Inside Biltmore Blooms: Balancing Books and Blossoms

Written By Amy Dangelico

Posted 03/21/17

Updated 04/05/24

In Our Gardens

Each spring, our floral team is tasked with creating imaginative displays throughout America’s Largest Home® in honor of Biltmore Blooms. This year’s theme is “Celebration of Flowers,” highlighting Vanderbilt family celebrations. However, as Biltmore Blooms is coinciding with Designed for Drama: Fashion from the Classics, our new exhibition inspired by George Vanderbilt’s love of literature, you may also notice another motif in the decorative arrangements: books.

Designed for Drama Book Tornado

The floral design in the Entrance Hall during Biltmore Blooms often introduces the theme for each event and exhibition, and this spring is no exception. The most notable element is a massive swirl of natural dried honeysuckle vines, somewhat resembling a tornado, suspended over the table. Amid the faux and dried flowers are printed pages and books from local thrift stores that appear to be flying.

“We hope this feature might suggest to our guests that the books and the knowledge they represent can become creative inspiration—something much greater than ‘just a book,’” explains Cathy Barnhardt, Floral Displays manager.

Beneath the beautiful whirlwind, the Entrance Hall table is covered with an eclectic collection of ferns and orchids—the same flower that adorned Cornelia Vanderbilt’s 25th birthday celebration—as well as glass cloches and vases, magnifying glasses, and books, bringing together both themes of the season in a seamless fashion to celebrate Biltmore Blooms.

Anchoring the table display is a large Wardian case with even more orchids inside. The petite glass greenhouse gives the display a whimsical feel, but it also serves as a nod to the delicate flower’s unique history. In the early 1800s, orchids and other exotic plants were shipped from the tropics in protective Wardian cases to make their European debut.

“The table décor suggests that George Vanderbilt’s love of books and knowledge came together with his love of home and gardens to create Biltmore,” says Cathy.

Join us this spring as we celebrate Biltmore Blooms and Designed for Drama with this breathtaking display and more.

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