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

Faux and Behold: The Dovecote at Parterre

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A dear reader left a lovely comment on last week’s post asking about “the charming cylindrical shaped structure with the conical roof at the corner of the hedge.” She could only have been referring to the “dovecote” (which sounds much more romantic than toolshed). This reminded me that I have neglected introducing this charming structure to my subscribers while showering my attention on the Orangerie, the centerpiece of the gardens.

Funny enough, the “dovecote” was not originally on our new house plans back in 1997…and at this point I’ll lovingly make the note “if you aren’t expecting another structure on your property, don’t show your garden plans to your architect”. Now, having said that, I’ll go on to sing his praises (Fred Bissinger, from Main Line Philadelphia).

This small, round building (where no doves live, but lots of tools and fountain mechanisms reside) is both literally and figuratively the cornerstone of the main garden, the Fountain Garden. I cannot imagine not having it here!

Its stucco facade mimics the house and the Orangerie, complementing the gardens to the south of the property. The “dovecote” also shares the ten foot high euonymous hedge with a 2007 addition to the gardens, the Parterre Bench.

Photo Credit: @Vibrant.Optics for Private Newport

As seen from the front lawn, it truly anchors this corner, dividing the Fountain Garden from the Woodland Garden (to the right) facing Rosecliff.

The very solid wooden door is curved to fit into the circular design (not a small feat); hinges, straps, latch, and lightning rod on the tip top were all made by a Rhode Island blacksmith…a form of sculpture in their own right!

Photo Credit: @Vibrant.Optics for Private Newport

Frosting on the cake? The roof uses the same, large (and thick!) slates sourced from an old building on the University of Ohio’s campus. And, speaking of frosting…the beloved “dovecote” takes on such a magical appearance when winter snows coat that roof.

The “dovecote” is also just 10 yards from the front lawn nesting spot for our Great Horned Owl, and her 2 offspring, a topic I mentioned in my Easter blog. Given the height of the nest (60 feet), in a 150 year old Gingko tree, it has proven a challenge to obtain a selection of images…but I do have this one (thank you Kate Lucey!). While not yet a great beauty, this owlet will have a 4 1/2′ wingspan upon maturity. Fingers crossed that momma will choose to nest here again next year!

And so, spring with its new life, and new beginnings, continues to offer more reasons to be hopeful…and what we can look forward to even in a time of dire challenges. Wishing good health to each of you.

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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".

15 thoughts on “Faux and Behold: The Dovecote at Parterre

  1. What a wonderful blog today Bettie! I hope you are staying well. As the world stands still, we’re all blessed with the opportunity to absorb even more of it’s beauty. I have a little gift for you. I’ll mail it soon. All the best to my beautiful friend. Ann Davenport

    1. Dearest Ann, I think of you so often and hope you are continuing to be safe and sound. Blessedly we are going into a spring, with all its promise, and not winter…
      I will look forward to your thoughtful surprise…how dear of you. xBettie

  2. I love the dovecote and also how striking the green flower boxes show against the snow. A wonderful color choice.

    1. What an eye for detail you have, Eileen! While I shouldn’t keep them (they are wooden) I love to do it just for that reason…how marvelous the green looks against the snow.
      Be safe and sound! xB

  3. I absolutely love this garden. Every hedge, tree, building, bed, container, bench! My ideal outdoor space!

  4. The image of the owlets is striking and provide such drama in your wonderful garden.
    Thanks for sharing Parterre with us and sending a little light our way.

    1. They have been a big surprise and welcome “interlopers.”
      Presumably I will not have bunny problems this summer…xB

  5. What a beautiful post, just loved it! And the Owls are the icing on the cake! Looking forward to hearing if they come back next year to nest. Thank you, Bettie! Stay well!! 🌺

    1. Thank you, and yes, the owls are a very special surprise for a spring event!
      Be safe and sound, B

    1. Oh, does it show? Having them in this part of Newport is a rare occurrence…B

  6. I love your dovecote with it’s whimsical door that looks like something out of a fairy tale! The owls are adorable, and a rare gift for one to have nesting in their yard–can tell you are enjoying them. I, too, am glad spring is upon us–takes some of the sting from this horrible pandemic. I’m very concerned some states, including ours, is lifting restrictions. However, hubby and I will still be practicing them as we feel it’s far from safe at this point in time. Hugs!

    1. As I write, those darling owls are hooting away outside my window. HUbby and I are acting like crazy grandparents!
      You’re so right about keeping our own precautions in place even if they’ve decided to open up. It will be a very relaxed (read quiet) summer in Newport. xB

  7. Gorgeous post, as always! We visited Newport last summer on our first ever trip “out east” and fell in love with the area. I wanted to let you know that I just posted a listing on eBay for an antique book, The History of Newport County, Rhode Island (item #184272427248) that I thought you might be interested in. If I lived in the area, I think it would be a treasure to own!

    1. Thank you, DeAnne, for passing this along. You might also be interested in visiting the Preservation Society’s site,, and perusing their book selection.
      You’ll be happily reading for years! Cheers, Bettie

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