Mobile’s Azaleas

(c) eileen saundersIt’s still a little early for our azaleas, according to Mobile Botanical Gardens website, but they’re starting. I have some around my home that have been blooming for the past month. There are still a ton of blooms to come. Can’t wait to see them at peak.

Mobile, AL has been named Azalea City and has been well know for these plants since the mid-1700 when they were reportedly brought over from France.  Those several plants inspired many more plantings around the city and now Mobile is in gorgeous bloom of color in March (sometimes earlier, sometimes later depending on weather).  Mobile has established an Azalea Trail which you can read about here.  Azalea Trail Maids act as ambassadors for the city and attend a wide variety of events in the area. 

Azaleas can be viewed at Bellingrath Gardens, Mobile Botanical Gardens and just by driving around town.  Check out the gardens’ websites for their schedule.  While I’ve been to both the Mobile Botanic Gardens and Bellingrath I have never seen the azaleas in all of their glory. This year I plan to get there in time.  Who wants to go with me?

How I Spent My Summer Vacation, part 1

We are taking the whole month of August off from our homeschool and the boys will return to their learning September 1.  Lucky for them we have signed up for an all day nature field trip with the Fresh Air Family group that just started a chapter here in Lower Alabama (LA).  Meanwhile, we’re on vacation.  The boys did have tennis team practice on Monday, but that’s our only obligation.

This week we hung out with some friends.  After a relaxing weekend with Gary (bookstore, farm market, hangin’ out) we got together with another family in the neighborhood (homeschoolers who  just moved here from Wisconsin) and just enjoyed ourselves.  Their two children and mine get along really well.  I think the kids spent most of their time this week playing with mega-sized Nerf guns and eating popcorn. 

Wednesday was the usual pool day with the Lake Forest homeschoolers.  It was the last day of this activity for the summer because,  I’m told, the pool will now only open after 3pm when the schools let out.  There goes our pool swimming.  But the boys had their hydro-therapy and enjoyed it.  We’ll head to the beach next time.

Today we did two things: found the historic post office location for Montrose Alabama and went to Bellingrath Gardens, on the Mobile side of the bay.  It was the 141st birthday of the founder/owner of the gardens and house, and the Gardens staff celebrated with free admission to the gardens to all Mobile and Baldwin County residents.  You had to pay extra for a house tour.  There was also free cake and ice cream, which the boys both enjoyed. 

Bellingrath Gardens: beginning of the garden path

Bellingrath Gardens: beginning of the garden pathOne of two lily ponds in the rose garden

Bellingrath Rose Garden
Bellingrath Rose Garden

The gardens are beautiful.  The variety of plants, flowers and arrangement of the gardens made it enjoyable to view.  There was a hot house, a butterfly garden, plantings surrounding various  waterfalls, pools, and lakes. 101_3485

 101_3489The property is on the Fowl River and there is even a boardwalk through the salt marsh area with posted information about various types of birds, reptiles, fish, plants etc.101_3495  The walk took us probably just under 2 hours.  It was hot and at one point we hastily walked on to the end for refreshments.   A cooler day would have been ideal; we could have rested along many of the sitting areas.  Few were shaded and most had black chairs (hot) so we passed on the resting spots. We’ll go back again in the fall or winter when family comes to visit.

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As for the post office:

 101_3474101_3475101_3473I live on the far north end of Fairhope, really a stone’s throw from Montrose, Alabama so when I go to the post office I use the Montrose one.  It is small, cheerful and very short lines, if any.  Its a modern building but the original one was down the street and is now on the historic register.  The sign reads that retired riverboat Captain Thomas Marshall and his family moved from Mobile to Montrose and he was appointed post master.  When he died his widow became postmaster and had this little building built on their property.  Mail came by boat from Mobile.  She would take mail not picked up during the day into the house where neighbors could stop by, during the evening hours, for their mail.  It was used as a post office until 1913.  During the 1940s it was a lending library for the community and was placed on the historic register in the 1970s.

This weekend we are off to New Orleans.  Stay tuned for more adventures.