Entertaining, Holiday, Seasonal, Spring

New Beginnings at Parterre

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Photo Credit: Maaike Bernstrom

Easter and new beginnings are taking on a special meaning at Parterre this year. Only a very few times in the twenty years that we’ve lived here have I ever heard an owl hooting. And then, lo and behold, we now have a great horned owl (larger than our cat, with a 4 1/2 foot wing span) nesting in the highest branches of our old gingko tree (so high that I cannot take a picture). As Easter week was approaching, her eggs hatched and today two fluffy, white owlettes can be seen with their beaks wide open awaiting their next feeding.

I like to imagine that she chose Parterre for its landscape and gardens that convey a sense of solace and peace…the five cherries popping in joyful celebration of spring,

with daffodils and scilla intermingling,

and tulips raising their faces to the sun (and anticipating their star turn in the house over Easter). Spring brings such promise, and helps remind us of the blessings small and large for which to be thankful. It is this sense of gratitude that helps me keep my equilibrium as this health crises swirls around us.

Easter lunch will be a small affair of just the two of this year (plus Clicquot, our furry feline). Which has prompted me to reflect back on last year, with twelve guests, and the little details in which I took such pleasure as we gathered around the table.

Forsythia dressing up the front courtyard urns and the front door.

Tall potted tulips greeting guests in the entry hall.

A centerpiece of garden beauties, arranged in one of my treasured French wire baskets.

Well-loved and hand-embroidered organdy linens, made in Madiera.

And why not a cracker? They’re not just for Christmas; these were custom made to match the color scheme of soft blues, purples and pinks.

On the mantle, a pair of muscari bouquets tied with a satin bow, sitting atop a William Yeoward vase… surrounded by speckled candy eggs.

For dessert, a favorite from many Easters ago…

Photo Credit: Maaike Bernstrom

It has been touching and enlightening to see the response of everyday Americans who are coming together, in good spirit, honoring the guidelines of our leaders and medical experts, making the most of the circumstances before us (singing from the balconies?). We’re all “in this together,” experiencing this communal moment each in our own way. May Peace be with you this Easter…

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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".

30 thoughts on “New Beginnings at Parterre

  1. Thank you for sharing the beauty that both surrounds you and that you create. Ellen Easton

  2. Bettie, WOW, how amazingly beautiful. Thanks for sharing your beautiful spring garden and home! I will always remember your kindness when you gave us the private tour with Gary – to see an amazing winter garden at that time! Now, like a caterpillar metamorphosing into a butterfly ~ your garden reveals its beauty in the springtime!

    1. That was such fun to have you all here! And so happy you enjoyed Parterre in the spring…plus owls.
      Stay safe and be well! Happy Easter, Bettie

  3. An absolutely beautiful post. Thank you for sharing your gorgeous home and garden

    1. Thank you Sue, happy to meet another member of my PrivateNewport family. Happy Easter, xB

  4. Oh my….Blessings on you for bringing a smile to my face during this challenging time. A beautiful reminder that in the world of nature and the emerging of spring life is still going on around us. Thank you for sharing this lovely story…happening right in your own “backyard”.

    Evie Pizzi

    1. Oh Evie, is a once-in-a-lifetime happening and I’m exhibiting all the craziness of a new grandmother (though I can’t wait until I finally have some pictures!)
      One of the silver linings in what’s happening is that we’re going into spring not winter. Happy Easter, xB

  5. Dear Beattie,
    I am sooo enjoying your beautiful pictures while I am staying
    close to home. The colors of Spring are amazing. I am taking my own fieldtrip
    through your generosity.
    Missing my Garden Club gatherings so this is taking its place.
    Thank you, Linda Souza

    1. Thank you, it is so gratifying to know that this time spent creating blogs is serving such a purpose.
      I, too, am missing my garden club meetings and friends…what a new world…hope you enjoy your Easter weekend. xB

        1. Oh I shall keep you updated, I’m acting like a crazy grandmother, but can’t see them. A friend is coming over this weekend to try and photograph them for me…B.

  6. Happy Easter Bettie!
    Thank you for sharing your beautiful photos of your lovely home in springtime!
    The gift wrapped tablescape from a past Easter is one of my favorites!
    Love the story of the Owls nesting in your ginkgo tree, but keep your kitty indoors (if you don’t already) while they are there. We have owls where I live in northern CA, with many cats fallen to their prey. 😢
    Stay safe & healthy during this corona virus epidemic.
    Best Wishes, Jeannette 💐🐇

    1. Hi, love that you remember the gift wrapped table; that was from 2015; the first Easter blog!
      And our Maine Coon, “Clicquot,” is definitely an indoor cat! Be safe, stay well for sure….and Happy Easter

  7. Hello from California! Your blog post on Easter is wonderful! Your forsythia in containers is intriguing, as I have always seen it in the ground. It makes such a gorgeous presentation! – Happy Easter to you, wishing you peace.

    1. Aaah, you’re from my beloved old home state…Yes, I was looking for a way to “decorate” so sneaked over to my neighbors who is never here and has a long hedge of forsythia.
      It does give the bush a bit of a presence, yes? Happy Easter to you, xB

  8. Dear Bettie,

    Your remarks and lovely pictures are uplifting and Happy! Jim and I need such happy notes and flowers!

    Thank you! And we know and believe this virus will have a vaccine and we move on with our lives. But your beautiful outdoors helps us lift our spirits!


  9. Absolutely beautiful and so very uplifting in these difficult times. Thank you for sharing.

    1. Merci, and yes, Clicquot is always in the house. Happy Easter…
      And I’m just remembering that 3 years ago I was in Santa Ynez for Easter. What a coincidence.
      Be safe and Stay well, xB

  10. Dear Bettie,
    Thank you for sharing your beautiful Easter tableaux – as always you offer such inspiration with your impeccable taste!
    Wishing you a very Happy Easter.

    1. Betsy, so happy to hear from you…and many mercis for your warm note. Be safe and Stay well, xB

  11. Bettie, posts of your gardens always brings me a sense of peace–beautiful! It’s easy to understand why mama owl chose YOUR garden to raise her owlets. Wishing you and hubby a lovely Easter. Hugs!

    1. Oh Bobbi, what a cute thought…we’re watching them hourly, and awaiting a photographer to try and get some images (a bit difficult when she’s 35′ up).
      Happy, Happy Easter to you, xB

  12. Love your garden! I remember we had an owl in residence in St Francisville, LA. Loved that. Keep the beautiful pictures coming. You have fabulous taste! Coffee table book?? Stay safe.

    1. Here’s to this beautiful world that provides so many “photo opps.”I’m just the messenger…
      And speaking of coffee table books, are you familiar with my two books, “Private Newport: At Home and in the Garden” and “Living Newport: Houses, People, Style”?
      You can find them on Amazon. Happy Easter to you and be well, xB

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