Mark Cullen e-newsletter
July 2012 
 Gardening with Mark
In This Issue:
Where to Find Mark
Mark's Gardening Connections

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It was a rainy day last Saturday in Weymouth, Nova Scotia and the crowds at the Sissiboo Home Hardware celebration had gathered early. We were celebrating the 15th 'Mark Cullen Approved' Garden Centre in the country. When I arrived at 10 a.m. there was a line up of people wanting to talk, ask gardening questions and some even brought copies of my books for signing. I 'hit the ground running'.

Consistent with their reputation, I find Maritimers are some of the most friendly and open folks around. In this regard they have a lot in common with Prairie people. Perhaps it is their physical situation - living as they do near a sea full of water or a sea of flat land that brings them together from great distances and encourages them to welcome strangers into their mist.

As the line up dwindled, customers moved on to the punch bowl and into the new garden centre in search of great deals, a woman approached me with her hand outstretched. As she shook mine she said, "My name is Heather and I really wish that you could meet my daughter. She is in the garden all of the time - LOVES it! But you know, I just didn't have the strength to lift her out of her wheelchair and into the car."

Heather likely could have read my mind by the incredulous look on my face. "A wheelchair? Your daughter? A passionate gardener?" Somehow, in that brief snap shot of time this did not make sense.

So I replied as I always do when I hear that someone can't be with us: I asked Heather to tell her daughter that she was missed and that I hoped that she has a great gardening season.

I can be as un-original as anyone when thinking on my feet.

It was not until the event ended several hours later and I was in my car racing for the Halifax Airport that the full impact of her words hit me. There is a young woman in Nova Scotia who is not fully mobile but somehow getting around the garden. She relies on her mother for transportation. Picture that. I did, and suddenly the rush to return home to my own garden seemed less important. The limitations of time; to plant, weed and prune were relegated in my mind and replaced with a deeper gratitude for the use of all of my limbs and the efficiency with which I am able to use them.

A sore back from a day of planting and weeding? Nothing a good night's sleep won't fix.

A Charlie Horse while eating dinner? A minor inconvenience; should have stretched this morning.

Sunburn? Dirty knees? Calluses? Aggravated dry skin on the palms of my hands? The experience of gardening has been put into a new perspective based on two statements: "She loves to garden" and "I couldn't lift her out of her wheelchair."

This is the beginning of a long Canadian summer. One of the great moments in our calendar when the planting is all but done, the weeds are young (and easy to control), the harvest is ahead of us and full of promise. Mid winter dreams are being realized with each sunny day and every drop of rain.

For Heather's daughter I wish the realization of her mid winter dreams also. And the ability to touch, smell and experience all of the wonders of nature, brought to her by her garden.

Have a great summer!

 Reminders for summer gardening chores:

Chores - Weeds ARE young and easy to knock down this time of year. Be sure to hoe them out once a week or every 10 days. The job is easy at this point.

- Water your lawn no more than once a week, but water it well. If there is a drought or heat wave in your area let your lawn go dormant by not watering at all. Take some time off from grass cutting as a result. Your lawn will come back in August.

- Apply Green Earth Bordo mixture to your tomatoes to prevent early and late blight later in the season. Apply every 2 weeks until mid August.

- Ditto for fruit trees.

- Cut finished rose flowers to encourage later season blooming. Fertilize with Green Earth Rose Food 4-8-4 or blood and bone meal.

- As your vegetables come ready for harvest be sure to do it on a regular basis: peas, beans, tomatoes, peppers and all of the rest will continue to bear if you remove 'fruit' as it reaches maturity.

- Check out my blog and podcasts each week at and my weekly newspaper column at

- For my weekly gardening segment/update with Jeff Hutcheson of Canada AM go to

- For the latest of my YouTube videos go to

- If you like good news stories; a proud Dad (I'm the Dad) is sharing this exciting link to a personality profile that I know you will enjoy. Go to

Happy Canada Day!!!

Talk end of July.
~ Mark


 Mark's Choice Product of the Month
 Mark's Choice Ecological Sprinklers

Heart breaker sprinkler Designed to reduce water use, Mark's Choice Sprinklers break-up water droplets into a fine mist. The tiny droplets improve delivery of water to the root zone and prevent water from pooling and running off. The heart-shaped sprinklers operate at low pressure, will not clog, and provide even coverage to an area of up to 2,000 square feet.

Because they can't clog, Mark's Choice Sprinklers are great for hard-water areas and are ideal for low-pressure systems like wells. Nurseries and greenhouses use them to mist very delicate plants and seedlings.

Rainforest Sprinklers, the Canadian manufacturer of Mark's Choice sprinklers, have been in production since 1986, now offering 11 styles and formats. The Mark's Choice version of this line is exclusive to Home Hardware. To learn more about these sprinklers and to view photos visit my Buyer's Guide.

