For this month’s Six with Seedlip, we connected with Maryah Greene, founder of Greene.Piece. She is a New York-based Japan-bred plant stylist and consultant. As a graduate from the Bank Street College of Education mastering in General Education and Literacy, inspiring growth within others has continued to be both a passion and a career. Maryah’s roots of a blended background and upbringing - paired with her inherent and undeniably nurturing nature - has lead her to her incredible creation of Greene Piece.
I. You earned your Master’s Degree in General Education and Literacy. How has that experience influenced the Greene Piece platform?
An overwhelming majority of the ways that I run my business are influenced by my former practices in the classroom. Before fully committing to Greene Piece as my full time job, I taught third and fifth grade while attending graduate school here in NYC. I often find that there are so many similarities between my student’s needs and my client’s needs when it comes to servicing their plants or educating them about the best ways to care for their plants. The key is meeting everyone where they are based on their knowledge level and figuring out what it takes to get them to the next level of understanding. Before any potting, planting or designing has started, I make it my mission to assess where my client is in terms of their comfortability with plant care. Based on what I learn during this initial phase, I’m able to inform my own teaching and plant care plan to fit that person’s needs.
II. Living in a metropolitan area, how do you connect with nature consistently outside of planting?
The park is my favorite place to be. Whether it’s reading, listening to music or simply sitting on a blanket and people watching, being under the trees and amongst nature makes me feel like I'm in my most relaxed state. Since it gets so cold here in NYC, sometimes my walk through the park can only last 10 minutes, but during that time, I make it my mission to be present by observing the differences in the trees between summer and fall. It serves as a constant reminder that things are always changing and nature isn't an exception to the rule.
III. You give credit to your blended background and upbringing as a significant impact that led to the creation of Greene Piece. How do these roots connect to nature? How have they grown you into who you are today?
The older that I become, the more I realize how much my childhood played a direct role in my passion for education and prioritizing nature. I’ve made it my mission to educate and expose as many people as I can to the beauty and benefits of it. Growing up, it was preached to me that I would go to college, maybe even continue on with another degree and eventually find a career within that field of study. Being the first in my family to finish college meant that the possibilities are endless as long as I finished school. I think this is exactly what pushed me to think outside of the box and create something that I can call mine. There is and always has been an outdated belief that has followed me throughout the development of my business and it's that your field of study is what makes you qualified to create something. Through the development of Greene Piece, I’ve made it my mission to not only dismantle that notion but also inspire others to determine whether or not their passion aligns with the saying and ideas they were told while growing up. Your love for what you do, dedication to the craft and time perfecting that craft is what makes you qualified. Alot of adulthood and developing my business has been rooted in unlearning as much as it has been learning.
IV. What are your top three tips to make plant care practices more sustainable?
My first tip is determine what ingredients or objects you already own in your space that can make plant care as easy as possible. Pretty often, people overlook their food scraps as a method of fertilizing their plants and instead seek out an expensive fertilizer that may not work as well. Coffee grounds are one of my favorite fertilizers to use, not only because of the benefits because of the smell.
Another sustainable tip is to be conscious of how much water you’re wasting. I know so many people that let their water run until it becomes the temperature they want it to be for their plants. As long as your water isn't extremely hot or cold, the water you use for your plants works perfectly. I often recommend gathering rain water in a cup or watering can during the next time it rains. So many of my clients use rainwater to care for their plants.
Lastly, I always recommend that people recycle or reuse their nursery pots. Nursery pots are those plastic containers that plants are sold in when you get them from a plant shop or nursery. If you’re repotting your plant, remember to recycle them or use them for a plant that’s in need of a larger pot. I always recommend potting plants into somethin 1-2 inches larger in diameter than the previous pot it was in.
V. What advice would you give to those turning their passion into a career, what would you tell you 5 years ago?
Don't be afraid of change. Lean into it. The good changes, the bad changes, the changes that are so extremely uncomfortable. The more you fight change or make it your mission to stick to the old, the more you hinder your growth and natural desire to create. So much of what you create and share with the world can feel scary. Sometimes it even feels like it might not be worth sharing. However, I constantly tell myself that “what if” will always hurt infinitely more than trying and failing. You never actually fail as long as you try. You’re essentially just collecting more data to inform your next creation or project.
VI. If you could invite 6 individuals to a dinner party you’re hosting, who would they be and why? What Seedlip cocktail are you serving?
I love this question! I would have to invite Nas, Amy Winehouse, my mom, my best friend Menen, Sza and my friend and former colleague Desiree. I just know this group of people would get along so well and we’d constantly be toasting over Espresso MartiNOs.
Follow Maryah @green.piece