On my birthday in late July I got a really great present - a chance to revisit the gardens of Chanticleer. Though I had been there before, this is where I wanted to spend the day. Besides strolling through the garden, I was hoping to get some great photos, but the day was brilliantly sunny, hot and clear, not the best day for a photo shoot, though we had a good time just the same.
Chanticleer was originally the family estate of the Rosengartens and is set in the rolling hills west of Philadelphia. Though the garden only opened about 20 years, it quickly made a name for itself in the world of horticulture through its innovative plant and design choices. Chanticleer is divided into a series of garden areas, linked by easy paths and separated by large open areas of lawn and spectacular trees. There are generous assortments of unique seating options, unusual drinking fountains, artful paving and some of the nicest restrooms anywhere (worth going into even if you don't have to go). Being a self-designated pleasure garden, your horticultural head won't be muddled by plant labels. If you want to know what is planted in each area there are lists available in handmade boxes. Or you could just enjoy the gardens as a whole and not worry about its individual parts.
We will start our tour logically enough at the front entrance. BTW, if you consider yourself a garden professional let them know at the gate, and you will get in for free, just flash a business card.
Near the front entrance is one of their more famous gardens, The Teacup Garden.
Nothing against the sport of tennis, you can see that anywhere, but I would rather look at Chanticleer's Tennis Court Garden.
There is a large garden for cut flowers and vegetables.
The Stream Garden is a bit more wooded and perhaps the most traditional garden at Chanticleer. It is also home to some of the finest specimens of Stewartia (not pictured) I have ever seen, a whole grove of them.
On a hill in the middle of Chanticleer is my favorite garden, The Ruin Garden. Once the site of an old house, and that spirit has been evoked in stone, water and plants. It is perhaps one of the most creative designs I have ever seen, and the too often used concept of "garden rooms" has been taken at face value in this creation.
The docent at the front entrance made a point of telling us not to miss The Pond Garden, and with all of its color, her suggestion was appreciated, but not necessary.
The Asian Woods
The Chanticleer House Garden surrounds the largest of the two houses on the property. The hardscaping around the house is in a more formal and traditional design, but the plantings were anything but.
If you are ever in the Philadelphia area, I highly recommend a visit to Chanticleer, and if you are travelling with non-gardeners, it has been my experience that they will have a good time too.
(If you would like to see more, you can click here for my complete Flickr set of Chanticleer photos.)