At first, I was confused as to how I hadn't managed to get a post about our Biltmore trips up and then I realized that 1) they didn't used to allow pictures inside the house, and 2) we always went in February and the gardens were sleeping. This time, we went in August specifically to see the gardens and they did NOT disappoint!
***This is where I'm going to take a moment and explain that I find the Biltmore website to be clumsy and ineffective -- I really hate trying to navigate it. I recently discovered Romantic Asheville on a mountain trip, and they're really fantastic. There's SO much information and it's all really solid. I don't know these folks, but they're doing good work and I highly recommend them for any travel in the Carolinas since they expand outwards from Asheville proper. More on them in a later post. For now? Back to the Biltmore.***
A really solid rundown of the Biltmore Gardens can be found here, but the quick and dirty is that Frederick Law Olmsted (known for Central Park and the World's Fair Chicago and about a million other major horticultural landscaping projects everywhere) is responsible for the stunning Biltmore grounds. There is a long, winding, scenic drive up to the main house, and an array of beautiful flowers, orchids, and trees throughout the gardens and greenhouses. Even if you don't go to the main house, you'll drive past it on your way to the gardens. As you drive up, imagine being a guest of the Vanderbilts and popping out of a wooded drive to see this:
Once you pass the house, you'll wind down through some more lovely wooded road until you get to the nursery, greenhouses, and walled garden.
As you might have guessed from the clouds in the first picture, we did manage to catch a little sprinkle of rain, so we amused ourselves in the greenhouse checking out the orchids and other tropical plants. I was a bad horticulturalist and didn't take pictures of the plant names to go with these, feel free to scold me via e-mail or FB post IF you provide the names of something other than the banana tree. Everyone knows that's a banana tree.
Once the rain let up, we went outside to see the rose garden and butterfly gardens. I won't lie, the photographer in me was pretty pleased about the rain -- my excitement for post-rain pictures was not misplaced!
In addition to a stunning rose garden (home to the Julia Child Rose!), they also had a few vines of the same grapes that grow in their vineyard. Our whole group loves a good bottle of Biltmore wine, but we did refrain from picking grapes along the way... Top tip? These arbors make the perfect shade spot if you're there in August like we were!
Around the rest of the garden were wildflowers and lilies, just like we'd see in our own gardens around the South.
And, of course, butterflies.
We wrapped up our garden tour at the Biltmore to get cleaned up for dinner at the Grove Park Inn as the clouds moved past the mountains in the background.
The Biltmore is a truly beautiful place that never fails to enchant me.
Remember, if you like what you see here at PKM, you can help support future work here!