Behind the Private Gates, Design, In the Garden

Landscaping with Hydrangeas

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It’s usually about this time that I begin photographing for my annual hydrangeas of Newport post. Looking over past entries, I’ve realized yet again that Newport’s summer flower can be very mercurial; I remember the year they never bloomed at all. Oh my, that really unsettled the town! This year they’ve come and gone too quickly, but what is still presentable provides the opportunity to chat about landscaping with hydrangeas. One friend of mine has the quintessential planting schemes that show how effectively hydrangeas enhance an already charming piece of property, romantically named “Bridle Path.”

To see these blousy shrubs scattered thoughtfully across the sloping land, dotted among the three picturesque out buildings…

(guest house “Bluebird Cottage,” potting shed “Rosebud Cottage”) and garage…

with their soft “hydrangea blue” accents is a treat.

The planting around the property’s white wooden gates also makes a wonderful first impression.

At Parterre, with its classical geometry dictating a formality that seldom lends itself to blousy hydrangeas, I conceived one vignette that has not only let them “do their thing” with abandon but at the same time dress up what is a guest parking area in the back courtyard.

It also became apparent that white hydrangeas are gaining in popularity! On one of Newport’s side streets off Bellevue Avenue, white hydrangeas complement the white woodwork fronting the red brick cottage…

while at a handsome Horace Trumbauer oceanside mansion, these white examples add a landscaping note that is a welcome complement to the use of stone, brick, stucco, and wood.

Adding a truly romantic and whimsical vision to a grand Charles Platt Louis XV-style French mansion…the pair of “guard houses” at Bois D’Oré are well-dressed with vibrant purple hydrangeas.

Each photo outing inspires looking at subjects from a different perspective–this year I love Newport’s grand houses making a “cameo” role.

A timely topic given the increased interest in gardening!

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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".

14 thoughts on “Landscaping with Hydrangeas

  1. Ahhh, those gorgeous “bosomy” blossoms make me think that hydrangeas are the Mae West of shrubbery.

  2. I love “Limelight”. What a beautiful season it was for the hydrangeas this year! They put on quite a show.

    1. Oh I do, too!! Just waiting for ours to start blooming. Be sure to look at my Instagram account, @privatenewport to see them. xB

  3. A timely post, as I am planning to replace some shrubs w/ hydrangeas. Beautiful photos, Bettie. Thanks for sharing. Hugs!

  4. Have planted Endless Summer, Annabelle and Bobo around my home in Michigan. The conical shaped seem to be more deer resistant.

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