Friday, March 29, 2013

Exclusive Interview with P. Allen Smith

You all know how I love tulips, especially pink ones. 
So, while I was reading through my Instagram and began to see photos of pink tulips posted by internationally renowned garden and lifestyle expert, P. Allen Smith, I just had to know what was going on. Lucky for us, P. Allen was happy to share about his beautification project.  Looks like Little Rock is getting beautified...tulip style! Read on for the details.
Mayor Mark Stodola, P. Allen Smith, Sharon Priest

PPT: What's the background for the March Tulip Madness project? Is this a beautification project you participate in/lead annually? If so, is it always with tulips or was that new this year? 
PAS: I’m a big believer in creating green, or in this case pink, areas in urban spaces, especially in my own city. I love Little Rock, so I’m particularly dedicated to doing help in the revitalization of downtown. I talked with Mayor Mark Stodola, and we came up with March Tulip Madness 2013. One of my sponsors, Van Zyverden, supplied the city with the bulbs and we worked with Sharon Priest of the Downtown Little Rock Partnership to implement our idea.
For the project, we filled planters around the city with 25,000 bulbs, and distributed 1,000 Sun Valley cut tulips to restaurants in the downtown area.
I’m committed to beautifying urban spaces, and I’ve participated in city renewal efforts in other ways as well. I provided the historic Mt. Holly Cemetery on Broadway in downtown Little Rock with New Dawn roses, and now the popular climbing white rose has spread all over the city. I also partnered with the city to provide and plant antique roses at the Governor’s Mansion in 2007. All the roses that we planted are from the early 1800s, around the time Arkansas became a state.

This is the first time we’ve partnered with Little Rock for March Tulip Madness. We had worked with North Little Rock for the past two years, and wanted to work on both sides of the river.
PPT: Why did you choose pink tulips?
PAS: I choose a blend of three different types for the planters: Menton, Pink Impression and Negrita, which when combined created a pleasing pink and purple display. I choose mid and late bloomers to take full advantage of the season.
Choosing plants for downtown areas is a challenge. You have to consider the harsh urban landscape— the heat coming from the concrete, the level of sunlight reflected from surrounding buildings, the water requirements. The planters have to be hand watered by parks department employees, because the planters lack an irrigation system. So, it’s important to choose the best and hardiest plants.
After the tulips finish blooming, we’re planting Double Pink Knockout Roses in Little Rock’s planters.

PPT: What's your favorite season and why?
PAS: While I love the vitality and exuberance of spring, it requires a lot of frenetic energy to manage all the projects— the planting, getting everything started, managing the farm. I tend to have a million projects going on during the spring, which, while I choose to do it, doesn’t leave much spare time.  I actually prefer the fall season. After I’ve completed all my spring projects, I can really slow down and enjoy the beauty of my work without having to do anything else!
PPT: You're hosting a spring garden party at your home....give us all the details!! Who will you invite? What will you serve? Describe the scene.
PAS: Moonlight and Roses is a spring garden party focused on antique roses. In Little Rock, the beginning of May is the sweet spot for roses. They are simply spectacular that time of year.  Mike Shoup, a key figure in the renaissance of old rose varieties and who I’ve known for 25 years, will inspire us with his knowledge. Guests will be served beer and wine in my traditional English rose garden, which encompasses about 18,000 square feet and is close to the bank of the Arkansas River. We’ll eat a meal from one of my cookbooks and listen to live music—all outside, all under the stars. And we’ll end the night with a bonfire. There are still tickets available, so I’m inviting all of PPT’s fans to join me on my farm!
PPT: Tell us about the tours of your farm. I'd love to bring my garden club.
PAS: I view the tours of my farm as an opportunity to share and welcome visitors to my home state with southern hospitality. I relish talking with visitors that travel to Arkansas from all over the United States, preparing a big lunch for them, telling stories and watching them take in the view while sitting on the front porch.
I’ve been very pleased by the amount visitors I’ve had this year. We planted 280,000 bulbs on Daffodil Hill, and as always, people have really enjoyed seeing the bright blooms. I’m also quite excited about the rose season, because we’ve planted almost 1,000 rose bushes. 
Wow...thank you, P. Allen for inspiring all of us to beautify our own towns and create a seamless blend between garden and home. I have my sights set on a tour of Moss Mountain Farm one of these days! If you'd like to learn more about P. Allen, check out his website or one of his many books. These are 2 of my personal favorites.
Wishing you all a beautiful weekend! What will be blooming at your home this Spring? You know what will be blooming at mine!

images: courtesy of P. Allen Smith


Sandy at You May Be Wandering said...

