Interview with Noam Levy, founder of the Green Factory store

Interview with Noam Levy, founder of the Green Factory store

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Going through the door of the Green Factory boutique propels you into a totally new universe, populated by strange containers and miniature trees. At the head of this extraordinary laboratory, Noam Levy has been experimenting under glass culture for several years. The young gardener opened the doors of his workshop to tell us about his journey off the beaten track, from the Kibbutz gardens to the 10th arrondissement of the capital, where he creates dozens of miniature landscapes every day.

How did your passion for gardening come about?

I am fortunate to have grown up in an environment conducive to experimentation! As of my adolescence, I started to bring back plants from my various trips and to make them evolve in the family apartment. These more or less successful trials have proved to be extremely formative, while contributing to my interest in culture in an urban environment. After my baccalaureate, I went to live for a year in Israel where I studied at the Kibbutz. This is where I learned the secrets of a successful garden and the good conditions necessary for the flowering of plants. When I returned, I exercised various activities without ever losing sight of my interest in gardening… I finally embarked on the Green Factory adventure a few years later, with the opening of a first boutique in the district of Marais in Paris. I then proposed a panel of depolluting plants to purify the atmosphere of small apartments and urban habitats. But having no quantifiable return, I quickly stopped my activity to turn two years later to a more aesthetic and original universe!

How did you develop your concept of a self-sufficient miniature garden?

Being myself a "pure and hard" Parisian, I could see that city dwellers have a real need for nature at home, but neither the time nor the desire to take care of green plants. I was interested for some time in mini jar gardens, very popular in the 70s, by experimenting this form of culture at home. After several months of testing, I managed to develop a first concept called Treeki: an autonomous greenhouse, equipped with an LED lighting system working with a solar collector, which self-supplies with water thanks to the principle of condensation . Placed in daylight near a window, artificially lit at night, this mini garden requires only four waterings per year on average. I therefore declined this idea in different forms, notably by choosing original containers, in which miniaturized plants could carry out their photosynthesis without any external intervention.

… And that was when the second version of Green Factory was born?

Absolutely ! The room where the workshop-shop is today has been unoccupied for 6 years… I moved there in 2013 to work on my first compositions, and carried out several tests of self-sufficient gardens based on a book of amateur dated 1967. The work of British researcher David Latimer, specialist in culture under glass, was also a great source of inspiration for me. As my experiences progressed, passersby began to stop more and more in front of my window ... and the workshop finally turned into a shop a few months later! Today, we are three people working on this project, and we hope to be able to expand the store and our catalog in a short time.

What are the tips to keep in mind to maintain such a garden at home?

The key to a successful terrarium lies primarily in the choice of plants: they must be small and have slow growth. The atmosphere of the container being hot and humid (the room temperature should ideally be between 15 and 27 ° C), our creations are composed of a unique miniature tree and some small plants enjoying such climatic conditions (ficus microcarpa , bonsai, ficus retusa…). The terrarium should be close to a natural light source, essential for photosynthesis, without being directly exposed to the sun. We offer terrariums fitted out by us in the boutique, but it is also possible to buy them by mail. We then send all the elements in small special bags, with all the steps to follow for their assembly and maintenance.