It’s Bedtime for Tulip Bulbs

gardener planting bulbsWe pause now from our holiday postings to bring you a mini-preview of things to come this Spring.

In our region, November is the time to plant springtime bulbs. And that’s exactly what Biltmore’s Walled Garden crew did earlier this month, spending many hours on hands and knees tucking tulip bulbs into the ground for their long winter’s naps. They’ll need the rest – the tulips, we mean – because they have a show to put on.  (Not that our hard-working crew doesn’t need the rest, of course!)

When April arrives, our annual Biltmore Blooms event (formerly known as Festival of Flowers) will already be underway. The bulbs currently in the ground will transform themselves into bright green stems and showy petals in coordinated hues of pink and dark purple; and yellow, orange and light purple.

Estate-wide, the horticulture team planted around 96,000 bulbs. They dug thousands of 6-inch deep holes and dropped between eight and six bulbs into each one to ensure three or four weeks of bloom time.

Parker Andes, Director of Horticulture, suggests if you’re planting tulip bulbs in your garden at home, wait until the soil’s temperature drops to below 60 degrees Fahrenheit.  Arrange them so their pointy sides are facing up.

 He also advises that bulbs in the ground often serve as a subterranean buffet for critters like voles. If you have problems with these tiny rodents, add a little gravel to each hole to keep them from tunneling toward your bulbs.

Extra tidbit in the name of Trivial Pursuit:  What do Biltmore gardeners talk about while planting tulip bulbs? Any number of things, says Travis Murray, Walled Garden Crew Leader. The day we took these photos, the topic was “Favorite 1980s Horror Movies.”

Plant Bulbs Now for Beautiful Spring Gardens

Longing to create a gorgeous spring garden? Fall is the ideal time to lay the foundation by planting bulbs. Popular spring bulbs such as tulips, crocuses, daffodils, and hyacinths need fall and winter to prepare for spring blooms.

Fall Bulb Planting Tips

Plant when the soil temperature is cool. “Ideally, the soil’s temperature should be between 50–55 degrees,” says Parker Andes, Director of Horticulture.

Plant bulbs in a sunny location in a hole that is six inches deep. Make sure the tip of the bulb faces upwards. For the most impact, dig wide holes and place multiple bulbs in one hole. “Grouping bulbs in one hole creates a bigger visual impact because the blooms are closer together,” Parker said.

Plant Now with Biltmore Bulbs

Get a head start on a beautiful garden by looking for Biltmore For Your Home Bulbs at your local garden center. Select from exclusive Biltmore collections created by the world-renowned Netherland Bulb Company.

Find a retailer near you.

Prepare Soil in the Fall for a Healthy Spring Garden

When a hint of autumn chill is in the air, gardening may be the last thing on your to-do list. However, fall is the perfect time for amending and rebuilding healthy soil eco-systems.

Working in Your Fall Garden

In most urban and suburban neighborhoods, the top-soil has been removed. By amending your soil in the fall, you lay the foundation for healthy plants and gardens.

Begin by adding organic materials to the soil. This gives Mother Nature a helping hand and prepares your soil for spring growth. Organic materials are naturally acidic and help break down concentrated minerals in the soil. The minerals in turn support and encourage winter root growth and provide a nutrient boost in the spring.

Gardening with Biltmore Naturals

Take the work out of preparing your fall garden with our Biltmore Naturals garden line. Our products deliver high-quality organic materials and beneficial microbes similar to the raw ingredients found in nature. This builds soil fertility and creates a healthy soil and plant ecosystem.

We recommend the following products for fall soil application:

  • Garden Build
  • Pure Castings
  • Garden Boost
  • Garden Feed (4-4-2)

Make the Most of the Outdoors

Extending your living space isn’t new—in the 1890s, Frederick Law Olmsted created outdoor “rooms” at Biltmore. From the soothing shade of the Library Terrace to the sunny Italian Garden, the Vanderbilts used these spaces for entertaining guests.

