Bellingrath Gardens in Alabama: Pictures of Unsurpassed Beauty - WanderWisdom - Travel
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Bellingrath Gardens in Alabama: Pictures of Unsurpassed Beauty

I live in Houston, and I have worked as a nurse. My interests include art, traveling, reading, gardening, cooking, and our wonderful pets.

Photo of my Mother at Bellingrath Gardens

Photo of my Mother at Bellingrath Gardens

Garden Lovers Delight

Bellingrath Gardens is located on the Fowl River in Theodore, Alabama, just off of Mobile Bay, which connects with the Gulf of Mexico. The address is 12401 Bellingrath Gardens Rd, Theodore, AL 36582. Pictures will be shared with readers of this post as well as videos showcasing this unsurpassed beauty in the southeastern part of the United States.

My mother, niece, and I were traveling to Florida from Houston in the year 1986 and decided to detour slightly off of our path to take in the renowned gardens and home. It was not much of a detour since it is only about 25 minutes south of Mobile, and we had planned to spend the night in Mobile anyway.

We had heard of the stunning beauty from my grandparents, who had traveled extensively in the United States. Assuredly the detour was well worth it!

The Bellingraths

Walter Bellingrath was the President of the Coca Cola bottling plant in Mobile, Alabama, after he and his brother William secured the franchises to do the bottling in Montgomery as well as in Mobile. Mr. Bellingrath chose to operate the plant in Mobile.

Bessie Mae Morse was a stenographer at the Mobile Coca Cola bottling plant and became Walter Bellingrath's wife.

In addition to the Coca Cola enterprise, Walter Bellingrath was a founding partner in the Waterman Steamship Company in 1919 and went on to acquire the National Mosaic Tile Company located in Mobile in 1920. He was entrepreneurial and very successful financially.

He originally purchased this land in 1917 as a fishing camp for recreational purposes for himself and his buddies.

Architect George B. Rogers

The architect who built the home in which the Bellingrath's had chosen to reside in Mobile, Alabama, was George B. Rogers. They liked his designs and enlisted his help later in developing the gardens at that address of 60 South Ann Street.

When they decided to have a home built on their fishing camp location called "Belle Camp," they chose George B. Rogers to help them with that project of both the residence and the gardens.

The Bellingrath second home construction took place between 1935 and 1936, and great use of recyclable materials was utilized. The architect saw the beauty and utility in using bricks, flagstone, and even ironwork from other sources. The result is a gorgeous 15-room home that overlooks the Fowl River. The landscaped gardens with land and water features seem to mesh perfectly into this great tapestry of design.

Azalea Trail and Beyond

The Bellingraths allowed people to tour their home gardens in Mobile when the first Azalea Trail happened. But what drew even greater interest was when their gardens at Belle Camp opened for the occasion of the Alabama Federation of Women's Clubs annual meeting in 1932.

The renamed Bellingrath Gardens has never closed since that date when droves of people first visited those gloriously designed garden sites. Naturally, the word spread and those 65 acres (26 hectares) have been visited by countless individuals ever since April of 1932 when it first opened to the public. It was put on the National Register of Historic Places in 1982.

Open every day except for Christmas be sure to tour the home and chapel in addition to the gardens. Fine antiques decorate the house. The Bellingraths had amassed an extensive porcelain collection over the years, which includes porcelain from the finest makers.

Seasonal Beauty

Each season of the year showcases something special in the Bellingrath Gardens. These year-round gardens are beautiful no matter what season one may visit them. My mother, niece and I saw them in August.

In the winter, one can count on seeing vast amounts of camellias in bloom. Azaleas, some 250,000 of them, fill the gardens with their particular kind of beauty in the spring. Roses of every type and color highlight the gardens in the summertime. Chrysanthemums rule the days of the fall and holiday lights fill the Christmas season with sparkle and an extra air of festivity.

Numerous other plants artfully dot the grounds adding to the enjoyment of the gardens in each season of the year.

Types of Gardens

There are distinct forms of gardens that are on view while strolling the extensive grounds at Bellingrath Gardens. They include the following:

  • Mirror Lake aptly named due to the reflections of the sky, clouds, and surrounding landscaping.
  • Oriental - American Gardens
  • Rose Garden
  • Formal Gardens
  • Butterfly Garden
  • Great Lawn
  • Rockery

Also to be enjoyed is a conservatory on the grounds which houses tropical plants and other specimens.

