Revisiting Biltmore Gardens at Asheville Garden Bloggers Fling


The “big” garden visit on the recent Garden Bloggers Fling in Asheville, North Carolina, was, of course, the Biltmore House gardens. I took a lot of photos of the gardens almost exactly a year ago, on a less-crowded and less-sunny morning (links at the end of this post), so I didn’t go photo-crazy this time. Instead I just walked around and took in the views. This image ended up being my favorite. I’m surprised they even allow dogs in the garden, but we saw a few, including this big boy lounging with his master in the shade of the wisteria arbor.


Castle in the sky—the House itself was not on our tour, although tickets were available to anyone who made time before or after the tour to go see it.


The wisteria arbor provided welcome shade on this hot afternoon.


Classical adornment…


…and natural beauty—the Vanderbilts had it all when they built their summer home here.


A few dogwoods were in bloom.


And the formal ponds in the Italian garden were revving up for summer glory.


The lotus weren’t blooming yet—too early…


…but an island in the pond offered the surprising sight of a banana tree growing out there, surrounded by Japanese iris.


I’m declaring rose campion (Lychnis coronaria) to be the Asheville Fling’s signature plant. I saw it everywhere we went. Here a hot-pink and a white variety are paired with bronze canna and tall verbena.


Oval windows in the grape arbor, which leads from the upper gardens to the conservatory garden, look out on the formally planted Walled Garden.


Here we bloggers were treated to champagne in the garden. I’d have felt like Lady Vanderbilt herself, if only I’d been wearing a long, sweeping dress and big-brimmed hat. That’s Diana of Sharing Nature’s Garden enjoying a glass too.


Anneliese Valdes of CobraHead’s blog and Christa Hanson of Growing a Greener World TV—all sweetness and light


Moments later they are in full photo-bomber mode. Which is the truer portrait? I’m not saying.

For a look back at the recycled-art garden of Christopher Mello, click here. Next up: A sampling from the North Carolina Arboretum and Amy Stewart’s macabre and wonderful Wicked Plants exhibit.

And if you’d like to see more of the Biltmore House gardens, I wrote four posts about it last summer. You’ll find pics of Biltmore’s formal gardens, the Frederick Law Olmsted-designed shrub garden, a gorgeous limelight-colored perennial border, and Biltmore’s glass house and conservatory garden.

All material © 2006-2012 by Pam Penick for Digging. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.

17 Responses

  1. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    Yes, I had been here before too. It was great getting the inside scoop from our tour guide at the beginning while driving in. Such a beautiful place.

    Yes, I loved the tour guide’s info about the preservation of the gardens that we got to hear on the bus ride in. —Pam

  2. The Christa and Anneliese photos look like a Before & After of a party where there was way more champagne than was served. Or, an After & Before advertisement for a 12-step program. Your photos look very intimate for the house which was built on such a a grand scale!

    They were having a good time, all right, but no champagne was necessary for those two merry souls. —Pam

  3. Les says:

    How lucky you were to be able to enjoy the company and the gardens without feeling the pressure to capture it all digitally. Sometimes I feel as if I experience gardens through a viewfinder, and not as it should be, just for what they are.

    I know that feeling, Les, and it’s how I operate a lot of the time too, which is a shame. —Pam

  4. I agree: rose campion was everywhere. That kind of surprised me. I wish we had had modern maps of the Biltmore Gardens. I felt like I was wandering around aimlessly and missed the library terrace, which seems to have had the best view. At least I found the champagne!

    We found a garden map at the top of the esplanade by the house, which was helpful. I think we all found the champagne though! —Pam

  5. Skeeter says:

    Love that big ole Newfoundland! As Less, I envy you getting to enjoy without the need to snap photos. I have been a photo hound since I lived in Europe. I feel as though I saw many countries through a 1 X 1 inch round hole! The day of Camcorders. I would love to go back and do it all over again with a digital now! But to see it without a camera in hand would be glorious… That is one draw back to being a blogger. You always feel the need to snap pictures… LOL…

    So true, Skeeter. Sometimes (rarely) I’ll go visit a garden and leave my camera at home, just for the experience of enjoying it without the pressure of taking photos. But it’s hard to do that, and blogs are always hungry. ;-) —Pam

  6. Jean says:

    Nice photos. I really like that rose campion. I meant to try growing some last fall from some free seed I had but you know how it is – neither one of us is much for the growing-from-seed method!

