Greater Philadelphia’s Top 5 Public Gardens

Photo of Chanticleer by Lisa Roper via Chanticleer Garden

Photo of Chanticleer by Lisa Roper via Chanticleer Garden

In the May issue of Philadelphia Magazine–still on newsstands! Print products are great!–Ashley Primis takes readers garden-hopping. ’Tis the season, after all. She chooses five area public gardens that are a must-visit, and it’s hard to disagree with her list. Want to suggest more? Please add them in the comments!

1. THE NEW KID. Chanticleer is the newest public garden, and has no labels on any of the fauna. “Chanticleer’s seven full-time gardeners are eager to engage.” Audience participation encouraged, in other words.

2. THE IVORY BOWER. Penn’s Morris Arboretum is very kid-friendly, says Primus. “There’s a soaring treehouse playground, and the Garden Railway, a not-so-small train that whizzes around a quarter-mile track,” among other delights.

3. THE ELDER STATESMAN. Longwood Gardens is an extravagant, nationally known treasure: “There are water-fountain displays fit for Versailles, a ringing Chimes Tower…a mindboggling array of flowers” and a “Gatsby-esque Conservatory.”

4. THE URBAN EXPERIENCE. Isaiah Zagar’s Magic Gardens on South Street are made of bottles and concrete rather than green matter. But they’re as lush and dizzying as anything biodegradable. “The result is a subterranean funhouse enveloped in mosaics crafted from tiles, mirrors, mini figurines and wheels.”

5. THE DOWNTON ABBEY. It’s always fun to cruise the grounds of a wealthy family and imagine what it’d be like to live there. A former home of the du Pont clan, Winterthur has beautiful gardens and a museum with a well-known collection of American furniture. It’s perfect for a garden visitor who’d rather be inside.

For more information about the gardens, including hours and ticket prices, see Primus’ briefing.

Philadelphia’s Best Community Gardens and Arboretums