Social media is full of images from fabulous European vacations. Though a tempting travel destination, I saved time and money by visiting a vicarious version of it much closer to home. The Biltmore estate in Asheville was designed after Renaissance chateaus of France, and the elegant gardens and grounds are definitely worthy of a palace.
When I visited recently, the Italian water gardens were in full display. The current plants are selected from William Tricker, the same company that supplied Olmsted’s original choices over a hundred years ago. Though new varieties have arrived on the scene, there is a great effort to keep the original feel of the aquatic gardens.
This pool has beautiful water lilies and the most lotuses in bloom I have ever seen in one place. Scientists recently germinated lotus seeds from China estimated to be close to 1300 years old. This seems a modern validation of the symbolic role of the lotus flower in many religions, associating it with resurrection and eternal life. So as I admire these exquisitely delicate flowers, I imagine their seeds flowering to fill gardens of a future millennium.