Monday, November 23, 2015

Bellingrath Gardens

We have now moved on to Mobile, Alabama.  These gardens had been on John's bucket list to see.  They are considered to be one of the South's most beautiful gardens, and they certainly more than came up to our high expectations.  However, it is the end of November and I was concerned that the gardens may not be at their best appearance given the time of the year.  We were quite fortunate that we were proven to be wrong- the gardens currently have an amazing display of cascading mums.  This exhibit is done yearly, a staff member informed me that 80,000 plants are set out every fall.  Unfortunately this coming week will be the end of them as they will be discarded for the Christmas light display in the garden.  By the way, this is not your usual mum.  These mums can be used in hanging baskets, as you may notice in the picture below.
After we purchased our tickets we were told that tours of the house would not begin for about another hour.  So we then began our tour of the gardens.  There is a total of 900 acres of land, of which 65 are cultivated.  Our first stop was the conservatory built in 1935.  In front of it is a very large rose garden which features about 75 varieties of roses.  Despite the cooler weather, many are still in bloom.
In the conservatory there is a large poinsettia tree, as well as many blooming Christmas cacti and plumeria, pineapple plants as well as orchids - to name but a few of the many tropical plants in the building.
Our walk next took us along the Great Lawn, which is a large meadow.  It formerly was a farm which adjoined the original fishing camp.  The flower bed bordering the lawn is 400 feet long and has a variety of flowers, including the cascading mums and mums in the ground.  Both sides of the walk have the flower beds.
Live oak plaza is at the center of the gardens.  It adjoins a series of fountains and runnels which once carried an overflow of an artisan spring down to the Fowl  River.  The view from the plaza down to the riverfront pavilion is pictured below.  At this point we needed to stop and tour the home,  more on that in the next posting.

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