Paul Allen Smith (born March 12, 1960) is a television host, designer, gardening and lifestyle expert. He is the host of two public television programs, P. Allen Smith's Garden Home, and P. Allen Smith's Garden to Table and the syndicated 30-minute show P. Allen Smith Gardens. His television show P. Allen Smith's Garden Home has been shown on PBS member stations and in syndication on other networks. Smith is one of America's most recognized garden and design experts, providing ideas and inspiration through multiple media venues. He is the author of the best-selling Garden Home series of books published by Clarkson Potter/Random House, including Bringing the Garden Indoors: Container, Crafts and Bouquets for Every Room and the recently published cookbook, Seasonal Recipes from the Garden, inspired by the abundance of food from his farm and a family of cooks.
The 650-acre estate Moss Mountain Farm is a half-hour from Little Rock, Ark.
Life and work
Born and raised in Morrison, Tennessee, Smith is a fourth-generation nursery operator. Inspired by a childhood spent on the farm raising and showing livestock and poultry, he has led a life of promoting good stewardship of the earth. In 2009 Smith founded the Heritage Poultry Conservancy, an organization dedicated to the preservation and support of all threatened breeds of domestic poultry. He attended Hendrix College and received a Rotary International Scholarship to study garden design and history at the University of Manchester in England, where he also studied English gardens that had been visited by John Adams and Thomas Jefferson in the 18th century.
After returning to the United States, he entered the nursery and garden-design business with his brother in Little Rock, Arkansas, where he focused on reviving interest in perennials. Smith also became a private tour guide and started teaching gardening workshops, which then led to appearances on local television shows.
In the half-hour episodes of P. Allen Smith Gardens, he travels to various gardens in many areas of the U.S. and Europe, to explain steps to create garden rooms for dining, entertainment, relaxation, or playing. Some episodes are filmed at the Garden Home Retreat, spanning over 500 acres (200 ha) at Moss Mountain Farm near Little Rock, Arkansas. Smith also hosts his own radio program the P. Allen Smith Show. His design and lifestyle advice is featured in several national magazines.
Smith has also appeared frequently on The Weather Channel, the CBS Early Show, and other national TV programs teaching viewers gardening and design techniques. He has also written several books on gardening and contributes pieces to numerous publications including Woman's Day.
Located in the historic Quapaw Quarter of Little Rock, Arkansas, the Garden Home is a 1904 Colonial Revival cottage surrounded by a series of garden rooms designed by Smith. He purchased the house for one United States dollar and relocated it to a 15,000-square-foot (1,400 m2) vacant lot. The bargain price was contingent on Allen receiving permission from the local historical commission to move the home from its original site and restore it elsewhere in the city. This garden was created to illustrate his 12 principles of design, the basis of his first book in the Garden Home series.
Smith also built Moss Mountain Farm, also known as The Garden Home Retreat, which is located on the banks of the Arkansas River. It encompasses more than 500 acres of a farm dating back to 1840. The centerpiece is the cottage, built in the American Greek Revival style and constructed in an earth-friendly manner. Directly behind the cottage is the croquet lawn, which is framed by a summer kitchen and art studio. The surrounding garden includes a fountain garden that separates two wings of garden rooms filled with a mix of annuals, herbs, perennials, roses, shrubs and ornamental grasses. Beyond the flower gardens are orchards filled with heritage apple trees, stone fruit and blueberries, acre vegetable gardens, a bluebird trail, wildflower fields and a daffodil hill, which overflows with more than 275,000 daffodils blooming each spring. Various outbuildings, from barns to mobile chicken homes, are located throughout the grounds and surrounding pastures.
Host of public television series, P. Allen Smith's Garden Home
Host of P. Allen Smith's Garden to Table
Host of P. Allen Smith Gardens
P. Allen Smith's Garden Home Website
P. Allen Smith speaks at the National Book Festival (10/4/2003)
"The Martha Stewart of the South", Kim Severson, The New York Times, 4 August 2010.