Meghan O'Connell2020/02/19

Transformations Take Time

The evolution of a small urban Somerville garden.
Meghan O'Connell2020/01/19

Supporting your Garden Ecosystem

It sure has been a strange winter here in Boston. We had a ton of snowfall early in December-- 12 to 24 inches (less in the city, more going into the suburbs) over the course of just 3 days. Then last weekend it was nearly 70 degrees!

As a gardener, I am keenly aware of the interconnectedness of the weather, plants, bugs, animals and our human selves. I worry about the erratic weather patterns that we have been seeing more of lately, and the greater impacts of climate change.

This is why we make natural and self-sustaining garden care our priority. It is so important to make sure all the components of your eco-system are working together so that your garden not only stays beautiful, but actually enhances the earth in which it grows.

Winter in New England naturally causes me to turn inward... to spend more time  reflecting. I'm going into my fourth year of business in 2020 and I am excited to learn more about sustainable gardening so that I can continue to put best practices into use for our clients! I am honing my vision for my business and for the team I will be putting together this year!

Stay tuned...

Besides wintertime reflecting, I also had fun being creative with these winter arrangements. I used branches that I had pruned from clients' plants at the end of fall: Red twig Dogwoods, and Boxwoods, as well as some Spruce branches from my Christmas tree to create these lovely holiday decorations. The branches still look quite nice almost 2 months later!


Meghan O'Connell2019/02/02

Working with What you Got

Although installing a garden with brand new plants is a joyful part of my work, I have to admit that I love repurposing plants even more. "Repurposing"-- better known in the gardening world as transplanting -- is simply digging up an existing plant in the garden and putting it in a different part of the garden. Easy peasy, right?

Not so fast... if you're moving little perennials (depending on the species), then transplanting isn't all that difficult. But if you're moving some shrubs (or trees) that have lived in the same spot for years, then get ready to break a sweat, and maybe ask your best friend for a hand. (You might want to bribe them with the promise of good food and drinks after).

Below is a series of photos in which two beautiful Amosonia hubrichtii "Blue Stars" had taken over a small garden, as well as three shrubby Caryopteris. You will see in the first couple photos these lovely soft Amsonias dominate the center of an urban front yard garden. I divided them into three smaller forms, moving two of them to flank the front steps, and the third to the backyard. I then moved a low growing Boxwood to the center, where it had previously been completely hidden behind the Amsonias. The following year, I moved two of the Caryopteris to either side of the Boxwood in order to fill in the gaps and allow these shrubs more room to grow.

Digging up all these shrubs was not an easy task, especially in the heat of a New England summer! As a general rule, it's best to transplant in spring and fall, when the weather is cooler and the rainfall is plenty. Thankfully, the client watered diligently and all the transplants thrived. Check out the transformation below!

And because I just love photos of flowers in full bloom so much... I'm including a few of those from this garden below, as well.

Meghan O'Connell2018/04/18

April Showers... but at least it's SPRING!

"Winter always turns to spring." This simple, yet encouraging phrase, attributed to the Nichiren Buddhist, Daisaku Ikeda, repeated in my head over and over this past month. I began to wonder if winter really always DID turn to spring. And is it possible for spring to turn back into winter? In New England, this seems to be the case, much to my dismay. (Climate change, ahem). Just two months ago, in February, I was outside in beautiful, sunny 60-something degree weather. Fast forward to the second week of April, and it seems all of America is really really REALLY done with winter. 

I'm not about the doom and gloom, though. I aim to focus on the positive, so let's switch gears here!

Yesterday was my first real day of gardening work this season! It was my first "spring clean-up," and my God was it a clean-up! I was hired by a client who was referred to me by another client (that happens to me a lot... a good sign) to get her yard looking perfect, as she is putting her house on the market to sell in two weeks. My co-worker and I sped around her garden beds, cutting back all the perennials and pulling all the weeds. The mulch guy, Anthony, dropped off 4 yards of lovely dark pine mulch for us to lay in the gardens. Thanks, Cambridge Bark and Loam! They are my go-to for bulk deliveries of compost and mulch. As a finishing touch, I popped some sweet little pansies into containers that hung on the backyard lattice fence. 

It was a full day's work and we felt very accomplished. Check out some amazing before and after photos below! Click to enlarge for the full view!

Meghan O'Connell2018/02/14

Watertown, MA

I have been gardening for about 5 years now. If you read my "About" section, you will find that I began my career in gardening sort of accidentally. I was working as an after-school teacher in Watertown and happened to bring an outdoor education grant with me when I moved here in 2012. My supervisor encouraged me to team up with other community members who wanted to start an edible school garden and 6 months later, we were breaking ground on that very project.

Since then, I have dedicated my days to beautifying landscapes: mostly residential gardens, but I also work as an Environmental Educator at a child care center, where I manage their edible landscape filled with fruits, vegetables, and herbs. It's wonderful to teach the children how to care for plants and even better, watch them enjoy the fruits of their labor!


A favorite quote of mine, that has inspired me throughout much of my adult life, describes my motiviation for creating my business very well:

"Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, magic, and power in it."

The quote is oft attributed to the German writer, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, but it remains to be seen who actually crafted this exact phrase.

No matter, its a beautiful and inspiring quote by which I try to lead my life.

What are your dreams? Are you working towards them? If not, why?

Just begin today. And tomorrow. And the next day.

I never dreamed I'd start my own business, but once I began, I knew I could not stop.

I hope you keep dreaming and never stop until they are realized.

Meghan