Behind the Private Gates, Design, In the Garden, The Parterre Bench


Reflecting on Gardens

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Like many of us, I have found myself reflecting over the past two months about a health crises that no science-fiction writer could have scripted. Blessedly, chaos brings it owns clarity. For me, one of the silver linings in this journey is that it happened over the spring, a time of renewal and rebirth in the garden. A horticultural parade that each week brought new life to a corner of the Parterre garden — from the many varieties of daffodils…

to the multiple collections of tulips, inside and outside…

to the romantic white wisteria.

Sequestered here at home, I experienced an almost giddy sense of occasion each and every day. And an even greater appreciation for this verdant space and it’s place in my mental health and well being. I marvelled at what a salve beauty can be!

The Parterre Bench makes her garden debut every Memorial Day weekend which is also the start of the Newport summer season. While this past weekend was a bit low key, traditions still count! Out of the Orangerie she came, an occasion that is like welcoming an old friend (one who doesn’t have to wear a mask).

The “ceremony” evoked an even more celebratory spirit this year. Every time I look at this masterpiece of furniture making, but especially now, I am so happy that I made that decision back in 2007 to follow a dream and create the Parterre Bench; it was to honor my first coffee table book. Indeed, it was a splurge, but that is exactly what that publishing accomplishment deserved. Anything less would not have sufficed. I smile just thinking back on it.

Which begs the question, “if not now, when?” The pandemic challenges have given everything a new perspective…yes, be safe and stay well, but also be kind to yourself, think deeply about what really matters, don’t put things off. Last week I received an order for the Parterre Bench from Texas. The buyer said, very simply — “I’ve been thinking about this for a year and I’ve decided to order it now!”

As home has come to mean even more to us in the past months so too have gardens proven invaluable in providing solace and reassurance…reminding us of what we have to look forward to, even with these challenges.

Is this not the time to give thought to making your place of respite even more meaningful? Take a moment to visit my Private Newport website and explore the possibility of your own Parterre Bench commission, a bespoke centerpiece for your own green paradise. If not now, when?

Here’s to a healthy and happy summer! And join me on Instagram and Facebook where I”ll be posting all things “In the Garden at Parterre.”

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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".

6 thoughts on “Reflecting on Gardens

    1. Thank you, Lisa, for being in touch with the power of gardens…loved your use of “oasis”!
      Be well, xB

  1. Well, my dear, you are certainly sequestered in Parterre Paradise.
    Move over Nebuchadnezzar and the Hanging Gardens Of Babylon, Bettie has you beat!!!!

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