My book club met this afternoon at the Biltmore Estate for lunch and our book discussion. Afterward my friend Jane and I toured the first three floors of the Estate to see the current decor and the current exhibit featuring costumes from films based on books in George Vanderbilt's library. It was extremely busy in the house... not sure why that was... possibly because this is the final day that pass holders can bring guests in for free and likely because most of this week was unusually cold and by afternoon today there was finally some blue in the sky and warmth from the sun.
You can see the mix of sun and clouds in the photo below:
Because of the below freezing temps at least three nights this week, I didn't know what the gardens would look like. I know that they brought in heaters to preserve the plants that already had flowered. The heaters had been removed and the earliest of the spring blooms could be seen, really in pretty good shape considering the frosty week.
There were some delicate pink early tulips among the daffodils.
It still is quite early for tulips, which will dominate the garden over the next month or so, but I think with the extremely warm weather just before this cold snap, crocuses and some of the other really early bulbs are finished. There were some grape hyacinths.
The clustered planting allows for a succession of flowers to bloom throughout spring.
We have been enjoying daffodils for well over a month and many succumbed to this cold week, so I was happy to see that they were still thriving here.
Of course, year 'round you can enjoy beautiful blooms in the conservatory greenhouse and today was no exception. So I will finish with some of the "inside" flowers I saw today.
I overheard someone exclaim, "I've never seen such beautiful orchids!" I'd have to agree, they were spectacular and not only were they all over the greenhouse, they were also liberally decorating the house.
Next week spring will officially arrive and I hope I will be making several more visits to the gardens as they fill with more spring blossoms and eventually roses!