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Dimitri Gatanas

Dimitri’s Garden Center, 1992 Second Ave., nr. 103rd St.; 212-876-3996

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Do you customize gardens?
Yes. One project was 20 percent for the client and 80 percent for his dog. Everything we do is portable, so the client can easily sell his place.

How do you help people draw the line with garden art?
Less is always more. A busy garden is like somebody screaming into my ear. That said, gnomes are back.

What should DIYers know?
Get The City Gardener's Handbook, by Linda Yang. We all swear by it. There are microclimates in the city; some buildings create wind tunnels and others block the sun. So what’s good on your neighbor’s terrace might not be on yours. Putting anything on your fire escape is illegal.

And window boxes?
One of my deepest, darkest bad dreams is someone being killed by a falling window box.

Which plants are low-maintenance?
Hens and Chicks is an amazing little plant that doesn’t require much water, and it’s been a big seller this year. It looks like the blooming onions they serve at Outback Steakhouse.

What about edible plants?
The juniper can take on a lot of sun, wind, and cold. Some people use the berries in stews, and you can make gin out of them. Honeysuckle flowers are also edible; I just caught my neighbor picking mine. The nasturtium flower and pansies are being used in salads, too.

Have you ever tasted them?
Maybe after a few beers, willfully or not.


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