September 22, 2012

A Hidden Gem

Even if you aren’t an avid gardener, if you live in the Philadelphia area you probably have visited Longwood Gardens several times. Someone’s in from out of town and you need to entertain… the obligatory trip to Longwood is sure to entertain and impress.

This Thursday my friends at Wallace Landscape Associates introduced Erin, my wife, and I (along with a few of their clients and colleagues) to a hidden gem, Chanticleer Gardens. Despite having driven by the beautifully gated entrance on Church Road in Wayne, it hadn’t registered that something to be discovered lie inside. A side effect of always being focused on my destination I suppose…

Beautiful handrail supported by “roots”.

Chanticleer began its life as a way for the Rosengarten family (think Merck) to escape the heat of the big city and enjoy a cool retreat in the country. It is hard to picture it now, 100 years later, as our employees drive in from the Lancaster County farmlands to work in Delaware County, that this was once a rural retreat. Construction began on the home in 1913 and a great deal of improvements continued into the “irrationally exuberant 20s.” I guess some things don’t change much.

In the interest of full disclosure, gardening really isn’t my thing. Erin loves to dig in the dirt around our house for hours, and I’m willing… to let her work. But I thoroughly enjoy listening to people that care passionately about their vocation discuss what they are seeing when they look at the highest levels of their craft. Laura Miller, a landscape architect with Wallace and a principle with the firm was kind enough to explain what the gardeners were trying to accomplish with the different plant combinations. I tried to keep my comments to a minimum such as, “What species is that tree?” The response I would get is “Uhh… that’s an Oak tree George.” Me- “Oh… right.”

Period Architect all around good guy Jeff Dolan.

The garden tour was enjoyable and I thoroughly enjoyed learning more about the work that follows our projects after we have completed construction. Highlights of the tour for me were the reflecting “table” in a ruin and the whimsical stone lawn furniture. According to Jeff Dolan, an architect with Period Architecture, the stone was surprisingly “comfortable.”

Reflecting table in front of ruin.

No one could resist touching the water.

The reflecting table was impressive when you consider that over its 15’ length and 5’ width, it would have to be placed perfectly level with the only tolerance for error being the surface tension of the water. Very Cool!

– George Metzler

Next Field Note

Tile the Kitchen, He Says

Jason mastering the tile installation in a kitchen of a complete home renovation project in West Chester.

View Field Note