To my family's chagrin, I always manage to find a nursery or public garden wherever our travels take us. So last week, when my daughter's college visit took us to the suburbs of Philadelphia, I was delighted to find that we were in the vicinity of the famous Chanticleer garden in Wayne, PA.
Chanticleer has been called the most romantic, imaginative and exciting public garden in America, and seeing it in its spring glory, I heartily agree with this description. The estate, with its 1913 mansion and themed gardens was once the country retreat of the Rosengarten family, whose Philadelphia-based pharmaceutical firm became part of Merck. The landscape was originally designed by Thomas Sears, and the 35 acres that are open to the public are now maintained by a staff of 12 gardeners and groundskeepers.
The terraces surrounding the main house are formally planted with thousands of spring-flowering bulbs.
The Teacup Garden's formal parterre gardens were a colorful tapestry of vegetables, herbs and flowers.
Dozens of lushly planted containers adorned the gardens around the home.
The estate's impressive lawns and trees were blooming with hundreds of daffodils. The saucer magnolias and cherries were magnificent.
The shady gardens of Bell's Woodland were massed with epimediums, ferns, hellebores, trilliums and spring bulbs.
The Gravel Gardens were ablaze with tiny species tulips, miniature daffodils and grape hyacinths.
Naturalized frittilarias adorned a remote, quiet part of the garden.
Chanticleer is open to the public from April through October, and more information can be obtained at www.chanticleergarden.org. It is well worth a visit, and I cannot wait to return someday!