Behind the Private Gates


Celebrating Summer: Parterre’s Green and White Garden

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I’ve adored sharing the Lake District of Italy with you, but as the first of July reminds us, summer is here! And Newport always offers more than worthy material, so we’re shifting gears and focusing on my beloved “City by the Sea.”
What better place to start than in the garden at Parterre. On a languid stroll yesterday, I captured the Green and White garden at its early summer finest, reminding me that this theme was the first garden idea when we started on the landscape and design of the new home we were building. It’s truly a classic and tradition-bound favorite fascinating garden lovers for years (think Sissinghurst and Vita Sackville-West in the mid-1900s).

If asked what my one driving design precept was when this journey began, I would say the plant list with a sharp focus on shades of green and varied leaf shapes and textures. Remember, once the white flowers have “gone by” the green scene will need to carry its own.

Just in this cozy corner of the garden we have (right to left) an unusual fern ‘Victoria Lady fern,’ a small-leafed Golden Feverfew with its dainty daisies, and Heuchera ‘Green Spice’ with dusty red veins, all backed up by a bank of white astilbe.


And it helps considerably when you have a statement tree that centers your attention and reinforces the white theme…Cornus ‘Summer Fun’ (that replaces a stalwart old fave, Beautyberry.)

What do I love about this garden?
The variety of hostas that always carry their weight, and more…

The froth of white astible that bursts out at this time of the summer, with chartreuse carpets of Creeping Jenny breaking the lines of the beds’ iron edging…

The details…nestling an antique white marble urn amongst the dramatic and large hosta, Sum and Substance, just next to the old cobblestones that provide convenient walking paths through the garden…

The wit of a pruned boxwood in the shape of a brioche (for our French home, Parterre). Last year I decided to add touches and shades of rose madder (named for the oil paint); here the Lysimachia ‘Beaujolais’ catches your eye as you step down from the Fountain Garden.


In closing, I can’t fail to share one of my key vignettes on our property, at the end of the Green and White Garden. Simplicity is the key here…three matching white stone urns on plinths within a froth of chartreuse Lady’s Mantle spilling onto the raked pebble paths. Conveniently (and by design), the wooly thyme that joins the Lady’s Mantle repeats the celadon green Thalictrum in the urns.


Happy Fourth of July to you and our wonderful country!!!

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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".

8 thoughts on “Celebrating Summer: Parterre’s Green and White Garden

  1. Always the nicest way to start a day viewing your magnificent garden. You are a true artist. Thank you for sharing the beauty on our Country’s birthday with the most important reminder of all- we ARE the UNITED States of America and long may she live.

  2. I’m so glad you have managed to dissuade Bambi and Thumper from devouring your DELICIOUS green and white garden; alas, they have discovered mine! Vita Sackville West and Sir Harold Nicholson would have felt so at home in your enchanting, embracing garden rooms. I could just nestle in one of the beds of Lady’s Mantle. What a glorious treat for the Fourth of July.

  3. LOVELY LADY, THE 4TH OF JULY ’24
    *** WELCOME HOME ***
    WHILE YOUR ‘ITALIAN’ LAKE VISTAS – LEFT ALL OF US WITH POUNDING HEARTS;
    THE AGE OLD – ‘SAMPLER’ STITCHED WORDS – RING TRUE:
    ” THERE’S NO PLACE LIKE HOME! ” (THANK U – DOROTHY). A CLOSING THOUGHT …
    ‘BEAUTY WILL SAVE THE WORLD’.

    FONDLY,
    TOM

  4. Beautiful stone urns surrounded by Lady’s Mantle and pebble stone! Hope you have a wonderful Independence weekend.

  5. Such a beautiful and well composed display of well loved plants! I only wish that I could study your garden more closely, but the distance from your place from Colorado is just not doable. I appreciate your detailed description of the planting combination. Truly inspirational and I am taking notes. Very warmly, Karen

  6. Lucky your beautiful garden with plenty healthy assorted hostas which does not get night visitors. Mine have been totally eaten by our visiting deers! Year after year…. Even though we sprayed against animal munchers… The June rains washed the spraying away and mama deer and a young one ate all the hostages and some lilies.
    The hostas will be pulled out and a deer proof greenery will be found to replace it.
    Dear green and flowery lady Any deer proof low greenery suggestion welcome ? Cat

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