Behind the Private Gates, Design, In the Garden


Roses at Parterre

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We built our home, Parterre, twenty-three years ago this month. Can’t believe it’s been that long!! When creating the gardens we kept in mind that this would be a summer garden–late June through October, not a spring garden. And what says summer better than roses?? As a novice garden, I shied away from having a rose garden specifically and focused on the use of this jewel as a landscape feature and design punctuation. Please join me on a stroll through Parterre’s gardens.

The Orangerie (a surprise Christmas gift from my husband when we were just breaking ground) is the centerpiece of the property. Of course it had to be draped with roses, encircling the antique leaded glass windows.

Looking across the lawn from the Orangerie to the pergola, where a pair of large stone planters placed either side of the steps show off a bamboo tuteur of David Austin ‘Charles Darwin.’

David Austin’s ‘Falstaff,’ in delicious merlot red, lines the wall to the Cutting Garden and provides a breathtaking scene as you move from the back courtyard to the interior garden rooms.

Designed just for roses, the latest addition to Parterre, a tall, 20′ long lattice, is the west-facing wall of the Cutting Garden. Here, the aroma of ‘Deelish,’ ‘Sweet Mademoiselle,’ climbing ‘Peace,’ and ‘Pink Enchantment’ remind you that summer at Parterre is all about roses.

Just a peek inside the Cutting Garden, where many rose bushes have supplanted other plants (like peonies, which now have their own bed across from the rose chain). Here are David Austin’s ‘Boscobel’ and ‘Ancient Mariner’ cavorting in their cobblestone-edged bed.

When designing, I reflected back on my original wish list for our gardens. One detail was an arch (which could be covered in roses). A perfect spot presented itself, the wrought iron arch holding up the lantern that lights the entrance to the back courtyard.

But the star of the season is the 82 ft. long rose chain planted with ‘Crown Princess Margaretha’ (feature image above). It was actually David Austin, Jr., who suggested this specific rose when he visited Parterre during the Newport Flower Show many years ago. It’s such a yummy shade of warm apricot (a bit like an Aperol spritz).

I love the way it dresses up our back courtyard, which we drive in and out of many times a day.

But also the way the roses cluster, or as the Austin catalog says, “are produced with exceptional freedom and regularity” which makes each individual bush look so full.

And in the late afternoon, the setting sun filters through the trees, casting a romantic glow.

The back drop to this rose chain is a glorious weeping European beech. I always welcome any opportunity to quote a friend who once said, “if Newport were a tree, it would be a beech.”

A big surprise awaited me after the horticulture judging at the Newport Flower Show last weekend…our ‘Carding Mill’ shrub rose (David Austin) won Best Rose in the Show.

Have a happy and safe 4th of July!

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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".

13 thoughts on “Roses at Parterre

  1. TRULY a PARADISE…It is beyond belief how perfectly this is designed AND ENJOYED! With roses like that…how does one select “the BEST??!!??” franki

  2. You have created an exquisite garden over the last 23 years. Your roses are gloriously beautiful! What a treat for the eyes:)

  3. SO beautiful Bettie! You’ve created a truly magical garden. And congratulations on best rose! The judges have flawless taste – it’s absolutely gorgeous. Thanks for the wonderful inspiration, and Happy 4th of July weekend!

  4. Wow, 23 years ago!!! I remember the party on your “lot”, that summer!! Tempus Fugit….
    Congratulations on your Blue Ribbon Rose winner!! They are truly beauties, each & every one…

  5. I’d like to put my nose in every single one of these marvels in your garden, and give a prize of a big nose drawing to the rosiest smell. My favorite summer scent!

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