Springtime Project: Olmsted Basket

All Things Biltmore • 04/21/16

Written By Cathy Barnhardt

Biltmore's gardens were designed by Frederick Law Olmsted as his last great commission. Gentleness, charm, and naturalness are keynotes of Olmsted's style. The picturesque and pastoral elements of Olmsted’s gardens can be recalled in our miniature landscapes, which our Floral Team uses throughout Biltmore House and other areas of the estate as a way to bring the beauty of the outdoors inside.

Creating an Olmsted Basket


1. Choose your container. This can be a basket, ceramic bowl, brass dish, or wooden box; anything deep enough to hide the pots and give you room to create. Line the container with polyfoil or a garbage bag to protect from leaks.

2. Choose your plants. The size of the pots are determined by the size of your container, but 4″ pots are most commonly used. It's best to use plants with similar requirements such as light, water, humidity, and temperature. Use some tall and low plants, some upright and some spreading to add depth. Ensure the pots should have drainage holes to protect from soggy roots.

3. Be creative! Use natural materials such as moss, rocks, twigs, gourds, and berries to create interest with different textures. 

4. Choose the perfect spot in your home to display your creation. From room accents to tabletop centerpieces, these long-lasting designs are a perfect way to brighten up your space. 

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