Mark Cullen e-newsletter
June 2013 
 Gardening with Mark
In This Issue:
Where to Find Mark
Mark's Gardening Connections

Join our mailing list!

Q & A

June? Noooooo! Can't be.

Since I talked to you at the beginning of May I have been to BC, Alberta, Northern, Eastern and Central Ontario. I talked with my buddy Jason in Winnipeg this week and my son Ben in Halifax 10 minutes ago. All of us have had a very different experience with weather in the last month; Wet out west, cold up north, great long weekend for Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal, cool and wet in the Maritimes.

I am here to announce that June is 'nice weather month' across the country. Even my friend Christine Hand at Handyman Home Hardware in Conception Bay South, Newfoundland will get her wish for great gardening weather in June. Watch for the full moon June 23rd Christine! That will mark your time to plant your potatoes.

In the mean time, the questions to 'groundskeeper' [aka 'Brenda'] at come fast and furious. We are averaging about 100 questions a day right now and out of them falls this interesting pattern. In this month's newsletter I address some of the 'most asked' gardening questions. See below. And if we missed yours, feel free to connect any time. We get back to you as soon as possible with an answer that makes sense, is credible and if we don't know the answer we will suggest where you might find it.

 E Book!

eBook Here is a reminder that the Toronto Star is featuring my new e-book 'Horticultural Domination' for $2.99 [or a buck, if you wish to sign up for a regular weekly e-book offering].

Go to Star Dispatches to connect with this fabulous concept and learn lots about gardening, fast.


 Gardening Week on Canada AM

Canada AM Thank you, also, for watching 'Gardening Week' on Canada AM. If you did not get a chance to check it out, you will find links to the segments below.

Watch Jeff and I give each other a hard time. There are moments when we actually impart some useful information! The goal, as they say in junior hockey, is to have fun.

Have a great gardening month!


 Questions (and Answers)

Mulch How important is weeding in early June?

Either we get out and pull weeds or we ignore them to our peril. With the hyperactive growth taking place in your garden right now it is important to get weeds under control. The alternative is to pull them when they become small trees in the heat of July, after they have put down a monster-root and the effort produces an equally giant sweat on your brow.

How do I minimize weeding? It is not my favourite job.

Now this is a question that we get a lot and I have an answer that is chemical free, easy to do, and inexpensive. Mulch. My mulch-of-choice is ground up cedar or pine bark mulch. Look for it at your local garden retailer and lay it down around all of your garden plants this time of year about 5 to 6 cm thick. Keep the mulch pulled back from the base of the plants.

How do I reduce watering by up to 70%?

See my answer to the last question: mulch. Same advice stands. One job. Double the benefits.


 I have grubs in my lawn. How do I get rid of them?

Nematodes Nematodes. Dormant nematodes (microscopic-sized and naturally-occurring) are sold out of a refrigerator at your local garden retailer. Apply them now for great results but remember two key points: the ground should be wet before you apply them and you should water thoroughly after you apply them.

The moisture helps the nematodes, which feed on grubs, to multiply and drives them deep into the soil where they make contact with their hosts: the grubs. When they meet, the nematodes win.


 How do I attract hummingbirds to my garden?

hummingbird Welcome to June and July - hummingbird season, especially up north. Many hummingbirds have already passed through Toronto on their way to the boreal forest. Some, however, stay here where they will enjoy the fruits of our labour, provided that they can find lots of nectar-rich flowers in the neighbourhood. They love tube-shaped, bright-coloured flowers like cardinal flower, salvia, foxgloves, and the flowers of hosta. Plant your heart out!

Hang a hummingbird feeder and be sure to clean it out thoroughly each week. They visit Toronto again on their flight home and stay longer than they did in spring, when making babies was on their mind.


 How do I fix dog patches in my lawn quickly?

dog spots Easy. If you golf, you already know the secret to divot repair: a shaker bottle of sharp sand/grass seed. Keep a closed bucket of dampened sand and quality grass seed at your back door. The moistened sand predisposes the seed to fast germination. When you see a yellow spot in your lawn developing, simply scoop some of the mix on to the area and step on it. No golf shoes required.

What is 'sharp sand'? Where can I buy it?

Sharp sand is also called 'builder's sand'. It is not play sand. Look for 'builder's sand' at your local hardware store.


 How often should I water my flower garden?

Halifax Public Gardens Not as often as you think. All plants require an exchange of oxygen at their root zone between water applications. When the soil is allowed to dry about 3 to 5 cm deep between applications of water, the pores in the soil become oxygen-charged. This is good for root development and overall plant health.

