Friday, December 8, 2023

Chanticleer Friday: the House and Terrace Gardens

Big lush specimens of Begonia grandis were everywhere during the recent Philadelphia-area Garden Fling, this one at Chanticleer is a great example. The foliage is so, well, grand that even the multitude of pink flowers didn't annoy me!

For today's Chanticleer Friday post we'll be exploring the area around the house, home to Adolph Rosengarten, Sr., and his wife Christine. Please click over to the history section of the Chanticleer website if you'd like to learn a little more about the history of the property.

I've moved the garden map up to the beginning of this post, rather than the end, so you'll have a better idea how this area (the home) relates to the rest of the garden. The orange star-ish shapes denote areas I've already written about (links at the bottom of this post). 

"Chanticleer House was built in 1913. Originally a summer house, a 1924 addition enlarged it and the family moved here full-time from Philadelphia. The Gravel Circle is a feature inspired by the Japanese karesansui or dry landscape garden rooted in Zen ideology. The ritual of raking the gravel into designs that evoke waves or rippling water is said to improve concentration; every week (sometimes daily) one of our staff rakes a pattern to be appreciated from the flagstone path. For a a few days in April, the wavy grooves catch the fallen pink cherry petals and create a choreographed moment of fleeting beauty." (source)

I walked through this area a few times during my garden visits. Only once did I see a visitor (a teenage boy) feel the need to walk through the carefully raked gravel. Everyone else followed the pathway around the decorative circle.

I loved seeing these Furcraea foetida ‘Mediopicta’ (the large yellow sword shapes) in what's called the "overlook bed". They are so dramatic, the perfect Chanticleer plant.

"To the side of the house is a sun porch once glassed in and now open to the elements. A favorite of Mrs. Rosengarten, Sr., the porch is popular with our guests who recline on the rocking chairs to read, catch up with friends, or simply relax. There is often a cooling breeze that comes off the hill. In summer, the sun porch resembles a Victorian parlor dripping in the luxuriant foliage of begonias, bird nest’s ferns, cast iron plants, Kentia palms, and staghorn ferns. Outside the sun porch is the overlook bed that like the Teacup Garden, changes seasonally." (source)

Don't worry, we'll explore that sun porch in just a moment, but we have to work our way there. Those big dramatic leaves belong to a fig, Ficus dammaropsis.

Looking down the long terrace that follows the length of the house.

Floating floral arrangements are high art at Chanticleer, I saw this one during my Wednesday visit...

And this arrangement when I returned with the rest of the Fling gang on Friday...

On the sun porch the wooden rocking chairs are lined up to take in the view beyond.

Which was something like this. I actually took this photo out on the balcony by the floating flowers but since I forgot to take one from the sunporch this will have to do.

There were flowers to enjoy on the sun porch as well.

And potted plants to appreciate!

In fact this scene looks a lot like home with plants on the mantel and flanking the fireplace.

This fern was of particular interest to me, it's a Microsorum steerei. I saw others like it the day before when I visited the fernery at the Morris Arboretum, but wasn't able to identify the plant there. At Chanticleer each section of the garden has a custom plant-list box with printed sheets available, there is also a very useful page on their website with links, here. Oh, and I am now officially on the hunt for one of these ferns!

After soaking up all the goodness on the sun porch, I stepped out onto the lawn to get a overall shot of the side of the house...

"Noted landscape architect Thomas Sears designed the terraces that bridge the house and the garden; an ever-changing procession of containers and hanging baskets decorate the space. There is a rectangular piece of lawn where croquet was once played." (source)

The hanging baskets were ginormous.

And planted up with an interesting mix of plants.

The pots on the terrace were equally interesting.

I briefly had one of these variegated sword ferns, a division of a plant from my friend Ann. Sadly it's no longer living.

Further along the terrace gardens was this tropical planting bed with bromeliads and several plants I did not recognize.

The tall ones are Musanga cecropioides.

