P. Allen Smith was one of the guest speakers for the Saturday line up of the 2013 Southeastern Flower Show at the Cobb Galleria Centre, which is scheduled to run through Sunday, according to WSB-TV. And Smith put on a show that was worthy of a rock star.
His entrance was delayed by a few minutes, but when he appeared it was not from a private entrance where he could be ushered on stage, away from groping hands. Instead, the fair-haired exuberant gardening speaker came in from behind his audience, stopping to chat or hug a guest in the thick crowd waiting to see him.
He took his time, even eschewing his elevated status on the stage at one point in order to come down and mingle with those below, giving his remarks from amidst his fans.
I don't like stages," he said.
P. Allen Smith's self-deprecating sense of humor drew loud laughter at times, and head nodding at others, but most everyone seem to relate to the man who has become a household word when it comes to gardening.
He regaled is captive audience with stories of his early days abroad, in England, where he went to further his horticultural knowledge and ended up dining with the upper crust by happenstance.
It all started he said when he was walking the garden grounds of Arley Hall late in the day back then. He happened upon an older man he took as another garden enthusiast making his way back to his car too, but it was the lord of the manor instead.
Sensing Smith's unfamiliarity with things Lord Ashbrook said, "You're not from around here are you?"
One thing led to another and Smith found himself receiving a dinner invite as well as making two lifetime friends as a result: Lord and Lady Ashbrook of Arley Hall.
And it appears he has led a charmed life since, but one would never know it by the humble and modest persona he exudes. And no one appears to be a stranger to the friendly gardening guru, as he moseyed up to many in attendance.
Not one to take himself too seriously, he also showed his flower show audience a photo of he and his grandfather, which painted him in a far less flattering light than the fair-haired boy wonder before them--at least where his attire is concerned. But he reminded his audience that the topic was gardening, not fashion, so they wouldn't poke fun at his pants of yesteryear in the aging photo.
In addition to entertaining his audience at the Southeastern Horticultural Society event this Saturday, he also gave them gifts as long as they could answer a floral question correctly during his slide presentation. How rare is that?
Many women (but no men) went home with gardening herbs, plant food and more as a result. And while some left empty-handed; no one left disappointed.
Photos with the garden guru celebrity followed, as well as a book signing period, but through it all P. Allen Smith smiled, never appeared rushed or agitated, and he even allowed himself to be waylaid by a reporter bent on reviewing his latest book, "P. Allen Smith's Seasonal Recipes from the Garden." How's that for being a gentleman?
Next up for the founder of the Heritage Poultry Conservancy is his "Backyard Poultry Day," where he will be joined by a panel of speakers that include an animal nutritionist and two University of Arkansas professors of some esteem.
The event, scheduled for April 20th, will be held at Smith's Moss Mountain Farm, where he invited the 2013 Southeastern Flower Show guests to join him when they could. And they may just take him up on it!