* Low water consumption
* Even coverage up to 2,000 sq. ft.
* 6 to 50 ft. diameter spray
* Rain/mist effect is gentle on young plants and seedlings
* Works on high and low pressure systems
* Ideal for well systems
* Will not clog
* Can be used in sequence
* Operates from 20 to 80 p.s.i.


 June E-Newsletter Contest Winners

Gardens Central magazine Congratulations to our Grand Prize winner: Nancy Kerslake.
Nancy won a free 1-year subscription to Gardens Central magazine.

5 Secondary winners also received a signed copy of my newest garden book, Canadian Lawn & Garden Secrets:
Pat Prentice
Wilma Borger
Rhonda West-Shepherd
Yvonne Lush
Gloria and Dennis Robinson


 Wonderful Feedback from a Subscriber

Beautiful I was happy to receive an email and garden photo from Sandra Baker a few weeks ago.

"I have been following Mark in books and his column and feel pretty happy about how things are looking this year in my Burlington garden!" ~Sandra Baker

Thanks for sharing Sandra.


 YouTube Videos

YouTube videos Last week I launched 3 new YouTube videos. I encourage you take a few minutes to watch and let me know your thoughts.

The Miracle of Mulch

Learn the Benefits of a Green Roof

How to Sharpen Cutting and Digging Tools


 Grand Opening

Designs By the Yard Congratulations to Beth Edney CLD.
Last month, Beth opened Designs By The Yard Inc., a design studio and boutique.

Full landscape design service
Garden consultations
Outdoor furnishings & custom furniture
Seasonal urn displays
Planters, sculpture, outdoor artwork
Garden accessories, living walls
Organic jewelry
Event d�cor

Location: 584 Annette Street, Toronto


 Annapolis Royal Historic Gardens

Annapolis Royal Historic Gardens The world class Historic Gardens is a 17 acre horticultural paradise located in historic Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia.

Historically themed areas tell the story of Nova Scotia settlement from an agricultural and horticultural perspective, showcasing gardening methods, designs and materials representing more than four hundred years of local history.
The historically based core gardens are linked by paths through many other display areas featuring plant collections, garden art, water features and natural areas. Connecting pathways look westward over dykelands, evocative of a way of life centuries ago.

One of the most magnificent of the collections, by any standards, is the Rose Collection which has more than 270 cultivars, from ancient roses like the Apothecary Rose through to modern hybrids including roses of the Canadian Explorer, Parkland and Artist series'. With thousands of colourful and fragrant blossoms, it is the largest rose collection in the Maritime region.

Within its relatively intimate confines, the Gardens contain an astonishing array of horticultural diversity, with carefully designed transitions between the rock garden, the hydrangea and day lily collections, the azaleas and rhododendrons, the perennial bed, the heather collection, the evergreen collection and ornamental grasses as well as spring and winter collections.

Then there are the trees - exotic specimens like the blossoming Paulownia (Chinese Empress), the iconic Laburnum Arbour, the fruit bearing PawPaw (unique in the Maritime region), living fossils such as the Dawn Redwood and Ginkgo Biloba, and the majestic weeping American Elm, a provincially designated heritage tree.

See for yourself. Visit today! For more info visit

Sign up for The Bloom Report, a list of when all the favourites in the Gardens are at their best!


 Submit Your Local Event Listings

Event Schedule Do you have a 'gardening' event you would like to promote? I would be happy to include your event listing in my monthly E-newsletter.

Deadline for submitting event info is the 15th of the month prior to newsletter publication.

Send your event info to [email protected] with the subject line 'Newsletter Event listing'. Along with a brief description of the event, please include a web address for further info.


 'Terrific Thursdays' at the TBG
 All Summer Long

Toronto Botanical Garden Thursdays are bursting at the seams with activity at the Toronto Botanical Garden (TBG), and you won't want to miss a thing. All summer long, 'Terrific Thursdays' at the TBG include an Organic Farmers' Market, The Edwards Summer Music Series: Gardens of Song, light suppers available for purchase in our caf�, free guided tours, various adult educational classes, and more.

For more info. 

 Bobcaygeon Horticultural Society Garden Tour

Bobcaygeon Garden Tour In celebration of their 90th anniversary, the Bobcaygeon Horticultural Society invites everyone to "Please, step into our gardens!" The gates to seven private Bobcaygeon gardens will be open from 10am to 4pm on July 7th. Finally, an anniversary tea amidst the pioneer gardens of Kawartha Settlers' Village.

Music, art and door prizes will complete your day in this lovely community on the Trent Severn Waterway. $15 includes anniversary tea, door prize draw and admission to Kawartha Settlers' Village.

Free for children under 16 who are accompanied by an adult.

Tour tickets available Bobcaygeon Chamber of Commerce, My Favourite Things, Anna's Perennials and Strang's Valu-Mart Garden Center.


