Rocking a dry garden at Chanticleer’s Gravel Garden Leave a comment

January 09, 2024

Every time I visit Chanticleer’s Gravel Garden, I get a familiar feeling. Many plants we grow in Central Texas appear in this Pennsylvania dry garden, and it’s fun to see them in a new context. Although the garden bristles with yuccas, agaves, and cactus and sways with grasses and airy perennials, the backdrop of tall trees and lush gardens shows that it’s situated in a most un-Texas landscape.

This is Part 7 of my visit to Chanticleer during the Philadelphia Area Fling last September.

From the Pond Garden, a narrow gravel track winds up a steep slope through meadowy plantings.

Looking back at the ponds below

In late September, the fall perennials were in full flower, alongside maples starting to turn.

Pines — not something you’d see in Central Texas

But Yucca rostrata? Oh yeah! How surprising to see it growing on a Pennsylvania hillside, no?

A living bouquet at my feet

A tucked-away seating area in the Gravel Garden

View from the benches

A pruned-up agave, which has no doubt been moved indoors for the winter.

Stone steps lead to a bench along one side of the hilly garden.

Beyond the bench, Minder Woods offers a shady woodland garden to explore. But let’s take in more of the sunny Gravel Garden.

So pretty with diaphanous grasses and bobblehead yuccas and meadowy perennials all around

A vine-shaded arbor curves along the edge of the hillside, overlooking the ponds and other gardens.

A tall boxed cactus stands out amid low flowering plants.

And mouse-eared prickly pear

Looking ahead to the Ruin Garden — next post!

These cone-like seedpods charmed me. They look like little chocolate roses.

Gulf muhly and eryngium gone to seed, along with sparkling white flowers

Another look

Russian sage and that cactus

Beyond, I spy Chanticleer’s famous stone-sofa living room.

As I mentioned earlier in this series, I visited Chanticleer twice on this trip, once before the Fling began and again during an afternoon soiree Chanticleer hosted for us. Drink tables and a bar were set up just beyond a stone armchair.

Angie Lueschen (Minnesota) found a comfy spot on the stone sofa. Notice the stone remote perched on the sofa arm.

Angie was joined by Natalie Carmolli (Michigan), Margo Rabb (Pennsylvania), and Amy Ellsworth DeWald of Decolonize the Garden (Maryland) — all new Flingers, I believe, except Natalie. It was great to meet them!

Margo introduced me to Joe Henderson, one of Chanticleer’s incredibly creative horticulturists.

Looming in the background, the half-shrouded Ruin calls to you with open doors and windows. Let’s explore that next time.

Up next: The fairy tale Ruin Garden at Chanticleer. For a look back at Chanticleer’s lush Pond Garden, click here:

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

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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 © 2024 by Pam Penick for Digging. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.

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