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In the Garden: Green thumbs unite to run Greenhouse

Sun., May 19, 2013, midnight

Brian Green and Dan Dunn are the proud owners of Green’s Greenhouse, located halfway between Cheney and Spokane. (Susan Mulvihill)
Brian Green and Dan Dunn are the proud owners of Green’s Greenhouse, located halfway between Cheney and Spokane. (Susan Mulvihill)

Brian Green’s life is all about plants these days. As greenhouse management instructor at Spokane Community College, he teaches students all aspects of managing greenhouse operations and growing a variety of plants in them.

When he’s not teaching, Green and his partner, Dan Dunn, operate Green’s Greenhouse where customers can purchase beautifully grown plants. It is located halfway between Cheney and Spokane at 13910 S. Short Road.

Green grew up in Orofino, Idaho, and worked with his grandmother in her garden each summer. It didn’t take long for him to develop a love of plants.

“But every time I would think about working with plants as a career, people would tell me it’s a no-money job, that I wouldn’t be able to support myself,” he explained.

“I finally realized I needed to follow my passion and stick with it so I would be successful. I ended up falling into a job that I love. I love teaching, I love growing plants and I get to do both of them every day.”

At their greenhouse, Green and Dunn grow and sell more than 30 varieties of tomato plants, including grafted seedlings in each variety. Green learned how to graft tomatoes through his horticultural background and has an impressive grafting success rate of about 95 percent.

“The best thing about grafted tomatoes is the increased yield they offer,” Green said. “This is extremely important for the urban gardener.”

In addition to tomato plants, they also sell a wide variety of other vegetable starts, bedding plants, geraniums and hanging baskets. Unusual finds include artichoke plants, variegated Japanese hops, bicolor morning glories, flowering maples (Abutilon), Canna lilies and Angel’s Trumpets (Brugmansia).

Their herb selection includes rosemary, thyme, parsley, cilantro, four types of basil, tarragon, stevia, chives, peppermint, spearmint and three varieties of oregano.

“Most of our plants are grown from seed but we also work with cuttings that we either take ourselves or purchase,” Green said.

They also have many varieties of kale with interesting leaf colors and textures. Green said he believes the plants are just as attractive as they are tasty and he is a proponent of edible landscaping. His advice?

“Try a beautiful kale intermingled with annuals for some texture. Don’t be afraid to give it a try,” he suggested.

One service they offer is planting customized containers for clients. “This is a good time for customers to put in their order for next year,” Green said.

In addition to the greenhouse, Green and Dunn have some interesting farm animals. Visitors can see peacocks, goats, turkeys, chickens, pheasants and ducks.

When asked how he liked running his own greenhouse, Green was quick to respond with enthusiasm.

“Since it’s on site at our home, we can work in the greenhouse late into the night and we can easily monitor conditions to make sure the environment is right,” he said. “I just love growing plants so much. I love seeing the changes over the season and I get to do it every year. It’s amazing.”

Susan Mulvihill can be reached via email at her blog at susansinthe for more gardening information, tips and events.

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