Tuesday, October 26, 2010

A Rose Is A Rose

Another stop on our vacation was at the Biltmore House in Asheville North Carolina.  They've recently refurbished the gardens, especially the rose garden.  At this time of the year, most of the bushes were not fully covered with roses.  The ones blooming were simply beautiful.

I didn't bother to write down the names of the varieties because what blooms in NC won't always survive Illinois harsh winters.  The beauty was well worth the photographs. 

Have you ever seen a picture of a rose and could actually smell the rose fragrance?  As I was looking at these, I could smell the most powerful rose fragrance in their garden - the Chrysler Imperial.  It was a pretty wide flat red on a tall bush.

I especially enjoy the David Austin roses and there were many on the property.  Also, hybrid teas plus many old varieties. 

I'll show other views of the Biltmore grounds in another article, but, today I just wanted to let you enjoy some of the many roses.  

It's no wonder poets have written so much about roses - they are in so many ways the perfect flower to view, smell and photograph.

My advice if you are a photographer, take a camera on your visit the Biltmore.  The number of people taking pictures of roses with a cell phone - well, I'm betting it's rather an incomplete idea of the beauty.   They don't allow photos to be taken inside the building but the grounds and gardens are open to any and all picture taking. 

The rose garden is enclosed by a tall stone fence which has an even taller earth berm around it - called the "Walled Garden".  At one end is the Conservatory.  A beautiful building with annuals, tropicals and orchids.  The walled effect is beautiful and frames the roses.  It serves the purpose of creating a perfect micro climate for roses. 

I did notice there may have been Black Spot on the roses and found that interesting since everything is so well tended.  Interesting in the fact that money (yes, huge quantities of money) doesn't necessarily mean a garden free of issues.

They had chosen to design the rose garden symmetrically.  It was formal, using brick walks to form the edges of the beds.  The surprising thing was inside each bed was an eight inch strip of grass up against the brick.  I fight grass in my beds and here they had purposely planted it in each rose bed.  Looked good, but seemed on the scale of putting pins in the end of your fingers because they sparkle...    
All the gardens and landscaped acres were designed by landscape architect, Frederick Law Olmsted.  Known as the father of American landscape architecture, he also designed New York's Central Park, the U.S. Capitol grounds, and many other gardens and parks.  He considered Biltmore his last great project.   

The gardens and landscaping was coordinated with the architect for the buildings, Richard Morris Hunt.  The expert way windows, doors, balconies and other features were placed to capture certain garden views is a testimony of their perfect coordination.

While the Vanderbilt family is a rags to riches, excesses and ingenuity, self indulgent and philanthropic, caring and self absorbed group - the home and grounds of George and Edith Vanderbilt is indeed something to behold.  Although it impresses visitors differently, I simply enjoyed the beauty of it all.  Had it been originally designed a public museum I doubt some people would find it as ostentatiously offensive.  The entire grounds is surreal and reminded me of Alice's garden:
"A large rose tree stood near the entrance of the garden: the roses growing on it were white, but there were three gardeners at it, busily painting them red.." 
From "Alice in Wonderland" by Lewis Carroll, 1865     


  1. Thanks for sharing these lovely photos. Anyone interested in planting roses should tour a public garden. You get to view the roses in bloom, and see for yourself the colors(sometimes photos don't do them justice), as well as any fragrance, and the true growing habit.
    Be warned though....You just might want them all!!
    For more beautiful rose pictures, as well as plenty of growing ideas and tips visit:

  2. Carol, Thank you for the note. I'll have to add your great "All About Rose Gardening" to my favorites. You've done a lot of research and work to make it so nice.

    I did forget to mention regarding Biltmore's rose gardens: There are 159 of 161 All-American Roses, plus 2,300 other roses representing 250 varieties. Whew - now that roses!