The gardens at Bellingrath extend down to the water, and the walkway along the Fowl River is pleasant. The breeze coming off the water gave us a little respite from the heat on the day of our visit. How delightful it would be to sit on that covered area of the pier merely enjoying the river views for a while.

45-minute river cruises can be arranged from February to November if one chooses.

Bellingrath Morse Foundation

Bessie Bellingrath preceded Walter Bellingrath in death. Before his last days on earth, Mr. Bellingrath graciously saw to the establishment of a foundation to care for their beloved home and gardens so that the public could enjoy these grounds in perpetuity. He did this in honor of his beloved wife.

If you wish to see a site of unsurpassed beauty near Mobile Bay, make it a point to visit the spectacular Bellingrath home and gardens if you find yourself anywhere near the southeastern part of the United States. Be sure to take your camera! You will want to capture pictures of your own making.

For ticket prices, hours of operation, and more information, click on the links at the bottom of this page.

Sources:

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2010 Peggy Woods

Comments are welcomed!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on November 12, 2017:

Hi Roberta,

It will be 78 degrees here in Houston today. We have only had a few cool days so far this fall and our winter is predicted to be above normal with regard to temperatures. Sorry to know that you are suffering from frigid weather. I am sure you would enjoy visiting Bellingrath Gardens. It is so lovely there!

RTalloni on November 11, 2017:

Such a lovely place to visit! Thank you for sharing your trip here. On this particular frigid day in the south it's nice to think of being outdoors in a beautiful garden. Perhaps a trip there needs to be planned for spring...

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on July 29, 2015:

Hi Patricia,

I agree that visiting gardens like Bellingrath is literally good for the soul. Thinking of you and your family with love. Good thoughts and prayers are winging their way over to you in Florida right now.

Patricia Scott from North Central Florida on July 29, 2015:

Thanks for the tour and your insightful words about this treasure. Spectacular may not even cover it...visiting glorious gardens is just plain good for the soul. The calm and beauty take me to another place, literally and figuratively.

So sorry for the delay in responding..much is happening at present so am not on here too much.

Many Angels are headed to you and yours, my friend. ps

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on September 16, 2014:

Hello ThatMommyBlogger,

I would have to agree with you. Bellingrath Gardens is truly beautiful.

Missy from The Midwest on September 15, 2014:

Absolutely gorgeous.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on August 26, 2012:

Hi rajan jolly,

Yes, it was wonderful that the Bellingrath home and gardens have been left so that the public can forever enjoy this magnificent setting. So nice to know that you enjoyed this hub via the Internet. Thanks for your comment and votes.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on August 25, 2012:

Hi Gail,

Nice to know that you enjoyed this hub about the Bellingrath Gardens. I always look forward to learning about the wonders in your part of the country. Appreciate the 5 star rating and votes.

Rajan Singh Jolly from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on August 25, 2012:

It sure looks like paradise, Peggy. So calm and serene is the beauty of Bellingrath Gardens. If it is so beautiful in pictures I'm sure it'll be awesome in reality. And the upkeep has been of the highest order.

Truly, Mr Bellingrath left some lovely sights for people to cherish forever.

Voted up, beautiful and awesome.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on August 24, 2012:

Hi rebeccamealey,

If you live close enough...am certain that you would enjoy visiting the Bellingrath Gardens just about any time of the year. So glad that you enjoyed reading this hub and viewing the photos.

Gail Sobotkin from South Carolina on August 24, 2012:

What stunningly beautiful and enchanted gardens and how wonderful that they've been open to the public for so long and are so well maintained.

I enjoyed the photos of you, your mom and your niece, as well as all the other photos and the music in the first video was very peaceful.

Rated 5 stars and also voted up across the board except for funny. I would definitely visit these gardens if I'm traveling through the area.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on August 24, 2012:

Hi Mary,

Bellingrath Gardens are beautiful all times of the year with seasonal plantings, so if you are in the Mobile, Alabama region...plan a detour to see these lovely gardens. I know with your love of plants that you would enjoy it.

