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

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I never met her, but I know that she was very special.

Mary Franklin Mastin was a pioneer, born to another pioneer of sorts. Mary passed away on October 26th, leaving a wonderful legacy that any Canadian would be proud of.

She was a writer who specialised in the outdoors, making contributions to conservation magazines including: The Angler, Outdoor Canada, Canadian Audubon, Nature Canada, The Ontario Naturalist and The Young Naturalist.

She won high praise for her work, winning the Frank H. Kortright Award, the 'Excellence in Craft' award from the New York State Outdoor Writers Association and more.

And if all of this was not enough, Mary earned her Bachelor of Arts in English Literature from York University at the tender age of 78, in 1999.

I mention this as we move into November, the month of remembrance. As we approach November 11 and reflect on the sacrifices of so many for the freedoms that we enjoy today, I think that it is not such a bad idea to celebrate the past with a nod to the many people who have contributed to the pedigree of life as we know it today. In other words, there are a lot of people who blazed the trail before we stepped foot on it.

A new generation of Canadians is discovering the outdoors: public hiking trails, birding and [dare I say it] gardening are just a few of the old pleasures that are being rediscovered by people in their 20's and 30's. It is like we suddenly have woken up to the fact that computers, central heating and air conditioning and our ability to hop in the car and go most anywhere that we please, do not add up to a full and balanced life.

There is, in other words, no substitute for fresh air and a good heart pumping out of doors.

Mary Franklin Mastin's father was Franklin Carmichael, one of the Group of Seven. Through him she learned to appreciate the natural wonders of the world around her and share them with her public.

Perhaps her greatest legacy is the growing appreciation for the benefits of our great out of doors and the encouragement that she provided to her generation to get out and embrace it. Mary was one valuable link in a multigenerational journey of discovery that, hopefully, knows no end.

She was a gardener too, by the way.
View the full obituary

 Things To Do in Your Garden

To Do As I write this there is a 'monster storm' expected in our area in a couple of days. I have never heard the term before: 'monster storm', but it sounds ominous. I am thinking that some of you will be battening down the hatches when you receive this message and to you I say, "Hang in there". After the storm: calm. And then maybe you can get back out in the garden to get things in order for the winter ahead.

This reminds me of Hurricane Juan, which struck Halifax head on September 29, 2003. Our daughter Lynn was a newly minted student at Dalhousie University at the time. She lived 17 stories up in Fenwick Towers. When she called home to Ontario that Sunday night she said to me over the phone, "Dad, it is really windy here!" to which I replied, "That, honey, is a nor'easter and they are used to getting them out there. Just go to bed, put a pillow over your head and go to sleep."
She replied, "Dad, you don't get it. There are waves in the toilet!"
Two hours later the building was evacuated.
Shows you what I know.

Winter is the theme in the November garden. Just like changing the furnace filter and putting on the snow tires, your garden has a few demands that are worthy of your attention. Here they are:

- Evergreens that are exposed to prevailing westerly winds are susceptible to wind burn, salt spray damage [if located near a busy road] and often sun burn. Wrap junipers, cedars, dwarf Alberta Spruce, yews and rhododendrons in two layers of burlap. Secure with twine.

- Rhododendrons. Speaking of rhodies, before you wrap them spray them with an anti-desiccant Wiltpruf. This provides an invisible layer of protection against the drying effects of wind and the obnoxiously low humidity of our Canada winter.

- Fertilize your lawn with Golfgreen Fall Lawn Fertilizer. The most important application that you will make all year. And later is better. Paul Straus, the President and CEO of Home Hardware asked me why Golfgreen is a different formula from that of a competitor. Golfgreen has 18% potash, the competitor much less. The answer is that Golfgreen is formulated for late season application [like now!] in an effort to build up the natural sugars in grass plants as the plants prepare themselves for winter. The competitors' product is designed for late summer application. He asked me if I made that up. Ha ha! Funny guy.

- The aforementioned Wiltpruf is good stuff for use on boxwood, yews, hardy blue holly and other broadleafed evergreens. Apply any time now.

- Pumpkins. Take your Halloween pumpkin and put in on the top of your compost pile or composting unit. Cut it with a shovel or kitchen knife and let it decompose there. Whatever you do, do not put it out to the garbage. It is 99% water. What sense does that make?

- Rake leaves, what is left of them, off of your lawn and on to your garden.

- Roses: hill up the hybrid teas, grandifloras and floribundas. Use about 50 to 60 cm of triple mix [not leaves as they will foster mildew]. Cut tall, lanky roses down to about a meter but leave the serious pruning until spring.

- Fruit trees that are less than 6 cm in diameter or are up to 5 years old need to have their tender bark protected with a plastic spiral wrap. This prevents mice, field rats and rabbits from making a meal of the bark. For a couple of bucks it is a good investment.

- Water all of the evergreens around the foundation of your home. The ice that forms is great insulation for the roots. Then put away your garden hose.


 Reno & Decor Magazine

Reno and Decor I have been writing for this fine publication for over a year and I very much enjoy being a part of it. HOMES Publishing Group runs a quality publication.

