Chanticleer is one of the great gardens of the Philadelphia region. The garden first opened to the public in 1993 and is a “must go” desitnation. If you haven’t already been there, add it to your bucket list right now. Go on, I’ll wait.
During a recent visit I was able to see why it has been affectionately called a “pleasure garden.” How can you not be awed by many beautiful sweeps of color, artfully created vignettes, and structural elements designed by Chanticleer’s 14 gardeners and groundskeepers, artists in their own right. Chanticleer is truly “planted to perfection.”
The Chanticleer estate dates from the early 20th-century, when land along the Main Line of the Pennsylvania Railroad was developed for summer homes to escape the heat of Philadelphia. Adolph Rosengarten, Sr., and his wife Christine chose the Wayne-St. Davids area to build their country retreat. The family’s pharmaceutical firm would become part of Merck in the 1920s. I’m sure the garden was amazing then, but as my pictures are sure to show, the gardens are breathtaking now!
|Contrasting masses of tulips caressed the house and invited visitors to linger
|Hard edges were softened with climbing vines, like this hydrangea
|Black pots set into a bed added height and contrast
|The pool house was accented by a white garden of tulips and foxgloves
|Even broken pots were used creatively, in this case as a rock garden
|This pot was the focal point, set on a carpet of blue and yellow
|Pieces of slate were used to create these patio containers
|Natural materials made this container extra-special
|The foliage and white flowers stood out against the field of phlox
|The wisteria and allium balanced each other perfectly
|A stone seating area near the ruin garden
|A waterfall cascaded over a stone wall
|There is nothing quite as satisfying as playing in the water
|A serpentine stream
The last magical feature of Chanticleer I want to highlight is the use of structure. The ruin garden consisted of multiple garden rooms made of stone walls, while an outdoor patio area was adorned with a cathedral-like arch that served as an entry gate. As you would expect, Chanticleer showcased many garden rooms for visitors to enjoy.
|This wooden arch served as a garden gate to the seating area
|Wisteria draped over a patio to create a sense of enclosure
As I am sure you can tell, I could go on and on about Chanticleer and what a wonderful place it is. So here’s your call to action….go there. Don’t make excuses, don’t say next year, don’t say you have too many other priorities. Just make a commitment to yourself to go. Go for a walk, go for a picnic, go study the plant lists or go sit yourself down in one of the many seating areas and enjoy life. You can thank me later…and I know you will!