- This article is about the public attraction in Hoover. For the former garden shop and nursery, see Aldridge Garden Shop.
Aldridge Gardens is a 30-acre botanical garden, prominently featuring hydrangeas, which is located on the former Coxe Estate near the intersection of Lorna Road and Rocky Ridge Ranch Road in Hoover. The executive director is landscape architect Rip Weaver.
The gardens were started in 1977 when Eddie Aldridge, founder of Aldridge Garden Shop at 2109 Montgomery Highway, purchased the property from the Coxe family. In the mid 1990s the gardens were formally dedicated to the public. The site is now owned and subsidized by the city of Hoover, and managed by a non-profit board. A new master plan was approved in 1997 to guide the future development of the gardens and a public grand opening of Phase I was held on June 1, 2002.
The gardens contain extensive hydrangea plantings, for which the peak bloom time is late May to mid June. Numerous other garden areas provide year-round displays connected by walking trails around the 7-acre lake and over a stream with a 150-foot sloping waterfall.
The gardens and home are available for meetings and events. Sculptures by Frank Fleming and others can be found in the gardens, as well. A pavilion was built on the edge of the lake in 2005. A paved plaza was constructed for $80,000 in 2011 to host larger gatherings and improve the appearance of the public entrance. The Bluff Park Art Association is commissioning a sculpture for the plaza.
Future plans, estimated at $6 million, include an environmental center, amphitheater, children's garden, and a wastewater recycling demonstration with a 300-foot waterfall. The water reclamation project would take water piped 8,000 feet from the Cahaba River Wastewater Treatment Plant into the existing artificial lake where it would supply the garden's irrigation needs. The plan is modeled on similar projects at Kanapaha Botanical Gardens in Gainesville, Florida and the Oregon Garden in Silverton, Oregon.
- May: Hydrangea Sale
- September: Kid's Fishing Derby
- October: Fall Festival
- December: Holiday Open House
Public lectures and educational activities are scheduled throughout the year.
- Russel, Gene B. (May 2003) "Heavenly hydrangeas." Southern Living
- Ellaby, Liz (January 27, 2007) "Aldridge Gardens wants $6 million to spruce up." Birmingham News
- Walton, Val (January 24, 2011) "New plaza at Aldridge Botanical Gardens in Hoover will make entrance a gathering place." Birmingham News