When Kim Zimmerman moved from Georgia to Colorado in 2005, it didn’t take long for the hobby gardener to realize that our state’s clay soil and dry climate were a more challenging canvas. “I killed a lot of things at first,” she says. To learn how to work in her new terrain—and hone her artistic skills—she enrolled in Colorado-specific gardening and floral design classes. One of her biggest takeaways: Florists use a lot of environmentally harmful materials, including foam, chemical-packed flower foods, and plastic wrappers.

So Zimmerman set out to start a sustainable flower business and founded Rowdy Poppy in her Whittier home in 2018. To fulfill her mission, she opts for natural, recyclable, and compostable materials whenever possible and grows most of her flowers locally to reduce the carbon emissions associated with importing blooms from faraway countries, a norm in the industry. This spring, Zimmerman is expanding her roots by opening a retail location of Rowdy Poppy in RiNo, where she’ll also host Earth-friendly workshops. In other words, the student has blossomed into the teacher.