Rebecca Mealey from Northeastern Georgia, USA on August 23, 2012:

Wow, what a lovely place. It sounds like worth the drive for me. What nice photos. Excellent Hub!

Mary Hyatt from Florida on August 23, 2012:

You know, I don't think I have ever been to Alabama. If I ever go, I'll be sure and visit the Bellingrath Gardens. It sure was good of Mr. Bellingrath to make sure these beautiful gardens were preserved for the public.

I voted this Hub UP and will share.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on August 22, 2012:

Hi alocsin,

It is wonderful that Mr. Bellingrath saw fit to pass on this beautifully landscaped estate so that the public could enjoy it for many years to come. It is a fitting tribute to his wife who (when she was alive) took such pleasure in making it the beauty that it has become today. Thanks for your comment and votes.

Aurelio Locsin from Orange County, CA on August 22, 2012:

It's remarkable to keep such beauty going for so long. I especially like all the water features such as the waterfront. It's good that Mr. Bellingrath had something living and beautiful to remind him of his wife. I don't think most men expect to outlive their wives, so it's quite a shock to them when they do. Voting this Up and Interesting.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on June 15, 2012:

Hi Angela,

Bellingrath Gardens is breathtakingly beautiful. I can only imagine what it must look like at other times of the year! Appreciate your comment.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on June 14, 2012:

Hi Joan,

So glad that you liked this look at the beautiful Bellingrath Gardens near Mobile, Alabama. Getting to see it in all seasons of the year would be a treat! Appreciate your comment, votes, etc. Thanks!

Angela Brummer from Lincoln, Nebraska on June 14, 2012:

This is breathtaking!

Joan Veronica Robertson from Concepcion, Chile on June 14, 2012:

Beautiful Hub, wonderful pictures! Voted up, awesome, beautiful and interesting! Also shared! Be happy

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on October 11, 2011:

Hi Cheryl,

Alabama is fortunate to have such a lovely place as Bellingrath Gardens in their State. As you say, the grounds are truly beautiful. Thanks for your comment.

Cheryl J. from Houston, TX on October 11, 2011:

A very lovely place Bellingrath Gardens. The grounds are absolutely beautiful in your photos. It deserves the recognition of being placed on the National Register of Historic Places. It is indeed a lovely place. Great hub.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on February 07, 2011:

Hello akterpk,

I'm glad you liked these pictures of the beautiful Bellingrath Gardens near Mobile Bay in Alabama. Thanks for the comment.

akterpk on February 06, 2011:

very good all picturs

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on September 12, 2010:

Hello Shirley Pisa,

Glad that you enjoyed these pictures of Bellingrath Gardens and thank you for the comment.

Shirley Pisa on September 12, 2010:

I love these pictures. These are gorgeous. Thanks for sharing such beauty to us.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on September 07, 2010:

Hello Prasetio,

You are very kind with your comments. Thanks! Hope that you do get to see Bellingrath Gardens in person someday!

prasetio30 from malang-indonesia on September 07, 2010:

I love garden very much. Thanks for presenting the beautiful garden for us. I really enjoy all the pictures you gave to us. I am glad to visit this garden someday. Good work, my friend. Vote up as usual.

Prasetio

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on August 18, 2010:

Hello Ethel,

Bellingrath Gardens is indeed that. Lovely! Thanks for the comment.

E M Smith from Kingston-Upon-Hull on August 18, 2010:

Looks lovely Peggy

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on August 17, 2010:

Hello D.A.L.,

Glad that you enjoyed these pictures from Bellingrath Gardens, and thanks so much for your comment.

Dave from Lancashire north west England on August 17, 2010:

Hi once again you have introduced us to a gem of a place. Thank you so much for taking the time to produce it. The photographs are wonderful.Best wishes to you.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on August 17, 2010:

Hello youcanwin,

Happy to hear that you enjoyed seeing these pictures of the beautiful Bellingrath Gardens. Thanks for the comment.

Neha J from Delhi on August 17, 2010:

Beautiful pictures.

Thanks a lot for sharing it with us.

Neha J from Delhi on August 17, 2010:

Beautiful pictures.