 Annapolis Royal House & Garden Tour
 July 7, 2012

Garden Tour Tickets are selling like hotcakes for the 2012 edition of the Annapolis Royal House & Garden Tour, on Saturday, July 7, 10am -4pm.

With 5 private properties and Annapolis Royal's own Historic Gardens at the height of rose season, it promises to be a very special day indeed.

Tour Tickets include a visit to the Historic Gardens in peak rose season and a special tour with Horticulturist Karen Achenbach at 4pm. Also included are refreshments at the Historic Gardens from 1-5pm. And to add even more value, Tour Tickets entitle participants to a discount on admission at several local attractions, and to a special ticket price for "Wine & Roses" in the Gardens on Friday, July 6, 7-9pm!

What a deal!

House & Garden Tour tickets may be purchased at the Historic Gardens or online at Tickets are $25 per person. 2012 Garden members (aka season passholders) can purchase Tour Tickets at a reduced rate of $20.

For further information, call 532-7018 or visit


 Markham Garden Tour
 Sunday, July 8 from 1pm to 4pm

Garden Tour Enjoy a self-guided tour of 8 inspiring gardens: enjoy beautiful spaces and tranquil retreats and meet enthusiastic gardeners.

Tickets are $12 per person.

For more information please email [email protected].

Tickets are available at:Kate's Garden, Kim's Nature, Mary's Yarns, Sheridan Nurseries (Unionville), Valleyview Gardens and York Downs Garden Centre.


 A Day in the Gardens of Guildwood

Gardens of Guildwood The Guildwood Village Community Association announces the tenth anniversary for "A Day in the Gardens of Guildwood" garden tour which will take place on Sunday, July 8, from 10am to 5pm.

15 gardens are featured that include a large variety. Some of the settings are formal, while others are more informal, family friendly with a touch of humour. Proceeds from the tour will support Guildwood Village Community Association beautification projects.

More info 

 Our Changing Landscape Tree Tour
 Sunday, July 15, 2012

LEAF Enjoy a guided walk through one of Markham's remaining intact forests. Be transported back in time as we imagine Ontario covered in trees.

Time: 10:30am to Noon

More info 

 Presentation: Heritage Tree - Preserving Our Natural Roots

Edith George Edith George has a passion for heritage trees. She travels all over the Province of Ontario and answers the questions, "What is a heritage tree?" and "Why is it important to protect them?" using the Heritage Tree toolkit.

There are several categories of requirements in determining whether a tree is worthy of heritage tree recognition and Edith touches on all of them in her presentation.

Edith George will be speaking at Climate Action Niagara, Centennial Public Library, 50 Church St., St. Catharines, Ontario on Tuesday, September 11, 2012 at 7:00 p.m.


At the London Museum, Eldon House, 481 Ridout St. North, London, Ontario on Sunday, September 23, 2012 at 2:00 p.m.


 Burlington Garden Tour
 Sunday, July 15 from 10am to 5pm

Burlington This is a special year for the Carpenter Hospice in Burlington as it is celebrating its 10th anniversary - 10 years in bringing physical, emotional and spiritual comfort to those in its palliative care.

As one of the fundraising activities the volunteers of the Carpenter Hospice will be presenting its 3rd annual Burlington garden tour.

Eight beautiful gardens will be showcased in the North Shore Blvd. and Lakeshore Rd. area.

Tickets are $15 per person and may be purchased a month in advance at Cudmore's Garden Centre 3171 Lakeshore Rd. W. in Oakville, Holland Park Garden Gallery 2243 Fairview St. in Burlington and Euro Style Flower Market 3015 New Street (Roseland Plaza) Burlington.

For further information contact [email protected]


 Edible Gardens Learning Tour

Richmond Hill Garden Tour On Saturday, July 28th from 10am to 4pm, the Richmond Hill [Ontario] Garden & Horticultural Society is offering an Edible Gardens Learning Tour - this is a unique opportunity to visit eight gardens in Richmond Hill whose owners grow a variety of vegetables, fruit, and herbs.

Large to very small gardens with a variety of edibles and growing methods (beds, pots, trellised) will be showcased. The garden owner and RHG & HS member volunteers will be on hand to answer questions.

Tickets are $10 each or 4 for $35, free for children under 12 accompanied by an adult with a ticket. Four or more tickets can be ordered by mail. Tickets will contain a map with a brief description of each garden for the self-guided tour.

More info 

 Whitby In Bloom

Whitby In Bloom The Whitby in Bloom Committee is proud to announce the first annual Community Garden Tour. This new program will showcase some of Whitby's most unique and colourful properties, including residential, business and municipal building locations.

On Saturday, July 28, 2012, your free ticket and brochure will guide your personal driving tour to properties in Whitby and Brooklin between 10am and 4pm.

To register for this free event please contact the Community and Marketing Services Department.
[email protected]

More info