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Chanticleer - An American "Pleasure Garden" near Philadelphia | by UGArdener
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Chanticleer - An American "Pleasure Garden" near Philadelphia

About "The Ruin" from the officual website:


"Minder House, built in 1925, is where Adolph Rosengarten, Jr. lived most of his life. In 1999, under the vision and direction of Chanticleer's Director Chris Woods, the house was razed and construction of the Ruin Garden began. Originally the plan was to use the partially dismantled house as the ruin, but for safety reasons the only part left of the original house is the foundation and the tile "rug."


With the help of landscape architect Mara Baird the new ruin was built on the foundation of Minder House where carved marble, granite and other stone pieces sculpted by Marcia Donahue define the ruin's various spaces. The Minder Ruin Garden was unveiled to the public in April, 2000.


The Minder Ruin Garden is composed of three rooms: a "Great Hall" with a fountain shaped like a large sarcophagus that rests on a mosaic "rug" of tile, granite and slate, a "Library" where the books are sculpted of stone, and a "Pool Room, where marble faces gaze up from the depths of another fountain. It is a landscape theater."




In mid May, we drove thirteen hours from Georgia up the Shenandoah Valley and across the Pennsylvania Turnpike to Wayne, PA, arriving at the gates of this great American Garden just before 6:00 PM to take advantage of the 8:00 Friday closing time. I've now put up a set of shots taken quickly over the two hours just before the garden closed that afternoon.


If you have time, you can click on the set and run the SLIDESHOW in FullScreen Mode to follow us around the garden:


Here is an EXTENSIVE Plant List that shows the kind of horticultural craftsmanship and attention to detail that makes this garden and the staff who run it so special:


Here is a link to the garden's beautiful website, and a quote from it about its history:


"The Chanticleer estate dates from the early 20th-century, when land along the Main Line of the Pennsylvania Railroad was developed for summer homes to escape the heat of Philadelphia. Adolph Rosengarten, Sr., and his wife Christine chose the Wayne-St. Davids area to build their country retreat. The family's pharmaceutical firm would become part of Merck & Company in the 1920s.


The Rosengartens hired architect and former classmate Charles L. Borie to design the house, which was completed in 1913. Landscape architect Thomas Sears designed the terraces as extensions of the house. A 1924 addition converted the summer home into a year-round residence and the family moved here permanently.


Mr. Rosengarten's humor is evident in naming his home after the estate "Chanticlere" in Thackeray's 1855 novel The Newcomes. The fictional Chanticlere was "mortgaged up to the very castle windows" but "still the show of the county." Playing on the word, which is synonymous with "rooster," the Rosengartens used rooster motifs throughout the estate.


Adolph and Christine gave their two children homes as wedding presents. They purchased a neighboring property for son Adolph, Jr. and his bride Janet Newlin in 1933. It is now the site of the Ruin. Daughter Emily's house, located at today's visitor entrance, was built for her in 1935. It is presently used for offices and classrooms.


Adolph, Jr., bought his sister's portion of the estate following her death in the 1980s. He didn't move into the main house, but used it for entertaining and kept it as it was when the family lived there. The house is open for tours by reservation. Adolph, Jr., left the entire property for the enjoyment and education of the public following his death in 1990. A seven-member Board of Directors, five of whom are Rosengarten relatives, oversees The Chanticleer Foundation. The garden opened to the public in 1993. There are 17 full-time staff, of whom two manage facilities and 12 are gardeners and groundskeepers."

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Taken on May 17, 2012