ASHEVILLE, N.C. (WSPA) – If April showers bring May flowers, the rain must have come early at Biltmore! Flowers are in bloom all through the gardens where thousands of people visit each year.
Biltmore’s Senior Horticulture Manager Bill Quade makes sure guest enjoy full, fresh color throughout the Spring.
“We look for some of the tulips that are going to bloom throughout a certain timeframe. For us, it’s from [the first week of] April to the third week of April to make sure we get a good, extended bloom,” Quade explained.
It is a team effort between the cool Asheville soil temperature and the gardeners’ skills.
“The bulbs like to live in the ground. We use the soil temperature in order to keep them chilled through the wintertime. And as the soil temperature starts to warm up, that’s when they start to grow,” Quade said.
Biltmore blooms last through May. As the tulips fade, attention shifts to another flower to keep the color going.
“May is the best time to see the rose garden in bloom. We’ve got roughly 250 varieties of roses in the rose garden,” Quade said. “Generally, Mother’s Day is a great time to see it.”
Quade and his team work constantly to consider new ideas for color each year, but they have to make sure a each species will grow well. That’s why they have a trial garden to test different varieties of flowers to see if they grow well enough and are beautiful enough to go in the “big” garden the following year.
While produce could easily be grown in the array of gardens below the house, Mr. Vanderbilt instructed his landscaper he wanted a garden of ornament not of utility. In staying true to the original design and with Cornelia Vanderbilt’s love for tulips, you’ll find tulips as the centerpiece in the Spring.
The tulips will bloom again, but they won’t be as tall or colorful as the first time. Those flowers will be taken out of the ground and used as compost around the estate.
“When you come to Biltmore and you eat a meal at one of the restaurants, it may be using estate-raised beef, which could have been fed hay that was fertilized by tulips,” Quade explained.
To learn more about Biltmore or to plan a trip, click here.