ASHEVILLE NC – From March 21 through May, Biltmore Blooms promises varying degrees of gorgeous as the estate awakes from winter with a steady progression of floral color and a succession of blooms. Starting on the first day of spring, Biltmore celebrates the legacy of Frederick Law Olmsted and his final project – George Vanderbilt’s magnificent Biltmore gardens.
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 and lavish flowers inside Biltmore House. The season continues with a massive tulip bloom across the estate, multi-colored azaleas, rhododendron and roses in the Historic Rose Garden.
As an added treat, a new guest experience will be introduced inside Biltmore House. Visitors will be able to step into the Winter Garden, normally roped off, to enjoy a display of exotic orchids, just as George and Edith Vanderbilt’s guests might have. Some of the plants will be the same species plants that were planned for the Biltmore Conservatory in 1894.
The Winter Garden’s existing tropical foliage will be enhanced, creating a lush green background. Unusual and beautiful orchid specimens will be displayed on tiered plant stands, in urns and on pedestals with fine leafed ferns and other foliage.
“Orchids will typically experience their peak bloom during this time frame, so we wanted to give our guests a chance to see these unusual and colorful blooms in the same way the Vanderbilts enjoyed them – in the Winter Garden,” said Cathy Barnhardt, Biltmore’s Floral Displays Manager.
Floral displays throughout the House will repeat the rich jewel tones found in the orchids. Foliage will be showcased in glass domed cloches and reproduction Wardian Cases, which look like miniature greenhouses. The Winter Garden will close to guest traffic on April 7.
Designer and expert presentations
Guests can see how green their thumbs can be as Biltmore’s gardening experts lend tips, tricks and techniques. Weekend “Ask a Gardener” stations in the Walled Garden allow guests to talk with Biltmore’s horticulture experts. Daily seminars will be held in A Gardener’s Place at the Conservatory on the following topics: Smell-Good Plants, 1 p.m.; Terrariums: Gardening Under Glass, 2 p.m.; and Organic Fertilizing, 3 p.m.
Live music will be offered daily in the Conservatory and Biltmore House. Weekends will feature bands in Antler Hill Village starting on April 1.
The Winery will offer daily tastings of its Biltmore Spring Seasonal Wine (a rose? of Pinot Grigio) and wine seminars. An exhibition, “The Vanderbilts At Home and Abroad,” featuring rarely seen objects in the Vanderbilt collection continues in the Biltmore Legacy Building in Antler Hill Village. Spring is the perfect time to take advantage of Biltmore’s mountain surroundings with outdoor activities such as sport clay shooting, Segway tours, horseback riding, carriage rides, fly-fishing, biking, float trips along the French Broad River and the Land Rover Driving Experience.
Annual Easter Egg Hunt
The estate’s annual Easter Egg Hunt will take 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. Hunts begin at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. Registration begins two hours before each hunt, and closes 15 minutes before each hunt.
From March 21 through May, youth estate admission is half the price of adult admission. Purchase estate admission tickets seven days in advance of your visit and receive $15 off; $10 off if purchased one to six days in advance. In addition to Biltmore House and gardens, estate admission includes entry to the Winery, Antler Hill Village, Antler Hill Farm and Barnyard, specialty gift shops and restaurants. The four-star Inn on Biltmore Estate is offering special pricing, including mid-week rates starting at $179.
Located in Asheville, N.C., Biltmore was the vision of George W. Vanderbilt. Designed by Richard Morris Hunt, America’s largest home is a 250-room French Renaissance chateau, exhibiting the Vanderbilt family’s original collection of furnishings, art and antiques. Biltmore estate encompasses more than 8,000 acres including renowned gardens designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, the father of American landscape architecture. Today, Biltmore includes Antler Hill Village, which features the award-winning Winery and Antler Hill Farm; the four-star Inn on Biltmore Estate; Equestrian Center; numerous restaurants; event and meeting venues; and Biltmore For Your Home, the company’s licensed products division. To learn more about Biltmore, go to www.biltmore.com or call 877-BILTMORE.