In 1955, Maybelle and George Landa began crafting makeshift bundles of pansies to sell alongside produce at their roadside stand. Before long, they were offering fresh-cut Christmas trees, cut flowers, and various houseplants, and the business bloomed into Boulevard Flower Gardens at Ruffin Mill. After decades of growth, the business was passed down to son Mark Landa and his wife Francine.
Today, Boulevard Flower Gardens resides on 6 acres that house a 33,000 square-foot greenhouse and hosts a wide variety of events. Computerized climate control creates optimal growing conditions for plants and a retractable A-frame roof hopes to lure a baseball franchise to hold spring training. The diverse staff includes certified horticulturalists, a full-service florist, and Wilbur the potbelly pig, a friendly mascot who's famous for his seasonal pumpkin carvings. When not tending to the nursery or the gift shop's selection of jellies, flags, and local wines, Mark Landa can be seen dispensing gardening wisdom on WRIC 8's morning news program.