Let me be honest, all mulch is not created equal. There, I said it. Do any of the readers of this blog really appreciate the smell of fresh mulch in the springtime as much as I do? To me, spring doesn’t officially start until I can smell the first load of Pine Bark that is delivered here in our yard. Some years it seems as if it may be a bit premature, but for me, I would be happy if spring would start the day after Valentine’s Day. The smell of fresh Pine Bark is like the start of the New Year. It is the start of our work season, and the opportunity to get to be a part of something that I thoroughly enjoy; the sheer beauty of a well-organized, designed, and maintained landscape. This does not only include the well-manicured, but it also includes some of the more traditional native Cape Cod landscape and plants that we see everywhere; the Rosa rugosa by the shoreline, the sweet smell and buzz of bees on Clethra, the gorgeous bark of an American Beech tree. On the manicured properties, mulch is typically applied yearly, while some properties have a more natural feel and don’t require as much mulch spread in their gardens. Some people even go as far as using rubber as a mulch or even some of the dyed products. These are not my style but to each their own. When choosing the mulch that you want in your garden, it is important to know what you are getting. I tend to use Pine Bark as much as possible. It is a natural product that has organic matter in it, and provides a huge benefit to your plants. Some folks like to use woodchips. Unfortunately, this is a big no-no. Without boring you in too much soil science, I will cut to the chase. Wood chips in general have an abundance of carbon. With that said, plain chips will cause nitrogen tie-up in the soil depriving your plants of the nitrogen they are looking for. Although cheaper and still a natural product, there is no benefit, and that is not the way to go. Straight compost is a great way to go, especially in a heavily planted perennial garden where you won’t be seeing much of the bare ground and the plants will thrive in these conditions. Mulch your gardens in accordance with your tastes, but as always, be mindful of the benefits in which you are looking to receive whether it may be plant health, color contrasts, or even weed suppression. Every person and their garden preferences are all different, but we all have the same idea in mind; bigger blooms, brighter, more vibrant colors, and gorgeous gardens.