Friday, June 18, 2010

Biltmore's Gardens

A view back at the house from the path leading to the Biltmore's Italian garden.

The estate's grounds were designed by Frederick Law Olmsted...the landscape architect most noted for his design of New York's Central Park.

Yeah...that guy. Pretty impressive! Originally the property was just heavy forest; under Olmsted the wooded vistas and garden's took shape. Biltmore claims that the grounds were the first "managed" forest in America.

All sorts of interesting tree specimens were planted in "display" mode...you couldn't help but notice the huge trees set apart on small knolls with identifying signs to inform you of where the tree naturally grew.

The there was the walled Italian garden. It was rather between seasons; I have seen pictures of it in full spring and fall glory.
The garden was divided into two equal parts by a walk way, and on one side was a small gardener's cottage.
Even though we missed the flower display at their prime, that is not to say that there were not eye catching individual flowers, like this nearly black hollyhock.

The walk way dividing the garden was covered with lathe and shady grapevines and clematis.

At the end of the walk was a small "English" garden area, and then the hot house.

I've recently become a fan of potting edible items together with floral items. Chard is a lovely way of adding height to a potted combination.
I don't know what this plant is called...
But the up close shot is interesting. Is that the flower's bud or the pod???
The poppies almost looked like tulips!
5
Inside the hot house, which lived up to it's name. Ashville, North Carolina does get snow...in fact this past winter they had 36 inches of snowfall. A hot house is necessary for growing tender and tropical flowers.
And boy could they ever grow them!
I think this was my favorite thing in the hot house.
Isn't that a creative fountain?
The water flowed through the wine bottle and gently filled the barrel top to overflow down the sides of the barrel.
The floating wine corks is another great idea.
(Biltmore also has a winery on the estate, but we will get to that later.)
Another wine themed fountain! I wonder how hard it would be to drill holes through the bottom of three wine bottles and hook up a fountain like this one?
I'm always up for container garden suggestions....
Oh yes, a Wardian case. I'd love a Wardian case. (Named after Mr. Ward who traveled about collecting plants and noticed that plants sealed up in glass cases continued to grow. He eventually displayed a fern that had been growing for 16 years without additional water sealed up in a glass box. Mr. Ward..the Father of the Terrarium.)
Another way to recycle wine bottles.
Wonder if I could locate one of those "Tap-its" that used to be advertised for turning bottles into water glasses.
Does anyone else out there remember those ads?

The funniest moment of the time in the hot house: A woman informing her rather disinterested husband that THIS was rhubarb. She even made him walk over to it so she could point it out up close.

I managed to keep out of it, and keep my mouth shut...and it wasn't easy for me to do so either.

My favorite spot in the hot house. If I had been a guest of the Vanderbilt's I surely would have spent some time with a friend drinking tea and chatting in this scene.
Bernie and I tend to wander about separately. It is always fun to re-discover each other along the way.
To give you an idea how tall these houses are.
There were actually several "rooms", each with specific amounts of plant growing needs being addressed.
Guess what this plant was named?
Bet you want a Lollipop plant just because of the fun name.
Sea creatures?
Or queens with wide brimmed bonnets? (orchids are so much more interesting when viewed up close.)
It felt steamy hot to us, but while we were there, the overhead steam system kicked on. Whew!
There was one room devoted just to orchids.
(Longwood Garden in Pennsylvania has a more impressive orchid room imho.)
There was also a garden shop...how about those door handles?
I fell in love with this small fountain.
And this flower package. It was a good thing that you have to pay for extra luggage these day or I would have been lugging a bunch of stuff home.
We headed back to our car...taking pictures along the way.
A stealthily camouflaged squirrel kept an eye on us as we got into our car.
We had to drive through the gardens to get to our next stop. It was at that point I noticed the espaliered fruit trees against the garden walls.
The dogwood was just past it's prime. A dogwood tree covered in the snowy white or pink four petal blossoms is as southern as magnolias and Spanish moss.
A stream ran though the property.
Up on the hillside: can you guess is up there?

Canada geese of course!

(They really are everywhere.

We had quite a wait for the que of Canadas to pass. They just kept coming and coming....
The little streams emptied into the French Broad River. Apparently you can canoe or boat down the river as a tour option too.
Next stop: The winery and the new Antler Hill Village, about 2.4 miles from the big house.
To be continued...

5 comments:

ellen b. said...

Wowzers! Can you imagine living in this kind of grandeur?! Heaven will even be better...Places like this are great to get our imagination going...
Great photos!

Judy ~ My Front Porch said...

The Canada geese heard about the French River...and they came. It felt like home.

Biltmore Gardens has much to offer....thanks for taking us along.

Sara said...

They are very creative with their wine bottles aren't they!

Your close up of the stamen was gorgeous...it is so amazing...all the detail hidden inside a flower that we never would really notice but for close ups.

I'd love to be floating on the river like that last shot.

Lovella ♥ said...

I just sat down after the busy weekend and looked at the garden again and longed to take a stroll through the paths that lead from one bit of gorgeous to another.

Your photography is really wonderful. It must have been so fun to take all those shots.

Vicki said...

I know, I know. I'm sooo far behind in my blog-reading. I can blame it on having family in town...the last one leaves tomorrow (my niece...I'll take her back to the airport tomorrow afternoon).

I just have to jump in and tell you the name of the flower you wondered about. It's called "love-in-a-mist." Really.