Design, In the Garden, Initial Thoughts

Shadows in the Garden: a Winter Revelry

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It is about this time of the year– after the first snow and while my Christmas tree is still up — that I start dreaming about the gardens that I visited last year. One in particular lingers in my memory (as does its tall border of deep pink Knockout roses, above.) Not just because it was very, very private ( and so shall go unnamed) but because it had such a presence, in a simple understated way.

Once the largest plantation on the Eastern Shore of Maryland during the 18th  and 19th centuries,  it is still an impressive property with “good bones” ( as we gardeners like to say) and many paths with long vistas that invite you to stroll and explore.

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Its 1,000 sylvan acres also showcase a collection of envy-inspiring out buildings and structures (one in particular that I shall save as a surprise!) — a pair of brick-walled gardens, a free-standing rose arbor (shortened in recent times to accommodate a par-3 putting green),  an extensive stable and an eighteenth century orangery (possibly the oldest greenhouse existing in North America.)

Rendered all the more glorious by the late September sun that casts such magical shadows.

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A pair of tall, elegant, heavy wooden gates  lead into the 18th century walled garden.

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Worth noting,  the extensive stables/garage introduce their own well thought out details to the overall day’s experience (love the garage doors and gate, with their iron hinges and latches.)

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But the surprise on this large landscape is a 17th century British pub disassembled and brought over from England,  positioned against the bricks of one of the walled gardens, down by the water.

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Not knowing what to expect as I entered, imagine my fascination with the scale and charm that greeted me. First the very small entry hall and stairwell, which then let onto a long, narrow pub, its low ceiling making you feel as though you had entered a doll house.

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A fully functioning “pub,” with fireplace, that is used on a regular basis by family and guests.

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Over many years I have been fortunate to have the pleasure of touring a private homeowner’s garden. It is the most gracious of gestures and one for which I always feel deep appreciation.

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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".