silver king euonymus

A ‘Silver King ’ Euonymus japonicus shrub (left) is formed into an obelisk-shaped centerpiece, which adds height and diversity to the garden.

Known as a consummate hostess and keen purveyor of the Newport, Rhode Island social scene, Bettie Bearden Pardee is equally adept at creating beautiful floral arrangements. Yet, when asked to identify the one plant that deserves the most praise in her garden, she doesn’t single out a certain flower—but an evergreen. “I really can’t say enough good things about the genus of plants known as Euonymus (pronounced you-on-a-mus),” she confides. “In fact, I just don’t understand why more people aren’t aware of its various forms and uses.” Because it can be found in every sector of Parterre, this wide range of vegetation serves as the ‘bones’ to Pardee’s hand-troweled pursuits.

“From ground covers and low hedges to fountain plants and climbers, the many cultivars of Euonymus happily join and augment other features and foliage in my garden. In fact, I think it’s what caught the attention of Martha Stewart, who visited me a couple of years ago, just to see for herself.”

See more of Bettie Bearden Pardee’s Newport garden, Parterre.

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