In case you missed the other posts (here and here), each week I am writing about one of my favorite gardens for their use of design and plants. In this week’s post: number 3 of 6, I will write about the much-heralded Chanticleer.
Chanticleer is a 35 acre public garden just off of the Main Line of Philadelphia in Wayne, Pennsylvania. Initially, Chanticleer began as the private estate of the Rosengarten family. In the 1980’s and 90’s, the gardens were transformed into a horticultural Shangri-La by the staff under the direction of their former director, Christopher Woods. Since that time, the full-time staff of 7 horticulturists with the accompaniment of many more, have continued to charm the gardening public with new plants and whimsical combinations.
Today, this team under the direction of their current director and head gardener, Bill Thomas, continue to assemble planting combinations that are often photographed and routinely copied in other gardens. Chanticleer closes its gates for the winter and during this time, the gardeners look for new plants and new ways to enhance their gardens. Most of the gardeners develop a craft that they pursue during the winter months. Some of their projects include: chairs, benches, plant list holders, and bridges.
Each gardener has a garden area that they curate. These spectacular spaces include: The Teacup Garden (named for the fountain that looks like a teacup), The Tennis Court Garden (an old tennis court is now an elaborate mixed garden), The Chanticleer House and Garden (complete with fantastic swimming pool), The Serpentine which is planted each year with an agricultural inspired planting en masse, the serene Asian Woods, the lush Pond Garden, the Ruin and Gravel Gardens, and the native plant garden in Bell’s Woodland.
Every time that I visit Chanticleer, I walk away with a new favorite space. That is the fantastic thing about the gardens, they change each time you visit. One time I might leave with a favorite spot in the Teacup Garden, the next I walk away really digging the plantings and the Japanese bathroom (aka The Pee House) in the Asian Woods.
If you have never been to Chanticleer, you must go. Really, you must so you can experience this truly, one of a kind, pleasure garden.
Photos by Chanticleer