Experience Our Annual Biltmore Blooms Celebration

Enjoy this archived Biltmore Blooms content from Spring 2021!


Experience our annual Biltmore Blooms celebration across the estate as winter loosens its grip to make way for spring!

Gardens and grounds

From the earliest flowering shrubs and vivid blooms in the Walled Garden–including this year’s colorful kaleidoscope of yellow, white, pink, purple, and red tulips in the patterned beds–to the glorious progression of color along the Approach Road, we’ve been delighting guests with our annual Biltmore Blooms celebration for more than three decades.

Azaleas along the Approach Road in spring
The Approach Road to Biltmore House is lined with azaleas each spring

The splendid spring show isn’t limited to the outdoors, however; our Floral and Museum Services teams have worked together to develop an “Art in Bloom” theme featuring beautiful arrangements throughout Biltmore House.

Inspired by Biltmore’s collections

“This year for Biltmore Blooms we are celebrating the fact that George Vanderbilt envisioned Biltmore not just as a home, but also as a platform to showcase the incredible works of art he collected,” said Leslie Klingner, Curator of Interpretation.

“Vanderbilt developed a passion for art early in life,” Leslie said,” and he amassed an impressive collection. To highlight some of these amazing pieces, our floral team has created designs inspired by works throughout Biltmore House.”

Art in Bloom

“Each year during Biltmore Blooms, our floral designs reflect not only the welcome return of spring, but they also showcase the scale and grandeur of America’s Largest Home®,” said Lizzie Borchers, Floral Displays Manager.

Biltmore Blooms arrangement for Third Floor Living Hall in Biltmore House
Floral designer Cristy Leonard creating a larger-than-life arrangement for the Third Floor Living Hall (design inspired by a painting of a ship in that room)

“For ‘Art in Bloom’ in 2021, we envisioned flowers as the paints, pastels, and pencils of spring, turning our arrangements into works of art themselves,” Lizzie said. “When you visit this season, see how our designs highlight the colors, textures, shapes, and forms in the artwork.”

A sneak peek at Biltmore Blooms details!

In the Breakfast Room, Biltmore floral designer Lucinda Ledford drew inspiration from two works by Pierre-Auguste Renoir: Young Boy with an Orange, painted in 1881, and The Young Algerian Girl, painted in 1882.

Biltmore Blooms floral arrangement highlighting Renoir's
The vibrant colors of Renoir’s “Child with Orange” painting inspired the details of this floral arrangement for the Breakfast Room

Giovanni Boldini’s lovely 1910 portrait of Edith Vanderbilt that hangs in the Tapestry Gallery near the entrance to the Library inspired floral designer Jodee Mitchell to create a sweeping arrangement featuring delicate white flowers and greenery.

Lily of the valley with a sketch for a Biltmore Blooms design
Design sketch for a Biltmore Blooms arrangement featuring lilies of the valley and other white flowers, inspired by Giovanni Boldini’s stunning portrait of Edith Vanderbilt

Based on the series of mid-16th-century Renaissance tapestries detailing the history of Roman mythological gods and goddesses in Biltmore’s Banquet Hall, floral designer Cristy Leonard developed a glorious spring centerpiece befitting the massive table in that room.

A Biltmore floral designer creates an arrangement for the Banquet Hall
Cristy carefully selects each element in an enormous Biltmore Blooms floral arrangement for the Banquet Hall table

These are just a few of the wonderful arrangements in Biltmore House this spring; there are countless others to discover!

Experience Biltmore Blooms this spring

Explore our favorite outdoor rooms
Visit now and enjoy spring across our 8,000 acres!

Experience all the excitement of Biltmore Blooms included with your daytime admission to Biltmore.

Make required Biltmore House reservations now while your preferred dates and times are still available, and experience the spectacular seasonal show in our historic gardens.

In addition to Biltmore Blooms, enjoy the delights of Biltmore Gardens Railway in the Conservatory and Stickwork by Patrick Dougherty in Antler Hill Village, also included in daytime admission.

Create a spring centerpiece inspired by Biltmore

Fresh for spring, you can create a spring centerpiece inspired by the glorious floral arrangements in Biltmore House during our annual Biltmore Blooms celebration!

Spring is a favorite season at Biltmore

Spring centerpiece in Mrs. Vanderbilt's Bedroom at Biltmore
See stunning spring arrangements like this in Biltmore House during Biltmore Blooms

“I think spring is a favorite season for many of us at Biltmore,” said Lizzie Borchers, Floral Manager.

“We love to celebrate the season by creating arrangements that harmonize with the décor in Biltmore House,” Lizzie said, “and we also love to highlight special features with our designs.”

Spring centerpiece in the Library at Biltmore House
Lovely blooms, including early spring branches, add interest to any spring centerpiece

This year during Biltmore Blooms, Lizzie and her team will be delighting guests with an “Art in Bloom” theme that showcases some of the priceless portraits and fantastic furnishings in America’s Largest Home®.

