Today The Glam Pad is delighted to welcome back a favorite guest, Bettie Bearden Pardee, founder of Private Newport and author of Living Newport: Houses, People, Style and Private Newport: At Home and in the Garden. Bettie has created one of the prettiest private gardens in the United States at her home in Newport, Rhode Island, which in turn inspired her to create the iconic Parterre Bench, a bespoke piece of furniture made to exacting standards by a fourth generation Newport craftsman.
Today, Bettie is taking us on a tour of her garden in spring bloom and sharing her inspiration behind the creation of the Parterre Bench. She is also sharing 10 fabulous tips for creating your very own dream garden. Welcome, Bettie!
NEWPORT IN FLOWER, HOME TO THE PARTERRE BENCH
By Bettie Bearden Pardee
One of the great truths to be revealed these past twelve months is the importance of the outdoors, especially the repose and solace to be enjoyed in a garden. As spring and summer start to unfold in Newport, my spirits are lifted as I anticipate the many beautiful settings that are part of the gardens here at Parterre, soon to be billowing with new blooms.
From the front courtyard urns…
to the roses climbing the side garden arch…
to the now famous four matched cherries fronting the Orangerie…
each venue reminds me that all beautiful gardens have something in common with the Parterre Bench.
Firstly, a garden and the Parterre Bench each have a story to tell. There is an origin to their beginnings. For us, it was building a new home to include gardens. My interpretation of a fanciful “Alice in Wonderland” bench that I chanced upon in an Irish garden would ultimately become the centerpiece of our Newport green paradise.
Secondly, the design of memorable gardens and the Parterre Bench are both nurtured by vision. This image that I had treasured for so long taught me the importance of manifesting my dream, no matter how long that may be (35 years!). I was determined beyond a doubt to have a garden bench that was unlike any other that I had, or to this day, have seen.
Thirdly, any project or undertaking, be it a new home, a garden, or a piece of furniture deserves and requires a commitment to quality. The meticulous details of designing the Parterre Bench were given the same level of workmanship as my husband and I put into our new home.
This bespoke piece of furniture is handcrafted to order, one bench at a time, to exacting design standards and specifications. And, we’re proud to say, made in the USA, in Newport, Rhode Island (not “off shore”). The material…Honduran mahogany; the size…a generous 62″w. x 63″ h.; the stability…2 1/2″ thick and 110 lbs; the intricacy…“capturing the grace of a flower and the flourish of a leaf.”
It has been thrilling to be part of the many celebratory occasions for which clients have chosen the Parterre Bench…to recognize a marital engagement, to accentuate the maze in a new landscape, to honor an anniversary, to decorate a wedding reception, to commemorate a house warming. Certainly, many are the opportunities to entertain at Parterre, all times of the day…and night. After all, isn’t life to be celebrated?
Especially when it is your 95th birthday!
The many personalities of the Parterre Bench are to be enjoyed not just here in Newport but in other venues around the world, many representing different garden styles.
Please do visit us at PrivateNewport.com/ParterreBench to learn more about, and to purchase, this iconic garden centerpiece.
BETTIE’S 10 TIPS FOR DESIGNING YOUR DREAM GARDEN
1) Develop your eye…visit gardens; peruse books, catalogs, and garden magazines; scroll through Instagram and Pinterest
2) Create a Mood Board of your “likes” (or albums/boards on social media)
3) Look to the experts…many nurseries have consulting and design services/on-line catalogs illustrate garden groupings and offer the plants for sale
4) Manage your expectations…ask other garden owners, trades people for thoughts about budget
5) Don’t forget about maintenance…in time, money and availability of services
6) Consider the relevance of a garden’s entire design…style, hard or soft features, furniture, ornaments, containers, as well as plantings
7) The “bones” of a garden (form, shape, scale) are more important than ie.color (flowers are fleeting).
8) Everything doesn’t have to be done at one time… there’s merit in installing a garden in stages (and easier on the budget)
9) Be Brave! Take that initial step (noted interior designer Bunny Williams’ first garden was ordered out of a catalog)
10) Finally, “If you don’t have a place to sit, you won’t go into the garden.”
Thank you Bettie for allowing us to tour your exquisite garden, and for your tips and inspiration on how we can all create our very own dream garden! What a delightful way to start the week. 🙂
- IN THE GARDEN WITH BETTIE BEARDEN PARDEE
- AT HOME AND IN THE GARDEN WITH BETTIE BEARDEN PARDEE
- BETTIE BEARDEN PARDEE’S 13 TIPS FOR THE GRACIOUS HOST AND PERFECT HOUSEGUEST
- NEWPORT, RHODE ISLAND: BEHIND THE SCENES WITH BETTIE BEARDEN PARDEE
- EDITH WHARTON’S NEWPORT SUMMER HOME
Author, lecturer, garden connoisseur, former magazine editor and television host/producer, Bettie Bearden Pardee calls Newport, Rhode Island home, the inspiration for her most recent books on lifestyle and design, and her website, Private Newport. She’s also the designer of the Parterre Bench, designed for and named after her home on Bellevue Avenue.
Before starting Private Newport and writing two acclaimed books on her adopted home town – Living Newport: Houses, People, Style and Private Newport: At Home and in the Garden – Bettie led an 11 year career at Bon Appétit as a contributing editor producing “Entertaining with Style.” At the same time, she became the host and creative producer of a 13 part PBS series titled, “The Presidential Palate: Entertaining at the White House.” A design graduate of UCLA, she has received the Burlington Award for interior design. Bettie lectures extensively in the garden club and design world around the country. Bettie’s popular lectures on lifestyle topics include, “Entertaining, Newport Style….when Grace Kelly was a Guest;” “Wit and Whimsy in the Garden;” and the recent, “Newport, A Fabled Destination,” premiered at Rosecliff as part of the Preservation Society of Newport County’s Summer Lecture Series, “Great Escapes.” She is a past president of the Newport Garden Club.