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David Grist has an interesting take on the challenge of gardening in Zone 4.
"There are plenty of plants that grow well here, but it's more interesting when you push the boundaries a bit. I figure that if you don't have stuff dying, you're not trying hard enough."
David has been working at Gardener's Supply for many years. Besides managing the company's online gardening information, he's a go-to guy for difficult horticultural questions. David works for a landscaper, so he spends lots of time in gardens throughout Vermont's Champlain Valley.
David attributes his passion for gardening to his grandparents, who had a greenhouse when he was growing up. "I think it's in the genetic structure," he said. "I've been interested in gardening since I was little."
His Burlington, Vermont, backyard is less than an acre, but every inch is packed with interesting plants. David Grist grows a multitude of flowers and practices his philosophy of pushing zone boundaries, with a little help from his Garden Starter Greenhouse.
MORE: Full details on the Garden Starter Greenhouse.
"When people visit my garden, I really love to hear them say: 'You're not supposed to be able to grow these things,' but I'm doing it."
And grow he does.
Last fall David planted sweet peas in the beds inside his greenhouse. "Not much growth took place during the winter, but we had bouquets of sweet peas before Easter," he said.
David is also growing three varieties of bananas; tender bulbs, such as ranunculus, nerine, and Peruvian daffodils; and lacecap hydrangeas. When the potted plants come into bloom, he tucks them among the garden plants or near his front door entrance. "It's fun to have fresh material through the summer," he said. "The hydrangeas are especially nice to gussy up the front porch."
David sticks to flowers and doesn't grow any vegetables in his yard. "When I grow vegetables, I feel guilty if I don't eat them. With flowers, it's so easy. You just enjoy them by looking at them."
A typical Vermont winter is snowy, cold, and lasts almost six months. Over the past two years, the Garden Starter Greenhouse has become one of David's favorite gardening tools.
"My greenhouse gives me the opportunity to experiment and lots more time in the soil," he said. "I can go outside when there's snow on the ground, tromp over to the greenhouse, and walk in to the smell of soil that's moist and feel the sun. It's a great place to be at that time of year."
Last updated: 10/24/15
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