The Blue Garden – Newport, Rhode Island

DSC_0502I’ve just returned from a few days, my first ever, in Newport, Rhode Island. In addition to the ocean, the mansions, the shopping, harbor and wonderful dining is an absolute jewel of a garden, the Blue Garden.

Originally designed by Frederick Law Olmstead for Arthur Curtiss and Harriet Parsons James as a hortus conclusus, aka a secret garden, for their Beacon Hill House in 1913, it was a unique expression of landscape art. The garden gets its name from the limited and prefered color palette of purples and blues requested by Mrs. James.

It’s opening celebration, “The Masque of the Blue Garden” in August 1913 was covered in detail by newspapers and periodicals across the country and up until the early 1930s the social events in the Blue Garden were heralded features of Newport.

Sadly, the garden, with its labor-intensive upkeep fell into disrepair after the deaths of Arthur and Harriet in 1941. Fortunately, in 2012 the property was purchased by the late philanthropist, Dorrance H. Hamilton who had a deep interest in preservation and gardens and made the full, intricate and painstaking restoration possible, under the guidance of architecture firm Reed Hilderbrand. You can see a wonderful video that traces the complete restoration on their website.

Standing in this incredible space, I realized that photos truly do not do it justice, so trust me that it is something you really need to see and walk through for yourself!
DSC_0487DSC_0492DSC_0490DSC_0505DSC_0494 DSC_0496DSC_0499DSC_0506 DSC_0514 DSC_0516 DSC_0519 DSC_0497DSC_0503DSC_0508Today, the garden is private, but available for tours (Thursdays from mid-June to mid-Oct) for individuals or groups related to garden design, landscape architecture, horticulture or historic preservation by contacting the garden director, Sarah Vance. My hostess has become very involved with the garden and I must thank her for the opportunity to visit this landmark space.

What a gift to the town of Newport and all those who venture that way.


Designer Spotlight: Amy Berry Design

3705-Euclid.0036Perhaps it’s just a natural cycle, but I find that many of my friends are redecorating and my own desire to “freshen things up”. We’ve been in our home for over 10 years and much of what we have was done that long ago. Trends and taste change, so it’s natural to want to update things. But, that’s not always in the budget. So, like many of you, I am always in search of ideas and inspiration.

I stumbled upon the refreshing interior design work of Amy Berry and instantly fell in love. Her attention to detail is notable as is her balance of elegance and livability! One of Amy’s design elements that caught my eye was a lucite baby’s bed, though I am far past the need for one. It’s just so brilliant!

Amy’s love of travel, interior design and of beautiful things led her to open her own boutique design business in 2013 and this young mother has since been featured in House Beautiful, Southern Living and even created her own line of pillows and dog beds (yes….Molly might need one).

Here is just a snapshot of her work. 6ZlPS-_y5eAuKIBqMwTsPLoeL50l8-PGsOaiVGEBzrE3659-Maplewood.00243659-Maplewood.00373705EuclidAve.01123705-Euclid.0043ForAmy-100MK-CRIBAnd, of course, I loved her work even more when I saw she is from and works in Dallas! There’s just something about Dallas style. I’ll always love it!


Summer of the Hydrangeas

DSC_0435Everywhere I look and everything I’ve read has indicated that this has been the unofficial “summer of the hydrangea”.

Rarely have so many of us been so enthralled with this blooming beauty…I think it’s because of the hydrangea drought we experienced for the past couple of years. They say you don’t know what you have until it’s gone, but I would venture that we didn’t know what we were missing until this summer!

These lacy, limelight hydrangeas are the gift that appears in August. I have two enormous ones in pots on my back patio and the two that flank my arbor gate. I had toyed with climbing roses for the gate, but instead decided to have these hydrangeas hug it instead.

Words don’t adequately describe them….so my photos will hopefully make do!DSC_0431DSC_0443 DSC_0429 DSC_0437 DSC_0424DSC_0421DSC_0418 DSC_0426 DSC_0422 DSC_0423Happy first weekend in August….I hope you’re enjoying these last weeks of summer. Time to savor time in the garden or wherever you love to be!