These past three weeks have been a flurry (excuse the pun) of one snowfall after another, each seemingly more beautiful than the last. This is why I love being in Newport for the first two months of winter — the dreamy appearance of my garden and the design truths spoken through bare limbs and branches. Adding a dusting of snow then becomes the proverbial frosting on the cake.
Nothing illustrates this more fittingly than the feature image above…the four perfectly matched, pruned cherry standards, ‘Hally Jolivette,’ that front the Orangerie (it’s a scene that is equally seductive in early spring when their soft pink blossoms are the first blooms of the year).
These four “star”s present stunning views from every angle…whether it be the kitchen window…
or the sunroom’s sweeping bay…
or in the garden looking northward towards the pergola.
But there’s another truth to be enjoyed here…the importance of evergreens in carrying out the design intent of a garden throughout all seasons. This is particularly true in a formal garden like Parterre. Boxwood, berberis, holly, and euonymous perfectly define the four parterres under the cherries, their geometry and proportions literally popping when outlined in white powder.
The virtue of evergreens is further delineated in the hedging used throughout the grounds. Along the front of the house, the long, sculpted yew hedge (with a majestic curtain of trees to preserve the garden’s intimacy)) extends from the house to the dovecote in the corner of the Fountain Garden.
The same yew hedge that also provides a picture-perfect frame for the formal garden gates.
And in that Fountain Garden, evergreen cotoneaster, Korean boxwood, and yew pillars become another resting place for snow to add its beauty.
Having begun this post with one of my favorite topics, trees, I’ll close with a singular addition to the Parterre landscape, the Sophora japonica ‘Pendula’ (Chinese scholar tree), or as I lovingly refer to her, “Sophie.” When this rare specimen was finally located, there was no doubt as to where it would be placed — in a prominent location at the entrance to the front courtyard.
P.S. Did I forget to mention that I’ve also found another use for these snowfalls?