What a Wonderful Weekend

Iris ensata 'Agripinella'

We arrived home last weekend and got up on Sunday to find this lovely Japanese Iris in bloom it was like a delightful postscript on what had already been a wonderful extended weekend in Philadelphia.

For Christmas, our daughter-in-law had given my son and Beth and I, via AHS auction, a personal tour of Chanticleer, a highlight of the Philadelphia gardening scene.  Personally, it may be my favorite garden in the U.S.  So it was a joy to be escorted around the garden by Bill Thomas, who incorporates the history and philosophy of what is characterized as ‘ a pleasure garden’.  For three and a half hours we got to see both public and private parts of Chanticleer.  There is a recent book on Chanticleer by Adrian Higgins (pictures by Rob Cardillo) that captures a lot of the spirit of Chanticleer and I recommend it to anyone contemplating a journey to the Philadelphia area.  The garden incorporates spacious views that key off the large old specimen trees and is also full of delightful smaller spaces where plant treasures can be found.

We had spent a day at Chanticleer two years ago during which I took a lot of pictures, partly as inspiration of things to bring back to our little country dwelling.  One particular element was the colorful Adirondack chairs that we have now added to our hillside.

Adirondack chairs at Chanticleer

Another source of inspiration at Chanticleer are the chartreuse-colored Black Locusts at the entry to the garden.

Robinia pseudoacacia 'Frisia'

We have now planted two on the hillside here.

Some other memories from Chanticleer follow:


The Ruins

A field of Poppies

A field of Kniphofia

Goat's Beard (Aruncus dioicus) in the woods

Globe Flower (Trollius europaeus)

Spuria Iris (Cinebar Red) (credit ID to Jonathan)

The day after visiting Chanticleer (where we wrapped up our stay with a picnic on the lawn, apparently a Friday evening tradition judging by the number of other visitors who stopped by just for the evening), we went by Carolyn’s Shade Garden.  Carolyn is a fellow blogger who participates in such traditions as Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day and the Gardening Gone Wild Photo Contests.  It was an open house day for Carolyn and it was delightful to be able to stop in and meet her and her husband.  Her garden and nursery sits under some magnificent old trees in Bryn Mawr, just outside of Philadelphia.  Unlike Chanticleer, which studiously avoids labels, Carolyn has carefully labeled many of her plants and you can see how they mix artfully together in the following views down the terraces and back on the far side of the house.

Carolyn's Shade Garden #1

Carolyn's Shade Garden #2

Carolyn's Shade Garden #3

We bought a few plants from Carolyn as mementos of our visit but more than that we enjoyed visiting with another avid gardener who very much understands the enthusiasm that we find in novel plants.

Arriving back in Frederick we threw on some clean clothes and went downtown to the opening of a new photo gallery where three of my images are on display for this month.  We mingled with visitors and the other photographers, had some wine and generally reflected on what a great weekend we had enjoyed…

Opening of Shereen's Gallery

2 comments on “What a Wonderful Weekend

  1. Les

    Though I am not terribly well-travelled, I would count Chanticleer as probably the best garden I have visited in the states. How fortunate you are to receive a private tour. I think my favorite parts are the Steppe Garden, and the Ruins, which I think is pure design genius.

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