Sometimes I worry about all of the water that is wasted and the resulting weakening of plants due to the abuse of in-ground watering systems that are used too frequently. Alas, I am here to serve, not to judge.

Many thanks to my son Ben for sending me this photo of Halifax Public Gardens.

Merchant of Beauty

p.s. look for my newspaper column in the following new additions to the syndicated family of Mark Cullen newspapers:
Gravenhurst Banner
Vermilion Standard
New Glasgow News

View the full list of newspapers carrying my syndicated column. 

 Mark's Choice Product of the Month
 Self-Watering Patio Planter

Patio Planter Expand your gardening experience upwards with this unique self-watering deck planter!

Grow your favourite veggies or flowers on your balcony, patio or pool deck. Place the planter on the deck, or use the stand to elevate the planter for convenience.

Made in Canada.

Home Hardware item# 5055-615 (planter) and 5092-760 (stand)


 From the Garden Shed
 My Weekly Blog Post

Blog Every Wednesday I post a new entry in my blog, From the Garden Shed.

In case you missed them, check out my postings from May:

May 1 - Your lawn questions, answered
May 8 - Baillie Birdathon
May 15 - Box Elder bugs
May 22 - The art of transplanting leaf vegetables
May 29 - What is a midge?


 Stay in Touch with Mark this Month

Mark * Weekly Canada AM segment, Wednesdays at 8:40am (EST). You can also watch the segments online www.canadaam/

* Follow my daily Tweets on Twitter (@MarkCullen4)

* As mentioned above, I post a weekly blog entry every Wednesday

* Facebook. I post links to all of my media work on my Facebook page. I also post a weekly photo album to let you see what's happening 'Around the Acres'.

* H&H Online TV. Watch my video 'Garden Watering Tips'. I talk about the benefits of using warm water collected in rain barrels, porous soaker hoses and more.

* Watch all of my Canada AM segments from 'Gardening Week'
o Selecting and planting fruit trees

o Spring flowering bulbs and summer flowering bulbs

o How to plant a tomato plant

o Growing herbs in containers


 Featured Plant of the Month
 'Sombrero Sandy Yellow' Coneflower

Sombrero Echinacea 'Sombrero Sandy Yellow'

This is a new series of coneflowers bred for their sturdy, well-branches habit and high bud count. This selection produces very bright yellow flowers with a brown cone. Plants are compact, growing to 60cm (24").

Blooms begin mid-summer and can flower 'til fall with regular dead-heading. Attracts butterflies. Drought-tolerant once established.
Hardy to zone 4

Source: Garden Inspiration magazine 2013,


 Submit Your 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 you info to with the subject line 'Newsletter Event listing'. Along with a brief description of the event, please include a website for further information.


 Spring at Butchart Gardens

Butchart Gardens Date: on now, until June 14th
Spectacular spring burst forth in a show of unparalleled beauty. One of the finest displays in the world heralds the season with hundreds of thousands of bulbs in bloom, joined by a host of flowering trees and shrubs.

More info. 

 St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church
 Plant Sale and Rhubarb Pie Sale

St. Andrew's Date: June 1
Location: Southampton, Ontario

Come join us for bargains in all kinds of plants, good used garden tools and delicious rhubarb pies.

More info. 

 Emerald Ash Borer Training Workshop

EAB Training Date: June 1, 2013
Time: 10am to 3pm
Cost: FREE
Location: Scarborough Civic Centre

All of the 860,000 ash trees in Toronto are at risk of dying due to EAB. We must act now to defend our urban forest through treatment and replanting.

More info. 

 Newmarket Horticultural Society
 Annual Plant Sale

Plant Sale Date: June 2, 2013
Time: 1:00pm sharp
Location: Newmarket Community Centre, 200 Doug Duncan Drive

Our annual fundraiser offers a wide range of healthy perennials, annuals, cuttings, herbs, shrubs and indoor plants. Always a sell-out! Arrive early.

More info. 

 Queensland Garden Club
 Calgary, Alberta

Garden Club Date: June 5
Location: 649 Queensland Drive S.E.
Time: 7pm

Our meeting will have a presentation on Alpine Gardens. All welcome.
Guests $5.00

More info:


 Garden Clubs of Ontario
 Triennial Flower Show

Flower Show Date: June 5 (10am to 8pm) and June 6 (10am to 4pm)
Location: Royal Botanical Gardens

Tickets will be available at the RBG.

More info. 

