Whenever I stay in the Philadelphia area, no matter what time of year it is, I make it a point to visit as many public gardens and arboretums as possible. I land at PHL, take a Lyft out to the Main Line to my regular AirBnb house, and plan my garden tours for the next day. There’s never any doubt this Southern California resident is missing her trees and green.
The master horticulturalists of the gardens surrounding the city of Philadelphia have done a wonderful job of creating incredible places to visit even in late fall when one does not expect flowers to be in bloom. You can find bold color everywhere but also delicate muted tones, too. One day soon I hope to even make the trip in the spring. I cannot imagine how beautiful the gardens are then.
One of my favorite gardens is Chanticleer Garden located in Wayne, Pennsylvania. Every year I return, I see something new and inspiring. Fun fact: I used to live in Wayne but Chanticleer was not open to the public until 1993 (I left in 1987).
Chanticleer is not open year round so it’s best to consult their website to be sure they are open to visitors before you arrive. I’ve had to plan accordingly when my trips take me to Philadelphia in late October — sometimes they close for the winter starting on November 1st or 2nd.
I love Chanticleer so much that when I hired a landscape consultant to do a complete remodel of my yard in southern California, she asked if I had an inspiration to show her what I like, and I immediately brought out the photos from my previous trips to Chanticleer. I’m happy to say that although my garden doesn’t look quite like Chanticleer due to a completely different climate, it does have elements of it. Each time I sit in my backyard, I am reminded of my favorite East Coast garden, and that makes me very happy.
Plenty of water runs through Chanticleer and it is especially calming to walk along Bells Run Creek. The path of the creek is meandering. In some spots, it’s as still and clear as glass, but in others, there’s lots of motion, movement, and sound.
After walking on the paths, you might find you need a little break and there’s a wonderful spot in the Tennis Court Garden for just this purpose. On the day I went to Chanticleer in October of last year, it was a little chilly so it was wonderful to sit for a minute and soak up the waning sun while watching the birds dart from one bloom to the next.
Should you ever find yourself in the Philadelphia area and are looking for an insider recommendation of what you should do/see, please consider adding Chanticleer to your list. You will be so happy you did. It’s a perfect way to spend a few hours away from the hustle, bustle, noise, and people in downtown Philadelphia.