Blooming with passion
By Carolyn Brown

Florist and interior designer Brad Mudd loads floral arrangements into his car before delivering them to Dermitt Funeral Home in Leitchfield for the funeral of Lloyd J. Baker, an Army veteran. Brad particularly likes doing arrangements for veterans, which he sees as a way to help repay them for their service.

Brad Mudd is making Grayson County prettier, one floral arrangement at a time.
In his studio, Designs By Brad, he creates floral arrangements, bouquets, corsages and interior decor. Brad, 48, runs his business from the lower level of his home at 14961 Beaver Dam Road in Caneyville, a house his grandfather Walter Goodman built about 60 years ago. Brad lives there with his wife, Tonya Mudd, 48, and their 10-year-old dog, Paisley, whom the couple calls their “spoiled” only child.

Inside the cozy space, flowers of all kinds – including fresh and silk – sit in vases and buckets on shelves and tables near a wall of ribbon spools. Brad spends time on all of his creations, looking for holes to fill in with greenery, completing color palettes and matching his clients’ requests as closely as possible.

“A lot of people tell me that they would love my job because they think it would be great to play with flowers all day long, and I just simply tell them that [florists] don’t play,” he says. “There is a strategic plan behind each thing that we do.”

Brad offers local clients free delivery, so he criss-crosses the county to businesses and events that see the highs and lows of life – weddings, funerals, community parties and more. As he puts it: “I deal with everyone at their best and at their worst.”

On a workday, he might answer calls or texts from a family whose loved one died unexpectedly or a bride’s mother inquiring about the progress of a corsage. He particularly appreciates the opportunity to make floral arrangements for veterans, which he sees as a way to help repay them for their service.

Brad sees his profession as an expression of his God-given talents. Christian music plays in his studio as he works and on his car radio as he goes out on deliveries. On his right wrist is a tattoo in italic script that reads “Romans 8:28,” referring to his favorite Bible verse. He prays over his arrangements before he delivers them, asking God to bless the recipients. On occasional Sunday mornings, he preaches at Caneyville Cumberland Presbyterian Church, where he used to be the pastor.

Beyond his floristry, Brad is deeply embedded in his community. He is the president of the Grayson County Tourism Commission, a Chamber Ambassador, and treasurer of the board for the Twin Lakes Humane Society. Everywhere he goes, his colleagues and clients speak of his energy and vivacity, often with a particular refrain: “Brad’s the best!”

When Lanette Mudd (no relation) visited Centre on Main, a venue in Leitchfield, to help her son Aaron Mudd and future daughter-in-law Jessica Mercer set up for their wedding reception that evening, there was a lot left to do. Two vendors had just informed the family of schedule changes. There was plenty to be stressed about.

She told the group, though, that she appreciated Brad’s presence for keeping the mood light and energetic.

“Even when you’re tired,” she said, “thank God for Brad!”

Brad puts together a “toss bouquet” for a wedding with a fall color scheme.

Rose petals and stems litter the floor at Brad’s feet as he works on an arrangement. When he works with fresh roses, he uses a stem stripper to remove their leaves and thorns and takes off outer petals to help the heads open up.

Brad holds an artificial sunflower, his favorite type of flower, and poses for a portrait inside his Caneyville studio, which is also the lower level of his house.

A cross decorated by Brad rests by the back entrance to Caneyville Cumberland Presbyterian Church where Brad was formerly the pastor. He still preaches there some Sunday mornings.

Brad expresses his love of interior design in his own home. He rotates his decorations with the seasons.

Jessica Mercer chats with Brad as the two set up the decor for her wedding reception at Centre on Main in Leitchfield.

Brad feeds treats to dogs at the Leitchfield Animal Shelter, on whose overseeing board he serves as treasurer. He also has a dog at home, his 10-year-old “only child,” Paisley.

Pumpkins and other fall-themed items decorate tables for a wedding reception for Jessica Mercer and Aaron Mudd (no relation) at Centre on Main.

Inside his studio, Brad puts together two floral arrangements, each with a red, white and blue color scheme, for Army veteran Lloyd J. Baker’s funeral.