Friday, October 29, 2010

Last of the Gushing

This is the inside of the Biltmore Conservatory.  Originally built to grow all the flowers and plants needed to decorate the home and events, it has been restored and is again housing many beautiful plants. 

These flowers are all orchids and are but a small portion of the plants growing today in the Conservatory.  The basement of the conservatory has the original watering and fertilizing equipment to maintain flowers, plants and landscape.  Today, the majority of the plants in the Conservatory are simply for decorating both this building and the main house.  At one time, most of the annuals and perennial starts were grown here by the gardeners.  Hundreds of thousands of trees, bushes and other plants were bought and brought to Biltmore when the original landscape design was implemented.   

The estate originally had it's own forester.  The third Chief Forester was Dr. Carl A. Schenck (my original family surname) and he was founder of America's first forestry school (funded by George Vanderbilt) - still in existence and and respected in the profession.  

The Conservatory is another example of "if you've got it - flaunt it".  Made of glass - which was very very expensive - it was designed to show the owner's vast fortune to his visitors.  As if to show you an example of just what it took, even in the late 1800's, the Biltmore landscaping cost well over One Million dollars.  Today of the 8,000 acres currently in the estate - 250 are landscaped.  I didn't find information on how much it cost to built the Conservatory.  Today the estate showcases America's largest privately held family home.  

And that folks, is the end of my gushing over Biltmore's gardens!

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