Mobile Botanical Gardens

Mobile Botanical Gardens

Mobile Botanical Gardens

Contact Address 5151 Museum Drive
Mobile, AL 36608
Phone (251) 342-0555, ext. 2
State AL
Town Mobile
Hours of Operation Dawn to dusk every day

About the Gardens
Adjacent to Langan Park, the Gardens encompasses a 100-acre site of cultivated gardens, woodland trails, and a longleaf pine restoration. Established in 1974 by a dedicated group of horticulturists to preserve the natural aspects of the local environment, the Gardens have grown and developed into an oasis for the community.

Several decades ago, camellias were planted in an area near the current location of the Larkins Learning Center. About three years ago, over 75 cultivars from this era were identified and tagged.

With this foundation, the vision for the Kosaku Sawada WinterGarden was born, and most of the installation, including plantings, irrigation, and benches, was completed in 2007.

Designed by Bobby Green of Green Nurseries, this garden also includes an entrance with decking that wraps around the Larkins Learning Center, and a gathering circle tucked into a hill adjacent to the Fern Glade which is an excellent space for ceremonies, lectures, and presentations, as well as a place for peaceful reflection.

About the Camellia Collection
Total number of camellia plants:   700
Number of distinct camellia cultivars or species: 639

In December of 2010, the WinterGarden was dedicated to pioneering local nurseryman Kosaku Sawada. In March, 2014 the Sawada WinterGarden was named a “Garden of Excellence” by the International Camellia Society – one of only seven in the U.S.

The nearly 5 acre site contains the older camellias plus approximately 500 new camellias, comprised of 350 new cultivars, which are planted along paths winding under tall trees. Companion plants include winter blooming bulbs, Taiwan cherries, magnolias, Japanese magnolias and other plants known for winter bloom.

This collection includes:

Historical Camellias
Those that originated or were introduced to the United States prior to 1920.

Mobile Area Originations
The greatest concentration of outstanding camellia introductions in the world originated along the central Gulf Coast, including rare rediscovered camellias.

Camellias Species
Nowhere else in the world can such a broad spectrum of camellias be grown as in our area. These will include rare, newly discovered Asian species, and hybrids thereof.

Camellia Classics
The very best of the best for garden purposes, regardless of age or origin.

All of these are integrated with collections of Hamamelis, Parrotia, Magnolia, Corylopsis, Viburnum and other trees and shrubs appropriate as companion plants.