In the fall of 2013, we were traveling to the east coast. When a garden friend in Denver heard we would be in Philadelphia, he insisted we take time to visit Chanticleer. We are ever so glad he did.
A short train ride along the Main Line brings one to the Rosengartens family estate, which was landscaped more than a century ago and opened to the public in 1993. According to the web site, “Chanticleer has been called the most romantic, imaginative, and exciting garden in America. The garden is a study of textures and forms, where foliage trumps flowers, the gardeners lead the design, and even the drinking fountains are sculptural.
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“There are seven Horticulturalists, each responsible for the design, planting, and maintenance of an area. The areas are constantly evolving, each with its own feel, yet joined together as one complete unit.”
Run by the Chanticleer Foundation, 35 acres of the total 47 are open to the public. The remainder is service area, in agriculture, woodland, and staff housing.
The woman who showed us around came to Chanticleer after an internship with Fergus Garrett at Great Dixter in Sussex, England. Among her daily duties at Chanticleer were care for the vegetable and cut flower garden, and floral arrangements for the visitor reception area and home.
The New York Times noted in December 2015: “As one of Adolph Rosengarten’s descendants puts it in the gorgeous book by R. William Thomas and the Chanticleer gardeners, THE ART OF GARDENING: Design Inspiration and Innovative Planting Techniques from Chanticleer (Timber Press, $34.95), “To create a garden is to search for a better world.” Yes, these grounds arose from the passions of a wealthy family, but they’re now accessible to anyone. In this delightful book, the staff gardeners are full of advice — on using small evergreens for screens, deploying bursts of color, choosing plants for dry shade — that will be useful in any size garden, even one where you’re the only gardener on staff.”
For further information, please see the garden’s web site.