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.
Tropical Treehouse Florist treats flora fanciers to arrangements of finely attuned blooms. The bouquets' enticing fragrances brighten up jovial occasions or cheer up friends going through hard times, such as the untimely loss of a beloved pet rock. Anniversary celebrators can chivalrously hand a dozen red roses to the sole denizen of their heart ($45.95), and the glass-vased Mom’s the Greatest, filled with elegant spring flowers and greenery, helps grateful progeny spoil splendid child-bearers on Mother's Day ($29.95). The Secret Garden, chock-full of hydrangeas, roses, lilies, daisies, and more in a wicker-accented tin, bestows down-home charm to genuine green thumbs ($39.95).
The friendly staffers at family-owned-and-operated Petals & Bows Florist happily tailor their bouquets to customers’ needs. Their purview incorporates seasonal arrays of fresh-cut blossoms, ranging from classic red roses to sprays of purple limonium, and can come paired with accessories such as festive bows or teddy bears. Prompt service ensures arrangements ready in time for special events, such as weddings, landmark birthdays, or commemorating a couple’s first kiss that didn’t include a lost tooth.
Constructed in 1726, the Georgian mansion at Berkeley Plantation is the birthplace of Benjamin Harrison V—a signer of the Declaration of Independence and Virginia's fifth governor—and his son, President William Henry Harrison. Still featuring 18th-century details and additions––including arches later installed by Benjamin Harrison VI, a descendant of original owner Benjamin Harrison IV, under the direction of Thomas Jefferson––the house is populated today by guides dressed in period garb. These experts point out significant artifacts in the main building and give visitors a chance to explore its artfully designed and manicured grounds on their own.