It’s difficult to know where to start in describing my visit to this magical place!
The weather was perfect. As in P E R F E C T. Pure sun, warm but not unbearable, a nice breeze and low humidity. I could not have asked for a better day.
Chanticleer is different from so many other “public” gardens in that it is just that: a garden. They don’t host events i.e. weddings, meetings etc. so their energy is focussed on the gardens. They are not a “typical botanical garden” nor are they a museum. Chanticleer had been the private residence of Adolph Rosengarten (1905-1990) who called it “a pleasure garden.” It truly is.
Unlike so many other established gardens, they believe, and it is part of their mission, to innovate and experiment. All the gardeners who head up each section are encouraged to experiment. And it shows.
The variety of topography lends itself to a diverse kind of garden. Mind you, this is 35 acres of garden!
I arrived at 10 AM, just as they opened the gates. While they offer tours both for groups and individuals (which include the interior of the house), the individual tour is only offered on Fridays and Saturdays. I was there on Wednesday, so this was not a possibility. But actually, I wanted to take my time and just wander and take it all in…and, of course, take pictures. I used both my iPhone 6 and my Canon Rebel EOS T3. I don’t usually carry the Canon outside of my house and village as I find it’s just too cumbersome. I am continually amazed at the great quality of the iPhone! It sort of feels like cheating to only use it; but then again, it takes amazingly fine pictures.
Rather than show you lots of stills, I put together this slide show.
Lots to see and I hope you enjoy!
hint: once the video starts to play, click the small box at very lower right of the video screen and you can see it FULL screen on your computer. So much better!
Miscellaneous flower shots:
Bell’s Woodland Bridge
This is one fabulous bridge! This entire area was totally “rebuilt” through soil remediation, constant weed and invasive plant removal and attentive detail to each and every tree in this heavily wooded area. The years of work show: it is so natural and seems to have been part of this property forever.
The almost endless lawns. Of course, at this time of year they were so green and lush!
As I finished my walk and was back by the “Teacup Garden”, having come full circle, I met up with Dan Benarcik, one of the principal gardeners at Chanticleer. I recognized him right away (I’ve studied this garden very well!) and went over and introduced myself. He has been at Chanticleer since 1993; so this is a man who knows all the ins and outs of this place. Thank you, Dan, for being so gracious and informative, answering all my questions, and making me feel right at home.
I’ve thought a lot about my visit and why it meant so much to me. What is it that each of us comes away with after visiting a garden like this?
I feel I’ve only just begun my journey: I have only been interested (fascinated/addicted?) with “gardens” for the last five years or so. Yes, I have always loved flowers and have grown them since I had a house of my own…but that’s different from wanting to see the large “estate” gardens.
This is part of my takeaway:
I leave with a feeling of community.
I am overjoyed with the exuberance of color and texture and form.
I am in awe of those who make this happen.
I am encouraged to experiment in my own garden.
I learn something(s) new each and every time.
I see, once again, that gardening is an on-going project. There is no end to it. Well, maybe that could be frustrating for some people, but for me it is a life long effort. It’s not based on “success”; no, it’s based on a love of doing.
We would all love to hear your thoughts on gardening and what it means to you.
Won’t you join in?