The gardener's eye

The Gardener's Eye

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Chanticleer in October

When we arrived at Chanticleer, the day after the Perennial Plant Conference, I suggested that Tovah and Maude use the facilities and asked them produce evidence (Tovah's photo above) that Chanticleer's  ladies lavatory was just as impressive (marble counter tops, lovely tile work and, of course, a vase of fresh flowers from the garden) as the men's room. I was happy to learn that Chanticleer did not discriminate on the basis of gender. 

We had a wonderful tour of the gardens on a perfect October morning led by Bill Thomas, Executive Director and Head Gardener of Chanticleer. Like New Hampshire, Pennsylvania had a hard frost about  a week earlier. The staff had a done miraculous job covering the tender plants and you would have never known that the thermometer dropped below freezing.

A stand of Musa ‘Thai Black’ at the Teacup Garden

Hand made iron stairway railing 

The stairway at the Chanticleer House

A planter  of Agave attenuata, Calathea roseopicta, Melanthus major and Pelargonium sidoides overflowing with Senecio radicans

Tovah is curious about this plant

Maude took this shot of Tovah conferring with Bill Thomas about the plant ID

The Rill Garden with pots of Aechmea ‘Dean’ and Dichondra argentea


Another beautiful shot by Maude through the limbed up branches of Lagerstroemia 'Tonto' in the Rill Garden

The bright orange flowers of Leonotis leonurus

Vitex trifolia 'Purpurea' in the West Bed at Chanticleer House

Soft clouds of pink Muhlenbergia capillaris at the Gravel Garden

A bench in the Minder Woods

The Ruin Garden

Quercus alba trained up a pillar at the Ruin Garden


Oak Leaf Water Fountain

Red Dwarf Grain Sorghum winds its way through the Serpentine Garden

Close up of Sorghum

The New Bell's Wood Bridge to the American Woodland looked like a giant submarine...

...was actually a fallen beech tree.

Gardeners come in all sizes.

Thanks to Maude Odgers and Tovah Martin for some of the photographs for this post.


  1. Thanks for the great photos of one of my favorite public gardens. Chanticleer never disappoints. BTW the Eastern style restroom in the Asian Woods is even more impressive!

  2. Rodrica,
    It is a favorite of mine too. Great design, plants and all with a sense of humor. I also had Tovah and Maude do a pit stop at the Asian Wood restroom. Everything about it was perfect to compliment an Asian garden. It also has great photos by gardener, Lisa Roper, if memory serves me. Thanks for commenting.

  3. Michael, your knowledge of plant names, particularly tender plants amazes me. It's great to see this post on Chanticleer, a reminder of this past season when I actually got to the garden five times. The return of Sorghum to the Serpentine was a special delight. It was last used there four or five years ago, and I've missed it every year since. Quite a striking ornamental plant en masse. It makes me wonder how adaptable it is to a smaller garden.

    1. Jim,
      The plant list from the Chanticleer site is a huge help with the plant names. It is also a great resource for woody plants and perennials in every garden. I have been using the plant list from the Asian Wood to get ideas for my own woodland garden. I think the serpentine looks terrific every year.

  4. Beautiful gardens and features

  5. Michael -
    Thanks for taking us back to Chanticleer. I always enjoy your visits there. Glorious! Especially for October. I can't wait for next spring.....will make my very first trip there. BTW, we had our first frost this week.

    1. Loi,
      I'm sure you will like it as much as I do. I learn something and am inspired every time I visit.

  6. Unfair! That was an optical illusion. Don't let him fool you, I'm not really that short. He shrank me so I'd fit in the car (compact model) better. And Michael, exactly how do you know about the photos in the Asian lady's room, pray tell?

    I'm with you James on the sorghum. And James = I LOVED your garden. It comes from the soul -- with (e)motion. --Tovah

    1. Truth be told, I am 6'!!". I'm sorry I didn't disclose that fact from the start. It puts things into perspective. Interesting question, about the lady's room, Tovah. I'll figure out a good response in a future post, but I am in total agreement about Federal Twist.

  7. Hey, give me half a dozen milk crates, and I can be 6 ft also. But I'm closer to the earth. When it comes to pulling weeds, no need for me to stoop to conquer.

    I've just got to say = as wonderful as Michael's photos are, we couldn't really capture the full splendor of Chanticleer in a photo. You've got to go there and experience it in person. It will change your life. It will change your garden. You'll be lusting after sorghum as well...

    1. Tovah, we each have own gardening advantages--you plant my snowdrops under the fothergilla and I'll prune your crabapples---a deal? I would recommend visiting Chanticleer in every season. It is always changing and always beautiful.



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