Chanticleer: Visit the Garden, Read the Book

By Marsha Goldberg, Fairfax Master Gardenerchanticleer3
If there were a Miss America Pageant for gardens, Chanticleer would win my vote for Ms. Personality, hands down. If you are unfamiliar with Chanticleer, consider visiting this nirvana for plants and enriching the experience by reading The Art of Gardening, written by Chanticleer’s staff. Located in Wayne, Pa., on Philadelphia’s Main Line, Chanticleer could be the perfect weekend retreat for you and your partner or an enjoyable destination with gardening friends.

Chanticleer is the former estate of the family of Adolph Rosengarten Sr., who built the home as a summer haven. (For you classic movie buffs, Chanticleer’s property borders the former home of Helen Hope Montgomery Scott, who served as the inspiration for Katherine Hepburn’s character in The Philadelphia Story.) During World War II, Rosengarten’s son, Adolph Jr., was stationed at Bletchley Park in London, famous for its work in breaking German code, where he fell in love with the classic English gardens. When he returned to Chanticleer, he implemented many of the same design ideas and eventually created a foundation to which he bequeathed the 38-acre estate upon his death in 1990. The garden opened to the public in 1993.

chanticleer2The original Rosengarten house is open for tours, and a second house — which the elder Adolph gave to his daughter as a wedding present — is used for administrative offices. A third house, belonging to the younger Adolph, was in poor condition and not serving any function so the Foundation torn it down and, in its place, created “The Ruin,” built to look like the remnant of the grand home it once was. Surrounded by its own plantings, the iconic setting serves as the backdrop for numerous pieces of garden art and may remind visito