 Tree Tenders Volunteer Training
 Multi-day Course

Tree Tenders Date: Course starts June 8, 2013
Time: 11am to 4pm
Cost: $70 + HST with ISA Citizen Arborist Manual
Location: Oak Ridges Community Centre, Richmond Hill

More info. 

 Niagara-on-the-Lake Shaw Garden Tour

Shaw Garden Tour Date: June 8, 2013
Time: 10am to 4pm

This year's annual tour showcases beautiful gardens surrounding historic homes. The tour is easily walkable from garden to garden in Old Town Niagara-on-the-Lake.

Tickets: $20. Order from the Shaw Festival Box Office at 1-800-511-7429

More info. 

 Through the Garden Gate
 Forest Hill and South Hill

Through the Garden Gate Date: Saturday, June 8 and Sunday, June 9
One day pass: Public $40; members $35
Two day pass: Public $52.50; members $47.50

Tour 19 exceptional private gardens in two of Toronto's most prestigious neighbourhoods.

Tickets and More info. 

 Oshawa Valley Botanical Gardens
 9th Annual Peony Festival

Peony Festival Date: June 8 and 9
Time: 10am to 4pm
Location: 155 Arena Street, Oshawa

Enjoy one of Canada's largest contemporary peony collections with over 300 varieties in the garden.

More info. 

 K-W Symphony Volunteer Committee
 15th Annual House and Garden Tour

KW Tour Date: June 8
Time: 10am to 4:30pm

Get set for an enjoyable day touring seven exceptional properties in Waterloo, Kitchener and Cambridge.
Tickets at $30 each.


 Georgetown Horticultural Society
 Garden Tour

Garden Tour Date: June 9 rain or shine
Time: 10am to 4pm
Tickets: $10. Available on tour day at 48 Queen Street, Georgetown

More info. 

 Gardens, Birds, Blossoms & Concert Tour
 Beausejour, Manitoba

Beausejour Daylily Gardens Date: June 14
Location: Beausejour Daylily Gardens. 1st Street North

Start at Beausejour Daylily Gardens for a guided tour.
Second stop at Chryplywy Park where Peter Taylor (bird expert) will guide us through.
Last stop is at St. Mary Church for a tour, concert, and lite lunch.
Cost: $25 per person

More info. 

 Cramahe Horticultural Society
 Summer Flower and Quilt Show

Flower & Quilt Show Date: June 15 & 16
Location: Keeler Centre, 80 Division Street, Colborne, ON

More info. 

 Newmarket Horticultural Society
 June Meeting

June Meeting Date: June 18
Time: 8:00pm
Location: Newmarket Community Centre, 200 Doug Duncan Drive
Guest Speaker: Vicki Taylor-Scott. "Cheap & Cheerful Gardening"

More info. 

 Bobcaygeon & District Horticultural Society

Bobcaygeon Date: June 20
Time: 7pm
Guest Speaker: Ed Lawrence from CBC. 'Tips, Tricks, and Techniques to Garden Without Pesticides'
Location: Knox Presbyterian Church Hall
Admission: $6


 Kemptville Horticultural Society
 Bud to Bloom Garden Tour

Garden Tour Date: June 22
Time: 10am to 3pm

There are 9 stops on this tour, including 7 private gardens.

Price: $15 per ticket including a Strawberry Tea at a Historic Inn.

More info. 

 Leslieville Tree Festival

Tree Festival Date: June 22
Time: 12pm to 4pm
Location: Leslie Grove Park. Queen Street and Jones Avenue

Now in its eighth year, this fun-filled celebration of our urban forest offers activities for the whole family.

More info. 

 Woodbridge Garden & Horticultural Society
 Garden Tour

Garden Tour Date: June 22
Time: 10am to 3pm

Please join us for our annual garden tour of private gardens in the Woodbridge and Kleinburg areas.
Tickets: $10 per person

More info. 

 The Hamilton & Burlington Rose Society
 56th Cut Garden Roses and Floral Design Show

Rose Society Date: June 22 (1:30pm to 5pm) and June 23 (10am to 4pm)
Location: Royal Botanical Gardens. 680 Plains Road West, Burlington .

More info. 

48th Annual Cloverleaf Garden Tour

Date: June 23
Time: 10am to 4pm
Tickets: $15 available at Sheridan Nurseries and at our Marketplace.

Come explore private gardens in the Mineola East and Lakeview neighbourhoods of south Mississauga.
More info.

Historic Gardens Annapolis Royal
Annapolis Royal Rose Festival

Date: June 29 to July 7

Events, tours & activities in celebration of our roses! We have one of the largest rose collections in Canada.

More info.

Mark Cullen