Here we are, the Christmas celebrations neatly behind us and a new year staring us in the face. I am excited about this juncture for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is the growing number of readers to this newsletter and followers on my Facebook fan page .
You have voted by your actions. By signing up in record numbers for the various sources of gardening information that I offer by way of the internet you have indicated that I am on the right track. I will keep doing what I am doing until you tell me that it is a bad idea.
Also exciting is the addition of many new products in the Mark's Choice line up of products, exclusive to Home Hardware. As we enter the 10th year of our relationship I am more confident than ever that we can meet and exceed the expectations of Canadian gardeners. See below for more details.
I might add that Canadian gardeners are becoming more diverse and sophisticated than ever. Understanding how to make the gardening experience a pleasant and satisfying one is a challenge that I enjoy in the extreme. Our search for new products and innovative ideas to meet this challenge is taking us to wonderful and exciting places. I thank you for creating this opportunity. Without your demand for new and better gardening products I would be out of a job.
Allow me to take this opportunity to wish everyone a very Happy New Year.
New Mark's Choice Products for 2013
The Mark's Choice brand of gardening equipment and tools has developed over 8 years in an effort to meet the demands for high quality, competitively priced products for you - the Canadian home gardener.
Every product has been 'field tested' by me personally (or I will not put my name on it!) and wherever possible we insist on sourcing our products right here in Canada.
I am proud of Mark's Choice and the many people on the Home Hardware and Mark's Choice product development team who have succeeded in putting together a line of more than 150 products.
The lineup of new products for 2013 under the Mark's Choice brand will include some very exciting additions (look for them late this winter and early this spring):
Potato Planting Bag
- Ideal for growing potatoes anywhere on a patio, deck or balcony
- Simply fill with soil, plant, repeat in layers, water and harvest
- Item# 5090-690
Premium Dahlia Flower Bulbs
- Assorted 5 paks containing either giant painted or fimbriata varieties
- Selected for outstanding garden performance. Extra large tubers.
- Item # 5029-213
Peony Flower Bulbs
- Assorted 2 paks containing a patio mix or a miniature double blossom mix
- Selected for superior garden performance. I love double flowering peonies as cut flowers - I strongly encourage you to plant some out in a sunny position in well drained soil.
- Inexpensive, very long lived [up to 100 years] - the focus of the late spring garden.
- Item# 5029-214
Container Mat Bulbs
- Exclusive to Mark's Choice and a first for this product to be sold outside of Europe
- Bulbs are pre-arranged in biodegradable 'egg' trays
- Simply place the tray in a planter or in the garden, cover with soil, water, and in a few weeks you have a perfectly arranged flower feature
- Item# 5029-212
Professional 3" Folding Gardeners Garden Knife
- It took us 4 years to find the perfect gardening knife: extra hard steel that holds an edge, easy to carry and access in leather pouch, easy to open even with gardening gloves on
- Professional quality stainless steel gardening knife at a very affordable price
- Complete with carry pouch
- Item# 7680-131
Clay Twine Pot with Scissors
- For the gardener that has (almost) everything
- A unique and useful item that will ensure that you have string where and when you need it. In the tool shed, the garage, the basement of potting shed. One hand use for multi tasters.
- Item# 5462-211
Self-Watering Patio Planter
- Perfect for the small space gardener: an intensive growing unit that will ensure overwhelming productivity in less than 6 square feet.
- A mini-garden for the balcony, deck or patio
- Grow fresh vegetables, herbs or flowers in any sunny location
- Hidden reservoir prevents over watering, provides proper drainage
- Great for people who enjoy a brief vacation from watering during summer
- Made in Canada
- Item# 5055-615
- Also available, a planter stand. To elevate the Mark's Choice Patio Planter. Item# 5092-760
Burlap Gardening Tote
- A British gardening idea that we perfected.
- Ideal for many gardening tasks: weeding, planting, harvesting
- Outer pockets hold garden tools, seeds, sun screen, cell phone, water bottle, etc.
- Adjustable strap for carrying
- Designed for use with a bucket, for rigidity and water tightness or without a bucket for dry items
- Item# 5011-800
First Rate Wall Mount Hose Reel
- Made by the same people who produce my 'World's Best Rake'. They do not make junk!
- This will be the last hose reel that you will ever buy: chances are you will want to take it with you when you sell your house.
- Low profile, heavy duty metal
- Swivels to either parallel or perpendicular positions
- The very best quality on the market
- Holds 75' of 5/8" hose
- Item# 5042-293
Ladies' Gardening Gloves (model 1)
We worked hard at improving one of the Mark's Choice best sellers and came up with:
- Synthetic leather with silicone dotted palm for extra wear and grip
- Neoprene flex joints with rubberized fingertips [similar to the Mark's Choice Men's gloves that have been such a hit]
- Flexible spandex and mesh back keep hands cool and comfortable
- Snug fitting elastic wrist with Velcro closure keeps out dirt and debris
- Item# 5032-105, 106, 107
Ladies' Gardening Gloves (model 2)
Similar to the newly designed gloves above, but more 'fashion forward':
- Pigskin leather for strength and durability
- Spandex back for a comfortable fit
- Full leather index finger and hooded fingertips for added protection
- Elastic wrist keeps dirt and moisture out
- Item# 5032-307, 308, 309
Metal Speedy Weeder
- The best weed digger in the business just got better!
Regular users of the Mark's Choice speedy weeder will want to put this item on their 'most wanted' list of new garden tools.
- New improved version of the original Speedy Weeder
- All metal construction for strength and durability; just try to wear it out!
- Item# 5078-252
Many thanks for reading and for your valuable feedback.
A reminder that you can reach me at www.markcullen.com by clicking on 'Ask Mark' and I invite you to provide feedback on your experience with Mark's Choice products by clicking on 'Mark's Choice Product Feedback'
Keep your knees dirty [or, think about it anyway].
A Story from a Mark's Choice gardener
Linda D. purchased the Mark's Choice Squirrel Resistant bird feeder from her local Home Hardware in Blind River, Ontario.
Linda loves to feed the birds all year long. She has Bluejays, Pine Grossbeaks, Pine Siskins, Black-capped Chickadees, Downy Woodpeckers, a couple Pileated Woodpeckers, Finches, Grackles, Sparrows, Nuthatches, Hummingbirds, Buntings, and Northern Cardinals.
After hanging her new Mark's Choice squirrel resistant bird feeder, Linda noticed a very strange "bird of prey".
Linda considered returning her squirrel-resistant feeder, but she enjoys watching this guy "squeeze" himself into the cage.
Thanks for sharing Linda. I always enjoy hearing from fellow Mark's Choice gardeners.
Note: while we designed this feeder to prevent access by most squirrels, the little red squirrel outwitted us!
Canada Blooms 2013 Festival
Dates: Friday, March 15 to Sunday, March 24, 2013
Hours: 10 am to 9 pm (Monday to Saturday); 10 am to 6 pm (Sunday, March 17), 10 am to 5 pm (Sunday, March 24)
Location: The Direct Energy Centre, Toronto
Tickets: Available online at www.canadablooms.com
The theme of this year's festival is "The Magic of Spring". Spring is a time of rejuvenation, regeneration, romanticism, growth, hope, gardening, beauty, colour and a revival of the soul for Canadians. A special time of year when many flowering plants bloom in a long succession beginning even is snow is still on the ground.
Canada Blooms proudly presents its 2013 theme "The Magic of Spring" to celebrate this special time of year.
For more information