As anyone who has ever received a potted present can tell you, caring for plants is a far more difficult feat than it seems. Each fern, seedling, and shrubbery requires its own delicate formula of water and sunlight. Tread too far in any direction, or worse neglect your greenery altogether, and your lush compadres will wind up as little more than a pile of scorched petals.
I can’t imagine Satoshi Kawamoto, a botanist, or as he likes to call himself a “garden stylist,” has ever had such troubles with his greenery. Kawamoto operates out of a quaint space on First Street in New York City, tending to his various plants and inventing new arrangements both for his shop and an array of clients both in New York and in his native Tokyo (where he operates five other locations.) As I enter his shop, which carries the apt moniker “Green Fingers,” on one of this winter’s first below freezing nights, I feel as if I’ve crossed into a Japanese garden rather than a faded East Village storefront.
The air is heavy with just a touch of humidity, clearly tailored more for the plants than any customers, but hey you’ll survive, they won’t. The space itself is fecund, and I can barely see the floor, let alone the pots that contain Kawamoto’s overgrowing assortment as I cross cautiously through the willowy sea. Scattered throughout the stores sprawling collection of shoots and shrubs lies a complimentary, yet small, selection of Green Fingers t-shirts, as well as bags from Nepenthes affiliate Bags in Progress, and Kawamoto does sells plants and plant supplies at the shop, but the space primarily acts as a showcase for his arrangements.
It’s Kawamoto’s skills as a “plant artist” that have landed him in the press as of late, particularly for his floral installations at Sleepy Jones Bowery location and at the new Filson NYC store. Whether your an herb enthusiast or just dabbling in the dirt, Kawamoto’s shop is well worth a visit. Who knows, maybe you’ll pick up a green thumb yourself.