in the morning with the group gathering in front of Mr. Smith’s house. There a docent gave us an overview and some history of the property and the gardens, as well as told stories about the building of the home.
We were then divided into smaller groups and taken by guides to visit the flower and vegetable gardens, formal gardens, and drying sheds as well as the interior of the home. You will also have some time either before or after lunch to be introduced to the animals of the property including a large number of interesting chickens!
After the small group tours everyone was seated in a spacious and nicely decorated tent where we were served lunch. As we were finishing our meal Mr. Smith will come out to speak and and answer questions.
At the conclusion of his talk you were free to speak with him personally or have him sign one of his books for you or you could go off and wander the property for a while longer.
Here are some more details about the Moss Mountain Farm tours.
Scheduling a tour of Moss Mountain Farm
The tours are not daily so you will want to check the dates and times and purchase your tickets for your tour of Moss Mountain Farm on the P. Allen Smith website. Click the “visit” tab for tour information.
Weather: Do note that when a tour is offered it occurs no matter the weather and you will be outdoors a lot…so come prepared with rain gear if necessary! We were fortunate to have a cool but stunning fall day for our tour of P. Allen Smith’s Moss Mountain Farm.
Parking at Moss Mountain Farm
There is plenty of parking and you will be directed as to where to park and then guided to a table to present your tickets.
After you enter Moss Mountain Farm you will have a little bit of time to browse the gift shop where you can purchase some of P. Allen Smith’s gardening books as well as a variety of gardening tools and home decor.
You might want to pick up a book in order to get Mr. Smith’s signature later on at the luncheon.
P. Allen Smith Home
We began our tour with everyone else in front of the P. Allen Smith Home. This is a lovely well proportioned three story Greek Revival style home. You will learn how Smith found the bricks for the home, how he choose colors, the type of paint that he used to get an already lived in look, and his design aesthetic for the home.
The interior was particularly wonderful to me. It is both authentic and live-able. We had recently visited Natchez, Mississippi where so many of the homes felt like museums rather than living spaces. This was completely different!
Mr. Smith’s home was designed to take the best features from older homes and incorporate them with the best features from newer homes. He combines antiques with new, usable furnishings in a wonderful and comfortable way.
I could imagine settling in with a good book and enjoying the fire in the fireplace.
I especially loved the sleeping porch as it reminded me of being at my Grandmother’s house.
The top floor of the home was a bedroom, bathroom, and play area for Smith’s nieces and nephews. It was absolutely delightful.
If you have watched many of Smith’s shows you might recognize the kitchen. It wasn’t as large as I expected, but was super functional and attractive.
Moss Mountain Farm Gardens
You can definitely see the English influence in the Moss Mountain Farm gardens. However, as you peruse the area you will discover that Smith’s true gift is his ability to combine beauty and practicality. His outdoor spaces are a perfect example of how to use the topography and climate that you are given and make something lovely with it.
It is hard to describe how beautiful the gardens were on this lovely fall day. The trees were starting to lose their leaves and some of the flowers were beginning to fade but it was still stunning. The pathways were bordered by flowers and from the hill tops you could see amazing views of the Arkansas RIver.
Even the drying sheds were beautiful with the light streaming in on the pumpkins and dried plants.
We thoroughly enjoyed the vistas and fall foliage and flowers and gourds.
It was a pleasure to wander the paths and get ideas from the unique and practical ways that P. Allen Smith designed the gardens at Moss Mountain Farm. The guide was available to answer questions and explain the various ways that Mr. Smith grows his garden using sustainable and earth friendly methods.
I am not much of a gardener but I still very much enjoyed this part of the tour.
Moss Mountain Farm Animals and Poultry
If you like chickens you will love seeing the poultry at Moss Mountain Farm.
P. Allen Smith is dedicated to preserving the heritage breeds that were once common, but due to the rise of factory farms and hybrid genetics have begun to vanish quickly.
Mr. Smith established the Heritage Poultry Conservancy to help to preserve these chickens. They do this in a variety of ways. One is through their own work at the farm where they have many heritage varieties of chickens and another is by donating to 4-H awards. This encourages kids to show heritage poultry in state and national shows. They give awards to the young people to encourage these types of poultry to be raised and conserved for the future.
Lunch and Discussion with P. Allen Smith
One of my favorite parts of the tour was our lunch and discussion with P. Allen Smith. Lunch was a salad with sweet potatoes and grilled chicken followed by a delicious buttermilk pecan pie for dessert. After we were served lunch Mr. Smith came out and introduced himself and talked a bit about his farm and home and then opened things up for questions.
If you have watched him on television or other types of media you will know that Smith is pleasant and personable.
I have to say that he is even more charming in person. He has a great sense of humor and had the audience laughing at his stories and some of his quick quips. He allowed people to ask questions and was very patient with his answers and managed to keep everything interesting. He never seemed to be in a hurry but was great at keeping the conversation moving along.
He talked about how he manages the land and gardens at Moss Mountain Farm as well as about the ways that they are trying to conserve the various breeds of endangered poultry. People asked questions about their personal gardens and design. All of this was intermingled with funny and/or interesting stories from Mr. Smith that ranged from his childhood to the problems of keeping the deer out of his garden.
He did a great job of managing the group and the questions and was just extremely interesting and easy to listen to.
If you are at all interested in gardening or design or enjoy watching P. Allen Smith on any of his media then I highly recommend taking one of the Moss Mountain Farm Tours!
Here are some other outdoor activities in Little Rock that you might enjoy.
Thanks so much for stopping by!