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

Initial Thoughts About My Logo

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Parterre Bench
“Miss Muffit” gives the garden tours at Parterre.

There was never any question about what I would use for my first website’s logo. The wooden bench which now sits in its own stately place within my “winter garden” bears the hallmarks of what inspires my creative endeavors and informs my days: serendipity – without which life would not be quite so charming or as much fun!

Thirty-five years ago (!) my husband and I were in Ireland at Birr Castle. Taking an early morning walk, I came upon the most otherworldly, Alice-in-Wonderland kind of bench. The master of the castle, the Earle of Rosse, had used double Rs, back to back, to create a high center for his design; the “legs” of the R, which swooped off to each side, looked like curved devil’s pitchforks.

Entranced, this image stayed with me for years, popping into mind at the oddest times. Then one day, I was stirred to take action – and to honor my first book, Private Newport: At Home and in the Garden. The bench is personal, a one-of-a-kind…my initials laced into a version of Chippendale fretwork. It’s got a wild streak about it, yet not too crazy to be regarded askance and not too ladylike so as to be boring.

The bench is wintered over in the Orangerie.
My original drawings for the bench and gardens.
My original drawings for the bench and gardens.

My personalized bench has a place of honor in the Winter Garden.

Seen from our library window as you enter the room.
Seen from our library window as you enter the room.

And here it now sits, the centerpiece of our main garden as well as a perfect image to be seen as you enter our library, on axis with the bench, to catch any visitor’s eye.

The moral to this story, my friends? Hold on to a dream, no matter how long, for anything is ultimately possible!

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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".