Good morning, Elizabeth! Excellent interview...and what a gorgeous farm! I hope you have a lovely Easter!! xoxo

Anonymous said...

Mike Shoup of the Antique Rose Emporium

quintessence said...

Thanks for sharing this wonderful initiative. I think we all need to fly down for Moonlight and Roses!! Wishing you and your boys a very Happy Easter!

for the love of a house said...

He's the best! Fun interview Elizabeth, thank you! How amazing would it be to be a guest at his farm?!
Happy Easter!

Stitchfork said...

My in-laws live in Little Rock. Know what I am adding to the agenda next visit there!
Happy Easter E!

Stitchfork said...

My in-laws live in Little Rock. Know what I am adding to the agenda next visit there!
Happy Easter E!

The Buzz Blog said...

What a great interview, Elizabeth, and a wonderful cause. We'd so love to join your garden club just to visit the farm! Happy Easter and wishing you a wonderful weekend.
C + C

Marie Zamboli said...

Hi this is a lovely blog honey I think we should follow on GFC and Bloglovin? what do you think?
let me know I'll follow back for sure
New post is up on my blog you should have a look :)

designchic said...

Wow, Elizabeth what a wonderful interview and I think we should all go to his looks spectacular. Wishing you and your precious family a Happy Easter!!

Kathysue said...

Elizabeth what a great interview! How lucky for Little Rock to have him on board making there town that much more beautiful. Happy Easter weekend and thanks for stopping by my blog today, it was so nice to see your name there,
xo Kathysue

Brenda Murphy said...

As the daughter of a dutch immigrant, I inherited a love of tulips and gardening in general. You provided wonderful inspiration here!!! 280,000 daffodils...that might take me a while;) LOVE!

Amy Vermillion Interiors said...

You and pink tulips and myself and white tulips! Great interview...we might need to crash that fete.
Happy Easter!

Loi Thai, Tone on Tone said...

Hi, Elizabeth -
Thanks for this interview with the gracious and talented P. Allen Smith! What a treat it would be to tour his farm! I admire his commitment to beautifying urban spaces with plants and flowers. I'd love to know his favorite plants for tough urban environments.
Tone on Tone

Taylor Greenwalt said...

Great interview and a great cause...

Splendid Market said...

Eggceptional {sorry!} Elizabeth. I love that he is using his tastes and talents to beautify Little Rock. Happy Easter. xo, ebh

Acanthus and Acorn said...

I've always been a fan of his books and his simple and natural approach to decorating is always so refreshing. It's been a long time since I did a post on him, so this was just wonderful- terrific interview, thank you!

The enchanted home said...

Hi Elizabeth and a very happy and blessed Easter to you. Having fun catching up with all my blogging friends. What a wonderful post...oh my that farm is incredible and so confirms my wish that I hope to own one myself one day. How fun, and you can see this talented man really loves what he does. The passion shines through. Thanks for a wonderful read!!

Katie Clooney said...

Great post, as always. Hope you had a great Easter. Your blog is an absolute joy to read!

Castles Crowns and Cottages said...

Good afternoon beautiful Pink Tulip lover! Elizabeth! How nice to see you leave a comment and aren't pink tulips, or any tulip for that matter, don't they just make you smile? I got a beautiful bouquet of white ones for my 31st anniversary last month. I think I need to have a bunch of tulips on my dining room table more often!

What a lovely and lively post you have here; we want color NOW, don't we?

I hope your garden shows promise soon, as do I, and may your Easter memories live on! Anita said...

Elizabeth, I love P. Allen Smith. The March Tulip Madness is a great idea. Thank you for sharing your interview.
xo, Lissy

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