Biltmore Estate Festival of Flowers Guide
From March 21 through May 31, 2013, Biltmore Blooms promises a huge variety of spring flowers as Biltmore Estate awakes from winter with a steady progression of floral color. Spring is when Biltmore House celebrates the legacy of Frederick Law Olmsted and his final project – George Vanderbilt’s magnificent gardens. Here are some highlights:
• This festival of flowers begins with the bright golden yellow of daffodils and forsythia in the gardens, coinciding with an opulent display of potted tropical plants, orchids and lavish flowers inside Biltmore House.
• The season continues with a massive 100,000-tulip bloom across the estate, multi-colored azaleas, rhododendron and roses in the Historic Rose Garden. Native mountain laurels and vertical gardens of succulents continue long into summer.
• For the first time ever, step into the Winter Garden through April 7, normally roped off, to enjoy a display of exotic orchids just as George and Edith Vanderbilt’s guests might have. The plants will include the same species plants that were planned for the Biltmore Conservatory in 1894.
• Throughout the House, floral displays repeat the rich jewel tones found in the orchids in glass-domed cloches and reproduction Wardian Cases, which look like miniature greenhouses. These cases served as microclimates for the plants’ transport from far-flung exotic places to conservatories of horticulturalists, plant collectors and enthusiasts in Europe and the United States. At the turn of the century, plant collecting brought the romance and danger of distant places into the home parlor, greenhouse and the great conservatories.
• On the weekends, visit “Ask a Gardener” stations in the Walled Garden hosted by Biltmore’s horticulture experts.
• Attend free, daily horticulture seminars in A Gardener’s Place: Smell-Good Plants, 1 p.m.; Terrariums: Gardening Under Glass, 2 p.m.; and Organic Fertilizing, 3 p.m.
• Enjoy live music daily in the Conservatory and Biltmore House. Weekends feature bands in Antler Hill Village and Grape Stomps for children at the Winery.
• The Winery offers daily tastings of its Biltmore Spring Seasonal Wine (a rosé of Pinot Grigio) and wine seminars.
• The estate’s annual Easter Egg Hunt takes place on Easter Sunday, March 31, on the front lawn of Biltmore House. Enjoy children’s music and stories, magic shows, games and take photos with the Easter Rabbit. Activities at Antler Hill Village will include music and a Grape Stomp at the Winery from 2 to 5 p.m. Hunts begin at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. Registration begins two hours before each hunt.
• “The Vanderbilts At Home and Abroad” exhibition, featuring rarely seen objects in the Vanderbilt collection, continues in the Biltmore Legacy Building in Antler Hill Village.
• Throughout the spring, estate admission is half the price of adult admission. Purchase estate admission tickets seven days in advance of visit and receive $15 off; $10 off if purchased one to six days in advance.
Read more in our Biltmore Blooms Festival of Flowers Guide.