The gardens at the Biltmore estate are astounding. There is an ethereal serenity to the solitude of the farthest gardens. These are the ones many tourists are too lazy or uninterested to walk to and so there is a quiet not found in the front gardens.
Throughout the entire estate there is an unparalleled attention to detail while displaying an intense respect for nature. Fields planted with corn are bordered by a wide berm of gorgeous sunflowers, and those are bordered again to the road with a riotous display of blooming wildflowers. You drive through a forest, a narrow winding road bordered by bamboo and leatherleaf ferns. You round a bend and there is a wide swath of tended lawn and mulch created out of the forest to display a magnificent tree more than a century old. Each turn reveals a natural, but human tended, miracle.
But the gardens, those are designed and tended like a precious child. Designed by Frederick Law Olmsted these gardens are something everyone should see. There is an Asian garden, an azalea garden, a shrub garden, and so on. It is not possible to bring them to life in words. On this visit, I went to see the Chihuly installation in the gardens and it did not disappoint. The sculptures respected the natural surroundings in which they were installed and the nature enhanced the art.
i spent several hours, first in the more crowded areas where most of the art was installed. But then just wandering slowly through the rest of the gardens, it was a walking meditation, serene and beautiful. And around the occasional corner, a random sculpture; sometimes a bench to just sit and ponder.
It began to drizzle just as I was ready to start walking back. I had an umbrella, but under the spreading arms of the ancient trees there was no rain. Just peace.