|"The flower that you hold in your hands was born today and already it is as old as you are." ~Antonio Porchia, Voces, 1943, translated from Spanish by W.S. Merwin|
"Time goes too quickly". How often have you heard that one? As I reflect on the month of August and what I did with my allotted 31 days, I am grateful that I chose to break out of my routine and venture into some new space for the first time.
My first story is one about the most spectacular horticultural event in Canada ever. And chances are you have not even heard about it. The celebration is called 'Mosaiculture' and it is taking place at the Montreal Botanical Gardens until September 29th and then it is gone.
As of last week (when I had my guided tour of the exhibition) over 450,000 people had visited the site this summer. By the end of the event an expected one million will have seen it. Mosaiculture consists of 50 larger-than-life floral sculptures that knocked my gardening socks off. One of them is over 50 ft high - the size of a 5 story building.
The creators of these wonderful works of art arrived in Canada in April from 17 countries, each armed with plans for their own unique pieces. As you can see from the photos, I cannot do the quality and creativity that inspired these pieces of art justice by describing them in text. Have a good look. I urge you to visit the website.
- Mosaiculture International is a competition that takes place every 3 years. This is the second time that it has occurred in Montreal.
- The organizers have made the exhibition as ecologically responsible as possible.
- There are guided tours, cultural days, planned 'talks' and presentations - go to the website for details.
- You will not regret taking time to see this!
View my album of photos
On a more personal note, I took a week out of my schedule in August to travel with my wife Mary to the coast of Maine. I took an intensive, hands-on course in fine woodworking from one of the masters of the craft: Thomas Moser and a hand picked member from his staff of 60 cabinet makers. Richard Guite, a cabinet maker for over 30 years, was at my elbow for 5 days in mid August, guiding, coaching and backing me up on the shop floor.
My goal was to expand my knowledge of the craft so that I could put my woodworking shop to better use. For the 7 years that I have had the benefit of the space and equipment I have been futzing at making garden obelisks, rough outdoor furniture and garden gates. All fine and good but not 'fine woodworking' and only good enough for the garden.
Here is a picture of my weeks' work - a coffee table and an end table made of solid black American Cherry from the Allegany plains in Pennsylvania. Not that you need to know that but it sounds good.
To run your hand over the top of either piece feels good. Like satin or patting a baby bunny. Above all, my head is now full of the knowledge needed for me to kick the quality of my woodwork up a notch: thanks to Dick Guite, my new best friend.
Who says that you can't learn in your 50's? When time is slipping through your fingers, learn something new: challenge yourself. With thanks to Mary, who came up with the idea of attending 'Cabinet making' college, I now understand the benefits of that statement more fully.
View my album of photos
|Things To Do in your Garden|
Peonies. September is 'peony splitting' month. If you have one that is too big for the space that it is in or if you just want to move it, now is the time. If you divide it, do so with a sharp, serrated kitchen knife. Plant peonies no more than 10 cm (4 inches) below the surface of the soil and in a bright, sunny place in the garden.
Seed and sod. If your lawn looks amazing right now skip this part. If it has some brown spots, weak areas or is tired looking, now is the best time to thicken it by overseeding with Golfgreen lawn seed (the best in the business). First spread 3 to 5 cm of Mark's Choice lawn soil over the area to be seeded, rake smooth, broadcast the seed by hand, rake again and step on it to firm the soil/seed into contact. Water well.
Fertilize with Golfgreen early in September with the regular formula and apply the fall formula in late October through November to winterize your lawn.
Prune. Cut back the flowering shrubs that bloomed in July and August. Remove spent blossoms on Butterfly Bush and Rose of Sharon to encourage more blossoms later on in the season. Unruly evergreens can also be pruned back this time of year.
Harvest. My 200 tomato plants are producing like they have never before. Mind you, they ripened a little late but that was due to the cool evening temperatures. Now that they are coming along, I pick every day. I recommend that you do the same just to keep them from rotting on the vine or splitting after a heavy rain.
Harvest early ripening apples and pears.
Plant. As your annual flowers begin to wane, now is a good time to plant fall flowering mums, New England asters, sedum and ornamental grasses. No reason to put up with mediocre performance in your garden when you can have a show stopper. All winter-hardy nursery stock can also be planted now. I have better luck with fall planted trees, evergreens and the like than I do come spring. FYI.
Reward yourself. If you have kids that are heading off to school be sure to spend some time in your garden alone over the next few weeks. Take the time to enjoy the quiet and solitude. Take pictures - come mid winter you will be glad that you did! And observe the many birds that visit your garden this time of year. Note that many are 'new' as they are passing through right now on their way to their southern winter home. Enjoy.
