Andalusia’s Green Thumb

Published 9:21 pm Friday, April 24, 2020

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Jared Boutwell, the City of Andalusia’s Landscape Technician, can be seen just about anywhere, any time during the week. From general landscape maintenance to picking up litter.

His fascination with horticulture started almost at birth. Boutwell’s family has operated Boutwell Bamboo Farms in Babbie, Alabama, since the early 1940s.

“I’ve forever had an obsession with plants,” said Boutwell.

Even at five years old, Boutwell was showing his interest.

“Every Saturday, when I would visit my late great Aunt Syble’s house in Andalusia, my mom would pick me up, and I’d have grocery bags full of flowers to take home. Now my parents’ yard is overflowing with flowers that I planted as a kid.”

Boutwell moved to Andalusia with his partner, Gerry Richards, in 2012 and began working with the City at Springdale. Additionally, joining the horticulture department this year.

It was a dream come true when Boutwell knew he’d be spending his time doing what he enjoys most.

“Being one that’s passionate about landscape and historic preservation, I’m very much in my element,” said Boutwell. “I take great pride in my work and living in Andalusia, so I’m very honored to be able to help enhance our city’s  beauty.”

Boutwell and Richards are on the restoration of their third house since moving to Andalusia. Their two finished houses are located on Sanford Road and on Third Avenue. They insist that this one is their “final home” with an acre of land featuring plenty of room for gardening and Boutwell’s favorite flower.

Boutwell’s favorite flower is the camellia, as evident by the 82 different camellia plants in his yard with expectations to “still add many more.” Most of the camellias were planted by the house’s previous owners, but Boutwell has maintained and added to their collection with his green thumb.

“ It’s not abnormal to see me out in the yard at ten o’clock at night and sometimes later,” said Boutwell. “My wheels are always turning on what I can do better and what needs refreshing.”

“Plants and flowers are like fashion. Trends come and go,” Boutwell commented. “I try my best to keep up with what is new and works best.”

Boutwell doesn’t start projects with a plan in mind but prefers to rely on experience and personal taste and creativity.

“I may get halfway through a project and start over until I get that feeling that it’s done, and it’s right,” added Boutwell. “It’s always hard for me to have a plan. But I guess that’s the fun part of being a creative person.”