The task of finding a career that combines passions for art and plants and allows a mom to be at home with her babies could seem daunting, but Nadine Honsinger created a business that would fill all of those requirements.
“I had the artistic background and the knowledge of the plants and flowers so I decided, let’s put the two together,” said Honsinger.
Green Poppy Sustainable Floral Design began less than a year ago after she attended the Community Futures program.
Out of her apartment in Nelson, Honsinger creates living art which she sells up and down Baker Street at locations like BC Wine Guys, Araya Day Spa and Maison.
It’s not uncommon to see her with her young daughter carrying baskets of flower arrangements as they make deliveries.
“I’ve got a background in fine art,” she said. “Something that I really wanted to pursue is to be an artist. I’m a painter – although I haven’t done much of it since I had my daughter.”
At a turning point in Honsinger’s life she was working as a landscaper in Guelph, Ontario.
The wear and tear of the job was getting to her and she decided to look into other opportunities.
“I ended up working at a high-end flower shop,” she said. “I realized I liked it and I asked my mentor if I had to go to school to continue. I was told the best way to learn was to stay in the industry and work in shops and have them teach you.”
Steering clear of the limitations of official floral training, Honsinger worked in floral shops in Ontario, Alberta and eventually Nelson.
“I loved it from the beginning and decided that’s what I’m going to pursue,” she said. “I realized that’s what I wanted to do and what I was passionate about was working with flowers.”
With her passion for art and flower satisfied, there was one more element that Honsinger needed to incorporate.
“I knew I had to take it eco,” she said. “I was pregnant when I was working at a flower shop A friend approached me and said ‘you’re wearing gloves right?’ and I said ‘No why would I have to wear gloves? I’m at the end of the chain except for the person who is going to purchase this bouquet. I’m sure the pesticides wouldn’t be too much of a factor.’ [The friend] told me to do some research.”
Honsinger discovered that over 175 chemicals are sprayed on flowers in greenhouses.
“I learned I had to wear gloves but I hate gloves. I like feeling the texture of the material that I’m working with,” she said. “That informed me. It has to be eco, if I’m having my daughter in this environment. I’m in a position where I can make a difference. One person can make a difference. Every person who buys a bouquet is making a difference.”
In addition to using organic flowers, Honsinger uses locally grown flowers were she can.
“I love the concept of local sustainability,” she said. “I want to promote and support those local farms that want to keep practices organic.”