…And the winner is…

The Coral Knock Out Rose has captured the top prize at the recent finals of the 2019 Biltmore International Rose Trials.  Bred by William Radler and distributed by Star Roses & Plants, Coral Knock Out Rose (RADral) took home the George and Edith Vanderbilt Award for Most Outstanding Rose of the trials.

Coral Knock Out Rose by Star Roses & Plants

The winning rose was among a collection of roses planted for trials in 2017 in Biltmore’s award-winning and historic Rose Garden. Since 2011, Biltmore’s Rose Garden has been home to the trials in which more than 200 varieties from growers and breeders worldwide have been planted and cared for by Biltmore’s expert horticulturalists. A permanent jury of rose experts judged the plantings four times a year during the trial’s two years.

In addition to winning the Best in Show Award, Coral Knock Out won the Chauncey Beadle Award for Most Outstanding Shrub Rose. Additional winners this year were:

Sweet Hips (KAPswehp) – Winner of the William Cecil Award for Best General Impression, and the Lord Burleigh Award for Most Disease Resistant Rose, Sweet Hips is available from Weeks Roses.

Sweet Hips, available from Weeks Roses

Cupid’s Kisses (WEKtriscala) – Winner of the Gilded Age Award for Best Climbing Rose. Bred by Christian Bedard, it is available from Weeks Roses.

Cupid’s Kisses

Bliss Parfuma (KORmarzau) – Bred by Kordes Roses in Germany, Bliss Parfuma won the Edith Wharton Award for Best Floribunda. It is available from Star Roses & Plants.

Bliss Parfuma

Moonlight Romantica (MEILkaquinz) – Winner of the Pauline Merrill Award for best Hybrid Tea went to Moonlight Romantica, bred by Meilland in France. It is available from Star Roses & Plants.

Moonlight Romantica

Trials of this type are open to rose breeders around the world – from professional to beginner. Competing roses are evaluated for overall health and rigor; fragrance; disease resistance; and ability to repeat bloom.

Congratulations to all of the winners!

Dinner is Served

We hope you enjoy this archived content. A Vanderbilt House Party – The Gilded Age was a special exhibition hosted in 2019.

The Banquet Hall table in Biltmore House has been set for dinner. Won’t you join us?

For the first time in many years, the 40-foot-long table in the Banquet Hall was set with its full Gilded-Age finery, as it was when George and Edith Vanderbilt entertained their guests in Biltmore House. 

Bread plate on Banquet Hall table.

Set for our special 2019 exhibition, A Vanderbilt House Party – The Gilded Age, the table was adorned with the Vanderbilt family’s stunning Baccarat crystal, monogrammed Spode china, silver, candelabra, and linen damask napkins. Sumptuous and elaborate floral designs filled the table, assembled in multi-tiered silver pieces.

“Dinner at the turn of the last century was an important form of social interaction,” said Darren Poupore, Biltmore’s chief curator. “A dinner party was an opportunity to see and be seen and to practice the art of conversation. Dining etiquette had become formalized to the highest degree, with strict rules that dictated elegant manners and proper behavior.”

During A Vanderbilt House Party, the table was set for a seven-course meal for 18 guests based on an actual meal served in the great hall in 1904.

A single place setting for one person contained 18 pieces, with a place card displaying the guest’s name written by hand.

Add to that salt cellars, salt spoons, multiple serving trays, and bread baskets.

Depending on the number of food courses, a guest would sit down at the dinner table and see as many as 40 pieces of porcelain, crystal, and silver that he/she would use throughout the various courses of the meal.

Each place setting on the Banquet Hall Table included: 

  • 1 dinner plate 
  • 4 forks – 1 each for the entrée, roast, fish and game courses 
  • 3 knives – 1 each for the entrée, roast and fish courses 
  • 1 soup spoon 
  • 6 glasses – one each for sherry, claret, champagne, burgundy, a hock glass, and a tumbler for water
  • 1 napkin 
  • 1 piece of bread inside the napkin 
  • 1 place card 

Also on the table: 

  • 8 salt cellars
  • 8 salt spoons
  • 4 salvers (serving tray)
  • 5 tazzas (serving dish with pedestal)
  • 9 baskets
  • 4 candelabra
  • 1 tablecloth
  • 1 epergne (tiered serving piece)

Guests would linger for hours over dinner and engage in conversation. Each received an assigned seat, as arranged by Mrs. Vanderbilt earlier in the day.

Our archives tell us she always placed Mr. Vanderbilt and herself at the center of the table opposite of each other. She would seat the male and female guests of honor to the right of the host and hostess.

Making sure to follow proper etiquette of alternating ladies and gentlemen, she then seated the rest of the party. 

Biltmore Goes to Great Heights for Preservation

Biltmore goes to great heights for preservation, because our mission is to preserve the estate for the enjoyment of future generations.

This means that every aspect of Biltmore must be cleaned, inspected, repaired, and restored on a regular basis.

Great heights for preservation

Cleaning the Grand Staircase and Chandelier at Biltmore
Cleaning the Grand Staircase and its 4-story chandelier takes preservation to new heights!

It also means that our guests sometimes get amazing glimpses of the work that goes on behind the scenes in America’s Largest Home.

Winter Garden woodwork

In September 2016, for example, Connie Dey, Housekeeping Supervisor, and members of her team utilized a 40-foot scaffold to clean the oak woodwork that surrounds and supports the glass ceiling in the Winter Garden.

Couple views Winter Garden in Biltmore House
The beautiful Winter Garden woodwork undergoes a deep cleaning every three years

Part of our ongoing preservation efforts, treating the wood that supports the glass takes place about every three years. Sun damage is evident closest to the top of the ceiling, which dates back to the late 1890s.

This area receive full sun for several hours on bright days. Making sure the wood stays moisturized is key to keeping it protected–sort of like applying sunscreen every three years.

Connie and her team vacuumed and wiped dirt away to ready the surfaces for an application of a special wood polish containing beeswax, carnauba wax, and orange oil. The entire project took about a month.

High standards of cleaning

Going to great heights for preservation includes cleaning the Banquet Hall
Staff members go to great heights to clean the Banquet Hall

While some projects like the Winter Garden ceiling are done every few years, Biltmore House itself gets a thorough deep cleaning each winter after Christmas at Biltmore ends.

“Winter is usually our quietest season,” said Connie Dey, “so it’s the perfect time to clean things without getting in the way. And visitors often enjoy watching the process–my team gets lots of questions from guests about how to clean their own homes!”

Our mission of preservation

Temple of Diana overlooking Biltmore House
Temple of Diana overlooking Biltmore House

Our mission to preserve Biltmore as a privately-owned, profitable, working estate emphasizes preservation first. Learn more about our efforts to preserve, restore, and conserve this National Historic Landmark with the help of our in-house conservation department.

Featured image: Connie Dey stretches over the Winter Garden to reach every inch of wood with her dust mop to prepare the wood for its moisturizing treatment