Carmen Mendez-Mackesy

Carmen

Carmen Mendez-Mackesy is the owner and operator of Southern Blossoms, one of South Florida’s leading sustainable landscape design/build firms. Founded in 1989, the company provides comprehensive landscape services including environmental planning and living architecture design, design/build, landscape restoration and maintenance services. The company also operates a wholesale nursery in the Redlands.

Like so many wonderful “how it started” stories, Carmen’s career began during her college days through coincidence and necessity. A native of Venezuela, Carmen came to the United States to study civil engineering at the University of Miami. While there, she began selling flowers to area restaurants and that ultimately grew into running a small floral business, along with a friend, from a cottage in Coconut Grove. She studied floral arranging at night and by 1983 she had Monty’s restaurant in the Grove as her first major client. The business evolved and they were successfully creating and producing floral designs for special events and corporate clients throughout Miami.

However, pursuing new challenges is a hallmark of Carmen’s basic nature. In 1989, Southern Blossoms was born with the focus on landscape design/build from the beginning, allowing the company to incorporate the creativity of floral design into permanent landscape installations. Significant clients and major accomplishments continued to mount as Carmen and a dedicated core team - still with her today - earned a reputation for design/build work that was creative, functional and sustainable.

Significant business highlights over the years include:

•Carmen Mendez was awarded her arborist license in 1995.
•Throughout the 90’s, Southern Blossoms specialized in hurricane landscape restoration work for high-end residential and corporate clients.
•Southern Blossoms’ consulting work expanded to residential complex landscape restoration in 2001.
•American Express hired Southern Blossoms to landscape and maintain its South Florida properties in 2004.
•Miami Herald published a feature story on Southern Blossoms in 2005.
•Southern Blossoms was hired for the landscape design of Santa Maria on Brickell Avenue in 2006.
•Southern Blossoms was awarded the landscape restoration of over 50 sites in the tri-county area for Bank of America in 2006.
•Southern Blossoms became a member of the US Green Building Council in 2007.
•Southern Blossoms wholesale nursery opened in 2008.
•Southern Blossoms developed the design/build sustainable landscape installation at City of Miami City Hall, completed in 2009.
•Carmen Mendez was named honoree of American Red Cross Spectrum Award 2009.
•Throughout the years, Southern Blossoms’ winter holiday décor division continues to grace corporate lobbies throughout Miami.

As impressive as even this short list of business accomplishments is, Carmen has always lived by the directive that her obligation as a human being is to leave the earth a little bit better than she found it. With that guiding her passion and talent, Carmen has directed Southern Blossoms’ pro-bono and community work with projects that have included Camillus House in downtown Miami, Yvonne Learning Center in Little Haiti, Town Park Village and Town Park South in Overtown. The focus of this work is on the quality of life for its residents and the introduction of children to nature, affording them a rewarding and powerful life experience. Carmen and her volunteers teach and share with children and community residents how to participate with nature in the creation and care of gardens where there never were any before.

Carmen’s commitment to the earth is innate and Southern Blossoms has employed sustainable practices, including water conservation before sustainability was a business requirement. It is simply what made sense to them as stewards of the environment.

Since its founding two decades ago, Southern Blossoms has enjoyed the journey. Prosperity in good years resulted in the company’s expansion and landscape design/build services now accounts for 75% of the business. Some things, however, have never changed. Carmen Mendez is true to her roots. She is still out there on the job. Whether training and supervising her crews, directing multiple community projects, responding to storms, installing holiday décor or creating inspired designs, Carmen Mendez-Mackesy and Southern Blossoms proudly co-exist with Mother Nature every step of the way.

Carmen lives in the Redlands with her husband Robert and their cherished pets.