FREEPORT – Sometimes it takes a while to recognize fate, but for Freeport resident Jennifer “Wren” Frost, fate smacked her right in the eye during a drive in Freeport with her husband Patrick Robinson this winter.

“We were driving on the Durham Road and I saw this property for sale and went for it,” said Frost.

Frost bought the former Plants Plus property in Freeport in May from Sally Savage, who ran the greenhouse and nursery with her husband Tim until he suffered a stroke in 2008. Frost will combine her love of interior design with her passion for horticulture into Wren Robinson Greenhouses, a community-minded, carefully curated selection of plants and flowers with a design aesthetic. In addition to offering traditional annuals and perennials, Frost wants to hold workshops, discussions, and use the 5-acre space for events, including a planned October pig roast with the chef at Linda Bean’s Maine Kitchen, Joshua Amber.

After Tim Savage died in 2010, the greenhouse became a horse barn until Frost began the long process of returning the space back into a usable growing area. She spent three months with Sally Savage learning from the “hands of a master.” Then, the sweat labor began, and Frost and a small crew have been working long hours getting ready for the grand opening in the fall.

Though hoping to be open for the busy summer season, Frost will instead have a roadside stand outside of the property at 127 Durham Road selling fresh flowers in two weeks. Purchasing the property, which also includes a small house that Frost shares with her husband, an Internet marketer, and three children, proved to be a lengthy process due to the hurdles that accompany agricultural loans. Eventually, everything came together and Frost closed on the property in May after assuring Savage that the property would continue to be used as a nursery.

“Even after Tim’s passing, Sally continued her love for horticulture. She really took me on even before agreeing to sell me the property,” said Frost.

Due to Tim Savage’s engineering background, the greenhouse itself is an engineering marvel with an elaborate automated system to control temperature, sun exposure and air flow, said Frost, 37.

“He was a genius and had the resources to create this,” she said. “This is a state-of-the-art greenhouse, a Cadillac building. Tim was originally just a hobbyist, but then he took it to the next level. I’m used to growing in hoop houses (a greenhouse with a plastic roof wrapped over flexible piping) where temperature control is done by opening and closing a window. This is all automated with three different zones in the greenhouse.”

Frost, from Princeton, N.J., attended college at the University of Maine, and by her own admission bounced around pursuing a variety of interests after college, including a stint with Freeport-based interior designer Nicola Manganello.

“She’s tremendous and I learned so much about design and merchandising,” said Frost.

Frost comes from a family that includes well-known interior designer Christine Frost, whose Atlanta-based company was recently featured in Better Homes and Gardens, and her sister Tamera, who is a horticulturalist in New Jersey.

“I have design in my blood, but really love to grow,” said Frost. “My sister will send up plants from New Jersey until I’m completely up and running.”

Maine has such a short growing season in summer, the idea is to create an ideal living situation to maximize your time outdoors, said Frost.

Her experience in Freeport has been nothing short of wonderful, said Frost, who encourages people to stop by to see what she is growing and to introduce themselves.

“This is a perfect opportunity for Jennifer,” said Heather Jackson, a longtime friend of Frost and owner of Freeport-based Jackson Built Construction. “The space is versatile and she will definitely put it to good use.”

Frost envisions the greenhouse serving as a meeting spot, not just for potential sales, but also for people who need to take a break and be surrounded by nature.

“The amount of support I’ve received from the community has been tremendous,” she said. “Other business owners have stopped by and offered advice on how to market and keep track of cost. This is one of the only places I’ve seen that can truly be called a community.”

One of her goals is to teach those who may be interested in gardening, but aren’t yet converts to the simple joys of getting “your hands dirty” and planting.

“Sometimes with gardening, less is more,” she said. “It doesn’t have to be complicated or perfect.”

Frost admits to being nervous ahead of the grand opening in the fall, but believes her decision to put into it everything she’s got – personally and financially – will pay off as long as she pays it forward.

“I want this to be a community space and have people feel comfortable stopping by, not just to purchase plants,” she said. “It’s meant to be a place where one can daydream, relax, and think about what you want to do when you grow up, kids and adults both.”

Wren Robinson Greenhouses owner Jennifer Frost examines one of her plants at the greenhouse on Durham Road in Freeport. Frost will have a roadside presence this summer and have a grand opening for the greenhouse this fall. Frost will combine her passion for horticulture and design into what she hopes is a unique place that the community can enjoy.Freeport resident Jennifer “Wren” Frost inspects one of her many plants on a recent afternoon as she works long hours in advance of the opening this fall of Wren Robinson Greenhouses, a greenhouse and plant nursery that combines her love of design with horticulture. Frost purchased the former Plants Plus property from Sally Savage, whose late husband Tim designed the state-of-the-art growing facility using his engineering background.A view of Wren Robinson Greenhouses, from the pumpkin patch at the Durham Road property in Freeport. Owner Jennifer Frost purchased the property from Sally Savage, who along with her late husband Tim, operated Plants Plus at the location.

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