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.