Alabama Travel – Aldridge Gardens | Birmingham

I made a trip to Aldridge Gardens in Birmingham Alabama this past weekend.  I really didn’t want to go on a Saturday and I didn’t want to go in the middle of the day, for photographing it, but the opportunity came up and I went.

Aldridge Gardens has a reputation, in this area, as a photographer’s paradise, especially for family portrait photography, as well as a beautiful wedding venue.  I quickly found out why.  The gardens are so popular with photographers that management has now had to set up a system to manage the many professionals that wish to use this beautiful backdrop.  Go to their website menu under “Photo Guild Gallery”, for all the information on fees and restrictions.

On this day I was there as a tourist.  In late June not much is in bloom so there was some disappointment there.  Also, on this particular day the gardens were hosting their annual art festival.  That wasn’t good for me either as there were people wandering around everywhere!  Photo ops were hard to come by.

One big plus was I met Maurice Cook, a very talented artist.  His art could be described as “Black Americana”.  What ever you call it, it was mesmerizing.  I think like most, I don’t know much about art, except, I know what I like and don’t like.  Maurice Cook’s work definitely had an impact on me.  He is only locally known.  He has no website nor email address.  He told me up until two weeks previous, he didn’t even have a cell phone.  You can see some of his work by Googling “Maurice Cook Artist”, then go to “Images”.  It’s not much but worth the look.  I was able to make two quick portraits of him.

Maurice Cook  ©Rick Lewis
Maurice Cook ©Rick Lewis


Maurice can be contacted my snail mailing him at:

Odd Job Art by Maurice Cook, 224 Mill Run Circle, Birmingham Alabama, 35226 or you can reach him at (205) 823-3191.

Maurice Cook, "Artist"  ©Rick Lewis
Maurice Cook, “Artist” ©Rick Lewis

After chatting with Maurice for a good while, I took a stroll through the gardens.

Summer meadow held back by split rail.
© Rick Lewis

The gardens are very diverse with numerous different elements.  This is truly a photographers paradise!

Calming waterfall.
© Rick Lewis

You will find tranquil streams and small waterfalls an, in the Spring, beautiful flowers everywhere.  There is even a small lake for a backdrop.  I found these beautiful blue hydrangeas blooming on this June day.

Blue Hydrangea
© Rick Lewis

If you find yourself in the Birmingham area, take a little side trip to Aldridge Gardens.  The admission is free, (donations appreciated), and in this case, you get much more than you pay for.

For larger versions of each of these images, please go to my Flickr page.  To contact me directly, email me at:



7 Replies to “Alabama Travel – Aldridge Gardens | Birmingham”

  1. I first encountered Maurice about 13 years ago at a art festival. I too fell in love with his work. I now have over 50 of his pieces some orginals and some prints. His pieces remind me of growing up and visiting my Grandma in Alabama.

  2. Mr. Lewis, can you tell me if Maurice Cook is still living? I purchased a painting of his at our church this weekend for a fundraiser, and I can’t seem to find who donated the painting in order to find out more about it.. In looking in your information, you say that he doesn’t paint faces, and this picture is of an elderly black man sitting with a bible in his hand, and a pamplet lying on the ground….but the man looks like Mr. Cook.The name of the painting is “Studying Sunday School Lesson”….and the pamplet says Adult Quarterly….with C.M.E. printed at the bottom of the pamplet. It was signed “Maurice, 2000)…….There is a typed sheet attached on the back of the framed print, stating that he was from Birmingham, Al. He was born in Carbon Hill, Al……Can you tell me more about this painting or the artist?
    Thank you,
    Elaine Fox

    1. Hi Elaine,
      I wish I could provide more information on Mr. Cook and his paintings but I really can’t. I was only able to speak with him for a short period of time. I do know he is very well known in the Birmingham area and his paintings are in great demand.


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