Some things are more important than breakfast…

Recently we had the pleasure of visiting the Biltmore rose garden. We arrived in Asheville on Friday evening too late to go to the garden, but that was okay with me because I wanted to see the rose garden in the early morning!

I was up really E A R L Y and chose to forgo breakfast so I could be the first visitor to the garden. This meant Mr. G was going to forgo or at least delay breakfast too so he could deliver me to my destination.

When we got to the edge of the garden I practically jumped out of the car. Shaking his head, Mr. G headed off to park the car. This is not his first time to be a part of something like this. 🙂

It worked! I was first on that a misty late summer morning! And, I was greeted with much fanfare by the bees, hummingbirds and gold finches–just the way I like it!

A beautiful start to a wonderful day…



The Biltmore rose garden is completely surrounded by a tall stone fence and the setting will just take your breath away.


This garden is one of America’s finest rose gardens but gives you a truly international experience…  of the 1400 roses, there are roses that were grown at the end of the 19th century plus many of the modern varieties. There are lovely English borders complete with David Austin English roses like Molineux and Princess Anne; Pink Pet China Roses; roses with French names like Monsieur Tiller to compliment the 250 room chateau–and then there are the American hybrids Blush and Champney’s Pink Noisettes—even though they don’t sound American. For the scoop on Noisette Roses, read an interview with P. Allen Smith here.



This beautiful garden design and all of these rose varieties work together beautifully under the watchful care of Lucas Jack and his team of staff and volunteers. Lucas’ expertise and enthusiasm is a winning combination.

We had the pleasure of a personal tour by Lucas. He shared stories of their commitment to historical research in choices of plants for the garden and garden structures, how he keeps the plants healthy as well as his plans for the future. We are in the process of scheduling his next visit to ROSE CHAT, so you can hear all the details from him too.

If you missed Lucas on Rose Chat Radio in July …. LISTEN HERE. You don’t want to miss Lucas’ chatting about his advice for the next generation of gardeners as well as discussing good growing practices and companion planting for roses.

Flamenco... from Peter Beale's Roses
Flamenco… from Peter Beale’s Roses
David Austin's Moulenix
David Austin’s Moulenix
Monsieur Tillier...
Monsieur Tillier…
Stokes Hybrid Teas...
Stokes Hybrid Teas…
Mike Athy's pink rose ... very fragrant!
Mike Athy’s pink rose … very fragrant!


Another highlight of the visit was to see the rose trial roses. Since 2011 this garden has been home to the Biltmore International Rose Trials. During this time, more than 75 varieties from growers and breeders worldwide have been planted and cared for by Biltmore’s horticulture team. Each trial lasts two years and a permanent jury judges the roses four times per year. One of the big winners in May was Mike Athy’s rose, Athy Fa La. Truly a stunning and disease resistant rose…

Mike Athy's Athy Fa La
Mike Athy’s Athy Fa La

For more information about the rose trial winners, read on.


There is so much to see and experience at the Biltmore. The house, the grounds, the mountains, the conservatory ……. the rose garden!!

Biltmore Conservatory...
Biltmore Conservatory…
Thanks Lucas for a lovely day in the garden!
Thanks Lucas for a lovely day in your enchanting garden!

Beautiful and Sustainable

While I was at P. Allen Smith’s Moss Mountain Farm for Garden 2 Blog, I was surrounded by beautiful and sustainable roses. This garden of thousands is a no-spray garden…

“If it doesn’t look good, we pitch it and plant something else.” -P Allen Smith

From the delicately fragrant Noisettes to the spectacular bloom of the Knockouts, Drifts and many other varieties both old and new, Moss Mountain is alive with the beauty and fragrance of roses. This amazing garden gets your attention with it’s size, but then draws you to come, slow down, relax, stroll……


Though Allen has always loved roses, it was while doing his graduate work in England that the rose love deepened. Allen became friends with Lady Elizabeth Ashbrook who grew beautiful roses. Upon his return from England he planted more and more roses that led to what you see above … a two acre garden reminiscent of the Gothic style found in Aiken-Rhett House garden in Charleston, SC.


But, roses are not just in the rose garden, in fact, you can’t walk very far either at his home in the historical district of Little Rock or at his farm, until you see more beautiful roses. Roses have found their way into most every “room” of the farm. Well, maybe not in Poultryville, but that is another post. Psssst… I fell in love with chickens and well–just might have to have some. Especially the Buff Orpingtons. For an article from Allen on  how to raise backyard chickens, read on.

Okay, okay back to roses. Look at these beauties…















IMG_0556 IMG_0555




To hear Allen tell the fascinating story on the building of the garden, watch this…


Many people say to me that they think all roses are prima donnas that need constant spray and attention. This garden proves otherwise. Sure, roses do need sun, food and water to survive and a little love and attention to thrive, but don’t we all. And, wow … aren’t they worth it!

If you have been reluctant to give roses a try, come on you can do it. I promise! Let Allen’s beautiful AND sustainable garden inspire you.


AllenSilkiesThen there were the chickens!


Spring Rose Care Top Five

RoseChatRadio_PolWhat is Rose Chat Radio

Disclosure: The majority of this trip including room, board and a bunch of neat swag – were provided to me at no expense for participating in the Garden2Blog event. There was no obligation to write about my experiences and all opinions stated here are my own.