This year’s annual Biltmore Blooms celebration in the estate’s gardens begins on Monday, April 1, and will run in conjunction with Biltmore’s current exhibition, A Vanderbilt House Party – The Gilded Age. Through May 23, visitors to the gardens can enjoy a tapestry of vibrant spring flowers, carefully curated by Biltmore’s gardeners. “George Vanderbilt asked Frederick Law Olmsted for a ‘garden of ornament’ for his guests to enjoy, and Biltmore’s gardeners today take a lot of pride in accomplishing that goal,” says Parker Andes, director of horticulture at the estate. Vibrant daffodils and tulips are the stars in April, while May brings softer shades of rhododendron, mountain laurels and azaleas.
Spring’s floral beauty extends inside Biltmore House, which is decorated with bouquets of local flowers, much as it might have been when the Vanderbilts lived there. A Vanderbilt House Party features opulent clothing from the Vanderbilt era, recreated by Academy Award-winning costume designer John Bright. Bright used black-and- white photographs from Biltmore’s archives as source material to create the outfits. “Whereas formerly we were only able to imagine these scenes in black and white photography, you can now see them in living, vibrant color,” says Leslie Klingner, curator of interpretation at Biltmore. “Even if you have been to Biltmore many times, this exhibition provides the means to experience the house in a different way. The recreated clothing brings the house to life in a manner that I have never seen. The audio guide we created just for this tour features the voices of the Butler and Head Housekeeper who give you fascinating insight into all that was involved behind the scenes of staging grand entertainments at Biltmore.” For information, go to Biltmore.com or call 800.411.3812.