From weeds to cooling woodland


With temperatures nudging toward 100 degrees, July 4 may not have been the best time to visit a public garden, but on the up side, there was plenty of parking at Chanticleer - and lots to see, including the new three-acre Bell's Woodland, a shade garden featuring ferns, sedges, azaleas, trilliums, and other natives plants, that replaces a hodgepodge of invasive weeds. The new garden also features what I've previously described as "a bridge sculpted to look like a fallen beech tree."

That's technically accurate, but until I saw it yesterday, I had no idea how interesting this utilitarian work of art would be. This photo shows the entrance to the hollowed-out tree/bridge. It's very hard to describe, so for this (and many other reasons) you need to go to Chanticleer yourself.

On a hot day, the woodland garden is a relief - and, like the rest of this very intentional place, meticulously planted. The ferns are wonderful, didn't look overheated at all, and I noted masses of coral bells (that's my story in tomorrow's H&D section) used as ground cover, which is a wonderful takeaway idea.

The vegetable garden is always a treat. Interesting to see how the lettuces are left to go to seed, forming green and red towers that are quite ornamental. In my little garden, I just ripped these out to make room for beans. I don't have the room to play with that Chanticleer has! Of course not, or I, too, would've planted plenty of sunflowers - and a three-acre .. or so .. woodland.