Biltmore Estate

posted in: NORTH CAROLINA, TRAVEL | 0

After an improptu visit to Biltmore a few weeks ago, luck would find me back at Biltmore again. A few girlfriends and I planned a weekend retreat to Asheville, and three of the five had never stepped foot onto Biltmore Estates – something that I thought we must rectify!

Having just visited the house only a week prior, my bestie and I opted for “gardens and grounds” tickets while the other three toured the house. The plan was for me to take pictures to my hearts desire without everyone having to wait for me, and they would get to experience the house without me wanting to rush through. The best of both worlds!

Of course I started with some detailed shots of the front of the house as we dropped them off for their scheduled tour. Have fun kiddos! To the garden I went.

I spent a little bit of time just below the veranda where they have several sculptures decorating the grounds. Being the unrefined heathen that I am, I know nothing about any of them – the artist, the subject, the medium nor the artistic intent – I merely find them to be interesting points of conversation as you walk amongst the flora.

I think the star of the show for this visit were the water gardens – the lilies and lotus were really putting on a show! I think there are probably two dozen varieties of water lily on display, every color that you can imagine, including some with variegated and colored leaves.

In the center of every water feature were lotus, standing proud and tall. I wish that I had been able to get closer to them, as I find their colors and textures mesmerizing. Some of them seemed to have an unnatural glow about them, as if they contained small universes within.

There were also other showy features around the pools, including the mosaic plant with its rich reds and mandala-like patterns.

Having never ventured to this part of the garden before, I was delighted to find japanese koi. I find these fish to be absolutely delightful with their cheerful and curious dispositions, almost puppy-dog like. The followed us around each pool, hoping that we might have some morsel to feed them.

Once we headed into the walking paths, we found an abundance of colors and textures, including some plants that I’ve never seen before, like arum maculatum (lords and ladies) and lilium pardalinum (leopard lily).

We wound our way to another area of the gardens that I’ve never visited before, the bass pond. It was a little bit of a hike, further than we imagined, because none of the signs indicated distance, just directions. We spotted bamboo and got a good look at the formal gardens, really being able to appreciate the design from afar.

Once we arrived at the bass pond, we continued following the signs for “waterfall” and were slightly disappointed to find that while it was technically true, it was a manmade waterfall. Oh well.

We made our way back towards the conservatory, now having worked up quite a sweat and craving some refreshments from the conservatory cafe. I knew I would need some hydration to withstand the hot and humid tropical environment found within!

Having just spent some time in the conservatory the week prior, I didn’t spend as much time with the orchids as usual, this time opting to look for the more understated and unusual plants.

I have a special soft spot for monstera, and even have Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma (mini monstera) at home. It’s not actually a monstera, but really a close imposter, but I adore it anyway.

I found lots of beautiful foliage to practice macro photography with, and loved the different colors, textures and richness that the greenery provided. There is no shortage of variety in the conservatory. They must own thousands of plants!

Another favorite corner of the conservatory contains the collection of cacti and succulents. I love the patterns that these unique and hardy little plants produce – and sometimes you can be lucky enough to see them bloom! I have only produced blooms on my succulents at home on one occasion, but with the ideal conditions in the conservatory, you can usually find at least a few flowers.

One last pop of color – passionflower – before we left the conservatory and headed off in search of food – something that there is no shortage of in Asheville!

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Adventurer / SysAdmin / Photographer

Hello fellow adventurer! I'm Jessica Jones, or just Jess if you'd like. I'm a driver at Jeeptographer.com, primarily with Blue, my 2021 Jeep Wrangler 4xe Rubicon . I'm 36 years young, and I enjoy adventuring to beautiful spots with the primary intent of taking photos. I *love* capturing our natural world.

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