Behind the Private Gates, Design, In the Garden


A Green Scheme

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This is the month we all celebrate in Newport, September. While rain has played its part (along with two storms in one week), we end this month with an (almost) full week of glorious sun. Not only is it a softer light, lower in its angle, but at just this point in the fall it is dramatically playing up the shades of green that are a signature of Parterre. Think Parterre Green (and the Parterre Bench, above, which wears it so well). I couldn’t appreciate when we customized this shade of sage years ago just how satisfying it would prove to be.

At this time in the year, shadows also become an imperative part of viewing a garden, creating a mood from the juxtaposition of soft light and dark (bringing to mind that old design note about the positive in “negative space”).

And on the sun porch, where I can study plants up close and personal, I treasure the variety of leaf shapes and sizes, the shades in a begonia (that pick up the verdi gris in the antique bronze grates), the chartreuse seed pods of the tall blackberry lily with its dramatic “swords.”

As well as the so-happy mother fern’s gracefully sweeping fronds as a contrast to the simple, variegated ivy twining among the ribs of the metal topiary.

When butterflies alight…I couldn’t help but close with this colorful image (which has not been photoshopped) from the Cutting Garden. These treasured pollinators love this spot and we love having their company.

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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".

16 thoughts on “A Green Scheme

  1. Your espalier with the looping trellis in image #12 is so beautiful! What is the plant and please tell me about the trellis – what is it made of, can I purchase one, how is it attached to the wall, etc.? I have the perfect place where I would love something like that. I’ve been wanting to try espalier for years!

    1. Hello Janet, Cotoneaster is the perfect plant for your first effort at espalier. Since it is a vine it twines beautifully and has the added benefit of being an evergreen!
      We affixed hooks to the wall and used wire to form the loops that make up our “love knot.” Train the vines by tying them to the wire (do NOT wrap it around the wire as I did originally; it will ultimately kill the plant). Good luck! xB

  2. An insightful lesson with gorgeous, complementary photos. Your last photo of the butterfly on the flower is an award winner, Bettie. Your shared knowledge is a gift that I welcome into my mailbox every week. Thank you, EE

    1. Thank you, Ellen, for your always gracious comments. I have to say that I, too, was impressed with the butterfly photo (and had forgotten I had taken it). One of those moments that seldom come again, and which a cell phone makes so easy to capture! B

    1. Thanks, Barbara and happy first day of October to you! Sharing my gardens is such a joyful experience, enhanced by followers who take the time to send along such assuring comments xB

  3. Good morning Bettie! Your garden is a thing of beauty in every part of it. Such careful design planning went into making it, and love and care keeps it nourishing and in such excellent shape. And the butterfly photo is AMAZING!!! Have you thought about submitting it in a photo contest?

    1. Morning, Jody, out there in your gorgeous world. The butterfly photo was a bit of serendipity as I had failed to remember ever taking this pic.
      As you probably know, trying to photograph insects, etc. on plants is a challenge…good luck prevailed. B

  4. I am so in love with your garden. I thought I would chose my favorite photo, but each one is breathtaking in it’s own way. You have such a gift of combining the texture of your plants with the beautiful architecture of your home. Your photos are stunning! Thank you for sharing.

    1. Ellen, it is such a pleasure to share my gardens with lovely followers like you. I just wish I could gather you all together for an “appreciation day!” xB

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