Last month, I was invited to attend the Garden2Blog event held each spring at the home of P. Allen Smith in Little Rock, Arkansas with a handful of other prestigious garden bloggers. G2B14 was comprised of two days of workshops and other events at Moss Mountain Farm to promote new gardening techniques and products, as well as provide a wonderful networking platform for like-minded garden bloggers, sponsors and other industry leaders.
What made the trip all the more exciting was that I was asked to arrive early to record a segment for P. Allen Smith's radio show and also do some taping for his television series! The four days I spent in Arkansas were a whirlwind of activity and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity!
Upon arriving at the airport in Little Rock, I immediately headed out to Moss Mountain Farm. Driving through the rolling hills of Arkansas was a pleasant respite after the morning's rush to the airport. I caught glimpses of some truly beautiful countryside, but the real beauty was to be seen once I arrived at the farm. The green rolling hills, pastures filled with bucolic sheep grazing, blooming flowers and pristine main house and outbuildings was all so much more impressive in person. [Click HERE to see more photos]
As I drove up the winding circular driveway, the Buff Orpington welcoming committee greeted me first, but then I spotted P. Allen Smith himself sitting out on the front porch waiting for me. He greeted me with such warmth and familiarity, I felt as if I were visiting a long-time friend or relative, not a celebrity! He asked me inside for a drink, inquired about my flight, asked whether I had any trouble finding the farm, and generally made me feel right at home. I met his adorably bouncy Scottie, Duncan, and felt the stress of the morning's travel melting away.
I admit I couldn't restrain myself from whipping out my camera and snapping some photos of his kitchen - yes the very same kitchen that you see on his television series! His double Viking range is to die for and there was evidence of Allen's love for chickens everywhere I turned.
|-photo credit P. Allen Smith-|
After I drooled over the kitchen a bit more, we headed outside since they were ready for me to begin recording a few segments for an upcoming radio show. I was shown to the recording studio (which is in reality a very cute cottage just behind the main house) and spent a very pleasant hour or so answering some pre-chosen fan questions with Allen about chicken keeping. During one of the breaks, we were served green tea in china teacups, which was such a thoughtful gesture that certainly helped me through a bit of an afternoon slump (since I had been up since 3 am that morning!)
After we finished recording, Allen and I moved some ferns out of sun so they wouldn't wilt (see, I told you I was treated like family!) then I was whisked to Poultryville where the production team stood ready. After a quick powdering of my nose (I actually could have used full hair and makeup by that point!) and being wired with a mic, we ran through the 'lines' and spots we would need to hit for the taping - and the film began to roll.
I have never done any filming for television before. YouTube is more my speed, but Allen made it so easy and natural to just be myself and chat with him as we walked, held chickens, and ran through the scenarios the production team had set up.
The afternoon flew by and finally they declared it a wrap. I was given a quick tour of the rest of the farm and then it was time to head back to the hotel to meet up with the other garden bloggers - after posing on the front porch in one of these awesome coral-painted chairs of course!
The next two days passed quickly as I attended the G2B14 seminar and workshops, toured downtown Little Rock, did a bit of gardening, a bit of imbibing some homemade cocktails, eating lots of delicious locally grown and freshly prepared food, and enjoyed an array of local wines in the gorgeous rose garden at sunset for the closing event (to which guess who inexplicably wore matching outfits?)
G2B14 was such a wonderful event and I am so honored that I was invited to attend and meet some very talented gals and guys in the gardening world. I loved visiting Moss Mountain Farm and meeting Allen and his whole team. Mimi, Gerry, Lauren and the others were so welcoming and friendly and I really enjoyed working with them. I guess the feeling was mutual because I've been invited back!
I left Arkansas with some neat souvenirs (like my 'Eat Local' tee and some heritage breed hatching eggs hand collected by Allen himself), new friendships and wonderful memories. Allen and I have a few more surprises up our sleeve planned for later this year, so be sure and stay tuned! (What I really want to do is whip up something yummy with him in that kitchen of his using fresh eggs and garden veggies !) I don't know the scheduling of the television segment we filmed at this point, but I will be sure to let you all know about that as soon as I find out. Here is the link to the radio show:
Disclosure: Hortus, Ltd. and various G2B14 sponsors provided airfare, accommodations, meals and promotional products for this event and for my review. However, the opinions expressed here are my own and were not influenced by any form of compensation.
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