In the garden

Flower-lovers young and old are invited to step inside The Biltmore’s historic winter garden while the home’s outdoor beds spring to life. The Biltmore Company

Biltmore blossoms

Imagine yourself as a guest in George and Edith Vanderbilt's home in 1895. After a decadent meal in the dining room, you step into the The Biltmore's winter garden to experience tropical foliage, stunning orchids and fine-leafed ferns. Many of these same species are on display in the home's recently renovated winter garden, a new attraction for modern Biltmore guests.

Biltmore’s floral display manager Cathy Barnhardt invites the public to experience "these unusual and colorful blooms in the same way the Vanderbilts enjoyed them." The orchids’ rich jewel tones will be on display in glass domed cloches and reproduction Wardian Cases inside the house. Special gardening classes and activities will accompany the exhibit until the winter garden closes to the public on April 7. Regular Biltmore prices apply. Info:

Ready, set, permaculture

If your property or farm is a bit of a hodgepodge—- a garden here, a barn there, a pond off in the distance—- permaculture can bring it all together in one master plan. This philosophy uses natural ecosystems and ecological design to encourage a core set of ethics: taking care of the earth, taking care of people and sharing the surplus.

Permaculture in Action will explore these core principles with the Roots and Seeds Full Growing Season Course, a 14-day class held on various weekends throughout the growing season. From May through October, students will learn about permaculture and complete hands-on projects including rain water catchment systems, duck and chicken runs, mushroom cultivation, community-scale permaculture, earthen building, passive solar design, bio-gas digestion and much more. Permaculture experts Zev Friedman and Zev Friedman and Dylan Ryals-Hamilton, founders of Permaculture in Action, will lead the classes. All ages welcome. Registration required by Monday, April 1. $425. Info and location: or 230-3845.

Homesteaders unite

Setting up a homestead can seem like a daunting task. Some people think it's best to start with a garden, build a coop for a few chickens, or dive right into dairy goats. Starting small is a good approach and joining together with fellow homestead-enthusiasts is a great way to get going and expand existing skills.

The French Broad Coop, 90 Biltmore Ave., will host an urban homesteading fair on Saturday, March 30 from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. More than 30 vendors will share their knowledge of bees, poultry, mushrooms, bread ovens, hops and even mead-making. Classes will be offered on medicinal plants, woodland botanicals and fermentation. There will also be entertainment from The Urban Arts Institute and The Morris Dancers, along with food and local beer. Music by the Pond Brothers and Woody Wood, Miss Mousie, the Jay Brown Trio and others will continue until 8 p.m. The fair is free; sliding scale classes range from $10-$25. Info:


Thanks for reading through to the end…

We share your inclination to get the whole story. For the past 25 years, Xpress has been committed to in-depth, balanced reporting about the greater Asheville area. We want everyone to have access to our stories. That’s a big part of why we've never charged for the paper or put up a paywall.

We’re pretty sure that you know journalism faces big challenges these days. Advertising no longer pays the whole cost. Media outlets around the country are asking their readers to chip in. Xpress needs help, too. We hope you’ll consider signing up to be a member of Xpress. For as little as $5 a month — the cost of a craft beer or kombucha — you can help keep local journalism strong. It only takes a moment.

Before you comment

The comments section is here to provide a platform for civil dialogue on the issues we face together as a local community. Xpress is committed to offering this platform for all voices, but when the tone of the discussion gets nasty or strays off topic, we believe many people choose not to participate. Xpress editors are determined to moderate comments to ensure a constructive interchange is maintained. All comments judged not to be in keeping with the spirit of civil discourse will be removed and repeat violators will be banned. See here for our terms of service. Thank you for being part of this effort to promote respectful discussion.

Leave a Reply

To leave a reply you may Login with your Mountain Xpress account, connect socially or enter your name and e-mail. Your e-mail address will not be published. All fields are required.