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Delphian Review Club hears about gardeners

Delphian Review Club hears about gardeners

Posted: Monday, February 27, 2012 8:00 pm

The Messenger 02.27.12

The Delphian Review Club met recently at the home of Mrs. Bob Cameron. A delicious dessert was provided by Mrs. Ron Bloebaum.
Rita Buckles was the January guest speaker for the club. She gave a PowerPoint presentation on the 2010 Northwest Tennessee Master Gardener trip to Little Rock, Ark., emphasizing the visit to Moss Mountain Farm, the home of garden guru P. Allen Smith.
Mrs. Buckles said Allen Smith is truly a renaissance man with many interests. His media company, Hortus Ltd., produces his website, books and three TV shows. He also owns a design company. His real estate company handles Moss Mountain Farm, which his brother, Christopher Smith, runs. Smith has numerous sponsorships, partnerships and endorsements, such as Ferry Morse Company, located in Fulton, and Proven Winners, which is the largest plant company in North America.
The Master Gardeners and guests spent a day at Moss Mountain Farms, where they toured the beautiful four-story home, gardens and landscaped grounds. They were treated to a delicious lunch, where they met Ben Ford, an intern from the University of Tennessee. It was his first day at work.
Smith is an accomplished artist and several of his works were on display.
One of Smith’s passions is raising heritage poultry. His love of raising heritage poultry and livestock stems from his humble Middle Tennessee background, where he was an enthusiastic 4-H member. At age 12, Smith, his parents and three younger siblings moved to Little Rock, where his mother’s family lived. To help young Allen battle his homesickness and the loss of his horses and cows, his parents allowed him to take his 100-egg Sears incubator. He began raising a few chickens and had a small garden. Tragically, his father died one week after Allen’s 13th birthday. Allen’s mother was left with no money and four children to raise.
With grit and hard work, the Smiths prevailed. Smith attended Hendrix College in Conway, Ark. Later, he went to England, aided by a Rotary Scholarship, to study garden design. While in England visiting Arley Hall, he met Viscount Desmond Ashbrook and Lady Elizabeth Ashbrook. Lady Ashbrook wrote the forward for Smith’s first book.
Prior to the trip, Paula Breeden, president of the Northwest Tennessee Master Gardeners, contacted the Pulaski County Master Gardeners, who escorted the group on tours of the Little Rock MG projects. The first lady of Arkansas, Ginger Beebe, a Master Gardener, insisted the group tour the grounds of the Governor’s Mansion.
Other Little Rock trip highlights included Curran Hall, the Old Mill and Wildwood Gardens. Each stop had beautiful and  unique gardens maintained by Master Gardeners. Many of the stops also included gardens designed by P. Allen Smith.
The NWTNMG have also toured Biltmore Estate, selected Alabama gardens and the Missouri Botanical Gardens.
This year, members of the group and their guests will be attending a Master Gardener conference in Natchez, Miss., which includes several garden tours.