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Fall Highlights of Arboriculture at Biltmore
When George Vanderbilt purchased the acreage that would become Biltmore, much of the land was overworked and vacant of trees due to activity from the previous settlers. Biltmore’s landscape architect, Frederick Law Olmsted, advised George to make most of his estate a forest.
Luckily for today’s guests, some of the tree species handpicked by Olmsted are now recognized as North Carolina State Champion Trees—meaning they are essentially the superstars of our historic gardens. And there is no better time to view these estate beauties than leaf season.
Golden-rain Tree in the Shrub Garden
Perhaps one of the more unusual champion trees, the Golden-rain tree in the Shrub Garden lends grace and charm to the landscape. Its showy fall color generally includes various shades of yellow and chartreuse. If you look closely, amid the autumn foliage you’ll find inflated seed pods, reminiscent of Chinese lanterns, hanging elegantly.
Katsura Tree in the Azalea Garden
Among the larger champion trees is the Katsura tree, found in the Azalea Garden. This tree has magnificent fall color with hues ranging from gold to apricot, accompanied by an unusual, sweet fragrance that permeates the area around the tree. Some describe the smell as cinnamon-like, while others think it is more similar to cotton candy—either way, it’s sure to satisfy the senses!
Other champion trees of note on the estate are the Dawn redwood in the Azalea Garden with its lush bronze fall color and the Persian parrotia boasting brilliant warm autumnal hues between the Conservatory and the Gardener’s Cottage.
Fall is a favorite season for strolling the gardens and grounds of Biltmore, and these champion trees make an autumn estate experience that much more memorable.
Feature: Fall color in the Blue Ridge Mountains
First: Golden-rain tree
Second: Katsura tree
Third: Fallen Katsura leaves