Thanks a lot for sharing it with us.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on August 15, 2010:

Hi Mike Lickteig,

My aunt and uncle used to live part of the year in Florida so that was the incentive to drive that direction from Houston several times. We always liked to take in some sites coming and going...thus the side-trip to Bellingrath Gardens, Tarpon Springs, Cypress Gardens and so forth. On some of those trips, my young niece joined my mother and me, and on other trips, it was just my mother and myself. Really cherish those memories now that my mother is gone.

Was your trip to Florida a vacation?

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on August 15, 2010:

Hello oliversmum,

Happy to have been able to share these photos and impresssions from Bellingrath Gardens in Alabama just off of Mobile Bay and south of the City of Mobile. They are truly amazing and beautiful. So nice that Mr. Bellingrath had it set up that the rest of us could enjoy these gardens forever more. Thanks for your nice comment.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on August 15, 2010:

Hi Billy,

Thanks! Will hop on over to your hub now to see the answer.

Mike Lickteig from Lawrence KS USA on August 15, 2010:

Another amazing area. Your vacations are truly wonderful, and you have seen so very much. Except for one trip to Florida, I have never traveled southeast. It looks as if I have missed a lot. Thanks for sharing more wonderful photos and memories.

Mike

oliversmum from australia on August 14, 2010:

Peggy W. Hi. My goodness me. These are the most beautiful Gardens that I have ever seen.

You do live in a great Country.

The photographs are absolutely wonderful and I love the little bridge.

Thank you so much for sharing your Family travels with us.:) :)

billyaustindillon on August 14, 2010:

Again beautiful gardens Peggy and yes I agree the Gulf economy got wrecked from all the negative noise and politics also in addition to the environmental damage. A disgrace by the politics - remember the Florida AG and now the Alabama AG that sends a message the holiday is in a toxic playground.

I answered your twitter and 60DX questions - unfortunately I copied wrong when I did the new hub.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on August 14, 2010:

Hi James,

Bellingrath Gardens are certainly that...beautiful! Thanks for the compliment on the photography. The videos created by others certainly added great images from different times of the year to this hub. Thanks for coming by, reading and leaving a comment. Have missed your visits!

James A Watkins from Chicago on August 14, 2010:

These are the most beautiful gardens I have ever seen. But more than that, your photography is magnificent!! Thank you for this journey. It is pure pleasure to the eye.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on August 13, 2010:

Hello Om Paramapoonya,

So happy to hear that you liked these photos and descriptions of the lovely Bellingrath Gardens. Thanks for the comment.

Om Paramapoonya on August 13, 2010:

Lovely! The pictures are great, and your wonderful writing made me feel like I was there with your family lol

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on August 13, 2010:

Hi Billy,

The worst part about all the publicity is that the summer vacation time is nearly gone and all of those vacations that were cancelled along the Gulf Coast cannot now be recovered. So oil on the beaches or not...the damage has been done and for many businesses, the losses will remain.

For anyone with remaining vacation time or available money to be spent...information like that from your friends might spur some much needed business to the Gulf of Mexico environs. Am sure that crowds at Bellingrath Gardens have been diminished as well.

So for anyone reading this...go and visit these places now! You will be doing businesses a great favor and you will get a dollar-stretching bargain at the same time. A WIN-WIN all around!

billyaustindillon on August 12, 2010:

Peggy thanks for your reply - I agree on the hurricane - it wasn't their first merry-go-round. On the spill I was thinking more generally. Actually I have a t least 4 groups of friends who have been to the Gulf - Florida and Galveston and seen no oil damage and said they had an unbelievable vacation - no one there and everything cheap, cheap, cheap! Makes you wonder doesn't it.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on August 12, 2010:

Hi Martha C,

Happy to hear that both you and your grandson enjoyed these photos and videos from Bellingrath Gardens. Wouldn't it be nice if we could all be surrounded by landscaping like that! Thanks for the visit and comment.

Martha Castillo from San Diego CA on August 12, 2010:

This just so beautiful. Thank you so much for sharing. My grandson especially enjoyed these pictures and he is only fourteen. The natural beauty and someone's obvious landscaping talent combined together is truly breathtaking.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on August 12, 2010:

Hello North Wind,

Am sure your Bellingrath Gardens book is filled with gorgeous photos taken at all times of the year. The videos I found to include in this hub share different visions of what these gardens are like in other seasons. Thanks for taking the time to comment and enjoy your book! :-)

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on August 12, 2010:

Hello Dardia,

Hope that you and your husband do get to visit the spectacular Bellingrath Gardens. My mother is now gone, but we always enjoyed visiting gardens on our travels together. Thanks for your comment.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on August 12, 2010:

Hello Merlin Fraser,

I certainly understand! It would be hard to be able to see all the gorgeous gardens of the world in person. Happy to hear that you enjoyed this look at Bellingrath Gardens. I also know you have some wonderful gardens in your part of the world. Thanks!

