Back in 1917, Walter Bellingrath was advised by his doctor to buy an abandoned fishing camp so the overworked business man could learn to relax.
Bellingrath was Mobile’s first Coca-Cola bottler. After buying that fishing camp along the Fowl River, Mrs. Bellingrath soon decided to beautify the camp with flowers.
In 1927, the Gardens began to really develop as the fishing camp was transformed into a country estate. Flagstone pathways, fountains, and a formal rose garden were added.
In April of 1932, the Bellingraths placed an ad in the Mobile newspapers inviting its citizens out on a Sunday afternoon to see the spring flowers.
I can just imagine their surprise when 4700 people showed up on that Sunday in April!
That’s when Bellingrath Gardens was born. Just two years later, the Gardens were open year round.
The next year, a 15-room home was completed for the couple to live in. This is a view of the Fowl River from one of the patios of the house.
Mrs. Bellingrath died in 1943 and her husband in 1955. As they had no children, Mr. Bellingrath created a foundation to honor his wife and oversee the gardens and home.
The income from visitors to the Garden and Home not only provides for the upkeep of the property, but also goes to three Christian colleges and two local churches, and has provided hundreds of scholarships over the years.
We walked just about all of the paths through the gardens, but did not tour the house. As I said before, we were on sensory overload by the time we left.
If at all possible, I would recommend a visit to the Gardens during the peak of the azalea bloom. I’m sure each season has its own blooming highlights, but I can’t imagine it could get much more spectacular than this.
Today was spent working at the Visitor’s Center, and Diana and I made quite a bit of progress on our ‘What’s Blooming this Week on the Trails’ pamphlet. Diana is the whiz at the computer, so I mainly just provide photos and help out where I can.
It will be another day working inside tomorrow, but then I’ll have four days off to do chores and explore. Wahoo!
Thanks for stopping by… talk to you later, Judy