Behind the Private Gates, In the Garden

Welcome to my June Garden

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Spring has been very late, cool and wet, but when it popped (on a few delicious warm and sunny days) everything burst at once, lush and green and colorful — in need of pruning already. Luckily, a lovely house guest was with me for this first weekend of June — Norma Thiessen from Toronto (and “mother” of the website My Beautiful Paris). So many special plants were in bloom, like the rare weeping Chinese lilac that greeted her as she drove up the driveway into the back courtyard.


Quite a showstopper, especially with a blue Atlas cedar for a backdrop.


It was an easy decision to arrange some of the cuttings for a glass vase outside her guest room…


The weekend was to be a full one (her vintage suitcase was filled to overflowing) but the garden was at the top of her list. So, in Norma’s honor I’m celebrating June garden highlights; what a treat to  look at my own garden through someone else’s eyes, enjoying the little or big details that I might otherwise take for granted.


And some quick from the-the-garden-into-the-house romantic pairings. This is what she woke to Saturday morning…peonies!



Come and join us…


Miss Muffet waiting in anticipation, ready to assume her responsibilities as garden tour guide starting first in the winter garden with its fountain.


Then on to the Cutting Garden, where treasures abound…peonies in all their glory, but for such a short period of time; so hoping my buds that I’ll “hold over” in the refrigerator will last until the Newport Flower Show!


So precious and scrumptious…

In the same pink family an unusual variegated-leaf honeysuckle, which only makes an appearance at this time of year, dances around a metal tuteur with fleur de lis finial.


Light purply cat mint pairs beautifully with the shell pink peonies.


The first clematis buds reveal themselves in a stone container that centers the Orangerie parterres.


Cutting the yellow ‘Bartzella’ peony to mix in an arrangement with the chartreuse lady’s mantle…


and not forgetting the Dutch bearded iris; when I first saw them blooming I knew just the vase to use and exactly where I was going to put them.


In the library, champagne and apricot iris bring out the rich colors of old leather books.


In another bedroom, this incredible rosy-peach ITOH peony takes your breath away.


But no June flower can compete with the Holy Grail of spring flowers…the blue Himalayan poppy.


The end of a multi-night ritual. Please hurry back, Norma.


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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".

16 thoughts on “Welcome to my June Garden

    1. It’s so wonderful, Susan, that you decided to come on the trip. See you soon, Bettie

    1. Katie, when they do bloom bring them to Newport and enter them in the Newport Flower Show!! All of ours will have passed by then…

  1. Poetry in flowers. I loved walking through your garden as I had my coffee this morning. Thank you for sharing. xo

  2. Good morning Bettie. . .I am absolutely in love with your garden. . .especially the peonies which I wish we could grow in South Florida. Two friends are headed your way. . .both members of the Garden Club of America and one who belongs to the Newport Garden Club. Learned that if you cut peonies for bouquets that they last longer then if you leave them on the bush.

    Thanks again for a beautiful blog. . . they are so enjoyed.

    Anna Louise
    Coral Gables, Florida

    1. Thank you, Anna, for giving me encouragement to cut my peonies. It’s always a conundrum…to cut or leave them looking pretty in the garden…

  3. I could almost smell the fragrance thro my IPad….such a lovely way to start the day!
    Will Cliquot welcome me, too?

    1. We’ll have a stroll through when you get here…and Clicquot awaits you in the house (no outdoors for her).xo

  4. Oh Bettie , your garden is gorgeous! Wish you could send some water to Montecito! Much love, Sue

    1. Wish I could send ME to Montecito…and of course, some water, too! xo

  5. I loved visiting your garden last year with the GCA visiting gardens group and so many thanks for sharing it again this year! Here in Mississippi all of the spring blooms you are enjoying are long gone and the dahlias have begun to bloom. Good luck with your blooms holding over for the show!

    1. My fingers are crossed; so glad we can stay in touch via my posts. Cheers to you, Bettie

  6. My dear Bettie,
    Just a few weeks and we will be there! You made me feel like I was in your spring garden. I so miss spring gardens since we live here among the palm trees all year! I could almost smell the wonder scent of the beautiful peonies and what a beauty the ITOH peony is. I hope you can save it for the flower show. The blue poppy is one of my favorites. I notice Susan Hooper sent in a comment. She attended your power point here and I’m so happy she wanted to join our group to come visit. The lovely bedroom reminded me of my perfect nights of rest there.
    Much love,

    1. We have many years of happy memories, my dear, and I’m so excited you’re coming back for the Flower Show!! Can’t wait…xo

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