North Wind from The World (for now) on August 12, 2010:

Hi! I have a book about these lovely gardens and have always wanted to visit them. Thank you for reminding me about it!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on August 12, 2010:

Hi dahoglund,

So true! If it were not for people like the Bellingraths who leave such wonderful and enduring legacies behind them, we (John Q. Public) would not be able to enjoy beautiful sites like the Bellingrath Home and Gardens. Many of our National Parks were started that way...wealthy people leaving behind land and money for the benefit of future generations of people to enjoy. Thanks for your visit and comment.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on August 12, 2010:

Hi Micky Dee,

Glad you liked this peek at Bellingrath Gardens just outside of Mobile, Alabama. Thanks for the complimentary comment.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on August 12, 2010:

Hello Pamela99,

Happy to have introduced you to Bellingrath Gardens for a possible future visit. It is truly a beautiful site.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on August 12, 2010:

Hello Hh,

Yes, my mother, niece and I had a wonderful time at Bellingrath Gardens. Always spoke of going back in the Spring of the year when all of those azaleas would have been in bloom but did not make it. We have gorgeous azaleas and an Azalea Trail in Houston each year...some in our own garden, for that matter. Great time of year! Thanks for the visit.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on August 12, 2010:

Hi Billy,

I cannot answer that question with authority, but I would suspect that the gardens are OK after Katrina. Anything lost has probably been replanted by now. The biggest things at risk would have been the big trees, but they have probably gone through many hurricanes over the years. Since the River would flow out to sea, doubt that the BP oil spill has affected Bellingrath Gardens in any way except for possibly scaring tourists away from that area in general which would be bad enough.

Darlene Yager from Michigan on August 12, 2010:

Beautiful gardens! My husband and I love to visit gardens. Maybe I can talk him into driving that far south to check it out one day. I am glad you added the photos to give a glimpse of what we are missing. As Merlin Fraser above said, This may be the only way some get to see it.

Merlin Fraser from Cotswold Hills on August 12, 2010:

Thanks for sharing Peggy it maybe the onlt way some of get to see the wonders of this wonderful garden.

Although we have one or two spectacular ones over this side as well.

Don A. Hoglund from Wisconsin Rapids on August 12, 2010:

It is good that some successful people see fit to leave a legacy to be shared by the public. Great hub.

Micky Dee on August 12, 2010:

It's really pretty and you've done excellent work here. Thank you again Peggy.

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on August 12, 2010:

Peggy, The pictures are gorgeous and I was unaware of that park. It certainly is a place I would love to visit.

Hello, hello, from London, UK on August 12, 2010:

Thank you for sharing such wonderful pictures and informative hub. You must have had a great time.

billyaustindillon on August 11, 2010:

Peggy glorious shots - I was wondering how were the gardens affected after Katrina given Mobile was affected? I see it is further inland though. There is much beauty on the Gulf coast and a reminder of what the BP spill put at risk.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on August 11, 2010:

Hello loriamoore,

Happy to have introduced you to Bellingrath Gardens in Alabama. I had heard about it for years because of my grandparent's travels and was happy to have seen it in person. Would be fun to revisit at various times of the year. Thanks for your comment.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on August 11, 2010:

Hello Cassie Ann,

Glad that you liked this hub about Bellingrath Gardens. As you say, it is gorgeous! Thanks!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on August 11, 2010:

Hello DiamondRN,

Yes, I would definitely say that Bellingrath Gardens is a treasure. Thanks for the first comment.

loriamoore on August 11, 2010:

I had no idea that Alabama held such a treasure. Wow!

Cassie Ann on August 11, 2010:

Absolutely gorgeous! Thanks for sharing.

Bob Diamond RPh from Charlotte, NC USA on August 11, 2010:

What a treasure, Peggy!