Monday, August 17, 2009
Over a long 4th of July weekend, Phil and I drove down to Chanticleer, just outside Philadelphia. On my first visit last September, I was in a frenzy of plant madness and couldn't properly see the garden. This time, I realized why Chanticleer bills itself "a pleasure garden." It's a fun place, with wild juxtapositions of color and texture, risky plantings you may not like, or you may love. At least they'll make you stop and think.
Below an artistic joke: a grove of ceramic bamboo, with red rooster's combs randomly spurting out.
The "Serpentine" - last year it was planted with bronze sorghum; this year I'm not sure what's coming up. Beans?
Sporobolus heterolepis, a favorite in many parts of the garden, always brings a smile to my face. It's a stunning grass, but humorous too, a cartoon mop head. A buried gnome?
This area warms my heart because the designers decided to make the most of a wet area infested with Equisetum arvense (Horsetail). Bowles Golden sedge for some color highlights. Even some weeds.
Several beautifully carved bridges add an artful tone. This one evokes a feeling of magic or a fairy tale world.
In an out-of-the-way place, someone has been playing with paving made of clay tiles and slate buried on edge.
A sunburst in stone ...
And another, cruder than the first, but perhaps just waiting for a little gravel and age to bring it to completion.
The water wheel accompanied by Thalictrum and ferns ...
An entire field of Sporobolis heterolepis. Last year it was an unbroken expanse; this year it has a path mown through, with Echinacea dotted here and there.
Another Echinacea at the top of the hill. I don't know which one, but it has hairy stems and leaves.
A humorous planting, with skinny Rudbeckia maxima in the background, and rotund verbascums toward the front. Of course, "front" is relative since you can approach this island planting from any direction.
A stone sofa with a stone TV remote just visible resting on the right arm (your left). To either side are stone easy chairs.
One of Chanticleer's many creative groundcover plantings, here decorating the entrance stair to the Tennis Court Garden.
Lots of gold in this garden. Cercis 'Hearts of Gold' like a fountain behind a veil of Calamagrostis a. 'Karl Foerester'.
Still in the Tennis Court Garden, a golden Catalpa behind Salvia sclarea (Clary sage).
Another bed in the Tennis Court Garden. I think I liked the plantings last year more, but I also enjoy knowing I'll always find Chanticleer trying something new.
One of several hand-crafted boxes holding plant lists.
The "formal" courtyard garden behind the main house - more exuberant gold ...
Experiment in color and texture near the swimming pool. Last year a deep purple form of cotton was a featured plant in this area.
At the top of a hill is the stone 'ruin', rebuilt where an estate house was torn down. Here, a stone trough with tender plantings.
A very successful naturalistic garden at the top of the hill. The orange of butterfly weed carries the eye around on a visual exploration.
A weeping hemlock has its own personality.
In fact, many of the exotics are almost like characters in some story I don't yet know. You could have a relationship with this yucca.
An unidentified lilly ... but an appropriate symbol for this pleasure garden.