Our Favorite Public Gardens – Chanticleer in Wayne, PA

March 19, 2013

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.

birds eye view of chanticleer via
Chanticleer Gardens, located in Wayne, Pennsylvania, is a stunning botanical paradise that spans 35 acres. This vibrant oasis features a diverse collection of plants, trees, and flowers, as well as unique garden spaces such as the Ruin Garden and Asian Woods. Visitors can explore the lush landscapes and enjoy the beauty of nature year-round.

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 1980s and ’90s, the gardens were transformed into a horticultural Shangri-La by the staff under their former director, Christopher Woods. Since that time, the full-time staff of seven horticulturists, with the accompaniment of many more, have continued to charm the gardening public with new plants and whimsical combinations.

Asian woods at chanticleer gardens
The stunning beauty of Chanticleer Garden comes through vibrant colors, intricate designs, and serene landscapes.

Today, this team, under the direction of their current director and head gardener, Bill Thomas, continues to assemble planting combinations that are often photographed and routinely copied in other gardens.

Visiting Chanticleer 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.

tennis court handrails at chanticleer garden via
Chanticleer Pleasure Garden is a renowned horticultural masterpiece located in Wayne, Pennsylvania. Featuring a diverse collection of plants, flowers, and sculptures, this English-style garden offers visitors a tranquil retreat filled with stunning displays of color and beauty (and especially in spring when a wide variety of bulb are in bloom).
floating flowers at chanticleer gardens via

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.

larry albee reflective pool at chanticleer garden via
The famed Chanticleer Pool is a stunning a picturesque pool in the style of persian pleasure gardens is surrounded by lush greenery and is a popular spot for relaxing.
minder path at chanticleer garden via
The woodland garden at Chanticleer in Wayne, PA.

Whenever 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 experience this truly one-of-a-kind pleasure garden.


Photos by Chanticleer

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  1. What an amazing treasure. The plant selection and the architectural elements are amazing. I love walking through gardens like this that are so inspiration, spawning so many creative ideas. Thank you for sharing.

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