Behind the Private Gates, Design, In the Garden


An Intriguing Knot Garden, Newport Style

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Deciding on the front and back cover images of a coffee table book can be a hand-wringing experience…or it can be an obvious choice the moment photography is reviewed. In the case of my recent book, Living Newport: Houses, People, Style, it was a quick decision. The Price’s Neck knot garden was a natural, for it so captured the essence of this book.

So when I learned that part of this garden (feature image, top) had been wiped out in a storm – and then recreated – I knew it was time to celebrate this singular Newport creation with its own post.

The 2-level knot garden, nestled within the crook of the house (seen in Richard Grosvenor’s whimsical painting)…

Photo Credit: Alexander Nesbitt

answered three purposes for the family of five — it was located at the main entrance to the house…

Photo Credit: Alexander Nesbitt

and it could be viewed from the deck and second floor bedrooms. The path through the garden also provided a central access to the front lawn where both sports activities and entertaining take place.

Photo Credit: Alexander Nesbitt

Owner and interior designer, Tracey Roberts, tapped San Francisco landscape architect, Andrea Cochran, to create the eyecatching design. It was as seamless a project as a design like this would suggest…one flight from San Francisco, sketches submitted, project started!..and overseen by Kristyn Woodland of Newport’s TJBrown Landscaping.

Hedging and geometric elements of the garden were planted in American box (which tolerates salt spray well) with the upper level knot design allowing space for masses of lavender. Glorious roses add a welcome, summer-long punctuation of color, two of which are actual local roses (always treasured finds) ‘Countess Celeste’…

Photo Credit: Alexander Nesbitt

…and ‘William Baffin’ climbing rose. Facing this garden, along the walls of the house, are espaliered David Austin roses ‘Abraham Darby’ that have twice won the Annie Laurie Aitken major rose award at the Newport Flower Show. Come June, blue wisteria twines up the four white columns and across their beam for a dramatic climax. 

And gloriously, this Newport knot garden is also low maintenance (if you discount the occasional storm damage)…evergreen box that needs pruning monthly and roses that yearn to be cut. What more could one ask for?

Photo Credit: Alexander Nesbitt


Featured Image Credit, Alexander Nesbitt

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Bettie Bearden Pardee

About Bettie Bearden Pardee

Author of Private Newport and Living Newport, garden furniture designer (The Parterre Bench), national lecturer, and entertaining expert. An honoree for the second year on "The Salonniere 100 America's Best Party Hosts", she was also the host and creative producer of "The Presidential Palate: Entertaining at the White House".

One thought on “An Intriguing Knot Garden, Newport Style

  1. How timely, I just finished watching an old British Garden Revival show on YouTube all about the history of knot gardens. So interesting and lots of beautiful English knot gardens. I love that they are meant to be viewed from above. But a monthly prune does sound a bit high maintenance, however lovely.

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