In North Carolina, fall is a great time to go to the mountains for either lunch or an overnight getaway. The temperatures are ideal for outdoor activities and the trees turn color so that every view is a delight to the eye. This October we decided to visit the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina, and spend a couple of days exploring the gardens and enjoying the scenery.
The estate occupies 8,000 acres, including the original mansion, a new inn, a winery, numerous eating establishments, a farm, and 75 acres of gardens. The gardens were originally designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, of Central Park fame, in both the French formal style and the English landscape style. The mansion, built between 1889 and 1895 by George Washington Vanderbilt, is open to the public. The distances between the various attractions of the estate are considerable so most people drive and park in the ample parking lots as needed.
The area near the mansion has been developed into several gardens that can be visited easily in one stop in 2-3 hours.
The view of the mountains from the mansion terrace was magnificent.
In the foreground the russet hues of the grasses complemented the mountain view.
While biking we caught sight of the Biltmore mansion high above us.
The pond below overflowed with the reflections of the trees around it.
Near the mansion the Italian Garden with its three formal water gardens and classical statuary was set off by trees in fall foliage.
The Azalea Garden had no azaleas blooming but didn’t lack for color.
In the Shrub Garden many trees and shrubs were donning their fall attire. The beautyberry bush was turning yellow.
The falling of the leaves revealed the rich clumps of purple berries.
Another beautyberry bush had even larger clumps of berries.
A ‘Molten Lava’ crabapple apple tree caught my eye.
Its fruit were bright red and still hanging on even though most of the leaves had fallen.
A group of oak leaf hydrangeas were taking on red tones.
A large clump of Amsonia had turned gold,
while a mass of Japanese anemones had recently come into bloom.
Mediterranean heather was just beginning to open its flowers.
In the Walled Garden the pryracantha was laden with orange berries.
The asters in the herbaceous border were heavy with flowers.
Blue salvia made a big spash as well.
The Rose Garden was full of flowers in spite of the black spot that had left the plants with few leaves.
We expected to see mums but we were unprepared for the display that awaited us.
Mums took over from the annuals that are bedded out in the Walled Garden during the summer.
Another huge bed of mums were greeted us in the entryway to the winery.
In one area a design had been formed with the mum.
We expected to see a mass planting of mums in the South Terrace but, alas, it was empty.
More mums in various colors filled pots of all descriptions.
How about this hanging pair with mums and nasturtiums?
Or this pot filled with mums of two shades of the same color.
My favorite was this one with the purple grass and orange mums.
This pot was pretty special too.
Of course not all containers had mums. Many had shrubs and trees and I particularly liked this one with abelia.
A pavilion at Antler Hill Village featured ferns in the midst of all the mums.
The conservatory was packed with plants and stood like a tropical paradise in the midst of the fall color.
An interesting composition had been made using an old fireplace.
The beds of the farm had been planted with cool weather crops.
I was surprised to see globe artichokes growing there as I associate them with California.
Preparations were underway for Christmas. Garlands and decorated trees were already in all the rooms in the mansion and a crew was setting up a huge tree in the esplanade.
Biltmore has something new to see in every season (see also, A Summer Visit to Biltmore Gardens, and A Mid-May Visit to the Biltmore Gardens) so no matter when you go you can enjoy the house and gardens. This year we took our bikes and tried the bike paths. Unfortunately, only one path is paved and our bikes are not suitable for trails, so we could not take full advantage of the biking opportunities, but we look forward to another visit in another season because we know there will be something special to enjoy.