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Plant Breeding Partners

We’re honored to work with the best of the best in plant breeders and plant development companies around the world, allowing us to introduce new and improved plant introductions into our well-known plant brands, including Encore® Azalea, the Southern Living® Plant Collection, the Sunset Plant Collection® and Better Boxwood®.

Encore Azalea Inventor Buddy Lee

Robert “Buddy” Lee, Inventor, Encore® Azalea and numerous Southern Living® Plants

Robert “Buddy” Lee, the inventor of Encore® Azalea, the world’s best-selling reblooming azalea, has more than 40 years of experience in nursery management, plant breeding, propagation and new plant development. Lee is Director of Plant Innovations for Plant Development Services and owner of Transcend Nursery in Hammond, Louisiana. His plant breeding work has resulted in numerous new plant introductions including Encore® Azaleas and cultivars featured in the Southern Living® Plant Collection and the Sunset Western Plant Collection®. Lee is an active public speaker and is past president of the Louisiana Nursery and Landscape Association (LNLA), the International Plant Propagators Society and the Azalea Society of America. Recent awards include the LNLA James A. Foret Professional Achievement Award, the Southern Nursery Association Don Shadow Award of Excellence, the Louisiana State Horticulture Society Lifetime Member Award, the Azalea Society of America Exceptional Service Award and the Southern Region IPPS Fellow Award.

Camellia Breeder Bobby Green

Bobby Green, Inventor of October Magic® Camellias and more

Bobby Green is a landscape designer and owner of Green Nurseries in Fairhope, AL., which specializes in Camellias, winter-interest plants, and rare and scarce native plants. He encourages the wider use of Camellias by emphasizing their versatility in the garden. He has introduced seventeen Camellia sasanqua hybrids including the internationally-awarded ‘Green’s Blues’ and ‘Rose Of Autumn’ and the Southern Living® October Magic® Series. His grounds have become a repository for rare and endangered Camellia cultivars salvaged from long-abandoned nurseries and gardens. Bobby designed the Wintergarden at the Mobile Botanical Gardens, which recently received status as an ”International Camellia Garden of Excellence”. He also provides research and consultation services toward restoring historic Camellia gardens. His work has been published in Southern Living® Magazine; Southern Accents; Coastal Living® Magazine; House and Garden Magazine; Horticulture® Magazine; Mobile Bay Monthly Magazine; American Nurseryman Magazine; International Plant Propagator’s Journal; The Mobile Register; The Atlanta Journal; The American Camellia Society Yearbook; The Birmingham News; Better Homes and Gardens; Old House Journal; The New Orleans Picayune. In recent years, he has turned his nursery eye to the nearly unknown populations of heat and disease-tolerant, native tree and shrub species of the Gulf Coastal Plain.

Pat McCracken, Inventor of Stellar Ruby Magnolia

Pat McCracken, inventor of Stellar Ruby Magnolia, and more!

Pat McCracken’s passion for plants started at a very young age.  He still remembers all of the plants in the garden he moved from when he was five years old.  He followed his love of plants by getting a BS and MS in Ornamental Horticulture and Landscape Design at the University of Tennessee and has worked in the nursery industry for over thirty years.  He has an extensive background in research, plant propagation, and production and has used this knowledge to build his own nursery.  Pat has an insatiable desire for collecting plants and has been collecting plants most of his life.  The collections have changed over the years but have included vast numbers of African Violets, bromeliads, arid plants, tropical plants, Japanese maples, magnolias, and Camellias.  His current collection of many thousands of rare and unusual plants is planted on about five acres on his farm in Zebulon, North Carolina.  Pat has traveled to fourteen countries to pursue new plants for his collections.  Additionally, he has found many new mutations and unusual seedlings that he has propagated and evaluated for landscape worthiness and has a special fondness for variegated or golden plants.  He also has an active breeding program for Hibiscus, Southern magnolias, Cytisus, and Camellias.  In his spare time, he loves to cook and does pottery.

Do you have a plant you’d like Plant Development Services to evaluate? Submit your new plant innovation.