A hot day in Philly

The calendar is beginning to insist that all things summer will soon come to an end, so when a free day presented itself I made my best to take advantage of the last weeks of warmth.  A quick call to a friend near Phillidelphia and I was on my way to one of my favorite gardens, Chanticleer.  As usual the visit did not disappoint, and despite a mental note to just enjoy the visit I did break down at the end and went a little camera happy.  Hopefully I can show some restraint with the length of this post even if I couldn’t with the camera.

chanticleer red border

Red and purple as you come around the house. Coleus ‘redhead’ and the awesome canna x ehemanii… rounded out with a few random bananas.

I like to stroll around pretending this is my own estate, and if by chance if I do win millions (I’ve given up on earning them through hard work, marriage, or genius) I feel like this is the kind of garden I’d create.

chanticleer container plantings

Many exotic and unusual container plants are scattered around the house and terraces. All appear perfectly grown and cared for.

The tropical plantings around the house are some of my favorite plantings, although even away from the house a random banana or elephant ear may turn up (Chanticleer refers to itself as a ‘pleasure garden’… so I guess anything goes!)

teacup garden chanticleer

This year’s teacup garden plantings. Fiddlehead figs and canna ‘Ermine?’, plus many others.

I’m guessing on almost all the IDs since the gardens are for enjoyment and inspirations and not so much for the down to earth realities of botanical labeling, but there are plant lists available both in the gardens and online.  I apologize for being too distracted to look while there and far too lazy now to look them up online.

papyrus chanticleer

Potted dwarf giant papyrus. I love the pot in pot planting with a ‘groundcover’ of duckweed, and I’d love to imitate, but… no pot and no dwarf giant papyrus.  Maybe the plain old giant papyrus will work,  at least that’s finally become easy to find in the spring.

I can feel the banana itch coming back.  I was given one and bought another this summer….

chanticleer tropicalismo

Canna x ehemanii, various bananas, red and purple dahlias, and a few tall salvia splendens varieties.

…and how can you not like dahlias at this time of year.

chanticleer mixed border

A respectable boxwood border holding back a wave of visitors from the south.

On a hot day the dry, full sun, gravel garden was not the place to linger… but we did, and while sweat beaded we enjoyed the waterwise plantings and the mix of dryland perennials and tropical cactus and succulents.

chanticleer gravel garden

I think the yucca rostrada (hardiest of the trunk forming yuccas) stays here year round, but I’m not sure of the agave.  I do know I wouldn’t want to be the one to lift it come autumn.

All the rain earlier in the year probably helped most things, but some I’m sure didn’t appreciate the reminder they were in Pennsylvania and not Southern California.

artichoke bloom

Artichoke blooms?  Not the best leaf-wise, but the color of the flowers almost glowed in the heat.

Or South Africa…

chanticleer kniphofia

Kniphofia (a species I’m guessing) along the dry slope.  I love this plant family, but never get decent flowers on the ones I’m growing.

The bulk of the grounds around the house are open grass and trees, and this was the beginning of the colchicum season.

chanticleer naturalized colchicums

Some of the colchicums just beginning to bloom in the lawn at Chanticleer.  Form what I’ve heard there are many more to come.

And then there were the pond gardens…

chanticleer koi

Chanticleer koi

With lotus and water lilies.

chanticleer lotus bud

One of many lotus flowers.  My photos never do the blooms justice.

And then there was the cutting garden.  My favorite canna ‘Bengal Tiger’ (Pretoria) was the star, and in my opinion everything looks better when it’s next to this beauty.

chanticleer canna pretoria

The cutting garden.  Summer annuals, dahlias and cannas were at their peak.

It’s just pictures from here on.

chanticleer cosmos

Cosmos and dahlias with canna leaves.

chanticleer cutting garden

The beds threaten to swamp you in a tsunami of plants.  Still to come were all the hardy sunflowers and other native prairie plants which filled the inner portions of the bed.

dahlias chanticleer

Dahlia with gomphrena ‘fireworks’ (I think)

dahlias chanticleer

Dahlias again (it’s the season!) plus more awesome canna leaves. I think the ferny foliage belongs to the SE native dog fennel (Eupatorium capillifolium).

dahlias chanticleer

Nice right?

chanticleer summer flowers

Summer zinnas and cosmos. Who says fall is near?

I didn’t realize it’s been two years since I last visited (click here to see that very pintrest-popular post), and I’m glad to have had the chance to do it again.  The gardens are on a scale that really seems approachable, yet aren’t filled with how-to beds or dull bedding.  It’s really a place where you can enjoy the art of gardening,  and if you get the chance I would absolutely recommend a visit, but for those further afield there’s also hope.  September 23rd marks the release date for a new Timber Press book on the gardens and I for one am looking forward to it.  It has an excellent pedigree across publisher, author, and photographer and what I’m most looking forward to are the interviews with each area gardener.  I saw them at work during our visit but was a little too shy to bother them with an endless gushing of praise or question after question.  Hopefully the new book will pacify me. 🙂

Thanks for meeting me there Paula, and I wish everyone a great week!

30 comments on “A hot day in Philly

  1. Chanticleer gardener coming to talk to our Hardy Plant Society this fall. Looking forward to it even more after your photos.

