Amanda MackinnonChanticleer garden, near Philadelphia

Situated in the beautiful garden state of Pennsylvania, Chanticleer is described as “a pleasure garden.” Whilst I had a giggle over this somewhat quirky term, I must admit that I did derive a whole lot of pleasure out of my visit.

Chanticleer Garden, about an hour out of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

Chanticleer Garden, about an hour out of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

Chanticleer is around an hour from Philadelphia in a beautiful green belt. Driving through small towns and country roads to find it was an enjoyable experience in itself. Situated in a obviously wealthy area, it is neighbored by huge stately homes which rise out of immaculately manicured and expansive lawns. Beautiful lawns are everywhere here and I’m sure local garden maintenance businesses do a thriving trade.

Sweeping lawns of Chanticleer Garden, PA

Sweeping lawns of Chanticleer Garden, PA

We nearly missed the entrance to Chanticleer as it’s somewhat hidden behind a garden wall, and the driveway itself was nothing out of the ordinary. Once I caught sight of the size of the car park however I knew I was in for a bit of a treat.

Chanticleer dates back to the early 20th century when many homes in this region were built as summer retreats. What a great way to escape the hustle and bustle, and summer heat, of Philadelphia. The Rosengarten family who were prominent in the pharmaceutical industry later moved to this idyllic location full time.

Chanticleer Garden, PA

Chanticleer Garden, PA

The house itself has a decidedly European flavour which extends into the garden. Landscape architect Thomas Sears designed the terraces to be extensions of the house and there are so many gorgeous places to sit and enjoy the fantastic views that it is hard to stay still for long. I must say the gardens rambling alongside the house, and potted displays on the terraces were among my favourite features of this garden. It was a little like being on a movie set of a classic old film. You could just image a woman in a huge sweeping gown about to appear at the French doors.

Chanticleer Garden

Chanticleer Garden

Chanticleer Garden

Chanticleer Garden

The gardens have a great mix to offer. With sweeping lawns that replicate expansive parklands through to private nooks in which you can hide away, there is something for just about everyone. One thing I noticed immediately is the good array of seating placed strategically around the garden. Visitors are encouraged to relax as if it’s their own backyard.

The seating in this garden really worked to draw attention to the fact it was a place to linger. It was also placed to secure shade for guests and deliver the best views of the surrounds. There was a quirky range of seats from traditional garden benches, handcrafted timber chairs, garish plastic settings and low slung benches.

Japanese-style section in Chanticleer Garden, PA

Japanese-style section in Chanticleer Garden, PA

A large vegetable patch, native woodlands, a lake and Japanese style section were all memorable. Upon purchasing our tickets, one of the garden volunteers told us to “make sure you visit the toilets in the Japanese section.” And yes – they were pretty good toilets by public standards!

A tip if you visit – bring a picnic or have lunch beforehand. There is nothing available to purchase at the gardens, however the town of Wayne is only 5 minutes down the road. A picnic is your best bet though, as you’d be hard pressed to find a nicer location to while away a day. Oh, and make sure you check out the opening hours as the garden is not open every day of the week (Visit Chanticleer – a pleasure garden)

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Amanda Mackinnon

About Amanda Mackinnon

Amanda is a freelance writer working from the quiet rim of the world - beautiful Tasmania. Amanda's career has led her on a fascinating journey through marine science, education, horticulture, marketing and communications. Living in a busy male dominated household – chasing around 2 growing boys, a sop of a golden retriever, one cheeky ginger cat, a handful of chickens and even some stick insects, Amanda loves to write in her 'spare' time. With a keen interest in achievable gardens and family friendly projects, Amanda loves to share her experiences of what works well in her coastal Tassie garden as well as tips and tricks handpicked from all corners of the globe.

4 thoughts on “Chanticleer garden, near Philadelphia

  1. Thanks for the tour Amanda. Another great thing about Chanticleer is the highly knowledgeable gardeners, who can readily tell you the Latin and common name of any plant you spot, and are happy to discuss its provenance and cultural requirements.

    I was lucky enough to visit Chanticleer a couple of years ago with the eponymous Carolyn of Carolyn’s Shade Gardens (a PA nursery and blog I’d recommend to anyone gardening in the shadows), and she introduced me to many beautiful and unusual plants that grow there. Your description brings back the magic of the place.

  2. Thank you – I was also grateful for the volunteers who generously donate their time to welcome visitors and offer guidance about the garden. We had a lovely chat with 3 ladies at the entrance who were a wealth of information.

  3. Anne Connolly on said:

    As a couple in our early 60’s from Sydney, Australia, we set out from Washington DC by car for Longwood in the historic Brandy Wine Valley ‘following the fall colours’. We enjoyed Longwood very much and left there about 2.30pm to head to Philadelphia via Chanticleer garden. Of course, we were hopelessly lost-our maps not clear enough(I say)-but we eventually found our way there. The guides encouraged us to have a look around although it was nearly closing time. We are so glad we did. It was a beautiful garden, very relaxing-the gardeners even made the garden furniture in their own time. After copious directions from the kind ladies at the gate, we finally left Chanticleer and successfully made it to Philadelphia! that night.

  4. Hi Anne,
    I know exactly what you mean – it’s a tricky place to find, but worth it!

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