The Rose Gardens at the Biltmore

Let’s keep touring around the property at the Biltmore Estate.

When you go around to the rear of the huge château, the views are commanding. The architect, Richard Morris Hunt, very well-considered the views to be seen from the upper stories of the mansion. Can you believe this home is 175,000 square feet? It is the largest privately owned home in the United States.

Frederick Law Olmsted was the landscape architect. The intent when created was to get away from the bustle of the city and work life, and that is exactly how the architects took that directive into account. The owner wanted a park to view from the home.

Olmsted designed a 250–acre, English style “Deer Park” to the west and south of the château. What more can you ask from the peace and quiet of the surrounding rolling countryside? Can you just see a hawk taking wing or a newborn deer tagging along behind the doe off the South terrace? I could sit up there for hours just soaking in the beauty.

The estate manages a herd of indigenous whitetail deer which can be viewed in this landscape above. They are not fenced in, but roam free around and behind the estate.

But before we get too far into the wilderness of the 8000 acre estate, let’s keep looking at the formal gardens.

The rose gardens are spectacular and quite a sight to see. The formal areas are quite a contrast to the pastoral views at the rear of the home. Formal design is not everyone’s cup of tea, but it is difficult to be anything but complimentary to this area of the gardens.

It seems every large public or private statement garden has a rose garden as a feature. I have visited quite a few this summer, some I have yet to show you. Many of the rose beds are very well cared for and some were in need of immediate attention at some of the gardens I visited.

Roses are time-consuming for care, especially in humid environments. In our area, roses generally require enormous maintenance, unless types are selected that are better suited to our climate. So when I see the tea roses blooming wonderfully, I am very thrilled. They are the queens of the gardens.

So much attention to detail was paid in this garden, from the circulation of how you passed through the space, to how you saw framed views from within the garden structures. It had a sense of theater to the journey through the spaces. There was always a place to stop and pause. That is a sign of good design.

This is such a lovely walk through the pergola. Every window frames a beautiful view beyond.

I was not disappointed in the formal gardens one bit. The grass edging was very different from the typical boxwood edging. It is much harder to keep hydrated than is the boxwood. I am betting that it is sodded periodically.

Boxwood are a shrub that will withstand dry periods and is a designer choice when abutting to hardscapes. The grass as edging is used commercially more often. I have used it at fast food restaurants because the car exhaust would destroy shrubs. Plus it is a walkable surface. Here lining the rose beds, it is mostly ornamental, yet it does function to retain the mulch at the height it is planted and kept trimmed.

Somebody has a continuous job keeping the grass so neatly trimmed and the mulch out of the gravel paths. They do a good job too.

The Biltmore was very generous to our group and deserved our thanks. They showed our group enormous hospitality and were very gracious hosts.

The pergola along the side of the home, adjacent to the reflecting pools, same side as the rose gardens.

Healthy roses and pretty mixed beds.

The estate had something for everyone. I will be showing the more natural areas in the next post on the Biltmore. There are lakes, ponds, streams, bridges, and even wildlife. Speaking of wildlife, don’t miss my two previous posts, How to Photograph Zoo Animals, It’s Not About Looking Cute, and Helping Wildlife and Bettering the Habitat.

I hope you enjoyed the tour of the formal areas surrounding the house. There was much to see.

If you ever get the chance and are in the area, take the drive to the estate. Our group was there during the Festival of Flowers, and they did not disappoint. The flowers were blooming with abandon.

A May pole? We were there in May.

Such a pretty, healthy display.

Off tomorrow on a trip. See you soon!

About Garden Walk Garden Talk

I love to photograph, paint, draw, design, garden, travel the world, and pass on a few tips and ideas that I learned through experience as a Master Gardener and architect. I am highly trained in my field and enjoy my work each and every day. I garden in Niagara Falls, NY in zone 6-B. Find me at:
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18 Responses to The Rose Gardens at the Biltmore

  1. The whole place is so grand and imposing. I love the views from the pergola. =>

  2. Jennifer says:

    Hi Donna, I am surprised at the grass edging. Surely it would go dormant and brown in summer? It is a lovely garden though. The pergola has to be my favourite aspect of this formal garden. How wonderful it would be to walk there on a hot summer’s day. Your pictures are super as always. Enjoy your trip!

  3. Shirley says:

    I just love this, everything has its place and this is the right place for a formal rose garden. It works to contrast with the more natural areas of the estate. We were there at Christmas which was beautiful. The holidays are more about the house and traditions, I think we should return in May to see this in a different light.

  4. rayaadawiah says:

    I’ve always been interested with parks theme..
    beautiful pic..
    i like it 🙂

  5. Gorgeous! I was surprised by the grass edging, too. The Biltmore is one of my “must see” destinations. I didn’t realize there was so much “wild” acreage. Thanks for the tour!

  6. mdphotographers says:

    Thanks again for taking us on the trip. I have always wanted to visit the Biltmore Home and I hope to do so within the next few years. The grounds look lovely.

  7. I like how the Biltmore has natural areas as well as formal. Formal is not my style but I can certainly appreciate it when it is well done. I am not a fan of boxwoods either so I like that they used grass instead. I think it makes the beds look more accessible and welcoming.

  8. I like how they framed views. Something to think about for my garden in the months ahead. –

  9. These are very formal gardens. It’s almost hard to enjoy their beauty because I keep thinking about how labor-intensive they are. But that seems to be part of the goal of these gardens: to do what an ordinary gardener can’t.

  10. Wonderful photos of our trip. The rose garden was spectacular. I didn’t notice the grass edging at the time, jus the effect it created.

  11. HolleyGarden says:

    Oh, I loved this. I love formal design, although I prefer to see roses planted with companions. But I loved the grass edging! And that May Pole is fantastic, too! Oh, and the Pergola! I would want to stay there for hours.

  12. sharon says:

    wow great window frame shots and the pergola is beautiful with that lighting

  13. thequeenofseaford says:

    I enjoyed the rose garden and you captured it wonderfully. Saw Julie in one of the pictures. 🙂

  14. A.M.B. says:

    How beautiful! I particularly love your landscape shots and the closeup of the yellow roses. What a gorgeous place!

  15. I never even noticed the grass edging. Thanks for pointing it out. I think the Biltmore estate was most generous. I love my gardenia handsoap and use it for washing my hands always. I get a good thought in my mind about the trip there each time I smell the gardenias.

  16. Lyn says:

    The overall design of the formal rose beds is lovely, but I think roses look so much better when underplanted, rather than just mulched. These sort of formal rose beds always look unfinished to me. Those gorgeous roses need a setting to really show them off. The pergola is stunning, though!

  17. OK someday I will visit…I are so right that the detail here is superb with the perfect vistas, the formal gardens and how perfect the paths, walls, views and gardens merge perfectly…I love long pergolas and this is one I must for me to see…your shots captured these gardens perfectly!

  18. The scale of the house, gardens and park are astounding. I particularly like Pergolas, something about walking in dappled shade, part covered, wandering in contemplation – well that’s how I see myself 🙂

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