This might be at the other end of the spectrum from funky bottle trees and found object enclosures. Acres and acres of lawn. Although Asheville’s Biltmore estate is set inside a magnificent wooded landscape, designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, the formal gardens surrounding the house (also by FLO) have retained less of their appeal. Appeal for me, that is. I’ve toured lots of estate gardens, mainly in England, and—although with these large properties there was also plenty of lawn (you can’t do without it)—the borders, water features, touches of whimsy, topiary and other, more intimate elements rose to a level I didn’t see at Biltmore. The Biltmore gardens are magnificent in some ways, but disappointingly lacking in personality in many others.
This article talks about the lawn care and other horticultural requirements. It takes a lot of horsepower to manage 8,000 acres!
I have mixed feelings about the whole thing. The drive to the estate was a wonder to behold, with its luminous plantings of bamboo and, of course, rhododendrons. The views from the terrace are breathtaking and I am always a sucker for a nice statue or three, especially when they are lightly clothed in moss. But the formal gardens overall? Too broad stroke.
If you’d like to see more, here is my facebook album from 3+ days of Asheville gardens.Posted by Elizabeth Licata on May 28, 2012 at 6:20 am, in the category Designs, Tricks, and Schemes.