With all the care we provide our plants with, I sometimes get the feeling we have a hundred office toddlers. Walking around the office, when you see a plant that has given you a new leaf or a flower, your heart just flutters. Surrounded by this chaos of emails, deadlines, briefs and meetings, you quickly realize that, apart from yourself, you are also keeping others alive, and that really warms your heart, says Nataša Marić, one of our five volunteers looking after more than a hundred plants at the 404 office.
Each day, Nataša, Martina, Anja, Eva and Andrea water and dust the plants, or move them around so they are not left in the draft or to get the necessary sunlight. Some of the them discovered their love for plants when they were children, watching their mothers, and others are still learning about plants.
Considering the amount of attention and care that these plants require, the girls have formed two teams: Team Left Office Wing and Team Right Office Wing. Once a month they give those plants a good dusting to allow for photosynthesis, and use a special fertilizer for houseplants once every three weeks. They also water the plants once or twice a week using water that was left to sit for a while, and on Wednesdays, they make sure the leaves are given a spritz from a spray bottle.
The plants are obviously enjoying this VIP treatment as some of them have already grown out of their pots and the girls are getting ready to replant them. They are also there for their colleagues who keep asking them for advice on plant care and sometimes even bring them their plants so they can recover a bit.
Meet our 404 plant team.
Martina Gršković, Social Media Director / Account Manager
I am a total beginner in this team. My mother has always had plants in every nook and cranny of our house, so I got my love of plants from her. But I don’t know too much about them. I joined the team to learn as much as I can, as I have filled my own apartment with different pots and plants. The most important thing as far as plants are concerned is to remain patient and consistent when looking after them, as each little plant demands special care.
Eva Andričević, Social Media Strategist
I grew up surrounded by plants, thanks to my mom and grandma. They always had different kinds of plants around the house and in the garden, but didn’t pass their love and passion for plants onto me when I was little. In fact, I never showed much interest in them until I bought my first orchid. They warned me that looking after an orchid was quite challenging, saying I shouldn’t be disappointed if it died. Nearly six years later, and my orchid is as perfect as it was the day I brought it home, and it keeps surprising me with new flowers all the time. In the meantime, I have added new plants to my green corner, and it really makes me happy that I get to look after the office plants, in particular the plants that I don’t have at home.
Anja Omerza, Social Media Manager
I learned the most about plants after I moved into my own apartment and decided to turn my home into an urban jungle. Plants are not only cool but also functional – we can use them in cooking or to make a statement, and they also clean the air we breathe. I am most proud of my Delicious Monster (Monstera deliciosa),which unrolled six new leaves this spring alone (I believe it enjoys all the fawning over it and the jazz it constantly listens to).
Andrea Vodanović, Senior PR Consultant
The best advice I got on plant cultivation was to provide each plant with special attention, as you cannot generalize about or pigeonhole them. It’s a great thing that, here at the agency, we have been given the opportunity to learn more about plants, along with many other things, in particular thanks to Nataša. It’s one of those unusual skills that these days you cannot pick up anywhere else but at home (or, in our case, at work).
Nataša Marić, Account Manager
I fell in love with plants a few years ago, even though I had grown up in a home that resembled a botanical garden. My mother had been growing flowers for as long as I could remember and our apartment was filled with different plants – from African violets and rosemallows to a banana tree (which has grown to three meters over the years!). You name it, she had it. I had never shown much interest in plants but I did help my mom look after them – or so I choose to remember (I always successfully avoided replanting, dusting etc.). On the other hand, I regularly found ways to bond with the plants by, for instance, ripping the leaves I could reach to make lunch for my Barbie dolls.
Over the years, I broadened my knowledge of plants as I used to listen to my mother talk about them all the time. Then, one day, my partner brought home our first plant, the peace lily (Spathiphyllum), and I told myself that it was our love plant and that if it died, our love would too – and I couldn’t allow that.
That’s when my story started. I didn’t have to research much as I already knew loads. For the time being, I am quite good at keeping my plants alive, both at home and at work.
And my peace lily is already five years old; who knows, I may even get married!