story by Taylor Wheeler | photos by Drew Chapman
If there’s anyone who has the know-how to help your lawn and garden thrive, it’s Bobby and Rhoda Boone, owners of Buds N’ Blossoms Nursery on highway 431 north of Dothan. Brand new to the industry in 1975, their hands-on experience, knowledge, skills and vision have only grown in their forty-two years in the nursery business—and business is blooming.
Buds N’ Blossoms began when Rhoda’s father opened the nursery as a hobby in 1972 at the present location. (He had previously leased the property to the State of Alabama to use as a roadside park.) “At the time, I was a teacher and Bobby worked at Farley nuclear plant,” says Rhoda. But in 1975, they decided they wanted to go into the nursery business themselves and bought out her father’s inventory.
The Boones would have to learn the nursery business from the ground up—Bobby’s background was in psychology, Rhoda’s in art. “Everything we know now we had to learn the hard way”, says Bobby. He recalls how at first they didn’t really know there was a “season” for plant sales. “We had a great first spring,” says Bobby, so they drove to Florida to stock up on more of the same. “We came back to find out the season was over!” he remembers.
But the Boones quickly grew green thumbs. They took landscape design classes from the University of Georgia and visited every trade show and seminar they could find. Buds N’ Blossoms quickly grew. Today, visitors walk the decorative pathways among beautiful flowers, shrubs, trees, and grasses, giving them a visual of their own garden’s potential in the beauty of the nursery.
Bobby credits that beauty to Rhoda, who applies her background in art to designing beautiful landscapes for customers. “Her designs are really comparable to professional landscape architects,” says Bobby. “She has a touch, she really brings something to it.” (It must run in the Boone family—son now John David runs Dothan Nurseries, a business started by the Boones.)
In addition to landscape design and installation, Buds n Blossoms offers a retail store (the Boones grow a large selection of the nursery’s plants on site), a color team that keeps local businesses’ landscaping fresh year round, and hardscaping services. They can meet any need and no client is too big or too small—house trailers or mansions, “we’ve done them both,” says Bobby.
Customer service is a big part of the Boones’ success. “We go to the N’th degree to make our customers happy,” says Rhoda. “What matters to us is that they feel good about our services.” Bobby adds: “They are friends first, customers second.” They also give credit to their exceptional team of employees. “We’ve got the best group of people here,” says Rhoda. (Not just people—the nursery’s rescue dogs are friendly and always ready to help you select your plants in exchange for a scratch behind the ears.) “The more we love our people, the more blessed we’ve been,” she says.