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This was the Japanese style garden
Photo Credit: guyonthego

Bellingrath Gardens and Home

12401 Bellingrath Gardens Road
Open 8-5, closed Christmas Day
251-973-2217 3 hours
April 2011 Fall, Spring
$10-29 Theodore Alabama
Website Nature Gardens
First review
Bellingrath Gardens is the former home and estate of Walter and Bessie Bellingrath. It is 30 minutes from Mobile and is 65 acres. The gardens are well kept and the grounds feature large collections of azaleas and roses. In addition to the gardens, Bellingrath includes a historic home, river tours, a restaurant and a porcelain gallery which has an overview film of the gardens.

Bellingrath was originally a fishing camp on the Fowl River. It was purchased in 1917 by Walter Bellingrath as a place for rest and recreation. Bellingrath was a successful businessman who owned a lucrative regional license to bottle Coco-Cola. Over time, the Bellingraths converted the fishing camp into formal gardens with a focus on flowers, ponds and landscaping. The Bellingraths opened the gardens for a public viewing in 1932, which resulted in an explosion of interest. The gardens were soon made public on a permanent basis and the rest of the property including the home were opened to the public after Walter Bellingrath died in 1955.

The gardens are well organized, often colorful, generally beautiful and are enjoyable to walk around. Azaleas usually bloom here in March and mums in October. The circular rose garden is worth checking out. The bayou boardwalk includes a more natural setting of water and cypress trees; wading birds often can be seen here. The house tour visits two floors and 15 rooms and lasts about 30 minutes. It was moderately interesting for the old furniture and silver that Mrs. Bellingrath collected but if time is limited, it can be skipped. Also a 45 minute river boat tour is offered seasonally. While Bellingrath will mainly appeal to garden and antique buffs, there is enough to see and do here to make it a pleasant and relaxing outing for most people.
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