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Chanticleer – A Tour With Dan Benarcik

“Garden making is fundamentally not an intellectual enterprise. Most people come to gardens to experience some form of beauty.” Chris Woods

Chanticleer, a 47 acre garden in the suburbs of Philadelphia, was the personal estate of Adolph Rosengarten, Sr. and was passed down to his son, Adolph Jr. and daughter, Emily.

As Adrian Higgins writes in Chanticleer: A Pleasure Garden, “Adolph Rosengarten. Jr., loved trees, and the cultural legacy of Chanticleer that he and his sister, and their parents before them, left for us was dependent on trees in what was once open farmland. Without them today, Chanticleer would lose its air of permanence and be seen for what it is: essentially a remarkable but young garden begun in 1990.”

When Rosengarten decided to transform it into a public garden, he hired Chris Woods in 1983, a young English gardener who became the first executive director of Chanticleer in 1990.

Chris “formulated a clear vision of how the garden should develop, assembled a team of highly talented horticulturists, and gave them the freedom to be creative and take risks.”

Taken from Chanticleer: A Pleasure Garden – Written by Adrian Higgins. Photos by Rob Cardillo.

The garden is a feast for the eyes -  each of the 13 is filled with intense and innovative plantings – so much so that I find it almost too much to digest in one visit.

When I visited this past June, I was lucky enough to find Dan Benarcik, an incredibly gifted horticulturist, in The Tea Cup Garden. He kindly agreed to take us on a tour of the Courtyard and Tea Cup Gardens – 2 of the 3 gardens where he creates/designs/plants/maintains.

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Meet Pete the Nursery Dog

Pete

What do you think Pete is up to? (2 min. 37 sec.) Continue Reading →

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Stalking Geraniums

When faced with overwhelming choices in beautiful gardens, it is almost essential for garden photographers to give themselves a target, an assignment.  These days, I am stalking geraniums.

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True, it is great to wander around a wonderful garden, drinking in beauty, grabbing shots, but too often such photos end up as snapshots without a story to tell.  They may remind you, the photographer, what you saw, but don’t communicate to others.

So, when my friend, Robin Parer, unarguably one of the of the world’s authorities in geraniums and owner of Geraniacea Nursery, told me she was finally doing a book, I had the excuse for an assignment.

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A Dream Come True

Can you believe it? Twenty-five hundred people attended the Succulent Celebration and Book Launch June 7-8. I sold more than 350 copies of my new book, Succulents Simplified. Come celebrate with me!

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Site of the Succulent Celebration

Will you be at the Succulent Celebration and book launch June 7-8 near San Diego? I’d love to see you there! To entice you, here are a few glimpses of the nursery that’s hosting it, Waterwise Botanicals.

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Aeonium ‘Zwartkop’, in pots and on the hillside, is one of the succulents that the nursery sells a lot of. Continue Reading →

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