"Musanga cecropioides, the African corkwood tree or umbrella tree, is found in tropical Africa from Sierra Leone south to Angola and east to Uganda. It is typical in secondary forests." (source)

This interesting foliage belongs to Acalypha wilkesiana 'Ceylon'.

And here Jatropha multifida...

"Entering the far side of the terrace leads to an unexpected scene – a “flowery lawn” planted on a former turf panel that once necessitated constant maintenance to keep it sharp. This unusual meadow is a favorite spot for bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds that alight on Agastache, purple verbena, and scarlet tassel flower. Framed by a flowering cherry and crape myrtles, a rilled watercourse balances the presence of the swimming pool still in use." (source)

The "rilled water course" starts with this small in-wall fountain...

And ends at a far wall.

Looking back along the side of the house where we've been...

And now a lush tropicalesque planting that borders the walkway down to the swimming pool area. 

I heard many tales of pool parties happening here in the past, but not during either one of my visits. 

I really liked these gardens around the house and along the terrace. I'd read about the sun porch and seen photos, but it was a much more inviting and interesting space than I expected it to be. I had no idea there were gardens along the side of the house and loved exploring them all, the fountain leading to the rill and the bromeliad rectangle planting were favorites, along with the tropical planting along the back border. So much to see!

Next Friday we'll walk down the Elevated Walkway, and thru the Serpentine Garden and Bulb Meadow. There is still so much to see! My other posts on Chanticleer:
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  1. Wow, this might be my favorite installment yet. The sunporch! Oh my goodness. The fig leaves were quite stricking. The overall feeling of drama is fantastic. I didn't know that multitudes of pink flowers annoyed you, tee hee that made me laugh!

    1. Even though the home wasn't open during my visit(s) it was definitely the centerpiece of this part of the large garden. I could almost imagine living there and spending my mornings on the sunporch with a mug of coffee.

  2. Ha! Who but a teenage boy would walk through the carefully raked gravel...
    The balcony is amazing, complete with fireplace (and a rustic watering can) and the most exquisite view: 250 shades of green.
    The other bit that I loved was the small in-wall fountain, and the fact someone tucked a few grass flowers in it...
    Good luck with the Microsorum steerei hunt. It seems a challenging fern to locate, but that much sweeter when you do.

    1. The Chanticleer staff lets no opportunity for plant-based adornment to go incomplete. I'm sure there is always something tucked into that in-wall fountain.

  3. I was prepared to be unimpressed by a post focused on the house and terrace but I was in fact overwhelmed by how wonderful and varied the views are. It's a great lesson on the importance of considering views from that vantage point, although it helps to have a house like that provides so many options to show off the surrounding area. I have to say I'm a little obsessed with that Microsorum steerei fern too but I quickly discovered that most sources for the plants (and even seeds) were both outside the US and expensive even without consideration of the shipping charge. The best price I saw was $50 (not including shipping) but what appeared to be a tiny plant, which isn't currently available :(

    1. Yes! My thoughts exactly, this part of the garden was overwhelmingly lovely. Re: the fern, the hunt will not be an easy one...

  4. I'm yearning for Summer already... sigh

  5. A variegated sword fern?!?!?! Clutches heart, gasps, and faints (slowly and dramatically) to couch.

    1. Now imagine having it, thanks to the kindness of a friend, and then killing it. Augh! So bad, so sad...

    2. I would quick get out a stencil and some yellow spray paint every time the friend visits. They would never know about the crime. #stealthy

  6. Ah, it's lovely to revisit Chanticleer with you via your Friday posts. I haven't commented on every one, but I'm following along, enjoying seeing it again through your lens.

    1. Glad you're enjoying them Pam, I look forward to your future posts!

  7. I can imagine how lovely it must have been to live in this house with it's beautiful sunporch and views. Your photos demonstrate that this is really still a home garden vs a typical public show garden. Looking forward to the next installment.


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