Considering her role model, Rachel Bond’s career choice isn’t surprising.
“I am a horticulturist because my mom raised me to love and appreciate plants and nature,” says the Pass Christian native. “I wanted to be an entrepreneur like her and go into the family business.”
Long before she owned Pine Hills Floral Design and had a family of her own, Bond was going to work with her mom, Polly Cuevas, at her family’s garden center — located on the same road she grew up on. She has fond memories of trailing behind Cuevas in the greenhouse and joining her on deliveries.
“It sounds ridiculous, but some of our funniest adventures involved loading her old work truck with junk and taking it to the dump,” Bond says. “My favorite trip involved the muffler coming loose and dragging on the road.
“We had to pull over, and she used a piece of rope she found to tie it to the bumper. We laughed all the way home.”
Mother and daughter still find the same things funny, and Bond says she aspires to be as tough, wise and hardworking as the woman she calls her best friend.
“I ask her advice about business, kids, life, paint colors, food choices, earrings and pretty much anything else that crosses my mind,” she says.
Cuevas says her relationship with her “loving and honest” daughter has evolved from a parent-child dynamic to one of mutual respect. As a mom to her two young children, Colin and Molly, Bond is a natural in her own mom’s eyes.
“She allows them to be the individuals that they are and is trying to teach them kindness,” Cuevas says. “I think that as a parent of an only child, I was probably way too overprotective. She seems to have a better grasp of letting them learn things without hovering too much.”
Even when Bond was teaching Bear, the family dog, a trick recently, Cuevas recognized her daughter’s maternal instincts.
“Bear very carelessly failed in the trick, but Rachel, very seriously reassured him that it was OK and that he’d made a good try,” she says. “That was just a little insight into the support she gives in raising her own children.”
While carrying the weight of her own business and personal concerns, Cuevas helps Bond with the children when Bond’s husband, Ashton, is on duty at the fire department. Physically, she could do the work of three people, according to her daughter.
“She literally never stops; there is so much to do, but somehow she always gets it done while still helping to lessen my load, which is already much lighter than her own,” Bond says. “She’s hilarious and loves to be silly. She cares deeply for others and does whatever she can to help them.”
Cuevas likewise admires Bond’s empathy and compassion. While they are both planners and like to be prepared, Cuevas claims her daughter “is much better than I am at this.”