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

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Minter Gardens: a national treasure

I heard some rather sad news recently: Minter Gardens of Hope B.C. is closing at the end of this season. The news hit me rather hard as I know the founder, Brian Minter, personally and I love the guy. I have followed his storied career from the early days.


Order of Canada recipient, Brian Minter Coincidentally, Brian opened this marvellous jewel of a garden in 1980, the same year that my Dad opened Cullen Gardens and Miniature Village in Whitby Ontario.

I will never forget meeting Brian on the mountainside where his future garden was under construction in the summer of 1979. He explained how he was creating a massive rose garden complete with trimmings: arbours, teak benches and a view to die for. He was going to take the stunning natural attributes of the site and enhance them with 'the hand of man'.

(Photo: Order of Canada recipient, Brian Minter)



Favourite waterfall Minter Gardens was special the day that it opened. As it matured it only got better. An allay of trees matured into a shaded walk, perennials and annual flowering plants provide eye-popping colour. My very favourite man-made water fall became encrusted in moss and ferns, a sight that only British Columbia could produce [in Canada anyway].

I visited whenever I could. Our daughter Heather took work there for two summers just a few years ago. She went on to become a Landscape Architect: no doubt Brian had a positive effect.

I remained in touch with Brian through 'industry' volunteer work and through Heather, who became one of many beneficiaries of Brian and wife Faye's generosity and kindness: our relationship grew.


 Selling is not Easy

Minter Gardens When my sister made the difficult but necessary decision to sell the Cullen Gardens property about 8 years ago, Brian was among the first people that I called with the news. As expected he was sympathetic, empathetic and encouraging all at once. Perhaps he knew then that the challenges of attracting a new generation to a 'show garden' are very difficult to overcome without government support.

Minter Gardens will have served a very special purpose for 33 years when it closes its doors this October. In the meantime several million visitors have walked through the Minter garden gate, by my estimation. How many individuals have been inspired by this creation in this time? How many brides and grooms have happy memories of a story-book wedding? How many young people have been affected by their summer work at Minter Gardens and as a result taken up gardening as a profession? These are questions to which there is no answer other than this: countless many.



Minter Gardens Perhaps someone will find inspiration for a new generation who will see a future in repurposing and finding other uses for a 'show garden' on a mountainside in Hope. With a name like that, this town just might resuscitate Minter Gardens.

To Brian I say this: Closing one of the great public gardens in the country is not a mark of failure. It is a success story that will live on in the minds, imaginations and the history books of Canadian horticulture. You and your family have much to be proud of.

I urge you to visit Minter Gardens this late summer or fall. If only to see for yourself that I am not making any of this up. If you don't agree that this wonderful place is indeed a 'National Treasure' I would like to hear from you personally.

You still have a chance to see it. If you do not live near Hope B.C. it would not be out of the question to make a special trip to see it. While you are there you might want to take in some of the other attractions that make British Columbia a vacation Mecca.
Hours of operation:
July & August 9:00am to 6:00pm
September & October 10:00am to 5:00pm

Note: the retail location Minter Country Gardens in Chilliwack is still open and thriving. Make it a stop while on your way!

View my album of photos from Minter Gardens.


 Things To Do in Your Garden

Peak garden We are on the continental divide of the gardening season. On your right is the last 4 months that you invested and the flowers and fruit that your garden has produced to date. On your left is another 4 months [or so, depending on where you live]. This is when apples ripen and tomatoes are harvested. To many of us, the best is yet to come.

Here is what you need to know:

1. Divide German iris in August. Spread them around the sunny parts of your yard or give them away.

2. Sow grass seed and lay sod. From Mid August until early October - this is the best time of year to do it.

3. If you are receiving some rain and night temperatures are cooling down, this is a great time to apply Golfgreen lawn fertilizer, if you have not done it in 8 to 10 weeks.

4. Remove the spent blossoms of July flowering perennials and roses. Day lilies, early flowering hostas, veronica and the like. My blue veronica produces another set of blossoms when I cut it down this time of year.

5. If you are in the habit of fertilizing your winter hardy shrubs and roses monthly [with, say, Green Earth Rose, Annual and Perennial Food] then right now is the last application that you will make for this year. Feeding later in the summer/early fall can promote growth that will not have time to harden off before winter.

6. Take lots of pictures! My late father Len used to say that the garden peaks in the first two weeks of August. Enjoy! And use some of your best pictures as wall paper on your computer. Come winter you will be glad that you did.

7. Hang out a hummingbird feeder [and fill it, silly]: they are returning from the far north, will stop and forage in your garden for a few weeks as they accumulate fat under their wings for the long flight south this fall.

8. Stake your dahlias.

9. Harvest as your garden matures. The more you harvest, the more it will produce.

10. Continue to spray Bordo copper spray on your tomatoes to prevent early and late blight.

11. Weed, mulch, water as needed and be sure to hang in the hammock. You earned it!!

Merchant of Beauty



E-Newsletter In mid-July we did not send out a newsletter.

Did you miss it?

Would you like to see a bi-weekly reminder of What To Do in the garden?

Let me know. If enough people respond, I will make it happen.

Email your answer to [email protected].


 Syndicated Newspaper Column

Newspapers Look for my newspaper column in the following new additions to the syndicated family of Mark Cullen newspapers:

Winnipeg Sun
Lethbridge Sun Times

View the full list of newspapers carrying my syndicated column.


