Friday, September 19, 2008


Yesterday was clear, cool and sunny, an almost perfect almost autumn day, and I had taken time off from work.

I decided to visit Chanticleer, a well known garden near Philadelphia. (A recent article on Chanticleer in Gardens Illustrated magazine had awakened my interest.) It's only about 40 miles from my house on Federal Twist, and I'd been meaning to visit for several years. But having only weekends to attend to my own garden, I had never gotten there.

Chanticleer far surpassed my expectations, and it brought me to the realization that I have a serious ailment common to many gardeners. Once I entered the garden, I was overcome by a nervous frenzy, a feeling of being out of control, without enough time to see, enjoy and remember the sheer variety of plants, the amazing use of color, the intricate plantings around the houses (Chanticleer is on the grounds of a former private estate), the use of exotic, tender plants in astonishing combinations - all this in the enclosed courtyards around the residences - then the open landscape offering more surprises and pleasures. By the end of the visit, I felt as if I'd eaten three large cakes with butter cream frosting, almost sickened with the sensory bombardment. I am a plantaholic.

I'm glad to be back home, in my own much smaller, much simpler garden. In recovery.

Is there a cure for this condition?

(I'll put up some pictures after I've had time to sort through them.)


  1. On a visit to my brother's house, I made the whole family go to Chanticleer. I thought for sure that being the only possessed gardener, they would have to drag me out. However, they had such a good time that the gardener was through before they were. Perhaps I should have taken their approach and just enjoyed the garden, the colors, and the sites. I was too busy looking at which plants were which, asking if I could grow them or had room. A classic case of not seeing (enjoying) the forest for the trees.

  2. Les,

    This is obviously a pleasure garden (as Chanticleer makes clear in its literature). Many people were just sitting, talking, enjoying the views. I was the only crazed gardener earnestly trying to make the most of my two hours there. I hope future visits will be calmer, and at a more pleasurable pace.

  3. I have often read about Chanticleer on blogs, I thought the article in Gardens Illustrated showed a different view and was very interesting.

    I love your description of garden visiting (at least for the very best gardens) - "sensory bombardment" is how I often feel and it is addictive! I am off for a weeks holiday, next week - you guessed it lots of garden visiting.

    Best wishes Sylvia (England)

  4. Have a good week of garden visiting. I wish I could do the same.

  5. Thanks for the wonderful slideshow! I would really like to see it in springtime with the fields of Narcissus in bloom.

  6. Lynn,

    I seem to see other gardens only in autumn, when mine slows down. Have to try to get to Chanticleer earlier in the season next year.



Related Posts with Thumbnails