Chanticleer (part 3 of 3)

Finally!  The last part of my Chanticleer visit.  I suspect I might have gone on a little too long over my visit, but I really did enjoy the trip and the gardens are just the type of plantings I like to see at this time of year.  Lush healthy tropical plants putting on their last big hurrah before the first frost cuts them down.  Plus I like to use this blog as a photo record of the year, and I’m sure these images will come in handy during the icy days of winter.

Here’s the last big stop of the tour, the terrace gardens surrounding the main Chanticleer house.  As usual it’s a dose of reality when I see plants from my own garden used to so much better effect.  The Japanese maple, variegated Pagoda dogwood “Golden Shadows”, blue ageratum and “limelight” four o’clock near the path…. all look a lot nicer here!chanticleer terrace gardenI’m sure a terrace of bluestone pathways and stone steps would help my garden design immensely, but even the bronze fennel, dahlias, and verbena bonariensis look dreamier and fresher here.  The blue of the spiky agave helps too…. hmmm I grow that as well.  It’s sitting under the deck in a broken clay pot, wishing it were at Chanticleer.chanticleer dahlias in bloom with japanese maple

The boxwood hedge which I’ve planted around my vegetable garden still needs several years before it reaches this immaculately trimmed state.  I like a nice boxwood edging, I think it’s worth the extra work of frequent trimming, and adds a nice touch of control to a bed that might otherwise look to be on the verge of messy.

chanticleer boxwood edged flower bed

chanticleer bed of nails solanumOnce my own boxwoods turn into a neat hedge I might start to refer to the vegetable garden as a ‘potager’.  Sounds so much more refined 🙂 .  But I might opt out on planting the prickly ‘bed of nails plant’ (solanum quitoense) in the potager.  Although it’s a near relative of eggplants, tomatoes, peppers and potatoes, the spiny leaves might be better suited for a focal spot out front (I love the poky plants!)

‘Black Pearl’  ornamental peppers also look great right up against the hedge, and these could easily fit into my future potager.

chanticleer purple ornamental pepperIf you’re interested in reading a little more about these plants and some of the thoughts behind the plantings, check out this link at the Hardy Plant Society.  Jonathan Wright, the horticulturalist in charge of this part of the garden, wrote a great article on this area and some of the practices used to keep it looking at its peak from March into November.

Still in the terrace garden was something new that I liked.  An area formerly kept as a cut lawn had been turned over to a flowery meadow of fluffy little red amilias, red dahlias, and violet verbena boanariensis.  I wonder if this section will hold over to next year,  the grass was boring, but it did give a bit of a calm amidst all the overflowing beds.chanticleer red and violet meadow planting

The area around the house is absolutely crammed with treasures and accents.  These huge baskets have more in them than most average gardens.chanticleer hanging baskets

And of course there were plenty of seating areas surrounding the house.  A great place to stop for a needed break.chanticleer terrace seating

chanticleer chartreuse and yellow plantsWith reds and purples and bronzes dominating some of the other gardens, here the terrace garden leans towards yellows and yellow foliage.  I have a real weakness for this color lately and loved the mix.  Too bad I had no idea what half the plants were!  The best I can do is say the little vine here is probably canary creeper (Tropaeolum peregrinum) a relative of the nasturtiums.  It’s supposed to be easy from seed so maybe……

Back to red and purple.  The purplish upright dracaena is again one I have, and I will definitely copy this combo with the red leaved coleus.chanticleer red and purple plant combinations

chanticleer ae ae bananaI’m almost through my picture horde.

One more here for banana lovers.  I believe this is the infamous ‘Ae Ae’ variegated banana.  First found in Hawaii, it’s a little cranky to grow and therefore a little expensive to buy.  Established pups (offshoots of the mother plant) typically run $200-$300 and fraud runs rampant.  Don’t buy seeds and don’t buy from a shifty Georgia nursery is all I’ll say (not that I’ve ever considered it).  The leaves are really cool looking though and to have it flanking both sides of the main doorway…..

I’ll stick to my yellows and chartreuse.  Here’s a yellow leaved redbud, potted ‘mossy’ plants and a circle of raked gravel.  Very calming.chanticleer raked gravel entry

chanticleer blue seatsAnd so on to the exit.  No time to sit, but there was still ample color coordinated seating.  I bet someone has fun moving the seats about finding them the perfect spot, a good idea I think.  I should keep it in mind next time I’m moving stuff to bring the lawn mower through… not that my dead grass ever needs mowing.chanticleer seating

Out the front gate.  It’s a beautiful locale and I wouldn’t mind living closer, but I have to question whether our housing budget can handle the zipcode.  A quick real estate search of Wayne, Pa shows it to be a tad out of our budget.  Even with the sale of our current house, just the down payment  for properties running in the 1-5 million range would be an issue.  I guess we could lower our expectations, but I want the hayfield too. 🙂chanticleer neighborhood  Thanks for looking!

