Behind the Private Gates, Design, In the Garden

Winter and Spring: Before and After in the Garden

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We’d had nary a drop of snow in 2023 (with the exception of two dustings). And then, lo and behold, on the eve of March 1 those big white flakes started to fall…bringing us 6″ overnight. These snow images help remind us of two garden truths…firstly, each season adds its grace and benefits to a garden’s yearly cycle. In the case of snow, this soft white powder protects the plants from winter’s harsh temperatures and burning winds while providing water for dormant plants. And secondly, and indisputably, spring follows winter.

Loving the juxtaposition of the seasons, I’m posting the snow image first (Before) and the spring image (After), which represents what we have to look forward to. I like to think it helps us keep things in perspective. Each pair of views captures a specific spot around our grounds in the two seasons. Always a reminder that every view has its merits. And sometimes I have trouble deciding which I prefer…

A second floor overview provides a good look at three gardens…the Fountain Garden which leads into the Green and White Garden behind the Orangerie and the Woodland Garden just over the yew hedge.

My favorite of the moment? The back courtyard, with its 80’+ rose chain.This northern angle of the house reminds me of a romantic little French village, with its different roof lines and window sizes and shapes.

Tulips, the first bulbs to bloom in the spring, grace the 4 stone planters nestled into the Fountain Garden’s boxwood hedge (three sets of these favorites are potted up to give us a long month of blooms).

Formal garden gates, which open from the front lawn, are given a touch of whimsy with a pair of grenouilles on the limestone pillars (the snow shot shows off the pruned yew hedging butting up to the pillars).

Dramatic four matched, cherry standards fronting the Orangerie are probably the most photographed part of the garden year ’round. How fortunate that their branching system is such that the snow can collect in the winter and carry out a white version of their soft pink spring blooms.

Versailles boxes, made of wood, are plastic-covered in the winter to protect them but still permit their shape to enchant as companions to the Dovecote in the Fountain Garden’s corner.

Not spring but fall, a rare capture with the camera that I was lucky enough to catch as I drove up the driveway. Timing and light are everything, as is winter’s snow!!

The four planted parterres under the cherries are a testimony to the benefit of giving serious thought to evergreens in a garden plan. Boxwood, berberis, holly, and euonymous keep the geometry of these four beds distinct throughout the year!

I’ll finish this post with the spring version of the featured snow image. In early April these fluffy single shell-pink petals of the ‘Hally Jolivette’ paired cherries capture the spirit of spring at Parterre. They are the first blooms to grow in the garden…and why I don’t go to England until late April.

An early Happy Spring to those of you in the southern half of our country.

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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".

29 thoughts on “Winter and Spring: Before and After in the Garden

  1. You really designed and have maintained, such a marvelous delight to the eyes with your gardens, Bettie. And good points about Spring following winter!

    1. Many mercis…but I’m now realizing that I didn’t include the Parterre Bench…mon dieu…B

  2. The bones of your garden are fabulous, creating gorgeous views for the seasons. Hope to see it in person this summer????

    1. It would be a treat to give you the “grand tour!” Let me know when you’re coming, xB

  3. I loved the juxtaposition of the seasons throughout your garden. Spring is just about here in Virginia.

    1. Mother Nature has quite the knack for creating Before and Afters! xB

  4. Well….now that you presented it this way…”that sNOw…is really beautiful, too.” I like snow for…maybe…one readon, my peonies! franki

    1. Peonies are a VERY good reason to emabrace snow…but I’m partial…xB

  5. Before, after, DURING! As one revels in the beautiful photography of your garden rooms, I am reminded of the wonderful Psalm 118:23- “This is the day which the Lord hath made; rejoice and be glad in it.” Surely your gardens must be blessed with His Presence .

    1. I do believe so…reminding me of the saying “God is in the details.” xxB

  6. Bettie…Your home and gardens are exquisite at any time of the year, but these photos (snow and spring) are gorgeous !! Please keep delighting us with your Parterre gems.

    1. THis is always one of my favorite blogs, so I’m thrilled that you enjoy it also! xB

  7. Thank you for always taking me away to beautiful gardens, whether they be winter or spring, during the dull days of winter. I may be in the where the weather is warm, (we’ve had no winter here to speak of), but it is always wonderful to see your garden and those at other locations! Three cheers to you for your wonderful posts!!!

  8. I have enjoyed so many of your postings, but somehow this one seems to be the BEST!!
    Thank you.
    Chris Lambert

    1. Oh Chris, how much I miss you! And how happy I am to stay connected through these posts. A specil hug from Newport, xB

    1. Thank you, Cynthia, the snow adds such a perspective and truly enhnaces the details of any garden…xB

  9. Just Beautiful! I love to see evergreens covered in snow. One of my favorite things.

    1. Me too! I think this is one of my favorite blogs…happy spring, xB

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