Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Garden2Blog - Marlsgate Plantation Tour

It was a thrill last week being part of P. Allen Smith's second annual Garden2Blog event, when 23 garden bloggers from around the country descended on Little Rock, Arkansas for two days of garden tours, socializing, design competitions, and gardening products demonstrations.

The event kicked off with a tour of the opulent Marlsgate Plantation home and gardens located in Scott, Arkansas, about 15 miles southeast of Little Rock.  The  home was built in 1904, and over the years had fallen into disrepair.  It was restored by David P. Garner, Jr., a long-time friend of Allen's, and is listed on National Register of Historic Places.

Visitors are greeted by a pair of these large-scale urns on the front porch.

The cherubs reminded me of our baby granddaughters back at home.

David Garner, the hilarious, flamboyant owner of Marlsgate was a wonderful host.  

We were allowed to wander at will through the house and gardens.  The Greek Revival home is filled with eye candy for antique lovers.

The dining room table was set with refreshments, including petits fours and meringues.

At 5' 8" even I would need a ladder to climb into this bed!  These gals are standing, (NOT kneeling) on the floor.

All that crystal was starting to make me a little nervous.  It was time to head outdoors and visit the gardens, which hopefully would be a lot less fragile.

The gardens are designed as a series of "rooms."  Some of the borders are informal,  like this one.

Meandering paths run throughout the gardens.

There was lots of interesting statuary like this,

and several formal garden rooms, like this classic boxwood garden,

and this one with its lovely arbor entrance.

Another of many examples of fine sculpture.

The solarium is a gardener's fantasy. 

As we headed down the long front walk back to our bus, I was startled by the largest, most beautiful,  most fragrant magnolias I've ever seen.  As over-the-top as Marlsgate is, the first and last things I saw - the cherubs, and the magnolias, were among the most memorable (not counting David, of course, who could never be forgotten!) 

Attendees at Garden2Blog 2012 received transportation, hotel accommodations, and meals at no cost. Event sponsors provided samples and product giveaways with no cost or obligation.  All opinions in this post are mine.


  1. And that's what I love about the South ! Now you know why I whined and pined so much about it in my Chicago blog. Since moving to N.C. I am enjoying the slower pace that brings peace and tranquility that is hard to find in the big city.

    1. It was beautiful, Carolyn!

      We hit the ground running and never stopped until it was over, about 11:00 p.m. the second day. There was a lot of activity packed into those two days, though I'm sure it was much different than the typically slower pace of southern life.

  2. Love your photos, Linda. For whatever reason, I don't seem to have taken as many photos as I normally do, and I missed the bedroom altogether. Did love the cherubs and greenhouse, though! By the way, I'm going to steal your disclaimer (if you won't sue me)--it's direct and detailed, and just my style. :)

    1. Thank you Monica!

      I didn't take as many photos as usual, either. I think it was because we were soooo busy! If I'm fortunate enough to get to go again, I'll be much more conscious of making sure to take more!

      Please feel free to use the disclaimer. It's mostly borrowed from the ideas of others, especially Michael's. Glad he shared!

  3. What beautiful photos!! Great job reporting on this event. :-) I did NOT see the greenhouse. Wow. What an awesome space.


    1. Thank you Shawna!

      It was an awesome space! Sorry you missed seeing it - quite a gardener's fantasy!

  4. There's nothing like a perfect magnolia flower~I love the fragrance, too. gail

    1. They're wonderful, Gail! I'd only seen photos of them before - so glad to see, sniff, and enjoy them in person. Even with a cold I could still enjoy their fragrance.

  5. How exciting that you were able to attend this, Linda! What a fantastic place--thanks for giving us the tour. The practical side of me keeps thinking, though--how many people does it take to maintain a garden (and house) like this?:)

    1. It was exciting, Rose! Glad you enjoyed the tour.

      I'm sure it takes a crew to maintain the house and gardens! It probably takes a full-time person just to dust all the furniture and brick-a-brac. :O

      Marlsgate is a premier wedding/banquet venue in Arkansas, and I'm sure the profits from those events help cover the cost of the staff it takes to maintain it.

  6. That solarium is a gardener's fantasy indeed and that magnolia is awesome! Looks like lots of fun. Thanks for sharing. hugs, Cherry

    1. Definitely a gardener's fantasy, Cherry. Those magnolias were amazing.

      Glad you enjoyed the Marlsgate tour!

      Hugs back atcha!


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