This week, a friend and I made a little trip down to south Mobile County to Bellingrath Gardens. My last visit was in the spring, so I knew there would be plenty to see now that it’s early autumn. It may as well have been summer, given the warmth and relentless sunshine, but we enjoyed a beautiful day.
My main goal was to see the rose garden at one of its peak times, and I was not disappointed. Some varieties were blooming that I had missed on previous trips. Many of the shrubs were in full bloom during this first week of October.
Further into the gardens, flower beds line pathways with colorful flowers and foliage. It’s almost sensory overload when you try to see everything. For example, this strip contained purple tibouchinas, peach-colored hibiscus, and red coleus. You might not think that would be a good combination, but it was lovely.
Mr. Walter Bellingrath bought this property as a fishing camp in 1917. You see one of the two original cabins on the river in this oil painting by Phillip H. Giddens. Mrs. Bessie Bellingrath began to develop the gardens in the woods around the cabin in 1927. She worked with a landscape architect to plan the formal gardens, water features, and terraces. Over time, thousands of azaleas, camellias, and other plants filled the area.
In 1932 the Bellingraths invited the citizens of Mobile to come down on a Sunday afternoon to see their beautiful gardens for the first time. Four thousand people showed up.
I don’t usually take the home tour, but we did this week. It has been many years since I enjoyed exploring the interior of this 10,500-square-foot house, built in 1935. The views of gardens, river, and terraces from the large windows and glass-paned doors are wonderful.
The long bayou boardwalk took us in and out of shady areas around an inlet of Fish River. My friend and I decided we needed a tour guide to point out what we saw in the swamp’s flora and fauna.
We made the grand circuit around most sections of the gardens, and I’d love to show you more, but I’m sticking with six today. In past posts, I’ve shown you other sections at different times of the year. I enjoy the many water features in every area: the river, lakes, streams, pools, fountains, and outflows from artesian wells. We welcomed moving into those shady stretches, and the sound of water running over the rocks gave a little respite from the afternoon heat.
I plan to return in November to see the displays of cascading chrysanthemums. I understand they are spectacular.
Let’s give credit to the guy who founded this fun Six on Saturday idea. He lives in Great Britain, and his Twitter handle is @cavershamjj
You can find his blog at: https://thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com/