Welcome to "The Dirt" where we share what you can expect from us in the coming weeks,  what's new at NatureWorks, and some garden buzz.
Fall Bulbs for Spring Color
Didn't you just love all the daffodils in your garden last spring? Wait, what? Didn't have any? We can fix that. We plant Daffodils, and lesser known types like Camassia and other-worldly Allium in the fall to give you that glorious spring display. 

Critter resistant varieties: Allium 'Ambassador', Daffodils 'Dutch Master', Camassia.
Lawns 2019
We're calling 2018  the year of crabgrass and fungus - high temps and high humidity are a distressing duo. For 2019, we're exploring ways to increase your lawn's resilience regardless of what nature delivers. From soil testing, to compost teas, to clover lawns (see article below), we're looking for better ways to improve your lawns while remaining environmentally responsible.

The Rose F. Kennedy Greenway is managed organically in a tough urban environment.
 Photo credit: rosekennedygreenway.org 
One Pest Down, Another Rising
Winter Moth caterpillars have been devastating trees in MA for years. In 2004, UMass scientists initiated a biological control program, releasing a fly that feeds on them - and it worked! This year, Winter Moth populations dropped so low they came off the list of pests needing to be managed. 

The Emerald Ash Borer is the newest pest on the scene. Targeting ash trees, the larvae destroy the vascular system of the trees as they tunnel through the bark. Insecticides can be effective if treatment begins early enough, so keep an eye on your ashes and raise the alarm if you think they are declining.  

Adult Emerald Ash borers and their D-shaped exit holes; the larvae's "galleries".
Introducing Our Newest Account Manager
Julia Palatine  joined our team in July. With a degree from UNH in Horticulture & Landscape Management, she's worked in the industry since 2009, and brings a wealth of horticulture, design, and client service expertise. She's also new mom to little Tanner (a Julia mini-me), now 6 months old. Please say hi if you see her on your property.

Tanner's a happy guy though a little unsure about hiking.
Project Profile: Total Property Makeover
John and Somer have a lovely secluded lot with woodland conservation land in back, and gorgeous meadow views in front. Their landscape, however, is vanilla - all lawn with a few bland shrubs dotting the foundation. Hailing from Hawaii and Bermuda, this family is all about the outdoors, so they craved fun, entertaining spaces outside. We introduced them to a landscape architect who re-imagined the landscape with a pool, spa, waterfall, firepit, pergola, tiered deck, and vegetable garden. All set within a lush planting that will explode with color. So far, the pool's been dug - next up is the stone walls. Stay tuned for progress.

Landscape plan by Dana Schock; drone shot of the start of pool construction.
Technology Meets Landscaping
We love to use technology to improve the way we deliver your services. Our automowers make lawns healthier and the service less intrusive. O ur drone offers a birds' eye view of large or complicated properties to assist in design and project planning. Wireless irrigation controllers allow us to fine tune watering on the fly and from afar. If there's an app for it, we're interested!

Automower in action; bird's-eye view snapped by our drone; the wireless irrigation app.
Plant Palette for Pollinators
A Wellesley client wanted a hot and sizzling back yard flower garden tucked up close to her patio where they could enjoy butterflies, hummingbirds, and bees. Catmint,  Agastache, Echinacea, and Lobelia provide an instant feast for all these pollinators. Just a couple weeks post-planting, homeowner Michelle told us, "We wanted to let you know how much we're enjoying the perennial garden. There are SO MANY bees! We feel very good that it's helping the pollinators.  We've also seen some yellow finches sitting atop the Echinacea eating its seeds. The hummingbirds seem to visit every morning and evening."

The space mid-planting, Echinacea varieties, and Hummingbird Mint.
Greener Lawns with Less Work
As Americans, we are obsessed with our lawns, striving for a perfect, lush carpet of rich green. However, this comes at a price both financial and ecological - it's unachievable without fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides, plus a whole lot of labor to apply it all. We're turning to an alternative: micro-clover. Mixed evenly with traditional grass seed, the micro-clover's natural biology feeds the turf, minimizing the need for fertilizer. It's also more drought and pest-resistant, reducing your lawn's dependence on water and fungicides.  For scientific details from Penn State click  here

Matthew Cunningham, landscape architect, installed this micro-clover lawn at his home.
Designing with Native Plants
There is a lot of buzz around native plants these days, and a ccount managers Mary Sullivan and Karin Robison recently attended a class at Garden In The Woods designed to help landscape professionals include more native plants in their work.  They came away with long lists of native options to use in various garden settings like dry or wet shade, or blazing sun. Be on the lookout for more natives in your gardens!

A sampling of our beautiful and valuable native plants: Blue Star Flower (Amsonia hubrichtii), Tupelo (Nyssa sylvatica), and Swamp Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata).
"Autumn repays the earth the leaves which summer lent it."
~ Georg Christoph Lichtenberg