Thursday, June 28, 2007

Mulch: A Definition and Debate

I like The Blogging Nurseryman's recent post about defining mulch (and his definition for his northern California customers), which came in response to a post at Garden Wise Guy on soil amendments and was then followed-up with a discussion at Garden Rant.

Obviously, the definition and discussion on amendments, mulches, composts, etc. is an important one that is often overlooked. Many times, it seems easier to throw all of these "applications" into one basket. But, the devil is in the details. And, as Susan Harris (a "ranter" at Garden Rant) asks in her post, "is there an Organic Matter Debate, or is this just a regional difference?"

So, as the loyal reader and lover of Wikipedia that I am, I wanted to check out Wikipedia's definition of mulch, which reads: in agriculture and gardening, mulch is a protective cover placed over the soil, primarily to modify the effects of the local climate. A wide variety of natural and synthetic materials are used.

Hmmm, vague. But, I can live with that. It about sums up the general definition of mulch... one that gardeners in any zone of the U.S. can start with. To me it says: "Protect the soil. Modify it from the local climate as needed. Use an array of materials to do so." Thus, it would seem to me that we ARE in the midst of a great "Organic Matter Debate" over the details, for what is best and how to decide.... but one with answers and opinions that we'll find to be regional in nature.


Thursday, June 7, 2007

Web 2.0

I recently attended a great seminar conducted by Michael Pranikoff, director of emerging media with PR Newswire, called Public Relations in a Web 2.0 World. Now, for someone who is a novice when it comes to the Web 2.0 revolution, I thought the seminar was not only highly engaging and interesting, but that it provided (I'd be willing to bet) almost all in attendance with some new information and Web 2.0 tools to take back and apply at our respective agencies and to our client accounts. It was well worth it and well put on. Thanks to PR Newswire and staff for a wonderful seminar.

A few things I picked up...

1. A quote that perfect describes the new media landscape:

“If you think what is driving demand —we think of it as four C's. It's Collaboration. It's Content. It's Converged Services—doing multiple things. And it's Community. The opportunity for those who get ahead and develop a set of services that are more personalized, customized, location-based and presence-based in this next generation is going to help define who can win.”--Patricia Russo, CEO, Alcatel-Lucent

Michael likes to add a 5th C: Conversation... I couldn't agree more.

2. The Tools for Web 2.0:

•Personalization of Web Pages
•RSS Feeds/Readers
•Tagging Sites / Social Bookmarking
•Search Engines Optimization (SEO)

3. This a powerful video... but, it basically says it all.

The Machine is Us/ing Us

4. Some of the most popular "tools" of Web 2.0:

PR Newswire
Net Vibes
You Tube

And many more...

I'm still waiting to hear about a "Part II" to this seminar...

- Sally

Sunset magazine Recommends 8 Things You Can Do Now to Get Your Outdoor Dining Area in Shape for Summer's Get-togethers.

Sunset, arguably the most highly read home, garden and lifestyle magazine in the west, recently sent me (via the magazine's e-newsletter) 8 ways to shape-up an outdoor dining area - or living area - for the summer. Here are their recommendations:

1. Plant living centerpieces

2. Drop plants into decorative pots
3. Plant flowers in containers

4. Mulch bare soil (the simplest way to make a garden look finished)

5. Tuck blooms in borders
6. Add lighting near paths
7. Camouflage undesirable elements

8. Furnish your outdoor room

I really appreciate easy-to-use, quick, and valuable tips and pieces of information like these. They're things every homeowner can do to update and spruce-up their outdoor living spaces, whether for an evening of entertaining or simply for aesthetics. And, all of these do the trick nicely.