Parker Andes  
Director of Horticulture at Biltmore (2000-2024)  

As the former Director of Horticulture for Biltmore in Asheville, NC, Parker Andes is no stranger to the life, work and legacy of Frederick Law Olmsted. In his 24 years at Biltmore, Andes not only maintained the estate’s 75 acres of manicured gardens, 3-mile Approach Road and extensive wooded and pastoral landscapes but also championed Olmsted’s original design intent across the property.  

Andes, who retired from the position in March 2024, graduated with a degree in Horticulture from West Virginia University before working at Busch Gardens, Longwood Gardens, Callaway Gardens and, finally, Biltmore. He credits his time at the estate for deepening his knowledge and appreciation of Olmsted.  

“I always knew there was Frederick Law Olmsted and landscape architecture and design, but I don’t know that I really knew it until I came here to Biltmore in 2000— when the concepts and the application of Olmsted’s design intents were really hammered into me.” 

Under Andes, Olmsted’s vision for Biltmore was preserved through numerous projects, such as reorienting a pond at the Approach Road to accommodate the lower and faster view from cars and caring for the estate’s managed forest— the first in the country.  

When asked about his favorite spots on property, Andes cites the Azella Garden, which houses one of the largest selections of native azaleas in the country. The 15-acre garden sits in an area that Olmsted originally laid out and called the Glen. In 1901, Olmsted, Jr. enriched this area with a variety of plants and paths, and it remained for nearly 40 years until Edith Vanderbilt Gerry accepted Chauncey Beadle’s personal collection of azaleas.  

“So, here we have this wonderful garden with these very distinct layers, so when you know the garden and [the history], you can read them. That development and complexity over the years is why it is one of my favorite spots on the estate,” he said.  

To learn more about Andes time at Biltmore, watch the full interview here.