Watch The New Yorker Documentary | Love Lessons from a Forty-Four-Year-Old Plant Shop in New York City | The New Yorker Video | CNE | Newyorker.com

[upbeat music]

[Narrator] It’s a green world we live in.

And lucky we are that it is.

Yet how few of us realize the significance

of the plants which make it green.

In this color of nature,

symbol of youth and growth.

The green plants

from lowly grass to lofty trees

hold the key to life on earth.

The beauty of this green world we take for granted

the pine trees of Northern woods,

the wind shaped cypresses,

the giant forests of snow clad western slopes.

I don’t like this tree so much.

[upbeat music]

Love, cherish and above all else,

listen to your plants.

At least this is what Ched Markovic owner

of Noble Planta in New York city counsels.

Even the act of gardening when explained by Ched

sounds uncannily like a self-help book

or a Buddhist meditation chant.

Have confidence, open your eyes, listen.

[upbeat music]

[door clangs]

Chicken Gizzard Aralia family,

Braided Ficus Benjamin, blue myrtle,

cactus, peace lily, spot ophelia, boston fern,

cat terrarium palm, kimberly fern, lipstick

with our tropical plants,

cacti and succulents for interior use.

Asparagus fern,

we have been at this location for about three

and a half decades,

which has given us the opportunity

to deliver better suggestion

to customers who are willing to really try

to take good care of their plants.

Listen carefully, slowly, slowly, again,

few moments wide to penetrate nice and even.

Right.

Because nurseries using sprinkler system.

So we are not going to change

Just dump a bucket

No.

Right.

Nobody wants to be smacked in the face,

There is no guessing I’m telling you once a week,

Right.

Two days, three days.

Right.

No, we are talking with a plant

and plant is giving us a silent suggestion

when the time is right.

But man talks to you everything is there.

So anyhow, a little bit there a little bit extra

10,15 seconds,

but do it right.

Yeah,

For crying out.

As somebody is doing nicely,

manually a little bit their water starts to show

this guy was listening,

I can tell.

I know when a plant is not gonna be not standing.

You didn’t have that kind of understanding.

You seen people’s eyes and the expression of faith,

how they listen to you.

And that gives you some answer right there.

One of my favorite was the plumosa fern.

They have some kind of a positive harmony.

It somehow talks to you.

I don’t really have favorite.

Maybe because I work too much with them.

[sirens]

I had it in the plants,

probably it was 1975/1976 something like that.

At that time,

there was a friend of mine that I met on

house of street.

He used to move tractor trailer loads of stuff.

Yeah.

Back in the days,

And I started pedaling on the West Side Highway.

So did I.

Right.

Yeah.

That was a great time.

Yeah.

Nobody’s been in this business right now.

As long as this guy has.

He knows it inside and out.

Ched is a legend.

I know Maria for years.

How long have you guys been together?

35/36 years.

35/36 years.

Breaking some records to.

[laughs]

Well, I guess when you find the right person,

that’s the way it goes.

Yeah.

[upbeat music]

So

[upbeat music]

It could be anything

and a lot of people have love for odd things.

[upbeat music]

We have a love of plants to tell you the truth.

[upbeat music]

Being like this, intimate let’s say placement,

they must be a little bit enjoying.

People live together, plants are here together

and I think they appreciate if they hear that

somehow you are trying to promote them

in the best way for the light maintenance and

so on.

I believe there is some communication

but I can’t describe it like scientifically talking.

B.S

I’m tired and dizzy.

I’m tired and dizzy.

You want me to sit here?

Like on the,

oops!

He doesn’t take care of the plants.

He sells them, he doesn’t take care of them.

I take care of the plants.

So that’s the difference.

♪ Take your time ♪

That one has a real beautiful flowers

and this one’s

so it’s happy plant that’s good.

From Sweden I moved here because I met this Mr. Noble

[laughs]

As I call him.

I met him and that’s why I came here.

When I saw her also something hit me in my chest, some

He had a heart attack.

No, something lift me.

