Chanticleer, A Garden of Delights
Morgan Christopher Summer 2023
When I feel the need to put down my phone and my scheduler and let the pressures of the world go away, there is nothing like a stroll through a beautiful garden to reconnect with all that truly matters to me. The great poet Mary Oliver sums it up by reminding us to “visit the garden where the scarlet trumpets are opening their bodies for the hummingbirds who are drinking the sweetness. … Soon you will notice how stones shine underfoot. Eventually, tides will be the only calendar you believe in.” To discover the beauty and serenity that nature offers, plan a visit to southeastern Pennsylvania this summer to discover the sumptuous delight of time spent strolling beautiful Chanticleer Garden in Wayne, Delaware County.The pastoral gardens on the grounds of the Rosengarten family estate have been open to the public since 1998. Chanticleer horticulturists, who developed the property since the passing of Adolph Rosengarten, Jr. created the unique settings that visitors enjoy today. Within a half-hour drive of Center City Philadelphia, these well-maintained gardens have delighted visitors worldwide. Reviews in the Financial Times in London contend the garden is “designed to perfection,” while Garden Design magazine has named Chanticleer “America’s most inspiring garden.” Gardening fans and nature lovers will not want to miss an opportunity to experience this fantastic attraction.
The Chanticleer Foundation, which owns the 50 acres where the gardens are laid, offers 35 acres as a public attraction where a series of themed gardens celebrate a wide variety of plants and styles. The entire garden path runs almost a mile, allowing easy access to the different sections, each highlighting themed presentations. The Gravel Garden, Tennis Court, Ruin, and Pond Garden are filled with a wide variety of hardy perennials cultivated by Chanticleer’s team of staff horticulturists.
The Ruin is a visually striking garden area curated on the foundations of the home built in 1925 by Adolph Jr. and Janet Rosengarten. Dramatically offering the air of a historic stone ruin, the garden features three separate areas – a Great Hall with a water table feature, a Library where ornamental stone books are displayed, and a Pool Room featuring marble faces. A sculpture depicting large acorns created by Marcia Donahue offers a whimsical welcome to the Ruin for guests approaching from the adjacent meadow.
Other areas of note that visitors will want to explore on a visit to Chanticleer include an elevated walkway that offers excellent views of the garden below as you leave Chanticleer House. The Serpentine are curved beds of junipers, irises, and silver-leafed willows reminiscent of classic European gardens that are complemented each year with plants like barley and artichoke to illustrate the abundant beauty of agricultural plants. The Bulb Meadow (offering seasonal favorites like tulips and daffodils in spring and irises and colchicums in late summer and fall), Asian Woods (featuring a variety of Asian selections as well as honeysuckles, hydrangea, and bamboo), and the Pond Garden feature a wide variety of beautiful plants and landscapes for viewing. Bell’s Garden, filled with flora and blooms of North American forests, the Vegetable Garden, and a Cutting Garden are also popular displays a visitor will want to enjoy as part of a visit to Chanticleer.
For those who prefer an in-depth experience, guided tours are available. House and Garden Tours are offered every Friday and Saturday at 11 a.m. The Garden Highlights Tour is held every Wednesday and Saturday at 2 p.m. Both tours provide opportunities to learn about the gardens from experienced guides who share the history and design details with guests.
In addition to the magnificent gardens, visitors interested in gardening, or the arts will want to check out some of the educational classes and workshops held throughout the season at Chanticleer. Classes in various topics like deer-resistant gardening, fall planting, and organic vegetable gardening are just some of the program’s visitors can register for to hone their skills and develop their green thumbs.
Chanticleer’s address is 786 Church Rd., Wayne, PA 19087. When planning a visit, check out www.chanticleergarden.org to learn about garden policies on parking, photography and other topics. The general operating hours are Wednesdays through Sundays from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. For parking reservation information or other details, call the main number at 610-687-4163.