Home GardeningGarden Diary Chanticleer Garden is my cup o’ tea

Chanticleer Garden is my cup o’ tea


December 29, 2023

The enchanting Chanticleer was worth two visits during September’s Philadelphia Area Fling tour. I flew in early from Texas in order to spend an entire day exploring Chanticleer, knowing I’d see it again for a few hours on Day 2 of the tour. More is more! This was my 4th time to visit Chanticleer, and as usual, I took a bazillion photos, which I’m still editing down for your viewing pleasure. I’ll share them over the next several posts. Consider it a belated holiday present to you, dear reader!

Let’s start with Chanticleer’s Teacup Garden, which you enter via a white-walled courtyard dressed up with clusters of potted plants and a tile picture of sunflowers.

One of the gardeners reminded my group of the daily bouquets that beautify the restrooms at Chanticleer, so I popped into the ladies’ room around the corner to see. Gorgeous!

I also admired a tillandsia arrangement on a knotholed tree limb hanging on the wall.

Once you step through the doorway…

…you discover the Teacup Garden’s namesake — the modest and charming teacup fountain. Every year, the gardeners at Chanticleer switch up the planting theme around the fountain. This year, rows of tall bananas made leafy columns on either side, underplanted with silver and gold plants.

The fountain’s mirror-like “cup” spills four streams of water into a circular basin.

A wider view

Around the perimeter of the courtyard, richly planted beds dazzle with texture and color.

Pots add elevation and focal points.

The teacup fountain was purchased in Florence, Italy, by the original owners of Chanticleer, the Rosengartens, in the 1920s.

I enjoyed the fountain garden from all sides, and then I headed up a short flight of stairs…

…and looked back, admiring the jungly effect of the bananas, yuccas, and other bold plants against the prim white house (which contains administrative offices, I believe).

A wider view

A wide grass path runs parallel to the house, flanked by white-flowering borders. I particularly admired the columnar metal trellises spaced along the length of this garden. If I ever had the right spot, I’d love to have a welder make something similar.

At one end of the grass path, a variegated American agave perches in an elevated metal tub, evoking Apollo 11’s lunar lander!

The long view

Coming back around to the house, I was intrigued by vines and brown spheres dangling from a balcony railing. I think these are kokedama moss balls?

An enormous oak anchors a frothy white bed.

Japanese anemones, one of my fall faves

Tucked in the branches of an evergreen, a single robin’s egg somehow still remained in an abandoned bird’s nest in late September. Is this real or part of the magic of Chanticleer?

A venerable dogwood, just starting to blush red for fall, occupies one corner of the garden’s lower courtyard. I believe that’s a sedge lawn but can’t remember for sure.

In a tall blue pot, a variegated ginkgo shows off fan-shaped leaves.

Pink and gold

Chanticleer doesn’t put sculptures in its gardens. But its railings, chairs and benches, plant-list boxes, and even water fountains are handcrafted works of art. I love this spiral handrail with tree roots and dogwood flowers next to the old dogwood tree.

A wider view

And now we’re back in the teacup fountain courtyard.

To read about my past visits to Chanticleer’s Teacup Garden, follow these links:

Up next: Chanticleer’s Tennis Court Garden. For a look back at other gardens on the Philadelphia Area Fling tour, start here, at Paxson Hill Farm, and find more links at the end of each post.

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Digging Deeper

Hey, Austin-area gardeners, come learn about making a waterwise, Texas-hardy crevice garden! Register for my next Garden Spark talk with Coleson Bruce on January 18th. He’s created one of the most interesting and beautiful xeriscape gardens I’ve seen in Austin. Learn all about it and hang out with fellow gardeners who are interested in good design. Hope to see you there!

Come learn about garden design from the experts at Garden Spark! I organize in-person talks by inspiring designers, landscape architects, and authors a few times a year in Austin. These are limited-attendance events that sell out quickly, so join the Garden Spark email list to be notified in advance; simply click this link and ask to be added. The Season 7 lineup can be found here.

All material © 2023 by Pam Penick for Digging. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.

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