Thursday, February 25, 2010

Comfort is Key

According to the American Home Furnishings Alliance (AHFA), “The newest outdoor furnishings this year emphasize comfort, versatility and gathering places – all essentials for enjoying more leisure time at home.” The study shows that 29 percent of people polled said they’d like to add either a comfortable lounge chair or some other deep-cushion seating to their outdoor space this summer.

Three Birds Casual specializes in the design, manufacturing, and distribution of premium-grade, fine casual living products. Recently, the company launched an entire new line of teak casual furniture called Monterey. This new line was designed to meet consumer demand for versatile outdoor furniture – a product that is both functional and high-design.

The Monterey line includes a Deep Seating Sectional, Sofa, Loveseat, Armchair and Ottoman. The collection also contains Bar Chairs and Dining Chairs to allow the use of similar products for a cohesive outdoor living area, from conversational settings to dining areas.

According to the same study by the AHFA, nearly 40 percent of the homeowners who participated in the survey said they’d like to purchase one or two new pieces of outdoor furniture this year. For more information about how outdoor furniture manufacturers are prepared to meet the demand of consumers during 2010 through versatile yet luxurious collections, even on a budget, please feel free to contact us.

To learn more about this new line and others from Three Birds Casual, please visit the Web site at


Friday, February 19, 2010

Dan Heims: March Events

Dan Heims, president and co-founder of Terra Nova Nurseries, has over 33 years of horticulture experience and has helped introduce more than 600 new plant varieties to gardeners all across the United States. As an educator, Heims is known as a knowledgeable enthusiast in all things horticulture and has spent years lecturing all over the world.

This March, he’ll be speaking at the following two events…

Idaho Horticulture Symposium:

Heims will be conducting two keynote sessions about “Flash and Splash – Building: the Color Story” and “How Dry I Am – Dryscaping for the Consumer” at the Idaho Horticulture Symposium in Boise. The annual Idaho Horticulture Symposium, hosted by the Idaho Horticultural Society, will be held on March 6, 2010, and open to landscape designers, home gardeners, writers, and more. During “Flash and Splash – Building: the Color Story,” Heims will discuss variegated and color-leaved plants, how these unique varieties are discovered, and the use of these plants in garden design. During “How Dry I Am,” Heims will address plants for “water-wise” landscaping, water shortages and distribution. For more information about the Idaho Horticultural Society and registration, please visit
All-Iowa Horticultural Expo:

Heims will be a keynote speaker at the All-Iowa Horticultural Expo, lecturing on “Right Plant, Right Place.” This event will take place on Saturday, March 20, at 10:00 a.m., at the Bridge View Center in Ottumwa, IA. Whether a garden space is dry, wet or shady, Heims will advise attendees on how to make good plant selections for problematic areas and how to keep these areas healthy. For more information about attending the All-Iowa Horticultural Expo, please visit

If you are a member of the media and would like additional information on how to attend these talks for free, please feel free to contact me at


Thursday, February 11, 2010

What will they think of next? Great Garden Gadgets by Plumstone

With a handiness factor that compares itself to the invention of the garlic press for culinary experts, the SoilStick, which is just one of the new products introduced by Plumstone, is sure to assist even the most novice of gardeners with how to accurately determine the correct acidity level for a particular plant or bed of plants.

Determining pH levels in soil until now was a fairly daunting task, and if you happened to be thumbing through the latest issue of a Better Homes and Gardens magazine like me the day the professor covered the topic in chemistry class, you are also at a loss as to why your Camellia bush’s foliage is yellowing.

Here is some background on the science behind the measurement of soil pH. The pH level is a mosaic that varies according to soil crumb structure, on the surface of colloids, and at microsites. The pH also exhibits vertical gradients, tending to be more acidic in surface mulches and alkaline where evaporation, wormcasts, and capillary action draw bases up to the soil surface… Wait, I got off track a bit, and there IS a much easier way!

The SoilStick will do this for you. SoilStick's innovative scoop design measures out the perfect amount of soil each time, giving more accurate results. Each package includes a pH Color Chart matching plants (including vegetables and fruits) with the right pH in one easy step. An Amendment Chart makes it a snap for users to change the pH for a particular plant or perennial bed. To use SoilStick, simply scoop the soil, dump it into the tube, add water and the pH tablet. Each package includes 8 tablets.

If you are working on a gardening how-to article as a member of the media, let us know how we can assist you and your readers. The folks at Plumstone are experts well worth quoting. Consumers can make purchases at Watch for more posts from us about Plumstone’s products before spring.

~ Jeff

Friday, February 5, 2010

Discovered antiques become models or inspirations for production…

On assignment for a couple of our editor contacts, and to gather information for our blog, Jeff and I went on a two-day hunt at the Atlanta International Gift, Home Furnishings & Area Rug Market. Since the “Mart” is only a few blocks from our office, this is one market for which no travel was needed. The proximity gave us more time to soak in trend-based products, work with clients, see old friends, and meet many new ones.

Our product picks and reviews will be seen in a variety of online and print publications – both trade and consumer – during 2010. We’ll post updates as publication evolves. For now, we wanted to share information about one of our most preferred companies and its impressive outdoor furniture and accessories.

Elegant Earth is a company specializing in furnishings and decorative accoutrements for the outdoors, tables, chairs, benches, containers, fountains, pedestals, and more. Each piece the company produces has its start in the past. Discovered antiques become models or inspirations for production of new items.

Just as with interior design, accessorizing the exterior with furniture should combine practical use with beauty, and bring character to outdoor living areas, decks, patios, and verandahs. Scale is a key component to the company’s design decisions, with attention to detail and pieces that solve problems for homeowners and their designers. The combination of a classic look and style, frost-proof durability, and a lower cost point than the norm for such high quality is a unique selling proposition.

Retailers, designers, and members of the media, take a look at the following favorites we thought you might like:

French Teak: Side Chair and Loveseats (Also available as an arm chair) – These reproductions are based on a style Elegant Earth came across during its many searches for antiques and new product inspiration. The frames are welded wrought iron with a powder-coated finish in a neutral dark-brown. The durability and style of the hand-finished teak makes this a handsome and functional outdoor seating option. Pairing them with Elegant Earth’s 84-inch Old English Dining Table provides a taste of Old World ambience. Designers, consider this pairing for your next outdoor room installation.

Firewood Console – This accessory is an adaptation of Elegant Earth’s sleek 72-inch Console Table. This highly functional 8-piece set offers multiple units that can be placed side by side to create a truly dramatic effect. All pieces are manufactured from re-enforced concrete and hand finished in one of six standard finishes. This pieces’ juxtaposition of application and beauty makes it a focal point with a purpose. Retailers, you could use this piece to change the way your customers think about cold temperatures and frosty days.

Perfect Oval Bistro Table – A reproduction of a piece that hails from the Provence region of France, its simple design is an elegant statement inside or out. The oval shape can be used as an outdoor bistro table or as a center or side table in a large foyer. Cast in re-enforced concrete and hand finished in one of six standard finishes, this oval table was one of Elegant Earth’s best selling pieces in 2009. Possibly, its best feature, the table has an elegant appearance, yet offers extreme stability against strong winds.

Designers / retailers, request a catalog at Media members, let us know if you’d like photos or more information. Look for previous and future posts based upon our top product picks from the Mart and other markets / tradeshows.

~ Don