Recently I had the opportunity to visit Bellingrath Gardens in Mobile, Alabama. If you ever have the chance to visit in the area of Mobile, you need to stop and see the gardens and the Bellingrath's home. The gardens are over 75 years old and they were the dream of Bessie Bellingrath who enjoyed gardening. Walter Bellingrath found his fortune by building the first Coca-Cola plant built exclusively to the production of Coca-Cola in the United States in 1908. The Bellingrath's purchased an old fishing lodge on the Fowl River and over the years, Bessie planted many flowers and shrubs. She loved camellias and azaleas and the soil along the river was ideal for growing them. After a trip to Europe in 1927, they decided to turn the lodge into a country estate. With the help of architect George B. Rogers the building began. As the gardens grew, people started visiting Bessie's beautiful gardens and by 1932 the gardens were opened to the public. By 1935 the estate home was completed. The house is filled with wonderful antiques and collectibles. At the age of 80, Walter Bellingrath created a non-profit foundation to continue the existence of the estate and gardens in memory of his wife. In 1956, shortly after his death, the gardens and home were open to the public to enjoy.
When you visit Bellingrath Gardens, be prepared to spend at least 3 to 4 hours to tour the house and walk the 65 acres that make up Bellingrath. You will visit the home, Chapel, The Rockery, Boehm Porcelain Gallery, Rose Garden, Conservatory, Bayou Boardwalk, Mirror Lake, the Great Lawn and all it's wonderful garden beds and water features and the Asian American Garden.