Biltmore’s Solarium

This is the final post of our visit to the extraordinary house that George built.  Thanks to those who stuck it out reading them all and to those who dropped by occasionally.

solariumGeorge Vanderbilt did not do anything halfway when building the Biltmore estate.  That meant including a solarium or conservatory for tropical plants on the property.  Victorians were fascinated with the exotic.

solarium1Tropical plants are out of my comfort zone.  But my love of flowers and plants lets me enjoy the beauty of  these even if I don’t know their names.  I’m pretty sure that the orange flowers in this picture are Bromeliads.

The yellow flowers could be Candelabra or Candle Plant.

solarium2It surprised me that the light was so bright inside the solarium.  Tropical to me has always meant plants growing in semi-darkness under large foliage.  But these were thriving in the sunny conditions.


solarium4The bright red leaf is Red Anthurium.  The yellow spadix is the true flower.solarium5Crotons I do recognize.  I’ve had one for 11 years in the kitchen.  The tiny white delicate flowers dry out and drop to the floor making a mess.  But probably create new plants in the wild.


solarium7That looks like a Geranium in the bird cage.

solarium8Love the look of these wrought iron chairs.  But they were extremely uncomfortable to sit in.  A harpist was playing in this area.  My husband enjoyed that while I wandered among the plants.


solariumaYes.  I do recognize orchids but can’t identify which kind they are.

solariumaaTropical Hibiscus are my kind of tropical plants.  I have one that we’ve carried in and out of a shed for cold protection for years.


solariumbbI’ve read that there are 28,000 species of orchids; Biltmore did not have all of them.  But there was a nice representation.


solariumccStaghorn fern growing on the tree trunk.


solariumddCool House sign is a mystery to me.  It was not too hot inside, but definitely not cool.  So it must have a different meaning.

solariumeThis is the image that comes into my head when I think of orchids.  So pretty.

solariumfWith the person in the other room, this shot shows the height of the ceiling.

solariumffThink the pink flowers are Begonias.  I have never successfully kept one alive for any length of time, even inside.

solariumgI love the flower form of these Brazilian Plumes or Flamingo plants.


solariumhCalla Lilies are sometimes sold in some big box stores in our area.  I have given into the temptation before, only to be sorely disappointed.  They simply don’t like our heat or dry air, even inside.

solariumhhLook how small that pot holding the pineapple plant is.

solariumiSuch a beautiful color of Calla Lilies.

solariumiiMore Begonias with what looks like a Purple Heart vine in front of it.


solariumjjA carnivorous Pitcher Plant just draws ones eyes to itself.


solariumkkIt’s easy to see why people in the 1800’s were interested in these plants from mysterious far away places.  People still are.

“Do what you feel in your heart to be right, for you’ll be criticized anyway.”  Eleanor Roosevelt