Chanticleer (pt 2 of 3)

It’s been longer than I planned, but here’s the continuation of my Chanticleer visit.  Part 2 of the visit picks up at the tennis courts, a part of the gardens who’s former function should be obvious!chanticleer tennis court gardens

The flat area that used to function as the court has been turned into a group of five beds filled with all sorts of interesting plants.  My favorite was this one which leans towards a yellow theme.  A redbud with yellowish foliage anchors the bed and a nice clump of the tall variegated arundo donax grass is peeking out from behind.  For a late season garden it still looks good.

chanticleer tennis court gardenThere was plenty going on around the garden with cleanup and cutting back,  I don’t know how it is on other weekdays but during my visit the place was buzzing with garden staff.  Here’s another view with a nice banana, some of the annual purple perillia, and a couple of those dead looking brown sedges.  Grasses and sedges seem well used around Chanticleer and they do add long season airiness and texture. chanticleer bananas and perillia

Beyond the courts is the cutting garden.  The Chanticleer interpretation is more like a wild ocean of frothy flowers, some of which top out at over 10 feet!  A cool garden to wander through since it comes in on you from all sides.  You can just make out the asparagus hedge that closes in the right side here.chanticleer cutting garden

A little structure in this garden is given by the archways.  I’m stealing this idea since it’s not tough to copy.  A rebar arch forms the basis while vines and branches are twisted around…. since I already have the rebar arch set up, no problem-o on twisting some twigs around!chanticleer garden arch

The tall orange sunflower-ish plants are the annual tithonia.  It’s supposed to be easy from seed but I’ve never had much luck.  It sure did well here though.

This path leads to a small fenced in vegetable garden, a nice little spot to take a breather on one of the vegetable themed benches.  For as wild and bloomy as the cutting garden is, there were still a ton of late bloomers left to come, so I bet this garden comes to a peak in about another month…. in case you’re still considering a visit!chanticleer arch and vegetable garden

A relaxer next.  A woodland section called Bell’s Woods is a streamside collection of North American plantings.  Even though it probably peaks in the spring there were still plenty of cardinal flowers (lobelia cardinalis) in bloom.  It’s a nice soft stroll since the “wood path”  is actually a soft rubber mat that looks like wood chips…. or at least that’s what I read… even after being told, I still thought they looked like shredded bark!chanticleer cardinal flower (lobelia)

Throughout the gardens are bits of functional art such as chairs, railings, and this metal “hollow log” bridge.chanticleer log bridge

Even though Chanticleer is a relatively small garden and heavily planted, there are still plenty of restful areas, many of which have a nice seat and an excuse to linger.chanticleer reflecting pond

And nearly all are somehow color coordinated!chanticleer red seat

Around the red chair you can see some clumps of prairie dropseed.  It’s a native grass used as a kind of lawn replacement for many of the open areas beyond Bell’s Wood.  It’s also probably my least favorite of the plantings here since I just can’t get past what Wikipedia refers to as a “vague scent of popcorn, cilantro, or sunflower seeds”.  I just call it stink, and forgive me if we skip this and the ruins garden and head straight to the gravel garden.chanticleer gravel garden

The gravel garden is a very un-Pennsylvania bit of sloped, well-draining garden that is filled with plants better suited to a more Mediterranean type environment.  It’s a bit of surprise to see hardy cacti, yuccas, and agaves this far north, but apparently they like the winter drainage.

The gravel garden tumbles down to the antithesis of good drainage, the pond garden.chanticleer waterlily pond I love a nice pond (unlike my pathetic leaky pre-formed) and this one is just surrounded with a nearly wild planting of moisture loving growth.  Well fed Koi are always fun too.chanticleer koi

chanticleer pink waterlilyI loved the pond gardens.  If I had more room a big waterlily pond would be near the top of the want list.  Waterlilies are just so saturated with color, so waxy and lush, that they just draw you in.  This one was nice and close to the pond edge.

My want list also got a new plant added.  This yellow hollyhock looking plant is abelmoschus manihot, an annual that I eliminated from a seed order last winter and now wish I hadn’t.  It’s sometimes referred to as sunset hibiscus, but it’s actually a close okra relative… that means nothing to a Yankee like myself, but southerners may weigh in on that!chanticleer abelmoschus manihot

I think I’m about to overdo the pictures here, but there was so much to see.  The bottom pond was given over nearly entirely to sacred lotus.  Lotus is so cool in the way the leaves stand up above the water, the oversize leaves and blooms, the water beading leaf surface, the shower head seed pods….  You know if I had the room I’d grow this one too!chanticleer lotus pond

Asian woods next.  Restful and green…. too many pictures already so I’ll move on!chanticleer asian woods

chanticleer art waterfountainI was a little thirsty and just had to stop at this.  Every little bit of this garden is thought out and then re-thought out and it shows up in all the little flourishes and details.

