Bellingrath Gardens

Theodore, AL
United States
Bellingrath Gardens

Landscape Information

Belle Camp

Purchased by Walter and Bessie Bellingrath in 1917 as a 65-acre fishing camp on the Fowl River, Belle Camp was gradually improved with a new lodge and seasonal plantings of azaleas and camellias. The Bellingraths gained a deep appreciation for European gardens on a 1927 tour, and hired George B. Rogers to design a garden upon their return. Rogers created meandering paths through banks of camellias and azaleas collected from across the Deep South, and added fountains and waterfalls framed with English flagstone from old city sidewalks in Mobile. During the spring 1932 meeting of a national garden club, the Bellingraths invited the public to view the gardens. Overwhelmed by the more than 5,000 Mobilians who visited, the Bellingraths opened the gardens to the public each spring and renamed the site Bellingrath Gardens. In 1934 the gardens were opened year-round. Over the past 75 years the gardens have continued to evolve, with the addition of a rose garden, conservatory, butterfly garden, great lawn, fountain plaza, stepped terraces, a grotto and rockery, mirror lake, and an Asian-American Garden. The property was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1982.