The Gardens at Doris Duke’s Rough Point, Newport RI

The perennial gardens at Doris Duke's Newport, RI estate, Rough Point | HOPE STATE STYLE | Photography by Caroline Goddard

The perennial gardens at Doris Duke's Newport, RI estate, Rough Point | HOPE STATE STYLE | Photography by Caroline Goddard

The perennial gardens at Doris Duke's Newport, RI estate, Rough Point | HOPE STATE STYLE | Photography by Caroline Goddard

The perennial gardens at Doris Duke's Newport, RI estate, Rough Point | HOPE STATE STYLE | Photography by Caroline Goddard

Privet hedge entrance to the perennial gardens at Doris Duke's Newport, RI estate, Rough Point | HOPE STATE STYLE | Photography by Caroline Goddard

The perennial gardens at Doris Duke's Newport, RI estate, Rough Point | HOPE STATE STYLE | Photography by Caroline Goddard

The perennial gardens at Doris Duke's Newport, RI estate, Rough Point | HOPE STATE STYLE | Photography by Caroline Goddard

The perennial gardens at Doris Duke's Newport, RI estate, Rough Point | HOPE STATE STYLE | Photography by Caroline Goddard

Some photos from the garden’s of Doris Duke’s Newport estate, Rough Point, just in time for¬†the spring flora burgeoning around us. To discover how¬†these historic gardens have intermingled, altered, and accented the natural landscape since it was¬†originally surveyed by Frederick Law Olmsted in 1887, be sure to check out Newport Restoration Foundation’s latest exhibition, Nature Tamed, on view at Rough Point through November 5th, 2017. My photos¬†appear with permission from, and gratitude towards, the Newport Restoration Foundation.

Nature Tamed Logo

Friday Flowers

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I’ve been meaning to share photos of the altar flowers that I did for my gran’s memorial service for a while now. ¬†I don’t mean to sound clinical about it, I just really enjoyed the process of putting together arrangements with a particular person in mind, and was determined to make them celebratory, and not funerary. ¬†My grandmother absolutely hated store bought flowers, so that was a good starting set of parameters, and in the end, I spent one amazing and meditative day¬†driving around Rhode Island, visiting places and people that she loved, to gather blooms. ¬† My family rallied around the cause, allowing me to cut flowers from their gardens and greenhouses, and I also¬†stopped to pick a few obliging wildflowers in the meadows and sandy roadsides along Second Beach.

I wanted the palette to be modern, anything but somber, and evocative of the sea, so I avoided dark green leaves (which make me think of funeral arrangements and 1-800 Flowers) altogether.  I also ditched the urns typically used by the church, which seemed so heavy-hearted and masculine, in favor of large Nantucket baskets.  I made three arrangements in all, two to match on the church altar, and one huge one for the tent outside.

To start, I lined the baskets (which you can get at Christmas Tree Shops) with thick trash bags and filled with Oasis wet floral foam and water, then cut the bags down to the rim.

Then I shaped the arrangements with filler greens, which gave me a base of lovely grey-greens. ¬†I used the leaves of¬†Baptisia australis¬†(false indigo), which look a bit like olive leaves, unopened flower heads of¬†Sedum¬†‘Autumn Joy,’ silver and fragrant Santolina (lavender cotton), and blue mop head hydrangeas- they had changed to the most perfect, pale jade green by that time!

Once the general shape of the arrangement was established, I added white¬†Hydrangea paniculata. ¬†By this point, the oasis was completely hidden from sight. ¬†Then, to create dimension and keep things loose, I added the quirky, leggy blossoms and green seed heads of Queen Anne’s Lace.

For the finishing touches, the altar flowers got a few sprigs of my Granmother’s bright pink roses, plus wildflowers in dusty blush shades to integrate the color. ¬†(One is joe pye weed, not sure about the other). ¬†To the green arrangement, I added wild grasses and rose hips from Rosa multiflora gathered in the Norman Bird Sanctuary.

I also (laughingly and somewhat contradictorily) added some store bought roses in pale greenish white, leftovers from a party my aunt had thrown a few days before. ¬† I still remember, at dinner, Mumma fishing food off of my plate when I was being a picky kid, or eating the marshmallow that I had just toasted to a crisp in the fireplace, saying: “I’d hate to see it go to waste!”

Friday Flowers

Tulips long after bloom make for a sculptural arrangement in a glass cylinder.

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Ed note: these are garden tulips, which had been left standing well past the time that they should have been dead-headed, giving their seed heads time to develop.  Florist variety tulips unfortunately do not have such a strong, lollypop kind of stalk, so might not work in this kind of arrangement.

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Friday Flowers

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My dears, I’ve neglected you all week, I know. ¬†Right now I am pouring my heart and soul into my new jobs, but I promise to make it up to you with a WHOLE WEEKEND of flowers. ¬†I’m assisting a wedding today and tomorrow, and then will celebrate Trinity Sunday and Brent’s last official ‘choir season sing,’ after which a good holiday nap will be in order.

My cousin Charlotte is an incredible photographer and the fantastic individual who inadvertently inspired this weekly column. ¬†She is also a proud Kentucky native, so Miss Charlotte, this one’s for you. ¬†On this rainy Friday, what could be better than a solitary scarlet Peony, saved from a damp garden end, in a bourbon bottle?

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