Gardener Connie Bossart has been taking her love of planting and creating a business out of it.
Bossart owns Connie’s Greenhouse northwest of Ponoka and found a way to get rid of her winter blues by starting her own garden 15 years ago. She then started selling plants because she wanted to meet people.
Originally from Switzerland, Bossart found herself wishing for the springtime she was used to back home. The long Alberta winter took its toll on her and she enlisted her husband to build her a greenhouse. “I always liked gardening but I never thought to have a greenhouse.”
With the greenhouse came earlier planting and Bossart found herself right at home among the soil and plants. She specializes in tomato plants and hanging baskets but also sells flowers and fruit trees. Now out of stock for the season, Bossart looks forward to next year. The work is not easy but there is some gratification in being able to grow her plants.
She advises growing tomatoes in a warm environment such as a greenhouse and using enough water to keep them growing.
“I like to deal with the customers…I like to make the customers happy,” she said.
Making money is important to her but finding the right plants for her customers is more enjoyable. Her love of plants has done her well too; Bossart won first place in rural landscaping — under three years, at the recent Ponoka Agricultural Society’s bench show.
Working in the dirt is important and Bossart encouraged her children to also have their own gardens. She feels the activity builds up children’s immunity and gets them involved in healthy activities.
“For the kids it’s actually good. They learn to work with the dirt,” she said.
Seeing the results of the hard planting work is another benefit.
For anyone looking to develop their own gardens Bossart advises starting small and giving the plants enough room to grow, especially squash as they need a lot of earth. In her personal garden, she uses only manure fertilizer every two years and does not use any other fertilizer or pesticides. She does however maintain the garden to ensure there are no weeds.