 Mark Cullen Approved Garden Centres

Mark Cullen Approved I would like to take this opportunity to highlight the 3 new members to the 'Mark Cullen Approved' family of Home Hardware retailers.

These dealers have met the stringent standards for product selection, their staff have passed the exclusive Home Hardware 'Lawn and Garden' seasonal training program [delivered by my good friend Denis Flanagan!] and they maintain all of the plant inventory at exceptional quality levels.

The 3 new Mark Cullen Approved Garden Centres can be found at:

Dunlop's Home Hardware, Port Hardy, BC

Vallyeview Home Hardware, Valleyview, AB

Alexandria Home Hardware Building Centre, Alexandria, ON

Congratulations to our new members who join this list of Mark Cullen Approved Garden Centres:

Sissiboo Home Hardware Building Centre, Weymouth, Nova Scotia
Gravenhurst Home Hardware, Gravenhurst, Ontario
Napanee Home Hardware Building Centre, Napanee, Ontario
Three Hills Home Hardware Building Centre, Three Hills, Alberta
Iroquois Falls Home Hardware Building Centre, Iroquois Falls, Ontario
Handyman Home Hardware, Conception Bay South, Newfoundland
Lloydminster Home Hardware Building Center, Lloydminster, Alberta
Perth Home Hardware Building Centre, Perth, Ontario
Windsor Home Hardware, Windsor, Nova Scotia
Sussex Home Hardware Building Centre, Sussex, New Brunswick
Invermere Home Hardware Building Centre, Invermere, British Columbia
Brockville Home Hardware Building Centre, Brockville, Ontario
Wilson's Home Hardware Building Centre, Barrington Passage, Nova Scotia
Orillia Home Hardware Building Centre, Orillia, Ontario
Stratford Home Hardware Building Centre, Stratford, Prince Edward Island


 Mark's Choice Product of the Month
 Clay Twine Pot with Scissors

Twine pot It is time to support tall perennials before the wind and rain cause damage. I use a wide variety of plant supports in my garden. Just twine is the first thing I reach for.

In England, this 'twine holder' has been a popular garden accessory for years because it is beautiful and practical. You can call off the search for the ball of twine that is hiding in your tool shed. This clay holder is specially designed to hold a ball of twine and a convenient pair of scissors. It's perfect for the gardeners who has (almost) everything!

Home Hardware item# 5462-211


 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 July:

July 3 - If the glove fits

July 10 - Plan ahead with a rain barrel

July 17 - A tomato insect mystery

July 24 - Downy mildew and impatiens

July 31 - Delphiniums


 Stay in Touch with Mark this Month

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

- Follow my daily tweets on Twitter.

- Facebook. I post links to all of my media work on my Facebook page.

- Videos. Check out my YouTube channel for new videos this month.


 Lambton Shores Communities in Bloom
 Presents: Mark Cullen

Lambton Shores Date: September 7, 2013
Time: 10:00am
Location: Legacy Recreation Centre, 16 Allen Street , Thedford

Topic: Tips and Tricks to Succeed in Your Garden & How the Nature of our Hobby is Changing

Tickets: $10

For more information, call the Lambton Shores Community Services Department


 Featured Plant of the Month
 'Rainbow's End' Hosta

Hosta This unique hosta exhibits incredibly variegated, shiny foliage. The bright yellow leaves have dark green margins that jet into the centre which brightens to creamy white in summer.

It forms a medium-sized mound of attractive foliage in the landscape. In late summer, showy red scapes carry the dark lavender, tubular flowers.

Grows 28cm (11") tall and spreads 52cm (21") wide.
Zone 3.


 Through the Garden Gate 2014

Toronto Botanical Garden Next year will be the 27th edition of Through the Garden Gate, the Toronto Botanical Garden's annual fund-raising garden tour. This special event will be held in Hogg's Hollow where there are so many exceptionally beautiful gardens.

Tour organizers would like to invite home-owners in Hogg's Hollow to participate in the 2014 tour. If you have an inspiring garden which you would like to share, organizers would be happy to consider including them in this event.

Contact: Jenny Rhodenizer [email protected]

More info 

 Submit Your Event Listing

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.

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


 Events in British Columbia

Minter Gardens Minter Gardens
Wedding Memories

Dates: August 12-16.
Did you get married at Minter Gardens? In appreciation for sharing your special day with us, you and your spouse are invited to enjoy a free walk through Minter Gardens.

More info

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Butchart Gardens
Warm nights are perfect for entertainment in The Gardens.
Visit for a list of daily events.


 Events in Ontario

Markham event Markham Organic Home Gardens

Enjoy fresh, healthy and affordable food, grown right at home. Sign up before August 15 and receive a chance to get free compost, free workshops with certification, newsletters, and more.

Participation is free and open to residents of Ward 7.
More info

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Bobcaygeon & District Horticultural Society

51st Annual Flower & Vegetable Show and Summer Tea.
Date: August 7.
Time: 1-4pm.
Location: Knox Presbyterian Church Hall


 Events in New Brunswick

Dan Cooper Westmorland Horticultural Society in Moncton

Date: August 2
Location: Moncton Lions Club. 55 Mark Avenue.
Guest speaker: Dan Cooper, from 'Gardening from a Hammock'
Topic: Low-maintenance gardening

More info


 Events in Nova Scotia

Annapolis Royal Historic Gardens, Annapolis Royal.
Acadian Kitchen Party

Date: August 6
Time: 5-8pm

Relax in the mid-summer Gardens surrounded by the dynamic sound of Acadian kitchen band Unisson!
Tickets: $20
More info