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.
Repelling Hungry Deer
Deer can do a number on plants any time of year, but when the snow is piled high, their palate expands out of desperation. So, we've developed a year-round program to keep them at bay. During the green season, we spray monthly. In winter, we supplement with a stronger, longer lasting product that we apply just twice from December to March. We'll catch a day above freezing to spray it on shrubs and trees. The deer may start to nibble but then they'll move on - back to the woods, or perhaps to a property that lacks a repellant program!

When deer are tenacious, other methods can be deployed to keep them away, including netting or wrapping individual shrubs or hedges with burlap.
We Don't Hibernate
Like deer (but to much better effect!), your NatureWorks team is active in winter, too. Especially after a storm, you may see us stop by - sometimes with snowshoes if the snow is deep! We're just popping in to look around and make sure all is in place. We're checking for downed limbs, split hedges, heaved stones, or other snow-induced damage. It's also a great time of year to get a good view of your tree canopy. The bark on dead limbs is often a different color than healthy branches, and easier to spot without leaves. So, if you see unfamiliar tracks in the snow, it could be a rabbit, a fox, or an NWL account manager.

Spotted this winter: a collapsed copper gutter; a birch tree severely bent from snow weight; tired winter decor, in need of sprucing before the spring rotation.
Moss - A Transitional Design for Containers
Breathe new life into tired winter planters with a vibrant carpet of green moss.  This hint of spring can be accented with seasonal elements such as branches to add height and drama if that's your jam.  It's a lovely transition between a long dreary winter and the burst of spring still far on the horizon.  
From super simple to creatively fun, moss installations can replace sad, browning winter displays to cleanly carry you through the weeks until the spring rotation. 

Our Team Is Growing
Account Managers Vanessa McLellan, Bridget Fillippelli and Jennifer Holden have recently joined our NatureWorks family, bringing with them decades of experience in both the floral and creative event industries.  With an expertise in floral design and account management, Jennifer and Vanessa spent many years at Winston Flowers helping clients bring their visions to life.  Whether planning an event or wedding, assisting with holiday decor, designing small garden spaces or simply filling the home with flowers, the two relished the creative process.  With 16 years at PBD Events, Bridget Fillippelli's extensive background in event production and creative design allowed her to deliver the most memorable experiences to her clients.  Her innovative and artful approach brought to life everything from beautiful social galas to intimate residential spaces.  Collectively, they are excited to continue fostering and nurturing relationships with their new NWL clients.  
New Account Managers Vanessa, Jen, and Bridget. In that order, ask them about the new puppy, the writing project, and the new baby niece!
New Digs in Wellesley
We've been craving a way to get more involved in the communities we serve, so we're opening a studio in Church Square two doors down from Smith & Wollensky in the heart of Wellesley. The space will be staffed by our account management team, putting them a stone's throw from many of our properties, and enabling them to be more accessible for design and landscape consultations. Plus we'll be planning some fun events, so stay tuned for invitations...

Our new home at 577 Washington Street. Renovations are under way with the hopes of opening the space to the public this summer. 
A Training Twist
Landscape expertise is not easy to master - there's a mountain of content we need to know in what seems like endless content arenas: horticulture, entomology, arbor care, pruning, turf care, sustainability, earth stewardship, design, hardscape practices, machine operation, technology innovation...Whew! To keep up with all that, this winter our clever training staff rented a greenhouse and created a 6-week training program, fabricating a landscape environment inside a massive hothouse. From dozens of live plants, to 40 yards of soil, 12 pallets of stone, and a collection of tools and equipment, the training alternated between lecture and hands-on building of a garden patio that included base prep, wall & patio installation, planting, pruning, and seasonal decor. Still underway, our teams will soon emerge primed and ready to care for your properties.

Our program included patio base prep on a mound of imported soil, seasonal decor design, hedge pruning, & stone wall installation, among many other topics.

Weed to Watch
Don't be fooled - this superficial lovely is the epitome of noxious invasive. Lesser Celandine (Ficaria verna) is sneaky because it's a 'spring ephemeral' which means it puts on an early show in April/May, and then disappears below ground, secretly spreading its seed out of view. If you see it in your beds or lawn don't wait because it will suffocate natives while it quickly takes over your landscape.

If populations are small, hand-digging may work, but leaving even a tiny piece of root behind means new plants will pop up. Sadly, herbicide is the only sure method of controlling an infestation.
A Time to Sow
Got kids going stir crazy between winter and COVID limiting their activities? Or maybe that describes you! A perfect little quarantine pick-me-up is planning your vegetable garden. Now is the time to start your seeds so they're ready to drop in the ground at our first frost-free date - typically around May 1. Tomatoes, lettuces, squash, peas, and peppers in particular lend themselves to indoor environments. Staff tip: don't use soil from your garden, use a seed starting mix. One of our favorites is Vermont Compost. Planting in peat pots makes transplanting to the garden a snap - just rip off the bottom so the roots aren't constricted. If you're still unsure how to get started, your account manager would be psyched to help!
Starting seeds indoors gives you a jump-start for an earlier and longer harvest.
"Money can't buy happiness. Except at the garden center."
~ Anon