MANCHESTER — For Sophia Johansson, taking care of one’s property equals taking care of the planet.

Johansson, the proprietor of Cape Ann Gardens LLC, is offering what she says is “organic land care.”

“Cape Ann landowners can now procure local gardening services with the confidence that they are sustainably stewarding their landscapes,” said Johansson.

Johansson, a Manchester-by-the-Sea resident, said Cape Ann Gardens LLC offers “exclusively organic land care services, as they are defined by the Northeast Organic Farming Association (NOFA).” She said NOFA awards its designation to individuals who have successfully completed rigorous coursework and demonstrated competency in prioritizing the use of non-invasive plant species.

In addition, the recognition is given to those who procure materials locally and “harmonize with existing native flora and fauna to create and maintain beautiful outdoor spaces.”

While describing her business, Johansson, an Accredited Organic Land Care Professional (AOLCP), said the most important thing about her efforts, “hands down,” are the relationships established with those people whose land is maintained and cared for.

“It’s possible to make gradual shifts towards more sustainable practices throughout the season without compromising aesthetics,” she said.

She said her company uses compost and other organic compounds to add nutrients instead of relying on synthetic fertilizers.

Part of the effort includes growing more native flowers and then leaving the seedheads and stalks in the ground and using shredded leaves as mulch rather than hauling them away.

“These are small shifts in any gardener’s or landscaper’s practice that will have a dramatic impact without sacrificing the beauty of an outdoor space,” she said.

Johansson said it is important to note that anyone can call the landscaping they do “organic” since the word is not regulated as it is regarding agricultural uses.

“Therefore, if anyone is wanting organic land care, it’s important to go with someone who is accredited through NOFA or can adhere to the Standards for Organic Land Care, as they are defined by NOFA,” she said.

This year marks the third season Cape Ann Gardens has operated.

According to Johansson, the company maintains a small client list with a diversity of services including horticultural care for gardens, coaching clients who want encouragement and counsel for their spaces and a larger scope of care that includes general property maintenance.

“We’d love to grow by connecting with folks who are interested in what we’re doing, whether they’re potential coaching clients, potential subcontractors, other land care professionals interested in moving to more organic and ecologically beneficial practices or friends who simply want to cheer us on,” Johansson said.

Johansson can be reached at 617-935-2264, via, or via Instagram @capeanngardens.

Stephen Hagan can be reached at 978-675-2708 or at

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