Thousands of tulips will welcome springtime during Biltmore’s 25th annual Festival of Flowers, from April 3 to May 16.
The estate-wide event celebrates the beauty of George Vanderbilt’s 8,000-acre property and its original design by Frederick Law Olmsted, father of American landscape architecture. Biltmore’s gardens, Olmsted’s final and most grand project, are in their 120th year. For the first time, a cellphone audio tour of the gardens offering historical facts as well as more detailed information about plant varieties will also be available.
The 25th anniversary celebration of Festival of Flowers coincides with the grand opening of Antler Hill Village. This pedestrian-friendly venue will be open to guests as part of daily admission to Biltmore and expands current offerings to include a new exhibition space, village green with live entertainment, dining, shopping and a new outdoor adventure center.
Biltmore Winery, located in the village area, will also be celebrating its 25th anniversary and will be offering a newly-designed tour and tasting room. Antler Hill Village will be open to guests during Festival of Flowers and a grand opening celebration is planned to take place from May 20 to May 23, 2010.
Floral decor this year will focus on the iris, fleur de lis and color silver, all symbolic of the 25th anniversary. More than 100,000 tulips will mark the beginning of the festival greeting visitors at Biltmore’s main entrance and continuing to the stunning colors in the Walled Garden. Guests should not miss the vibrant colors in the 20-acre azalea garden and cascades of native and exotic blooms in the natural gardens and along walking trails.
The entrance vestibule at Biltmore House will feature a fresh flower carpet design, and in the Entry Hall, six woven commemorative banners will hang, all designed and woven by local company Manual Woodworkers & Weavers. French influences with designs in blues, purples, soft yellow, soft greens, pink, burgundy and red will grace floral arrangements in Biltmore House.
In honor of the winery’s 25th anniversary, the conservatory display will take inspiration from Biltmore’s wines, with elaborate container gardens planted with beautiful colors and scents to represent selections. During the last half of the festival, the Walled Garden’s pattern beds will feature a fleur de lis design.
Festivities across the estate will include music, tips from Biltmore gardeners and innovative displays. Biltmore Winery will host live music, wine tastings, seminars and children’s activities. Seasonal Festival of Flowers wines are crafted each year to mark the occasion. In addition, Biltmore’s restaurants will feature special silver anniversary menus, drinks and desserts.
In addition to Biltmore House and Gardens, estate admission includes entry to Biltmore Winery, Antler Hill Village, specialty gift shops and restaurants. Outdoor activities include hiking, biking, rafting, kayaking, horseback riding, carriage rides, Segway tours, a sporting clays program and a Land Rover Driving School.
Guests looking for accommodations can stay at the four-star Inn on Biltmore Estate, which provides a variety of packages. For more information or reservations, contact Biltmore at 877.BILTMORE or visit www.biltmore.com.