Create your own stunning spring centerpiece

Blue and white spring blooms
Create a stunning centerpiece that’s perfect for spring!

Ready to create your own spring centerpiece inspired by Biltmore?

With some helpful suggestions from our floral team, you can create a stunning design that evokes the fresh feeling of spring with a classic blue-and-white theme.

“Although we’re used to making arrangements on a grand scale that suits Biltmore House, you can use our techniques to achieve a centerpiece that works for your space,” said Lizzie. “Just choose a smaller container as your starting point!”

In addition to the blue-and-white blooms recommended below, try adding pretty pops of color with unexpected touches like peacock feathers and a decorative egg-filled bird’s nest as a special nod to spring.

Suggested Materials
Neutral-colored container
Floral oasis
Blue spring Dutch iris
Caspia
Cream stock
Pittosporum (potted version used in this arrangement)
White roses
White hydrangea
Peacock feathers (optional)
Decorative bird nest with eggs (optional)

Begin by cutting a piece of floral oasis foam to fit snugly inside your container. Soak it well, then begin adding flowers and greenery.

Tips: you can create an equally pretty arrangement by using small potted plants (or even permanent botanicals) rather than freshly cut flowers.

Choose green and flowering plants of different heights for texture and interest, and add pieces of Styrofoam to lift some pots higher than others.

Plan your Biltmore Blooms visit

Family activities for spring at Biltmore
Explore our glorious gardens and grounds during Biltmore Blooms this spring

Make plans now to celebrate spring during Biltmore Blooms, April 1 – May 27, 2021.

In addition to the wonders of Biltmore Blooms, you’ll be able to enjoy Biltmore Gardens Railway in the Conservatory, Stickwork by Patrick Dougherty in Antler Hill Village, and much more!

Tulips in Biltmore’s Walled Garden: A Brief History

Each spring, thousands upon thousands of beautiful and brightly colored tulips fill the formal flowerbeds of Biltmore’s Walled Garden. Their vivid hues are a favorite part of the season for many guests.

But preparation for the show actually begins long before warmer weather arrives. According to Parker Andes, director of Horticulture:

Planting for spring in the Walled Garden begins months before you see the results. One reason we get continuous color is because we plant several varieties of up to six bulbs per hole!

In honor of this seasonal celebration, let’s take a look at the history of tulips in Biltmore’s Walled Garden.

Archival image of Biltmore Walled Garden
The Vegetable and Flower Garden (now the Walled Garden), cica 1895

The Vegetable and Flower Garden

Landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted originally envisioned the Walled Garden as a multipurpose space, providing fine fruits and vegetables as well as fresh flowers for Biltmore House. The design was inspired by English kitchen gardens, which were often walled to protect them from wind and wild animals.

George Vanderbilt, however, did not share this vision. Instead, he thought the Walled Garden should be one of “ornament, not utility.” While fruits and vegetables were grown there intermittently, most of them were gradually phased out over time.

Archival image of Tulips in the Walled Garden
Tulips in the Walled Garden, circa 1930

The Earliest Hint of Tulips

It is difficult to say exactly when tulips made their debut in the Walled Garden. However, one letter in our archives tells us the blooming bulbs have been planted there for almost a century.

On April 14, 1922, Estate Superintendent Chauncey Beadle wrote to Cornelia Vanderbilt:

The tulips in the walled garden are so glorious that we are trying out an experiment of sending you a box today by express for Easter. We shall hope they will bring you something of their original beauty and charm to make Easter even more wonderful. Spring is very much advanced here, even the yellow rambler roses are opening. 

The showy flower was perhaps chosen for the dramatic beds of the Walled Garden as an homage to the Dutch heritage of the Vanderbilts—and the term “Biltmore.” The name selected for the family’s country retreat derives from “Bildt,” the town in Holland where George Vanderbilt’s ancestors originated, and “more,” an Old English word for open, rolling land.

Tulips have served as a status symbol for the Dutch since the height of “Tulipmania” in the mid-1600s when speculation on rare bulbs created an investment bubble and the price of one bulb was equal to ten years of income.

Tulips in the Walled Garden
Tulips in the Walled Garden delight guests year after year

The Tradition Continues

Tulips in Biltmore’s Walled Garden have long been a favorite element of the season. Even before Biltmore House opened to the public in 1930, the Vanderbilts allowed some public access to the area a few days a week during spring so that locals and out-of-state visitors alike could enjoy estate gardens in bloom.

This tradition continues today with Biltmore Blooms, our seasonal celebration of the estate’s ever-changing progression of springtime color.

Plan your visit today and join us as we delight in the more than 80,000 tulip bulbs that lend their dramatic color to the Walled Garden.