My last stop on the Chanticleer tour was a stroll around the terraces of the main house.  If you thought this post was picture overkill there’s still more to come.  The terraces contain all the stuff I really go for like bold colors, overplanted beds, fat container plantings, and tons of tropicals.  Hang in there, it’s the last Chanticleer post! chanticleer terrace

Chanticleer 2013

Last Thursday I made a trip down to Chanticleer Gardens, a “pleasure garden” located just West of Philadelphia PA.  I’m glossing over much of the history, but basically it’s the 1913 former summer estate turned full time home of Adolph Rosengarten and his wife Christine.  As family members passed away and moved on the Chanticleer Foundation was formed and the property became a public garden.  This year marked the 100th anniversary for the property, but the public incarnation is still relatively young, having been formed in 1993.  I don’t have many garden visits under my belt, but Chanticleer ranks as one of the best public gardens in the US and I could really see the reasons why.

Here we go!  After a drive of just under two hours, please excuse me for making the restrooms my first stop.attractive courtyard at chanticleer

Even the restrooms are a plant lover’s treat with unique varieties, creative uses and just plain artistic furniture and pottery.  I had plenty of room for myself since the hot, muggy, overcast weekday didn’t really bring out a stampede of garden visitors.  Good thing too, since I made the trip alone and my stupid grin and plant touching probably would have had me escorted out on a crowded day.

The first official garden was the ‘teacup’ garden.  It fills the patio right off the house and I love all the gate and bench details leading into it.chanticleer courtyard gate

The teacup garden is named for the central fountain.  Each year this garden is redone with a totally different feel and this year seems to be leaning towards an orange theme.chanticleer teacup garden

There are so many special plants here, and orange never looked better.  Many of these are tropicals and if you look closely you might notice the upright orange leaves producing a small pink pineapple near the front.   chanticleer teacup garden

There’s so much texture and subtle color going on.  One of the many plants I loved was this melianthus (honeybush).  I feel a little foolish for letting my little 6 inch seed grown plant die outside last winter, had I seen the real thing first I probably would have found a winter home for it.melianthus honey bush

I don’t think I could have found a spot for this big pot of variegated New Zealand flax.chanticleer potted new zealand flax

Few of the plants have labels in this ‘pleasure garden’, it really is meant to be enjoyed, but I did scare myself realizing how many things I recognized…. apparently I spend way too much time on the web looking at plants….

Check out the railing here -and the container plantings aren’t too shabby either.  The banana growing up alongside the house is the (I think) surprisingly hardy musa basjoo which even I can even overwinter in my much colder zone.  The tall white variegated grass (arundo donax) is also hardy.  I have both in my own garden, of course they look nowhere near as well grown or well placed 🙂chanticleer artistic railing

Continuing around the house are beds just flooded with cool tropicals and hardy perennials.  Here’s number two cool plant leaf that I want, it’s the rice paper plant (tetrapanax).  Big leaves that start out fuzzy, what’s not to love?chanticleer rice paper plant tetrapanax

More foliage along the path.   I have no idea, but the yellow veins of it matched the ivy creeping along the ground.  Fancy.  You can also see some of the many seats scattered around the grounds.  In my opinion gardens are always best viewed from a comfortable seat!chanticleer path

Here’s another nice seating area.chanticleer seating area

I believe the three dark green plants along the walk are samples of the infamous breadfruit tree.  Maybe it’s just the result of a few too many childhood viewings of “Mutiny on the Bounty” (The 1962 Marlon Brando version) but I think this food staple of the Pacific is a fascinating plant.  This plant was the reason Captain Bligh was commissioned to sail to Tahiti in the first place, and this is also the plant thrown overboard when the mutiny takes place.  chanticleer variegated boston fernBesides Captain Bligh’s survival story, the story of the mutineers and their descendants on tiny Pitcairn island is also quite a tale.  They still live on today as a British territory.

Less contentious is the yellow-green underplanting of variegated boston fern, hakonechloa grass, and others.  I’ve heard people say you shouldn’t mix variegated plants, but here I think that theory expires.

Oh, and if all that’s not enough, the glass topped table is actually a terrarium 🙂chanticleer seat with terarrium

Ok, so that might be enough for today since WordPress has locked up twice and both times I had to redo what was lost.  Next stop is the former tennis courts….. tennis has never looked so good.