Now things are about to get even better. Glen Peloso has been named as the new Editor and Jim Caruk is the new Editor-at-Large. Together they have revamped the entire magazine. You will find it punchy, gorgeous and relevant like never before.

To learn more about Reno & Decor 

 Facebook Fan page

Facebook Here is a reminder that you can win some neat prizes by 'liking' my Facebook page. Once in, you will receive daily news item that are always relevant, never a waste of your time.

Facebook being facebook, it is the perfect place for me to send you reminders of what needs doing in the garden, what is looking good and from time to time I will send you a reflection or 'celebration' of what is great about gardening in Canada.

It is also a wonderful place for you to tell me how your gardening experience is going, regardless of the time of year.
For that matter, my facebook page is a great place for gardeners to communicate with each other.



Newsletter This newsletter subscription list is growing every month. I am grateful to you for opening and reading it and of course for forwarding it on to friends and neighbours.

Rest assured that we will only send you a message once a month and that it will always provide you with practical info that you can use to achieve a more beautiful garden.

I will never abuse the privilege of landing a message-a-month in your inbox.

Thanks and please take time to remember come November 11.

Keep your knees dirty,


 Special Event

SHARE SHARE Agriculture Foundation, my favourite not-for-profit organization is holding their annual dinner/dance in Brampton Saturday, November 3rd.

Net proceeds go to help subsistence farmers help themselves [A Hand Up not a Hand Out] in Central and South America. For every dollar raised by SHARE, C.I.D.A. matches with 3 more. It is truly the best value of your gift giving dollars!

For more details 

 Mark's Choice Product of the Month
 Suet Plug Feeder

Suet feeder I have so much woodpecker traffic on this Mark's Choice feeder that I have trouble keeping it filled up with suet!

Enjoy this attractive, high-quality cedar suet feeder that is durable and weather resistant. Made in Canada.

Fill with easy-to-handle, no-mess suet plugs.

Home Hardware item# 5453-650


 Where is Mark?
 Upcoming Events

Long Pond Classic December 1 - Invermere Home Hardware Building Centre

February 9 - 2nd Annual Long Pond Classic


 Facebook Basics

Facebook I update my Facebook page daily with gardening tips and photos from my gardening experience. Are you on Facebook? If you answered 'No', I would like to know why.

I know you have an email address (because you receive my E-newsletters). Did you know that an email address is the only thing you need to join Facebook?

Step 1
Click this link to my Facebook page. If you do not have a Facebook account, a screen will appear asking you to Sign Up.

Step 2
Fill in your name, email address (twice) and a password. Enter your gender and your birth date (you can hide this information if you do want it to appear on your profile.

Congratulations! You are now on Facebook. You now have the options to 'Find Friends' (I skipped this step), 'Build your Profile' (choose which info you would like to share) and 'Upload your photo' (optional).

Sign up today and 'Like' my page. Don't miss out on weekly chances to win great Mark's Choice prizes.

If you have any questions, contact my assistant at [email protected].


 Frequently Asked Questions
 For November

FAQs Should I cut down my perennials this fall?

No. Leave them standing 'til spring. The seeds will be enjoyed by birds later on and the height that the stems provide add winter interest.

Should I cut down my roses?

No. Unless they are so high that you risk having them break at the bud union down at the root.
Cut back in spring.

Should I cut my lawn short before the snow flies?

No. Just the same as ever - 2 � to 3 inches. The fertilizing is most important. Apply Golfgreen Fall Lawn Fertilizer now for a quick 'green-up' next spring.


 Submit Your Local Event Listings

Events 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.


 Heritage Tree Workshop

LEAF Date: Friday, November 9
Time: 8:30am to 3:00pm
Location: Ontario Institute for Studies in Education.
252 Bloor Street West. Room 2214

Learn how to identify, research and nominate heritage trees in your community at this specialized Toronto session of the OUFC's province-wide Heritage Tree Training Workshop.

For more information 

 Art Knapps, Port Coquitlam BC
 24th Ladies' Night

Art Knapp Date: Sunday, November 18
Time: 6:30pm to 9:00pm
Tickets $20 each

100% of the proceeds going to Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation

For more info 

 Come Home for Christmas
 Home Hardware Lloydminster, Alberta

Home Hardware Date: Thursday, November 25
Time: 6:00pm to 9:00pm

Scratch and save 10-50% off

Join us for a festive evening in celebration of tradition and the simple things: food, family, friends and sharing.

For more info. 

 Holiday Open House
 Toronto Botanical Garden

TBG Date: Thursday, November 29
Time: 5:30pm to 9:30pm

Join Paul Zammit, Nancy Eaton Director of Horticulture, as he takes on Nicole North and Denis Flanagan in the ultimate winter "container-off".

Shop, dine, learn and get into the holiday spirit.

For full details 

 Canada Blooms

Canada Blooms Ok. I know that this is a few months away, but this is the biggest single gardening event in Canada each year. I recommend that you put it on your calendar now. More details to come.

Date: March 15-24, 2013
Location: Direct Energy Centre, Toronto

1 ticket, 2 Great Events

Canada Blooms and the National Home Show bring you the largest North American display of innovative products and new ideas for all things home & garden.

For more info.