    Nope, that’s just not my thing either, although I’ll willingly throw seeds on the ground. Just don’t ask me to start them in fussy little pots. —Pam

  7. Very nice! I’ve always wanted to visit The Biltmore and gardens. That Wisteria arbor is beautiful!

    It’s definitely worth a trip, P. Everyone should see it at least once. And there’s so much to do in Asheville and the surrounding parks besides. —Pam

  8. It was a great visit, wasn’t it? All the photo you posted look cool and inviting, in spite of the day’s heat.

    It was a hot one that day, but you, anyway, look cool and collected. Yay for grape arbors and champagne! —Pam

  9. Ruth says:

    Looks like you guys had a lot of fun, and the gardens are certainly beautiful.

    We did, and they are, Ruth. Thanks for dropping by! —Pam

  10. louis says:

    That arbour full of wisteria is absolutely stunning. But the best part are all those ferns creeping out of the rock wall behind it!

    Yes, aren’t they fine? It was nice and cool here too. A beautiful feature. —Pam

  11. Becky says:

    I have rose campion in my garden and really love it. It seeds itself nicely around without being a nuisance.

    It’s a pretty plant. Nice to know that it’s well-mannered too. —Pam

  12. Rose says:

    I remember seeing the man with the huge dog, too, but I completely missed the ponds–how could I have done that?? There was so much to see and do that I’m enjoying seeing what I missed by looking at everyone else’s posts. I did notice all the rose campion everywhere we went; that and the poppies and nigella seemed to be very popular staples of so many gardens.

    We toured the house on Thursday; the gardens are lovely, but seeing the inside of this castle was definitely my favorite part–magnificent!

    Yes, the inside of the house is magnificent. I’m glad you were able to see it. —Pam

  13. Phillip says:

    Did you see the guy with the two beautiful Sheltie collies? He was coming out of the conservatory when I saw him. Everyone was going crazy over his dogs. They were beautiful.

    No, I didn’t see him, Phillip. Weren’t you surprised to see so many dogs there? I was. —Pam

  14. Denise says:

    My favorite photo is of the Newf too — the main reason my garden is ringed with rocks around the planted areas was to serve as “visual cues” for the Newfs (and the kids). Tender paws always chose the paths and steered clear of the rocks. About that rose campion, I’m surprised it can take what the South dishes out. Silver-leaved plants are generally assumed to hate muggy weather. Last comment, I swear. Never been too keen on large estate gardens, that is until I saw Filoli. And I hear Chanticleer is pretty special too ;)

    Rose campion does pretty well here, or at least it does in Jenny Stocker’s garden (Rock Rose). She grows it in her gravel garden, to great effect. And yes, I can say definitively that Chanticleer is a fabulous garden, full of humor and inspired plant combos. I hope you get to see it one day. I’d love to see Filoli too. —Pam

  15. Ah, rose campion! The most searched plant on my blog! Yes, I have my share and it’s everywhere because it’s so easy to grow. I gave Janet seeds last year and told her that I didn’t know if they were all ripe enough, so sow thick. Well, she did and she’s been scooping out seedlings and probably cursing me while doing so! :-)

    Great photos of Biltmore. I do love it there and disappointed that I couldn’t make the Fling with my current family obligations.

    I wish you could have joined us, Freda, but I remembered that you had a wedding to attend. Hope to see you next year in San Francisco. —Pam

  16. Love the big dog, he is a handsome fellow. Your photos are super. Love the one of the arbor and the house, great angle. I kept thinking the same about the Rose Campion, though it is a close tie with the poppies and Smoke trees.

    You’re right—both of those were contenders for signature plant too. —Pam

  17. LeeAnn says:

    Hi Pam, we enjoyed hosting you and the rest of the blogger fling participants. Thanks for telling your readers about it!

    LeeAnn Donnelly
    Biltmore

    Dear LeeAnn, thank you for hosting us! The guided tour on the bus on the way in was fantastic, the gardens were lovely, and the champagne reception was wonderfully decadent. Thank you! —Pam

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