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Ever heard the expression, make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear?
During P Allen Smith’s G2B13 event this month, attendees were invited to stroll Allen’s original garden home gardens—his city home—a former derelict structure.
Allen purchased this “fixer-upper” for one dollar then relocated to its current location.
There are photos on Allen’s Facebook page showing this sad structure when it was slated for demolition. Indeed, only a person with broad vision could see its potential.
The following images convey the simple, yet quiet elegance created within this city space. Please enjoy.

Enter the original city home of P Allen Smith

Enter the original city home gardens of P Allen Smith

Allen explains the history of this renovation

Allen explains the history of this renovation

Allen simplifies the complex nature of this home's phoenix

Allen simplifies the complex nature of this home’s phoenix

here begins the lush presentation

here begins the lush presentation

intimate spaces or garden rooms

intimate spaces or garden rooms

oh the boxwood

oh the boxwood

raised bed area complex planning within such a small space

raised bed area ~ complex planning within such a small space

quiet vista

quiet vista in this early spring garden

potting shed

potting shed

it's all in the details

it’s all in the details

Allen manages a small greenhouse on this property

Allen manages a small greenhouse on this property

garden paths guide the visitor

garden path guides the visitor

details and finishing touches

finishing touches

a place to ponder

a place to ponder

Enjoy Allen’s design concept in his own words at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1surUk0qRWg

Not far away, another of Allen’s masterpieces awaited on a slightly larger scale—the Arkansas governor’s mansion gardens

State Seal of Arkansas

State Seal of Arkansas

The first lady of Arkansas welcomes G2B13 garden bloggers and sings praises of Allen's contribution to the mansion

The first lady of Arkansas welcomes G2B13 garden bloggers and sings praises of Allen’s contribution to the mansion’s grounds

classic tuteur

classic tuteur

stately pergola detail

stately pergola detail

detail of mansion's addition

detail of mansion’s rear addition

transition into the gardens

transition into the gardens

waves of roses

waves of roses and boxwood ~ a classic combination

Allen and his pal greet again

Allen and the resident German Shepard greet again

large vegetable gardens at the mansion

impressive vegetable gardens at the mansion

Allen's signature garden details

Allen’s signature garden details

impressive composting going on behind the scenes at the Arkansas governor's mansion

impressive composting going on behind the scenes at the Arkansas governor’s mansion

Throughout this city tour, I was continuously reminded how Allen is a problem solver and an artist. Often these two abilities escape the same individual.
Whether the challenge is a modest residential city lot or a grand swath of landscape, Allen’s ability to perceive the entire project’s scope, deal with endless details, while transporting human scale and unending beauty, is inspiring if not downright genius.

Copyright © 2013 by Diane LaSauce All Rights Reserved