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Asheville, North Carolina News

Biltmore Estate Hosts 24th Annual Festival of Flowers April 4-May 17, 2009

ASHEVILLE, NC – Flowers take center stage as a cast of thousands welcome springtime at Biltmore’s Festival of Flowers, April 4 – May 17. In concert with the opening, on April 4, of a suite of four restored rooms inside Biltmore House, the annual estate-wide event celebrates the beauty of George Vanderbilt’s 8,000-acre property and its original design by Frederick Law Olmsted, father of American landscape architecture.

Restored to their original splendor, this suite of rooms offers visitors the first opportunity to fully see the house as a family home and the Vanderbilts as parents. The Louis XV Room itself is perhaps the true heart of Biltmore. It served as birthplace of George and Edith Vanderbilt’s only daughter, Cornelia, in 1900. Years later, it was where Cornelia delivered her own two sons, George Henry Vanderbilt Cecil and William Amherst Vanderbilt Cecil in 1925 and 1928, respectively. Through family stories that span generations, and new blooms throughout the estate, Biltmore comes alive this spring.

Festival of Flowers showcases a stunning display of tulips, Iceland poppies, snapdragons and foxglove in the Walled Garden, vibrant colors in the 20-acre azalea garden and cascades of native and exotic blooms in the natural gardens and walking trails. Biltmore’s gardens, Olmsted’s final and most grand project, are in their 119th year, continuing to mature and becoming more beautiful every year.

This year’s umbrella theme, "Preservation," ties in with the opening of the new rooms in Biltmore House. Floral displays inside the house will reflect the period of decoration of each room, or of décor during the Vanderbilt era. Guests will see elements of the Edwardian/Turn of the Century/Aesthetic Movement infused with bold and contrasting colors. The Winter Garden will introduce the secondary theme, "Flowers through Time," with a floral sundial of potted flowering plants arranged around the center fountain and classical music played throughout the day.

Festivities across the estate will include music in the house and various locations, tips from Biltmore gardeners and innovative container garden displays in the Conservatory. Biltmore Winery celebrates with live music, wine tastings, seminars and children’s activities. Seasonal Festival of Flowers wines are also crafted each year to mark the occasion. In addition, events are planned for adults and kids at River Bend Farm, and outdoor activities such as mountain biking and float trips are available at the adjacent Outdoor Center.

Visit Biltmore Estate’s Festival of Flowers page for more information.

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