Today, there are many ways to decorate and personalize outdoor spaces. Start your project by considering how you want to use the area.

Give Yourself Room for Dining and Relaxing

Seeking space for al fresco dining and great grilling? Plan a brick or flagstone surface for sure footing. A table and chairs in cast aluminum or wrought iron are durable and stylish selections. Add practical storage with a sideboard or hutch designed for outdoor use.

Want a leisurely retreat? Think soft—lush grass and deeply cushioned sofas, chairs, and lounges. All-weather wicker and new fabrics endure the elements while providing comfortable seating. Choose from a wide range of fabric colors and patterns and change your outdoor décor to complement the seasons.


Build the Walls and Ceiling

Look to plants and other landscape materials to build your “walls.” Add privacy and screening with shrubs and trees, then layer in perennials for color and fragrance.

Treat a stunning view as “art” by framing it with plants or an arbor, or draw attention to it with a garden sculpture. No view in sight? Create your own focal point with a water feature, specimen plant, or bloom-filled containers. Finish with a vine-covered trellis or array of patio umbrellas for a “ceiling” that provides shade and a sense of enclosure.

Personalize Your Space with Accessories

Just like indoors, make your outdoor room complete with accessories. Weatherproof lamps, fountains, wall art, rustic fireplaces—the choices are endless. Remember to accent your space with colorful flowers and foliage plants to add a welcoming touch. Above all, have fun with your outdoor décor and enjoy the results.

Discover the possibilities with Biltmore™ For Your Home outdoor furniture and décor.

Accent Outdoor Settings with a Container Garden

This summer, try your hand at container gardening for a small and manageable project that will create a big impact. Container gardens can be positioned anywhere you’d like to create a decorative accent or help frame a space—for example, the patio, deck, front walk, or entrance to your home. You can also use them to enhance your existing garden or landscape.

Remember that your plants’ sun requirements must match the available light in the area you’ve selected. A gorgeous shade plant container garden positioned on your brightly lit back deck will only look gorgeous for so long!

Once you’ve determined the lighting conditions for the area, you’re bound only by your own style and preferences. Plant a variety of flowering plants for a vibrant mix of colors and textures. For a more uniform and understated look, choose a single plant like a small boxwood, as shown in the downloadable “Welcome Home” landscape design. You may want to select a color palette that compliments the color of your house or outdoor furniture, depending on where your container garden is situated.

The containers themselves come in a range of shapes, sizes, styles, and materials. To bring an elegant touch of Biltmore to your home and yard, consider Unique Stone containers inspired by the planters around Biltmore Estate and hand finished for an aged look.

Featured Plants and Garden Décor

Discover exclusive plant and garden décor offerings from Biltmore For Your Home partners.
Find a Store Near You



Cottage Gardens Rosebud Azalea

Pink triple blooms that resemble rosebuds are the namesake of this unusual azalea. This late bloomer allows you to extend spring’s blossoms in the garden. Prefers partial to full shade and moist, well-drained soil. Matures to 3’x4’.



Netherland Bulb Dahlia “Fuzzy Wuzzy”

Fringed petals and vibrant pink tips with white accents make this dahlia a show-stopper. Designed to be an ideal cutting flower and a garden standout with a grand height of 36”. Hardy in Zone 8 and areas south, plant in full sun.



Herter Nursery Biltmore Laceleaf Japanese Maple Cuttings and Seedlings

Cuttings and seedlings from Biltmore’s Japanese maples provide the chance to bring a piece of estate history home. For striking red leaves, plant in full sun. Slow growing trees are ideal for small gardens and can tolerate partial shady locations as well. Mature trees measure 9’x12’ and prefer well-drained soil.



Unique Stone Antler Hill Trough

Bring home the rustic charm of Biltmore’s Antler Hill Village with this garden trough inspired by the estate’s grand legacy. Measuring 21″x 22″x 53”, this piece is versatile enough to be used as a planter or water element.



