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Flowers restore the soul. Trees cradle it with peaceful green. These were never so needed as they are now. Spring in the northeast has always cheered the winter heart and yet, now, we love it all the more. After a year of living secluded to avoid our modern plague, being out, seeing life in three dimensions is a celebratory event. This Spring, of all Springs is appreciated with wild abandon.

By luck, our Chanticleer day was the best of the week, when weather diviners had predicted it among the worst. Sun shone on the greening trees and the proliferation of late Spring blossoms. Chanticleer was more than expected. Chanticleer gardens are a touch whimsical, perhaps reflecting the sense of humor of the original owner, Adolph Rosengarten, Sr., and his wife Christine. He named the 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.”

The footbridge across the creek was designed to look like a fallen and hollow tree trunk. Upon the decaying sides of ersatz trunk, were small succulent gardens designed to look like moss. Intimate areas in sun or shade to sit and simply be in the garden invited relaxation. Should I ever live nearby, I’d arrive every decent day, book in hand, and find a spot to be swaddled by nature.

Flowers are grand and joyful throughout. Some gardens are bold swaths of color and others are the pop-up surprise of a single flower that you’ve never seen before. Seen a Jack-in-the-Pulpit before? You haven’t seen this one. Seen a Lady Slipper? Not this one. We’ve all seen tulips, but a green and white one? In many ways, I preferred the intimacy of Chanticleer to the grandeur of Longwood. Chanticleer helps heal our year of alone.

If you love gardens or simply need a change of scenery, Chanticleer is worth the time. Plan your visit ahead, as parking is limited.

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