Tag Archive | Biltmore Estate

Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge – Letters K or L

Back to the alphabet for Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge which this week features the letters K and L.  Many of the images that I’ve used for this challenge were taken some years ago and it’s been interesting for me to wander through the old photo files to see just what kind of things caught my eye back in the day.

A Komodo Dragon named Faust, on display at the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago in 2006.

This picture of a kangaroo was taken so long ago I can’t remember where I saw it.  Possibly Brookfield Zoo.

A more recent picture, of a koi fish, was taken at the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC.

The king of the jungle, a lion at Brookfield Zoo gazes out at an admiring crowd, sizing us up perhaps as a possible source of lunch.  He looks very lazy but I’m sure he was ready to leap into action if the need arose.

A lamb at Spring Valley Nature Center in Schaumburg, Illinois.

A rather alarming llama appearing to get somewhat confrontational at Goebbert’s Pumpkin Farm in South Barrington.

For more on Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge go to https://ceenphotography.com/2017/04/06/cees-black-white-photo-challenge-letters-k-or-l/

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Weekly Photo Challenge – Shadow

The subject for The Weekly Photo Challenge at The Daily Post is shadow and, while I have plenty of pictures that have shadows incidental to the overall image, I don’t seem to have taken many where the shadow was the focal point. This was the best I could manage.  For more on the Weekly Photo Challenge, which this week was set for us by Cheri Lucas Rowlands, go to https://dailypost.wordpress.com/photo-challenges/shadow-2017/

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A toad contemplates its shadow at a local nature center.

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Two barns, one at Spring Valley Nature Center in Schaumburg and the other at Old World Wisconsin, patterned by shadows from nearby trees.

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Littlest grandson keeping a close eye on his shadow during an early April walk at Spring Valley.

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The ‘pergola effect’ shown here at the Missouri Botanical Garden in St. Louis, the gardens at the Biltmore Estate in Asheville SC and the Rose Garden at Cantigny in Wheaton, Illinois.

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Trees in autumn cast long shadows at River Trails Nature Center in Northbrook, Illinois.

The Nature Of Biltmore

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As I imagined, there was far more to the Biltmore Estate than just walking around a magnificent house, although that in itself was well worth the price of admission.  The nature of Biltmore extends to every corner of the 8,000-acre estate which includes some spectacular gardens.

Biltmore was landscape designer Frederick Law Olmsted’s final major project and what an almighty challenge it must have been.  In 1895, the original property purchased by George W. Vanderbilt covered 125,000 acres, much of it over-farmed and with many of its trees already cut down, but with the help of Olmsted’s brilliant planning it was turned into a profitable, self-sustaining estate.

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It is interesting to note that the Biltmore Estate appears on the National Historic Landmark Register not because of the house, but because Carl A. Schenck established the first forestry education program in the U.S. here on the estate grounds in 1898.

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Vanderbilt had asked Olmsted to set aside 75 acres to be transformed into formal gardens, one of which is the Italian Garden that features three large water gardens and classical statuary.  Each pool contains water lilies, lotus and papyrus as well as other water plants.   You will see koi and goldfish swimming about among the lily pads and I also noticed a large number of tadpoles in various stages of development lounging around the edges of the center pool.

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The 4-acre Walled Garden features thousands of tulips in the spring and colorful mums at autumn time. Our visit came just after they had planted out all the summer annuals and as they hadn’t had time to become established, the beds were not quite as spectacular as they might have been, but the garden still looked beautiful nevertheless.

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Similarly, the rose garden had already seen the first flowers in full bloom and they were past their best but if you didn’t examine them too closely you could imagine how gorgeous the garden must have looked just a few weeks previously.  Timing is everything and it’s not always possible to visit these places at exactly the right moment.  Still, we were very lucky with the weather and enjoyed brilliant sunshine throughout our stay in Asheville.

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Water plays an important part at Biltmore. The French Broad River runs through the middle of the estate which also features a bass pond and waterfall.

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Traveling further from the house you come to the Farm, Antler Hill Village and The Winery, all of which are overlooked by The Inn on Biltmore Estate.

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As always seems to be the case, we had to cram as much sightseeing as we could into one day, but you could easily spend a few days at Biltmore in order to look at everything.

The Conservatory At Biltmore

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Everything about the Biltmore Estate in North Carolina is on a lavish scale and the conservatory, although not as large as some, is packed with every variety of hothouse plant imaginable.

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Designed by architect Richard Morris Hunt, the conservatory provided flowers and plants for Biltmore House during the Vanderbilt family’s time there.

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The orchid room is filled with exotic blooms in gorgeous colors.

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Many of the plants were familiar to us but there were others that we had never seen before.

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So many different colors, shapes and textures at every turn.

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And quiet places to sit and enjoy the surroundings.

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From weird to wonderful, every nook and cranny was filled with plants to delight the eye and capture the imagination. Nature is amazing, isn’t it!

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The conservatory at Biltmore has something of interest for everyone.

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