Behind the Private Gates, Design, In the Garden


Down the Garden Path

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As we move into our 23rd year in our Newport home, I thought you might enjoy a bit of histoire on its past. Parterre, taking its name from the delineated planting beds that are a distinguishing design element of French gardens, was built in 1999. Its three acres are part of the original Belmont estate (circa 1880’s) whose main house “By the Sea” was torn down in 1944 and never re-built.

With such a Newport story, and neighborhood, we wished to convey the impression that our French Normandy home had been here for decades, for which our magnificent old trees provide that credibility.

Our Philadelphia architect, Fred Bissinger, included two outbuildings in his design (romantically named the “Orangerie” and the “dovecote”) to give the impression of an old estate; in so doing, he created perfect settings for outdoor garden rooms. Let’s take a little stroll “down the garden paths” that adjoin these rooms, beginning with the aforementioned Orangerie.

The view down the path from the Orangerie includes the house and the pergola.

Sometimes there are rose petals on the path that encircles the Orangerie.

Which also takes in views of the The Green and White garden.

An extra wide path leads to the Parterre Bench, located against the yew hedge of the Green and White garden.

Within the beds, old cobblestones become a stepping stone path.

A jig and a jag path directs you towards the Cutting Garden, with its new green lattice fence for Parterre’s roses.

Taking you down a rosy path where ‘Falstaff’ runs the entire length of the stucco wall facing the entrance to the Cutting Garden.

In the Fountain Garden, paths delineated with curved metal edging create the design which gives Parterre its name.

A scene that I had dreamed of when we were planning the gardens…a path, interrupted with low-growing plants that flop over the beds, leading through a small opening into a secret garden.

Such as here… a very informal path in the woodland, a contrast to the formal pebble paths in the other garden areas. The woodland’s cool temperatures provide a welcome relief to the full sun in the decorative gardens surrounding the house.

Hope your summer will be filled with paths of discovery and pleasure.

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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".

32 thoughts on “Down the Garden Path

  1. Bettie, you are a true artist. Your home, out buildings and gardens are an elegant testimonial to nature. Lovely of you to share the beauty you have created. This city girl appreciates all that you do! EE

  2. Your beautiful gardens reveal lovely surprises, around many corners, colorful blooms, architectural art forms, subtle fences and features and variations from path pebbles to moss, all a blissful composition of living art. Many thanks for the walkabout!

  3. So pretty and impeccable. You must derive great pleasure out of your gardens and garden paths, flower arrangements and new ideas.
    Thanks for sharing.

  4. Bettie, what a wonderful posting ~ Please consider doing a book on your house and gardens! What a beautiful gift it would make…

    1. Tracy, my most recent book, Living Newport, Houses, People, Style has a chapter on Parterre!
      Let me know if you’d like a copy and I’ll send along the order details. Email me at info@privatenewport.com. xB

  5. What absolutely splenid different, elegant and enticing garden areas you created, surrounding your newly built home in 1999!
    Three acres is absolutely perfect. Privacy from neighbors, grand, and yet still manageable!
    Your heart must swell with love and pride in every inch of your home and garden creation 🙂
    Happy Thursday, dear Bettie!

    1. Jody, you expressed it so well…love and pride, a feeling you shall be enjoying soon! I can’t think of anything more I could wish for a friend! B

  6. Bettie,
    It must have been fun to plan this garden with all its buildings and paths. The list of beautiful plants must have been amazing! Your knowledge of history and plants produced a rare beauty. Even in beautiful old Newport it is a star! I can’t wait to hear about Marilee’s visit while at the Flower Show. Debby

    1. And I can’t wait for her to give you a first hand account of the visit. She’s a hoot and it felt so good to have a friend of yours in the garden if you can’t be…xB

  7. Bettie-It is no surprise to me that you have created such a wonderful and refreshing space. What remains remarkable to me is the vision you had from the beginning to create from scatch such incredibel beauty. Few possess this vision. I am so glad you have it. Keep creating!

    Chip Traynor

    1. Dearest Chip, how touched I am that you took the time to read and reply to the blog!
      Your words mean so much since you were part of those early conversations as we were planning Parterre’s design.
      Happy memories for sure…awaiting your next visit! xB

  8. It’s beautiful Bettie. You could’ve fooled me as I thought your house was there for a very long time which is exactly what you wished to convey. I think the entire layout and the flow of the beds and the buildings and the structures the whole thing is just beautiful.

    1. Thank you, Keith, I always love to hear that people believe Parterre has been here for years!
      We have found it a very heartwarming experience to nurture daily what we have built and planted. xB

  9. What a treat to see your beautiful gardens! Such pleasure it must give you and your
    family; and bonus: all of the rest of us out here.

    1. How graciously you captured the bigger picture! And I’m so happy to meet another member of my Private Newport family. xB

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