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.
Sustainability Spotlight: Leaving the Leaves
This fall NatureWorks is taking yet another step toward making your lawn more beautiful, and your landscape healthier for you, your family, and our planet. In a limited-run test during fall clean-up, we will use our mulching mowers to chop up fallen leaves and return them to the lawn and planting beds. The leaf bits will fall between the grass blades to feed roots, enhance beneficial microbial life, assist with moisture conservation & weed suppression, and return important nutrients back to the soil. Keeping this natural resource on site also reduces our fuel use & emissions, and potentially may eliminate disposal fees in future contracts. Properties on the test route will have weekly visits that eliminate leaf pile up on lawns and edges. Stay tuned for updates on this experiment as the season progresses.

See how it works. Click here to watch a video by our friends at Hoffman Landscaping, in CT, who already use this more beneficial method of leaf clean up.
Winter Prep for Vulnerable Trees
Harsh New England winter weather can destroy or disfigure our beloved tree specimens. This year's early season rains caused trees to push out a ton of growth - this means dense canopies that will hold more water, snow, and ice weight, likely causing more damage during winter storms. Birches, pears, arborvitae, and pines are particularly susceptible. Any trees with dead branches are also in jeopardy. Our arborists will be on the lookout for vulnerable trees in your landscape with recommendations for canopy weight reduction, dead-wooding, and cabling.  

Severely bent birches and arbs often don't spring back, and snapped pine trees can cause collateral damage to cars and buildings.
Keeping it Personal
For almost two years we've been working with a client from Hawaii to transform her landscape into her dream outdoor space. Full of nostalgia for her Hawaiian family home, she asked that we carve a  special spot for a statue that holds childhood memories for her. To preserve its original context, we paired him with a fountain that's anchored to a boulder unearthed from her site during construction.  "NatureWorks worked hand in hand with me to place the statue in a special place in our 'secret garden' to welcome all who enter. I know my parents are with us always. This statue feels sacred to me and my children. We feel blessed to enjoy it every day."

Where the statue used to live outside our client's parents' bedroom in Hawaii, and where he's now nestled in her backyard entry garden to welcome guests. (The site is still under construction here). 
Organic Lawn Care Innovations
We're working to stay at the forefront of ecological management, and one of our sustainability initiatives is finding ways to limit our chemical use through our organic lawn care program. An article authored by NatureWorks Account Manager, Karin Robison, was recently published in Horticulture Magazine, highlighting the trials, tribulations, and learnings from the challenging realities of organic lawn care. S witching from traditional to organic isn't merely a product swap - it's a shift in approach AND attitude. It's more about building soil health and having a tolerance for a diverse lawn ecosystem. This means embracing a variety of lawn plants typically viewed as weeds, and having a little patience! For all the details, check out Karin's article - linked here .

Embracing plants such as nitrogen-fixing clover can help strengthen an organic lawn by increasing biodiversity, creating a natural defense against pests and disease.
Staff Profile: Wedding Bells
Huge congrats to our Account Manager, Kaitlyn, and her new hubby, Jack, on their wedding in September. The nuptials were officiated by a family friend who also owns the venue that housed the event - an adult day-care home catering to folks with dementia and memory loss. The grounds include lovely gardens, a koi pond, and lots of spaces dedicated to nature and intended to create a peaceful environment. These two foodies then enjoyed a brief culinary-infused weekend getaway up to Burlington, VT - all planned by Jack. They will head out for their real honeymoon near their one-year anniversary in 2020 to another foodie adventure tour inspired by their hero, Anthony Bourdain, in Vietnam, Cambodia, and Loas. 

Introducing the new Mrs. Kaitlyn Lowe-Woelfel, and her husband Jack.
Staff Profile: Knitting After Hours
Plants, husband and baby boy aside, knitting is Account Manager Julia Palatine's greatest passion. She learned to knit as a child from her grandmother. Recently, she turned the hobby into Lime+Linden, an online boutique where she creates 'Handmade Knitwear for Everyone'. Color combos and pattern choices have charming botanical names like 'The Sycamore', 'Classic English Boxwood' and 'Bearberry'. Yarns are soft and cozy wool blends, and cooler-than-linen eucalyptus.

Julia's social media tells the story best, and her little boy makes the cutest model. Find her on Etsy www.limeandlindenco.etsy.com and @limeandlinden on Instagram.
A Unique Bulb Beauty
Now's the time for bulbs, and if you're looking for something beyond traditional daffs and crocus, try distinctive Camassia. It blooms during May's quiet time right after the initial parade of spring color: post-daffodils and tulips, and pre- peonies and roses . It fills this between-time beautifully with cerulean blue, 18" spires that unfurl from bottom to top. 

Camassia is native to the northwestern United States, and will grow well in sunny moist sites. In shade, keep it drier and it will still be happy.
The Bark Speaks for Itself
When glorious autumn is done and the leaves finally drop, bark becomes the star of the winter landscape. While we all love a good River Birch, there are others that each  infuse the bleak with its own spice and texture. Plant one in a focal point - outside the kitchen window, or near the street where you'll see it on your daily commute - to sustain you through the long winter.

Stewartia, Lacebark elm, Paperbark maple, American sycamore, Dawn redwood

"One of the few infallible rules of gardening is that no garden can have too many bulbs. Splurge. It is the only way."
- Anna Pavord, author and gardening journalist