Last week I had the pleasure of visiting a private garden on three acres, south…
This past weekend I attended the Newport Flower Show in Newport, Rhode Island. The Show, sponsored by the Preservation Society of Newport County, takes place every year on the last weekend of June. The day’s weather provided sun with fabulous warm temperatures and no humidity.
The Show, a three-day weekend event, took place on Bellevue Avenue, the grand boulevard on which you see one early twentieth century mansion after another lining the street. The mansion called Rosecliff provided the setting for the Show.
The attraction of the Show has to be its several events that take place during the three days.
In the front of the house were a group of landscape exhibits, designed and constructed by local designers and contractors.
Inside the house you found award-winning floral decorations, plant varieties, and containers. I saw one of my favorite hostas, ‘Sum and Substance’, take a first place blue ribbon for large leaf hostas.
The lawn at the back of the house sweeps down to a low wall in front of the ocean. That view always impresses me. On the lawn were scattered a number of small tents that formed an outdoor market, featuring merchandise like clothing, hats, garden accessories, and jewelry. A jazz band played while you had the chance to enjoy a gourmet lunch along with Ben and Jerry’s ice cream. No fried dough here.
A garden display at the front of the house caught my attention as I strolled around the property.
Greenlion Design from Tiverton, RI created an exhibit that featured a woman made of plant material called the “Edwardian Traveller”, specially designed for the Preservation Society of Newport County for this Show. Korey Pirtle was the collaborating artist for the figure.
The owner of Greenlion Kim Lamothe said, “One challenge was to use elements that could stand up in the sun. We stuffed her bodice with moss to keep moisture under the tobacco leaves to keep them from getting too brittle.”
The life-size figure with the hat [above] was made with lunaria, nicotiana, moss, tobacco, eucalyptus, birch, and various succulents.
The ‘lady’ represented a woman of America’s Gilded Age period around 1900 and surely would have loved this garden party.
Estate gardens like Rosecliff that appeared at the end of the nineteenth century became an important chapter in American gardening history. These landscapes were constructed in a formal garden design which was popular among the wealthy of that period.