On a recent afternoon, inside the gardening store Plantworks, an anxious man in a business suit pleaded for help. “I need a consultation. My plant—it’s turning yellow! And I water it every day!” After getting more details, the incredibly patient Chris Baptiste, who manages the store for his stepdaughter and her husband, determined the man was overwatering his fern and gave him a quick demonstration. “All day long, it’s like this,” sighed Baptiste, who has more than 20 years of horticultural expertise and is known as a kind of plant doctor to the city’s newbie green thumbs. The best mom-and-pop nursery in the city, it’s packed with everything from common spider plants and bamboo to towering palms and Dracaena. The shop also sells an excellent selection of ceramic pots, seeds, fertilizers, and a noteworthy device called the Drip Drip, a ball that slowly releases drops of water onto your plant while you’re away on vacation. But, really, the best reason to come to Plantworks is to talk to Baptiste, who has been known to spend more than 30 minutes with customers, helping them choose the right plant for their lifestyle—and then explaining how not to kill the poor thing.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on October 21, 2009