If you’re a lover of gardens and flowers, or if you’ve ever wanted to visit Asheville’s historic Biltmore Estate, then this Spring will be the perfect time for your first visit to
one of North Carolina’s most beautiful historic places. The
estate was designed to be the home of the famous Vanderbilt family, who hired landscape architect Frederick Olmsted to create the grounds and gardens. Olmsted is the man
(some say genius) who designed Central Park in New York.
Today, more than a century later, the gardens are tended
by trained horticultural experts to maintain Olmsted’s original vision. Best of all, you won’t have to choose between the
main house and the
gardens on your visit,
as the gardens are accessible at no charge
with your paid admission to the estate.
With so many garden opportunities at the Biltmore Estate, you could easily
stroll for hours without seeing every bloom! If you were to
set foot on every part of the grounds, you would notice that
the gardens are very formal near the main house but become
more natural and wild as you move toward the perimeters
of the estate. Olmsted’s intention was for the more informal
outer gardens to blend well with the surrounding landscape.
Biltmore’s annual Festival of Flowers begins on the official first day of spring. This two-month-long event will
feature presentations by horticulturists, free Conservatory
seminars, daily live music, and special seasonal menus at
Biltmore’s restaurants. One of the highlights of the Festival
of Flowers is the ability to see close to 75,000 individual tulips! The peak time to visit for viewing tulips is the middle
Not a tulip fan? Don’t worry—there’s something for
every plant lover at Biltmore. April is the best month for
enjoying magnolia, forsythia, spirea, dogwoods, and redbuds, while May visitors
can view pansies, snapdragons, poppies, and
azaleas. The glass-roofed
by Richard Moss Hunt
under the direction of
the Vanderbilts, continues to house exotic plants such as
ferns, orchids, and palms. It also provides the plants and
flowers being used for display inside the main house, as it
did when the Vanderbilts were living on the estate.
Fans of azaleas won’t want to miss the huge Azalea Garden, which offers 15 acres of native azaleas—one of America’s largest collections of azalea species. It was originally
It starts with the bright golden yellow of
daffodils and forsythia emerging in the
gardens, coinciding with an opulent display
of potted tropical plants and lavish flowers
inside Biltmore House.