Fisher Farms Crabapple Lancelot

Add color and texture to your garden throughout the year with this special variety of crabapple trees. Spring brings brilliant red buds and soft white flowers, while summer offers shady green foliage. Gold foliage marks fall’s arrival, followed by luminous gold fruit that lasts through winter. A zone 4 plant that matures to 8’x8’.



ShadeTree Biltmore Canopy with Bronze Railing

Add comfort and elegance to your home or business with a retractable shade canopy and matching rail system. Constructed from rugged aluminum, railings feature decorative columns and a ball finial on end posts. Available in black, bronze, beige, and white.

See more plant and garden décor items.

Garden Inspirations

George Vanderbilt retained the best artisans and architects of his time to create Biltmore. For his landscape designs, he looked to America’s foremost landscape architect, Frederick Law Olmsted. Olmsted’s vision for Biltmore included a small pleasure ground and garden, a major arboretum and nursery, and a systematically managed forest. From the formal beauty of the Italian Garden to America’s first managed forests, Biltmore’s lush landscape is a living tribute to Olmsted’s genius. Our experts continually work to preserve the original vision for the gardens and grounds. Learn more about Olmsted

Now, you may choose from three new downloadable landscape plans designed for your home, inspired by Biltmore Gardens. See Landscape Plans

Or, perhaps you’re interested in creating your own designs. If so, take note of the following recommendations from Biltmore For Your Home experts.

Garden Inspiration For You

Bright colors show up better from a distance, while white and pastel blooms can be soothing up close and in the evenings. That’s why Biltmore’s experts use intensely vivid colors for impact throughout the estate.


Olmsted picked the best views and used landscaping to direct the eye to them—such as rows of trees leading to Biltmore House. No natural features in your yard? Create one with a specimen tree or shrub and build a garden around it.

Outdoor Living

Olmsted created outdoor “rooms” with pergolas, trellises, and arbors to define the spaces so people would feel comfortable outdoors—a concept that survived the test of time!


Instead of acres of lawn, Olmsted preferred the year-round interest of mixed shrubs and trees so that each season offered something interesting.


Formal gardens are close to Biltmore House, while the landscape becomes more natural further away. This tip can also reduce your maintenance time; create more naturalized planting beds with hardy shrubs and mulch instead of growing (and mowing) grass.


Get the look you want with Biltmore For Your Home plants found at independent garden centers.

New Biltmore-inspired Landscape Plans

Transform your yard with these three new landscape plans inspired by Biltmore Gardens. Be sure to download and print the design and check with your local independent garden center for the suggested Biltmore For Your Home plants.

Center Stage

Brighten your lawn throughout the year with this landscape plan inspired by Biltmore’s Azalea Garden, which was nurtured for decades by estate superintendent Chauncey Beadle, an avid collector of native azaleas.
Download Plan

Welcome Home

Inspired by plantings at the Guest Cottage on Biltmore, a historic structure that was once home to the estate’s market gardener. This versatile plan graces the entrance to your home and welcomes family and friends with a variety of Biltmore For Your Home plants.
Download Plan

Good Neighbor

A special space in Bitmore’s spectacular Walled Garden—the centerpiece of Biltmore’s gardens—inspired this plan. Add visual appeal to your home and neighborhood with this plan designed to flank a sidewalk or driveway.
Download Plan

Get the look you want with Biltmore For Your Home plants found at independent garden centers.

Biltmore Gardens

Stroll acres of formal and informal gardens designed by America’s foremost landscape architect, Frederick Law Olmsted. From the formal beauty of the Italian Garden to the breathtaking presence of ancient trees in America’s first managed forests, Biltmore’s lush landscape is a living tribute to Olmsted’s genius. Our horticultural experts continually work to preserve the original vision for the gardens and grounds, including our All America Rose Garden featuring more than 250 varieties.

Regardless of the season, you’ll find something extraordinary on our grounds.

Learn more about our “must–see” guide created by our gardeners just for you.

A self-guided garden tour is included in your Biltmore admission.

View and print our Gardens Map.