Behind the Private Gates, Design, In the Garden, The Parterre Bench

A Life of Its Own: Musings on the Parterre Bench

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It’s been an exciting past three summer months — not only for me but for the Parterre Bench as well. After her formal introduction following the Newport Flower Show in late June, “she’s” become much more than a mere garden accessory and  has actually taken on a life of her own. Why, she even has her own hashtag (#ParterreBench)!

Photo Credit: Jodi Paquin
Photo Credit: Jodi Paquin

This world of social media can quickly become abuzz with a new item or concept and the Parterre Bench has enjoyed her share of attention, receiving 11,000 likes on Instagram and seen by approximately 150,000 Instagrammers.

And through all this fun and frivolity, I’ve been treasuring the memories shared. Sneak in for a peek —  we’re getting ready for a picnic — while I muse away.



The fun times then continued with a round-the-clock weekend photo shoot prior to the Bench’s formal introduction in the press and on line.


Interviews and “chats” with VIPS and celebrities have taken place on her sturdy seat. Bunny Williams was probably one of the first, following her luncheon talk at the Newport Flower Show. Of course, this doyenne of all things gardening felt right at home. Such a treat!


Artist and bunny painter Hunt Slonem brought his winning ways to the garden the afternoon of his show in Newport…which was then followed by a small dinner here at Parterre (his book and mine sharing their own spot on the Bench).


And the Ab Fab, self-described “95 year old cover girl,” Iris Apfel had the seat of honor during her weekend birthday celebration.


Of course, dear Southern friends came to party; to name a few…


…Louise Griffeth from Dallas.


And Henry Lynne from Birmingham.


Visitors to the garden (to include a baby) and total strangers have emailed me or posted notes and “asks.” I’ve found myself saying…”you’re never too young to have your picture taken on the Parterre Bench.”


A favorite view that never disappoints…the Bench, straight across the Winter Garden, to be seen the minute you enter our library, just as planned.


What does this all say — there’s more life to come for the Parterre Bench. Stay tuned for her next iteration. It’s time for fall…


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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".

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