Meghan O'Connell2020/01/19

Supporting your Garden Ecosystem

It sure has been a strange winter here. We had a ton of snowfall early in December-- ??? inches over the course of just 3 days. Then last weekend it was nearly 70 degrees around Boston.

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'Connell2018/05/26

Major Milestone for Green Urb Gardens

This past Thursday, we tackled our biggest project, yet: installing 239 new plants in a client's garden! I ordered the plants from Cavicchio's green house and they sent a truck over with tall crates that had to be brought down with a "piggy back": a mini lift machine that the driver brought with him. We got to work unloading all the plants and then eventually staging them in the beds according to the design, which was beautifully created by Brian Burke of Post-Wild Landscapes.

It was the biggest project I've managed so far and it was definitely a challenge for me. The first struggle was trying to figure out if we had even received all the plants that I ordered... and we found out that, in fact, many of the plants were missing! So as my crew worked to lay out all the plants in their proper garden beds, I was on the phone with the greenhouse trying to figure out what had happened. Turns out they didn't carry three of the plants I had originally asked for and two of the plants were just not ready to sell, yet. So we planted what we had and decided to just get more plants later. 

My second challenge as manager was having a balance of giving direction to my crew and also trusting their capabilities. At the end of the day, everything got done so for a first big project, it was a major accomplishment! I am very happy and proud of the work we did that day. 

It's hard to believe that I'm only in my second year of business. I feel like I've been a business-owner and gardener forever! Surely a good sign that I am on the right path.

Enjoy the series of photos I took from start to finish of the planting project.

Meghan O'Connell2018/03/12

A Winter Blooming Shrub!

Two weeks ago, I had the pleasure to explore the beautiful forests and beaches of Costa Rica with my friend, Briana. It was a much needed escape from the cold, dreary days of New England winter. 

But vacations can't last forever and so I returned to Boston 10 days later, with a bit of a tan, only to be hit with a big, fat snowstorm the next day. Oh, I don't feel sorry for myself. I'm from the midwest... I know how to handle the winter. I remember the blizzard of 2012 in Boston quite fondly, watching the hilarious and brave souls cross-country skiing down the usually busy streets in Arlington. I enjoy the respite from the hard labor that I do in the gardens all year. I especially enjoy seeing the branches of trees all exposed in the middle of winter, after having shed all their leaves. 

And winter is the best time to enjoy one of my favorite trees! The Witch Hazel actually blooms during this time! I was lucky enough to see one in full bloom last week in a client's garden. This is probably the only tree I know of that can bloom in the middle of winter that won't get me riled up about climate change. 

Thank you, Witch Hazel, for your cheery and delicate yellow petals on a snowy winter day!

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

Meghan O'Connell2018/02/14

Winter Pruning

I live in Massachusetts and the winters are bitter cold, so when I first heard of "winter pruning" my first thought was: 

"Who in their right mind would want to do that!?" 

For me, winter is a time to rest and recharge after a busy and exhausting gardening season. Winter is my time to work out at the gym and do yoga. It's the time where I do everything else that I was too busy to do all spring, summer, and fall. 

So today I surprised myself: I did some winter pruning! Granted, it's a balmy 45 degrees in the middle of February, which is not typical, but still, I'm gardening in the WINTER! Who would have thunk? (Not me!)

There are two really great reasons for me to be pruning right now. Actually, three:

1. I get to be outside in the sun! As soon as the temperatures dip back below 40 though, I'm going back inside to keep working on business stuff or practice playing guitar. 

2. It is much easier to see the shape of the trees or shrubs I am pruning in the winter, as long as it's deciduous (has leaves, not needles). With all the leaves gone, I can quickly determine which branches look dead, broken, or are just crowding the plant. Then I can cut them out, giving the plant more light and air, which aids in keeping it healthy. 

3. I can still make money in my "off" season! This is very good for a business that makes most of its income for only about 8 months out of the year.