Heather Popowsky of Edmond doesn't look like the type that is found most days elbows deep in mud or hauling 50-pound bags of dirt. With pale blue eyes and a mane of red hair, Popowsky looks like she should be working in an office wearing a high-powered suit instead of digging through dirt.
As the owner of one of Edmond and Oklahoma City’s most successful horticulture and landscape firms, the 40-something female stands out in the male-dominated field of landscaping. Popowsky is the owner and founder of Neighborhood Gardener, and she's taking the landscape world by storm.
Popowsky realized early that she had to create her own success. Attending an orphaned children's school as a youth, she said one of her most pivotal moments was the realization that education was her key to success.
“I went to Texas Women’s University, turning down a scholarship to Oklahoma State to take a scholarship there," she said. She majored in psychology in criminal justice, but horticulture was her minor. She found herself drawn more and more to that field.
“Honestly, choosing to start a business in landscaping means you get an equal spread of creativity, scientific knowledge and elbow grease,” Popowsky said. “It’s the knowledge and the elbow grease that distinguish me as a business owner.”
In 2006, Popowsky dove into full-time entrepreneurship.and Neighborhood Gardener was born. Her first big break came when she was given the chance to complete organic gardening at an estate in Deer Creek.
As Neighborhood Gardener's reputation and jobs grew, so did Popowsky's knowledge and training. Today, Neighborhood Gardener’s clients include homeowners in Gaillardia, Rose Creek, Nichols Hills and other large neighborhoods. She specializes in estate management, design and maintenance of large projects. The company employs full-time workers as well as up to 11 seasonal crewmen.
"I like to see a project through from the design, the work and to maintenance," she said. "I think what makes me stand out is perseverance and the relationships I've built with clients. They aren't just clients - they have become friends."
Whether she's replacing annuals or designing a backyard wonderland, Popowsky is hands-on and dedicated to making each project a dream come true for clients. For more information, visit gardenokc.com.