For those of you who love flowers and gardens, you’ll want to put Bellingrath Gardens and Home on your list, a gem of a natural beauty destination in the southern state of Alabama. This historic site, which has been open since 1932, is less than 25 miles from Mobile, the state’s capital.
The property that would later comprise Bellingrath Gardens, were purchased as a fishing camp by Walter Bellingrath, president of the local Coca-Cola bottling plant.
The gardens would be opened to the public for the first time in 1932, during the Great Depression.
Their 15 main room residence was built between 1925 to 1949 and was built in the architectural style of 20th Century Revival, and would cover a total of 10,500 square feet or 975.48 square meters.
The design of the house would use building features from an English country room, which can clearly be seen with the incorporation of a Georgian style staircase. Also included are French doors and the enclosed area, that is modeled after a Mediterranean courtyard.
The Bellingrath estate home has hand made brick reclaimed from the 1852 birthplace of Alva Smith Vanderbilt Belmont in Mobile.
The building contains ironwork from the demolished Southern Hotel from around 1837. It was also located in the city of Mobile.
The Bellingrath Home opened as a museum in 1956, and retained all of the former furnishings from when they lived there.
Bellgrath Gardens include a bridal garden, a rose garden and the Asian-American Garden.
There is also a conservatory, a Great Lawn, the Harrington/ExxonMobil Bayou Boardwalk, a nature walk, a chapel, the Little Mermaid Fountain, Mirror Lake, an observation tower, and the Delchamps Gallery of Boehm Porcelain.
The garden pathways are comprised of actual flagstones, from the old city sidewalks of Mobile. Special events and weddings, are held throughout the year at Bellingrath Gardens. There is also the Balloon Glow with trick or treating throughout the Gardens each fall and Magic Christmas in Lights are held each winter, featuring over 3 million lights.
A 2014 edition of USA Today included Bellingrath Gardens and Home’s Magic Christmas in Lights, on its list of the 10 Best Public Light Displays in America. Online readers voted to put Bellingrath, in sixth place.
In addition, the Gardens are home to the largest outdoor display of cascading chrysanthemums in the United States, each fall. In a project that takes all year to plan, hundreds of four foot long cascades of mums are displayed on bridges, balconies, and containers throughout the Gardens.
The first display was held in 1963 at the Gardens from flower stock obtained from Longwood Gardens, which still has the largest indoor display, of chrysanthemums in the United States. The latter began its annual display in 1921.
During the summer and winter, they hold a series of educational events called Wonderful Wednesdays.
The Gardens are well know for their outstanding collection of spring flowers which include more than 250,000 azaleas, Easter lilies, fuchsia, hydrangeas, impatiens, salvia, Pelargonium geraniums and many more.
In summer, there’s more than 2000 roses, allamandas, begonias, bougainvillea, caladiums, coleus, copper plants, hibiscus, marigolds, ornamental peppers, vinca and more.
Autumn flowers include over 8,000 bedded, potted and cascading chrysanthemums, copper plants, hibiscus and quite a few more varieties of fall foliage.
Winter flowers include daffodils, kale, various varieties of narcissus, ornamental cabbage, pansies, poppies, primroses, snapdragons and large plantings of tulips. As a tribute to The State Flower of Alabama, there are over 400 varieties of camellias in bloom at the Gardens.
Bellingrath Gardens & Home
12401 Bellingrath Gardens Road
Theodore Alabama 36582.
(800) 247-8420 or (251) 973-2217
How To Get There
The Gardens are located two hours east of New Orleans, Louisiana, four hours south of Birmingham, Alabama, and six hours southwest of Atlanta, Georgia. The main road of access is Interstate 10. The Gardens provide free on site parking, during normal business hours.
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