Tag Archives: Alabama

Garden Photos

IMG_0505

So, all those flowers I loved in New Orleans, but didn’t know the name of, were azaleas! They come in many different colors from white, to light pink, to this pink, to red.

IMG_0503

Doesn’t this look like it should be a puzzle?

IMG_0498

Azaleas and holly.

IMG_0496

IMG_0495

This was an old logging pond the Bellingrath’s cleaned out and fixed up. It seemed familiar to me—I swear I’ve seen it before on a puzzle, or something.

IMG_0491

IMG_0488

The house sits in the middle of all the gardens.

IMG_0490

A courtyard that’s surrounded by the house on three sides. No pics were allowed in the house which is too bad, becasue it was beautiful. This was a close as I could get you. : )

IMG_0485

This tree was just starting to bloom and it was stunning.

IMG_0482

Another glimpse of the house.

IMG_0477

This staircase leads down to the river and the boat dock. Apparently that was a favorite place for the Bellingrath’s nephews and nieces to hang out when they’d spend the summers with them.

IMG_0478

This is the boat dock. It wasn’t so appealing on such an overcast day.

IMG_0437

Another view of the beautiful gardens.

IMG_0475

IMG_0474

IMG_0473

Here’s part of the home the Bellingraths built. They didn’t have any children and she died about 12 years before he did. He left his millions to turn his home and garden into a public museum in honor of his wife. Today, the entrance fees not only maintain the grounds, they also fund many scholarships and provide income to three colleges the Bellingraths supported.

IMG_0471

More of the gardens. The landscaping is really beautiful.

IMG_0468

I love this color.

IMG_0462

IMG_0461

IMG_0459

Not only was it overcast, it was cold. We had to change into pants so we woldn’t freeze. (it was in the mid 60s)

IMG_0463

The azalea bushes were huge.

IMG_0457

Easter liliies, a little early.

IMG_0454

Gorgeous orchids.

IMG_0447

This hibiscus was the size of a dinner plate. The colors were spectacular.

IMG_0444

Not sure what these are, but I loved them.

IMG_0455

I liked this one because of the pineapples in the background. They were about 6 inches long. That gives you an idea of just how big the hydrangeas are.

IMG_0443

IMG_0439

The blue hydrangeas were almost the size of volleyballs.

IMG_0436

This is part of the rose garden, which wasn’t blooming yet. In the background is a greenhouse.

IMG_0432

IMG_0501

This boardwalk goes over, along, and back over the estuary. It’s full of wildlife, including alligators. We didn’t see any, though.

IMG_0500

There were even bamboo forests!

IMG_0509

The weather worked perfectly for us. As we were getting ready to leave Bellingrath, the rain began to pour. I like this picture becasue of the lilac bush that climbed the evergreen and produced a couple stories of lilac flowers.

Bellingrath Estate

2,250 total miles, so far.


When we left New Orleans this morning it was gray and overcast.  The weatherman said there would be rain.  We hoped to do some exploring despite the forecast.


We found our adventure in Mobile, Alabama.  It was all by accident, really.  As we were leaving the B&B this morning, I consulted the notes I made when my friend Barbara—who was raised in the South—told me all the places we should see.  She recommended the azalea trails in Mobile.  A quick internet search later and we discovered we were right in the middle of the predicted height of the azalea blooming season.  So, off we went.


We found Bellingrath Gardens in Mobile and it was incredible. The pictures are here.  I loved the story behind the place as much as the gardens themselves.  It all started in 1917 when Mr. Bellingrath, the local Coca Cola bottler/distributor, was feeling under the weather and went to see his doctor. The doc diagnosed a classic case of over-working and advised his patient to buy a run-down fishing camp and “learn to play.”  Mr. Bellingrath took his doctor’s advice and over the next 30 years he and his wife built the Bellingrath Estate.


It grew from an initial 3 acres to more than 900, but only about 65 acres are cultivated into formal gardens.  The Bellingraths were inspired during a trip to Europe where they saw the grand estates and formal gardens there.  They came home, hired a landscape architect, and the rest is history.


Mrs. B was also quite an antique collector.  Her collections filled and overflowed her house in town so she built a 10,000 square foot house at their retreat.  It is an incredibly beautiful house, full of elegant rooms and priceless antiques.  It was the height of Mobile society to be invited for dinner at the Bellingrath’s home.  When they built the house, electricity didn’t extend that far out of town but they wired the house for it anyway.  In the years before the electric lines reached them, they ran the lights with generators.
We also learned something about the history of Coca Cola.  It was originally invented by a doctor as a tonic to help those addicted to morphine break the habit.  That lead me and Bob to wonder how much cocaine Coke used to have in it.  The answer: no one knows exactly, but it was only trace amounts.  In any case, after 1929, the recipe was changed and it had none.


I also thought it was interesting that the Coca Cola distributor could make millions of dollars selling soda between 1906 and his death in 1945.


Finally, I like puzzles of beautiful landscapes. I sometimes wonder where such gorgeous pictures were taken. I swear I’ve seen puzzles of these gardens.