Behind the Private Gates, Design, In the Garden

The Centerpiece of Parterre Garden

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If there can be a silver lining to having had some glorious trips cancelled this spring it is that I am here, in Newport, to see my two beloved matched pair of cherry trees go through their entire bloom period (image above). The first set of fruit trees on the property to start this cycle, this variety ‘Hally Jolivette,’ produces the most exquisite small, single blossoms in a soft shell pink, clustered together so they give a bountiful appearance to the pruned shape of a fully opened parasol.

Of course, this all happens before any leaves appear on the tree, lending an air of elegance to the display. While no mother likes to “play favorites,” I do have to confess that these four trees, and their position fronting the Orangerie, truly makes them the horticultural centerpiece of our three acres.

What a pleasure it is to walk this path between them when leading guests to a party in the Orangerie come summer.

Photo Credit: Vibrant Optics for Private Newport

How lucky I was! Rather like the Dovecote I wrote about last week, that was not originally on our house plans, I had no specified plant or tree for the four square beds as we were moving into our new home. So after a walk through the just planted garden with my friend, Ed Lindemann, who was running the Philadelphia Flower Show in 1999, I was closer to, and more comfortable with, making a decision. And here comes the “meant to be” part . I called my favorite Rhode Island tree man, Sam Kinder (of course, for me, when in doubt, put in a tree). Not incoincidentally, he’d just received a selection of prunus ‘Hally Jolivette.’ But he ordered trees, not standards, so he was about to return them. This great good luck has provided such joy-filled moments every spring…especially as nothing else is in bloom, save for daffodils.

From the winter glassed-in solarium, a view of the cherries that has its own magic when framed by a fern frond,

to the view through the whimsical round window of the garden apartment.

Or, as a backdrop to the potted tulips accenting the Korean box hedge in the Winter Garden,

and in dawn’s early light.

But never as much as this year. Our cool spring has drawn out their bloom period from ten days to about three weeks…and blooms are still full on all four! This is what they looked like just yesterday.

Recording every phase of this process at all hours of the day, I felt that I’ve really been up close and personal with the wonder of nature, the process of creation and the promise that no matter what might be going on in the world, these trees will set bud, burst open and dance in the spring breeze. I feel almost privileged to have watched this process from start to finish.

I hope you will carry this positive thought of regeneration with you today. Gardens and their beauty remind us of what we have to look forward to even in a time of chaos.

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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".

22 thoughts on “The Centerpiece of Parterre Garden

  1. Leave it to a tree, or trees, to help you through a world temporarily confined. Unlike humans, a tree never moves but withstands anything Nature throws its way, day after day and season after season, whatever comes.
    Glorious photographs….

  2. Have you posted these amazing window views on the Facebook group, View From My Window. You must! They would love your view and you all the others from around the world.
    Be well on this good day that the Lord has made.

    1. Wonderful idea, Janie, thank you for passing this along!
      And you enjoy your gorgeous day also. Be safe and sound, xB

  3. So beautiful. A blessing of this time is the chance to slow down and appreciate. Best to you.

    1. Yiu are so correct, Pam, there are so many silver silver linings around us if we but look…xB

  4. Your gardens are pure magic! Those trees are spectacular! I’m glad you are here in Newport to enjoy them!


    1. Thank you, Kimberly, I was so very fortunate that this acquisition worked out.Happy Spring…xB

    1. Don’t we all love cherries?! I had no idea when I purchased them what joy I would receive over these past 21 year.
      Be safe and sound, xB

  5. Simply Gorgeous! Thank you for sharing your beautiful gardens with us – such a blessing. Take care and Be Safe

  6. STUNNING YOUR ENTIRE GARDEN!Mine is just starting to blossom here in CALIFORNIA!I have always said NEVER TRAVEL IN MAY or I will MISS MY GARDEN’S PERFORMANCE!

    1. You are so correct!! I try to plan mine around certain “windows of opportunity” to scoot away for a week.
      Hoping to be back in my old home state in September…xB

  7. That is a silver lining to our very chilly spring 🌞 Loved the photo from inside the circular window. Sunday weather looks good!

  8. Nature is so amazing to view, and how well it lifts our spirit–just gorgeous, Bettie! Hugs!

    1. Merci, dear one. Still planning on our July date in Newport. Fingers crossed! xB

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