    • bittster says:

      I think you’ll enjoy it.
      They have a nice Japanese garden as well with extensive woodland plantings but I’m always distracted by the tropicals. A spring or early summer visit would probably have me gushing over them.

  2. rusty duck says:

    All those rich colours really are fabulous. I must make more use of dahlias. I’ve just bought a Karma Chocolate, to replace the one that didn’t get through winter last year. And this time I will not be too lazy to lift it.

    • bittster says:

      Karma chocolate is one I’ve heard much about but haven’t tried yet. I need to finally correct that.
      I don’t mean to sound smug, but here the slugs hide from the dry weather and can’t keep up with the new growth on the dahlias. I hate to think what your slimy friends will try to do to any new dahlias you might add. You’ll surely need a few more mats…

  3. Thanks for the stunning tour! Hmmm, I am beginning to sense a bit of “road trip” urge. It would probably be a bit less than 3 hours (if the Traffic Gods are with me, and the radar cops not!) each way….just nudging the far edge of my driving boundary-times (3 hrs or less each way) these days. 🙂

    • bittster says:

      Ugh. I almost forgot to thank the traffic Gods after my return trip. It was a Friday visit and the masses fleeing inner city were just beginning to plug the road as I left. Fortunately most were NJ bound and the roads North were slightly better.
      I think it would be worth the effort. If you were extra ambitious and full of energy you might even try Chanticleer first and then end the day at Longwood. Quite a bit of driving, but after a few days all you’ll remember is the visit (hopefully!)
      Have you already checked off Bayard Cutting Arboretum and Planting Fields? Both are great visits but would involve far less driving for you.

  4. Indie says:

    Wow, if I had a chance to visit Chanticleer, I’d go a little camera crazy, too! What gorgeous gardens. I’m just so amazed at how artistic it all looks, and how well all the plants work together in each photograph. I wish I could hire one of those garden designers for my garden! I might have to check out that book…

    • bittster says:

      I want to check the book out just to see what kind of planning goes into these plantings. Personally I prefer the buy first, stand around pot-in-hand later method, but I suspect they have a little more direction and planning going on!
      It really is an artistic experiment the way they blend plants… and I didn’t even get into the benches and bridges and ruins garden. It really is a fascinating garden to visit.

  5. pbmgarden says:

    You took some great photos. This looks like such a wonderful garden to visit. It’s on my list now. Thanks for sharing your trip.

  6. mattb325 says:

    What a lovely tour of the gardens. The dahlias are just wonderful and they go so well with all of the other tropical looking plantings. I would hate to have to drag that agave around between its summer and winter home….those things really hurt!!!!!

  7. P says:

    I was very happy to be there with you bittster. I wasn’t aware of recent additions to the garden, and it was fun to check them out. Especially liked the crushed tire pathway through the ‘log’ – felt great on tired feet 😀 ‘Sweat beaded…’ for sure but this visit will be great to recall in the dark days of winter. Thanks again!

    • bittster says:

      I do like that spongy woodland walk, and you’re right it was a great relief to the feet!
      I’m starting to see autumn colors in the mountains already, the dark days are breathing down our necks and I’ll be reviewing these pictures soon enough.

  8. I’m only 3 hours from Chanticleer but have never been there. I really need to remedy that. Such a gorgeous place. 🙂

  9. Christina says:

    I have read other posts about this garden but none have captured its magic in the way yours has, thanks for sharing your enthusiasm and your visit.

    • bittster says:

      Thanks Christina, I really do get a little excited at each visit. I have an embarrassing crazy grin for about the first twenty minutes before things calm down to a normal level 🙂

  10. Great pictures, Frank! Clearly, I am missing out by never having been there! And clearly, I need to plant Cannas, and Dahlias, in my own garden next year. Oh, why must there be a long winter in the way before next summer comes?!?!?!?

    • bittster says:

      The winter will go quickly…. right? I know a place you could get a few dahlias and cannas next spring, and I may just add a few new ones of my own 🙂
      I almost called when we were planning the visit, but it was all such short notice and the first week of school and everything….

  11. Last time I was in Philly was over 25 years ago. I’ve got to get back there and see this garden. Love the cutting garden especially. Impressive displays of tropical plants.

    • bittster says:

      I think you would really enjoy the place and there are enough gardens in Philly that Judy would run out of patience way before you ran out of places to visit!
      Your travel list has been pretty impressive lately, this is practically a weekend jaunt 🙂

  12. Chloris says:

    What a great tour of a fabulous garden. I think I will grow my dahlias with cannas next year, they look fabulous together.

  13. Wow ! Thank you for letting me visit through your photos ! What an inspiring garden .

  14. You should have stopped to talk with the gardeners, all are very friendly and knowledgeable. I know a few from my many visits. I too like the gardens around the house. None are stuffy or pretensions, and change up every year.

    • bittster says:

      Next time I will stop and see if I can get a few words in. There were plenty of gardeners out and about but I think they were anxious to take advantage of the relatively cooler weather and get a few things done.

  15. […] Bengal Tiger has a way to go before it’s as inspiring as the ones I saw last year at Chanticleer but I have patience… sort of.  In the meantime the amazingly fast growth of the Kochia […]

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