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Johnny Appleseed of low-maintenance grass seed heading to Wellesley

Posted by Scott Kirsner  September 19, 2012 02:11 PM

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Grass guru Jackson Madnick has been calling me every few weeks from his never-ending world tour to promote Pearl's Premium lawn seed. His goal? To remind me that fall (not spring) is actually the best time to start a lawn.

Wayland-based Pearl's developed its own breeds of seeds for low-maintenance lawns, which don't require as much water or mowing as typical seeds. In 2010, the company took one of the top prizes at the inaugural MassChallenge startup competition.

Madnick tells me that Logan Airport has been using Pearl's, and that a 662-year old castle in England, right, has been relying on the seed to grow lawns in areas previously considered too shady for grass. (Madnick adds that Langley Castle Hotel happens to be owned by his brother, Stuart Madnick, a professor at MIT's Sloan School of Management.)

MadnickJackson.jpegMadnick, left, says the company's most recent distribution deal is with Home Depot in the Chicago area (it can also be found in Whole Foods Markets throughout New England, along with Mahoney's Garden Centers.) The company has been supported so far by investments from friends and family, but Madnick says they're hunting for additional funding.

Madnick's tour of the U.S. (he's in Omaha, Nebraska today) brings him to the Wellesley Public Library on the evening of October 3rd, for a talk on "Green Home, Health and Lawn."

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About Scott Kirsner

Scott Kirsner was part of the team that launched in 1995, and has been writing a column for the Globe since 2000. His work has also appeared in Wired, Fast Company, The New York Times, BusinessWeek, Newsweek, and Variety. Scott is also the author of the books "Fans, Friends & Followers" and "Inventing the Movies," was the editor of "The Convergence Guide: Life Sciences in New England," and was a contributor to "The Good City: Writers Explore 21st Century Boston." Scott also helps organize several local events on entrepreneurship, including the Nantucket Conference and Future Forward. Here's some background on how Scott decides what to cover, and how to pitch him a story idea.

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