All photos courtesy of Bellingrath Gardens
Water has always been an integral element of Bellingrath Gardens’ design with its earliest beginning as a fishing camp (Belle Camp). Architect George B. Rogers integrated manmade water features and fountains into his final garden design.
Fountain Plaza is the first and foremost water feature of Bellingrath with its unstoppable artesian spring which originally washed out a hillside to the west of it. So Rogers implemented a solution with a bubbling pot within a large pool atop the spring and had the water carried away in a rocky runnel towards another pool.
The Mermaid Fountain
The Mermaid Fountain is a favorite spot for photos. The terra cotta Mermaid fountain is centered in the Mermaid Pool. Mrs. Bellingrath purchased it from a New Orleans homeowner. The overflow from this pool is gravity fed to the Cascade which leads to the Grotto, and finally to the lowest pool that carries the water out to the Fowl River via another rocky runnel.
Courtyard Fountain of the Bellingrath Home
The Bellingrath Home was completed in 1932 four years after the Mermaid Pool, Grotto and Fountain Plaza. The Courtyard Fountain central pool, lined with green Rookwood tiles features a terra cotta cherub astride a dolphin with matching wall fountain. It is said, “On summer nights, the sound of splashing water could be heard from all of the rooms surrounding it.”
East Terrace Pool and Fountain of the Bellingrath Home
The East Terrace Pool faces out on the Fowl River, and is formed from the overflow of the Courtyard Fountain and eventually flows down a rocky waterfall towards the river.
It was put into place in July 2010 when a donation was made by the operations director of Bel Air Mall. The cast iron fountain was originally at the entrance of the mall. Now the majestic, three-tiered fountain is in the center of the Rose Garden, and provides a dramatic accent during “Magic Christmas in Lights.” It is in good company with the many antique pieces of ironwork through the Gardens.