Behind the Private Gates, In the Garden


Fall Florals: A Bittersweet Goodbye

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This is a melancholy time for me. The ‘Limelight’ hydrangeas have sent out the clarion call that the garden will soon be put to bed for the season. My response? To clip madly from every plant in the Cutting Garden, as well as shrubs in other parts of the property.

Creating flower arrangements always transports me to my “happy place,” savoring and celebrating their specialness before they disappear — dahlias, roses, salvia, and Japanese anemone (such fragile beauties that the slightest breeze will blow their petals off as I’m walking back to the house).

Part of the pleasure for me is selecting just the right container for the particular flower…as in my grandmother’s silver trumpet vase (above). Oftentimes (and this is the “sweet” part) I’m inspired to select a container I haven’t used in quite sometime…as in the ages-old-but-looks-so au courant tortoise patterned glass globe. How perfect it is for this russet-orange dahlia, ‘Parklands Glory’ on a console in the entry hall that I see as I go up and down the stairs.

These arrangements are simple; my focus is first on showcasing each type and color of flower rather than a “mass” arrangement of many mixed flowers that I would create for a party. Their purpose is to be a bright spot, or two, in each room so that I may enjoy this last sight of them…a nostalgic goodbye, if you will.

When I make my dahlia selections each year for the garden, I choose at least three to four cultivars, i.e. pom-pom…

and fimbriata…

whose colors also complement each other and show off well-together.

Dahlia, ‘Jane Caull’, is a real favorite that I love to cluster as a group on their own.

And sometimes the container demands a certain floral diva, as in red coleus!

Such a divine shade of carmine that I chose to mix the leaves with a yellow dahlia, streaked with red, now seen in an old Wedgewood casserole (feature image at top).

The very last roses were such a soft, smoky pink color, and so delicate, that I was immediately reminded of a yummy blown glass vase with soft pink swirls — what a glorious vision they presented!!

While this multi-petalled rose just yearned to show off in a white porcelain bud vase, accented with a small rose itself.

And for my close, I couldn’t resist a “finale”…mixed shades of pink roses in an old gilt decorated blown-glass container. They take on a deserved romantic mood when photographed in “portrait mode” on a cell. Aaaah my loves, I shall miss you all!

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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".

21 thoughts on “Fall Florals: A Bittersweet Goodbye

    1. I couldn’t resist…thank you, Franki, for alwayse expressing your wonderful point of view! xB

    1. Merci, even I was taken aback at all that floral beauty in one short time frame…xB

  1. I am sad too, what will we do all winter without the colorful flowers! As always, thank you Bettie!

    1. That’s why I call this period “bittersweet”…what will we do without summer florals to light our way? xB

  2. SIMPLY … THANK YOU, FOR ALLOWING ONE TO REALISE THE ‘BEAUTY’ THAT
    REMAINS IN THIS TROUBLED WORLD.

  3. Crescendo! Such lovely arrangements and glorious colors and containers must bring a smile to the faces of lucky viewers. Bravo, Bettie.

    1. And, dear Ruthie, no one appreciates the meaning of a “finale” more than you!! xxB

    1. Thank you, there’s truly no other way I like to send my time (with maybe 1 or 2 exceptions). xB

  4. Isn’t it always nice to go and dig out an old vase that’s put away in some cupboard or closet somewhere to make some glorious arrangement in? I enjoy the same things. What a wonderful post to end this season and show off the beautiful flowers you grew, and the glorious arrangements you made out of them as a fitting goodbye to summer’s end. The summer knows!

  5. Ahhhh breath taking. I so appreciate the variety of blooms, plants and containers!
    Wonderful inspiration. Thank you!

  6. I’m just as impressed by your container and vase collection as your flora designs.
    Happy Autumn
    Edward

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