Chanticleer Adventures

April 24, 2019


Josh, Director of Horticulture at Allen Centennial Garden went on a week long adventure as a Guest Gardener at Chanticleer in Wayne, PA. Check out what he learned along the way!

Josh in Wayne, PA

Why did you go to Chanticleer?

For several years I’ve been following Chanticleer and was always inspired by what they were doing there.  Ben–ACG Executive Director–has ties with Bill Thomas, the director of Chanticleer, and knew that they offered a Guest Gardener Program. The Guest Gardner Program allows a garden professional that works at another public garden go to Chanticleer for a short-term and immersive volunteer experience.  I wanted to learn some new skills, get some inspiration and learn more about how Chanticleer operates.

What did you do while you were there?

Many of the tasks were similar to the ones here at ACG.  I planted some new annuals in the Gravel Garden, moved ginormous Agave americana and created floating flower displays in the Teacup Garden.  In my downtime I visited several nearby Gardens, which included Mt. Cuba Center in Hockessin, DE, Longwood in Kennett Square, PA and Scott Arboretum in Swarthmore, PA.

What did you learn while you were at Chanticleer?

While I was there I worked with five different horticulturists.  All five had different designated spaces within Chanticleer that they took care of. I learned everything from how to prick seedlings, to raking a design into a gravel circle.  I was lucky to learn about each horticulturist’s aesthetic in their spaces.  They’re all very different but they do a great job on keeping the garden consistent and unified.

Josh working in PA

What do you plan to bring back at ACG from what you learned at Chanticleer?

There are many things I’m bringing back to ACG.  The biggest thing I’d like to concentrate on this year is finding a source for leaf mulch instead of wood mulch. All of the gardens I visited use some form of leaf mulch, and I must say, I personally prefer this kind of mulch over wood mulch.

What was your favorite part of Chanticleer?

My favorite part of Chanticleer was walking around the Garden after hours. I’d take a drink and a snack and stroll through the gardens for a few hours until the sun set.  My last night there it rained and I found a spot under a porch as I took in the view of the Garden. It was the perfect way to end the week.


by Josh Steger | Director of Horticulture