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

A Must-Have Garden Accessory: The Parterre Bench

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From that long ago Thanksgiving weekend in Ireland…to the house-building, garden-creating project in Newport…to the first published coffee table book that prompted the creation of this bespoke garden accessory…the Parterre Bench has been a magical journey, blessed with chance encounters and charmed with beautiful experiences, joining a garden that provides many occasions for delight.


In my own small way, I’ve been following three centuries of tradition that have inspired so many others. Since Newport’s founding in 1639, it has been a design avatar — from the Townsend-Goddard furniture makers of the late 1700’s to the Gilded Age architects of the nineteenth-century to the garden designers of the early twentieth-century (ie. the Olmsted Brothers).

Now, nine years after it was custom made and placed in the bower which had been awaiting it, I’ve decided to share my Parterre Bench — a-one-a-kind design — named after the garden in which it resides.

The Parterre Bench makes its debut.

Photo Credit: Jodi Paquin Photography

What better occasion than as a finale to Newport’s favorite annual summer event, the Newport Flower Show (which coincidentally takes place right next door at Rosecliff)! How heart warming to have so many dear friends here to share this exciting launch week with me.


Approprately, over Bellinis…

Photo Credit: Jodi Paquin Photography

…tea sandwiches…

Photo Credit: Jodi Paquin Photography

…and demitasse cups of chilled minted pea soup.

Photo Credit: Jodi Paquin Photography

A wonderful bit of serendipity, too, for when my garden club friends started planning their trip to Newport a year ago, I had no idea I would even be “going public” with a piece that is so special to me. But then the builder of the Parterre Bench  re-appeared in Newport after a nine year hiatus and I took this as a good omen to go forward.


Beautifully scaled to be a centerpiece of any garden, the Parterre Bench is inspired by one I saw years ago in someone else’s garden…the Earl of Rosse in Ireland. Mine is a color I call “Parterre Green,” also used on other garden pieces (from the Versailles boxes to the dahlia stakes).


The Parterre Bench now has her own tab on our Private Newport website — scoot over to see what all the excitement is about!

And we’re proud to say — Made in America, in Newport, Rhode Island.

Photo Credit: Jodi Paquin Photography

It was a glorious Bellinis kind of day!

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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".

4 thoughts on “A Must-Have Garden Accessory: The Parterre Bench

  1. Betty,
    enjoying the early morning with your entertaining blog. The demitasse cups of soup brought another pretty and delicious soup to my mind…from The Leopard Restaurant, New York City from my file CREME OF LEOPARD SOUP
    Cook peas but not to cook too much (keeping spring green color). Add cream and puree in Vitamix. Add Madeira, salt and pepper…Serve cold or hot…can be made in advance a day or 2 and refrigerated.
    Happy Day to you and Jonathan

    1. What fun…and a step back in time!! Thanks so much for sending this along for all of us to enjoy. Love that shot of Madeira. Happy 4th, Bettie

  2. Must try this lovely soup …perfect for hot weather. Would love info on Parterre to purchase/ and dimensions !

    Even though I live in semi tropics now (Florida), I do so miss New England gardens. I spent my youth in Newport where part of my family lived.

    Thoroughly enjoy your blog! Thank you!

    Barbara Merman

    1. Barbara, thank you so for your note. The Bench information is on its way to you from our offices.
      I bet you do miss New England gardens and Newport in particular. Keep watching out for the blog (every Tuesday and Thursday) for gardens are my passion and I love sharing them with all of you. Happy fall, Bettie

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