Uncovering the Treasure of Working Within Your Passion
We all have the one thing which sets our soul on fire. That one thing that can inspire us at 2am because we just can’t fathom waiting til morning. For Janine Collins, that one thing is plants, and she’s one of the lucky ones who gets to chase her passions for a living. Though, admittedly, this was discovered by accident. Over the years, her journey included the waypoints of local archeologist, becoming a teacher, to owner of the local nursery, Botanical Concepts.
Janine moved to the Durango area in 1997 for an archaeology position at Mesa Verde. Her interest here sprouted her interest in plants through ecology studies. She had (and still does have) a love for learning and studying which helped her grow in this position. One of the revelations discovered at Mesa Verde was that in order “to study the people you must study the plants.”
Over time, her love for learning eventually turned into a love for teaching. After leaving the position at Mesa Verde, Janine began teaching elementary school students which is where she first encountered Botanical Concepts. Every year, at the end of the season, Botanical Concepts would donate their extra plants to the Durango elementary schools.
Through this process, Janine met Dianna Wikening, the owner of the nursery. What began as a simple transfer of plants to students blossomed into a strong connection. Anytime she had questions, Janine just stop by and talk with them and was met with honesty and kindness.
“We were actually nothing alike,” Janine mentions. She attributes their strong friendship to their connection over plants. “It doesn’t matter who you are, you can be opposites,” but the plants will still manage to bring people together.
In 2016, when Dianna decided to sell the company, Janine knew it was right. “I needed a change,” she mentioned. “All of the pieces just fell together.”
With this business, comes the ability to apply her love for learning to her passion for plants and help others. With plants, there’s always more to learn. Others may find it daunting, but Janine thrives from it. “There’s just an endless amount of knowledge and there’s so much I can learn about.”
Now, two years later, Janine is loving the Botanical Concepts life. When asked what her favorite part of the job was she said, “No matter what, it always comes back to the plants.” Each time a new plant sprouts, it brings her so much joy and happiness. “With everything going on in the world right now, it makes me feel like I’m doing something that really matters,” Janine added.
It’s this love and passion that inspires Janine to constantly try to do more, like staying open through the holiday season. Sharing her passion with the locals and tourists is Janine’s way of giving back to the community. She strives to provide the best Colorado grown Christmas trees and hand-picked holiday wreaths that she and her dog Millie head to Montrose to harvest.
Usually the nursery closes through winter seasons, but Janine wanted to remain open everyday through December 22nd. The new holiday hours bring a variety of gifts for beginners and avid plant lovers alike. The goal here was to create gifts for “plant nerds like me,” she said. With gifts like handmade ornaments, planting tools, and even giftable houseplants, the hope is to encourage giving life this holiday season.
In the end, Janine Collins is trying to share her love of plants the people in Durango, hoping to help them find what sets their soul on fire.