[laughs]

I can’t explain it out loud.

but it’s very important this I would like

to happen to somebody else also.

Something lift me

and I saw something in front of me

that I can not believe it.

And something also to tell you the truth

remind me of my mother.

I swear, I’m not in a way

that you think I’m looking for a mother

but I’m saying something but some lift here

that says something is there that I would like

to have my life with.

I thought he was skinny like a spider

[laughs]

Honestly, he was so skinny right?

While you are talking, am just listening

He was nicer because the guys

they wanna impress on you and this and that and then.

[laughs]

Then later on when you

Hit the bucket,

Hit the bucket

then they turn to like cactus,

thorny, thorny

Well, that’s what she’s saying.

Oh honestly.

[upbeat music]

Five dollars for the ladies.

Ladies have a special price today.

It’s supposed to be eight.

I know, five dollars.

And here is another ten.

[indistinct]

Am tryna be good.

I don’t think he’s always funny.

I think sometime he’s annoying.

I think he’s annoying

when he’s telling like a really little bit

like a dirty jokes and stuff in front of wrong people.

So when the topsoil is all dry or dry this

is how you go slowly around slowly around.

You wait a few moments like making love to a plant

He thinks he’s hilarious.

Six, seven.

Yeah, he’s a little bit pain in the neck.

Watering, they are too much for me.

Om my God!

They are too many plants.

Plant is plant, I’m not getting like so attached to them.

No.

Well, so far her philosophies are proper

and I have an admiration for it.

And I think she’s the one who is the like I said earlier.

She’s the one.

The engine.

Okay.

Just says, she’s the worker here and you are the boss.

Okay, so if you like that way we can say so.

But I am more into the activity of sales I guess.

I can simply show you something that is

No he doesn’t do anything, too much of anything.

He is that kind of guy.

[upbeat music]

Well my least favorite part is

when I have to lift heavy plants

and when I get stung by the cactus.

And get those small teeny, tiny thorns.

You cannot get them from the skin.

[upbeat music]

[paper rustling]

Humongous ugly cactus.

If they die, let them die.

I don’t feel bad.

But he feels bad.

[upbeat music]

I know, but I’m saying it’s a lasting purpose.

I don’t sell plants just to be forgotten.

I wanna make sure they live and

that’s why I’m making a statement for recognition

that the plants are talking to me

in a way saying we need light.

This is the plant telling you all the details.

Okay.

The same thing

[indistinct]

you’re going to find out

[indistinct]the light.

Normal planting for one to two years,

it can stay in this spot for 10 to 15 months.

You’re lucky you came in with a nice lady.

Otherwise, price will be three times up.

Well listen, man,

that’s some weakness that some people have.

And I’m glad [indistinct]

Sure you did

[paper rustling]

This is, I just prepared for delivery.

You did, probably long time.

That’s it.

Who packed them all?

[laughs]

blah, blah, blah, work.

That’s my life.

[car honks]

Hey guy, goodnight.

[upbeat music]

[Narrator] What is a green plant need

to stay alive and grow?

It needs air.

It needs minerals from the soil.

It needs water.

But green plants need something else.

They must have light.

[phone rings]

Noble.

Oh yeah, she’s not here today.

Can I help you?

She’s not here.

Yes.

Okay.

I expected something,

but I was just a little bit trying not to really realize

that she was not at one point so determined

but she was telling me on and off

that she would like to not work anymore in the shop.

She’s probably happy because I think

that’s what she wants.

So I’m trying

to do the most I can do to that matter.

You carry some guilt remember.

It’s not that you want it to happen,

but what can I tell you?

Because you asked me now for that to answer

so I’m telling you that sometimes I really go

with a little bit my tears come and I keep it.

So nobody sees it.

So that’s what it is.

Why does that swell?

[upbeat music]

Love, cherish and above all else.

Listen to your plants.

At least this is what Ched Markovic owner

of Noble Planta in New York City councels.

Even the act of gardening when explained by Ched,

sounds uncannily like a self-help book

or a Buddhist meditation chant.

Have confidence, open your eyes, listen

[upbeat music]

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