Holland Bulbs. Tulips, daffodils, hyacinths and the like are in the stores now. I know that it feels early, but the Dutch harvest was a good one and the selection of these bulbs is best in September. I urge you to buy yours early to get the pick of the crop: by October all of the hard to find and unusual varieties are gone. Check out the new Mark's Choice bulb collections at Home Hardware. I have created a selection of deer resistant bulbs and another that 'naturalizes' in your garden [it improves with time, rather than regress as some bulbs do] and don't miss the Canadian Tulip collection.
Deadhead roses. Remove the finished blossoms to encourage more.
Apply dormant nematodes to your lawn to control common grubs. Available at participating Home Hardware stores and many independent garden centres.
Wisteria. Cut back the 'whippy' growth that occurred this summer to encourage flowers next spring.
Raspberries. Prune out the canes on which fruit occurred this summer (July bearing). Allow the new growth room to produce a crop next season.
Take in the parks and open green spaces in your community in September. There is a reason why this is the favourite month of the year for many Canadians. Get out there and breathe deep!
And keep your knees dirty,
Yours, as always.
Can you identify this flower? Click here to view a larger photo.
If you know the answer, send it to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
If we receive multiple correct answers (and I'm sure we will), we'll pick one winner at random.
The winner will receive a Mark's Choice garden knife.
|Mark's Choice Product of the Month|
September is a great time to dig and divide mature perennials. A sharp knife makes the job easy.
My new Marks Choice knife folds to fit in your pocket or you can slide your belt through the pouch for easy access. The Mark's Choice garden knife is medical grade, high carbon stainless steel and it really holds an edge. Be careful when you remove it from the package that you don't cut yourself.
Home Hardware item# 7680-131
From the Garden Shed
My Weekly Blog Post
Every Wednesday I post a new entry in my blog, From the Garden Shed.
In case you missed them, check out my postings from August:
|Stay in Touch with Mark this Month|
- Weekly Canada AM segment, Wednesdays at 8:40am (EST). You can also watch the segments online.
In September, Jeff and I explore the world of seed collecting, garlic and attracting birds with various types of bird seed.
- Follow my daily tweets on Twitter.
- Facebook. I post links to all of my media work on my Facebook page. Visit any time - 24/7!!
|Lambton Shores Communities in Bloom|
Presents: Mark Cullen
This event is a celebration of the great commitment that Lambton Shores have made to their community: Home Hardware are sending me to support the organizers and volunteers in their excellent work. This is going to be a lot of fun!!
Date: September 7
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
For more information, call the Lambton Shores Community Services Department 1-866-943-1400
|Featured Plant of the Month|
'Sheridan's Anniversary Blush' floribunda rose
Rosa 'Sheridan's Anniversary Blush'
This perfumed, pearly-blush beauty is a bedding rose par excellence, outstanding for ease of cultivation and healthy foliage.
It can be grown with confidence and makes an ideal choice for anyone not experienced with roses. The perfume is fruity with citrus undertones, a delight when cut for the vase.
Grows 80cm (32") tall and 60cm (24") wide. Released to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Sheridan Nurseries in 2013.
Hardy to zone 5.
A reminder that September is the best month of the year to either sow fresh grass seed or lay fresh sod.
As for growing the best lawn on your block - "buy the best quality grass seed available", is my advice. After all, the pedigree of your lawn is in the bag. I recommend Golfgreen grass seed because it is virtually weed free and they put good quality grass seed in the bag.
This is a good time to feed your lawn with a quality lawn fertilizer. Give your lawn a boost now to thicken its' roots leading up to the late fall..... when you really should make the most important fertilizer application of the year.
|Submit Your Local 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 submissions is the 15th of the month prior to publication.
Send your info to email@example.com with the subject line 'Newsletter Event Listing'. Along with a brief description of the event, please include a website for further information.
|Celebrating Wharf Rat Rally|
Hawg Wild in the Gardens
Date: August 30-September 2
Location: Historic Gardens, Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia
Come to the Gardens for some very special themed events in celebration of Digby's great motorcycle rally. For a unique experience, you can take your bike INTO the Gardens for a photo among the flowers. How cool is that?
|Manitoba Communities in Bloom|
Conference and Awards
Date: September 6 and 7
Location: Selkirk Recreation Complex, Selkirk, Manitoba
Conference includes educational speakers, food and entertainment, networking and tour.
$40 registration fee.
|The Hamilton & Burlington Rose Society|
Date: September 8
Location: Royal Botanical Gardens Centre, 680 Plains Road West, Burlington
A member's forum leads an open discussion on "How did your garden grow this summer? Did you have problems gardening?" Someone can help you! And don't forget to bring those roses from your garden for display.
Everyone is welcome. No entrance fee.
More information: firstname.lastname@example.org
|Bobcaygeon & District Hort. Society|
Date: September 19
Event: When Native Plants are not the Answer
Speaker: Belinda Gallagher
Location: Knox Presbyterian Church Hall
|Beausejour Daylily Gardens|
Fall Surplus Plant Sale
Date: September 21
Location: Beausejour Daylily Gardens, 1st Street North, Beausejour, Manitoba
Help support the Beausejour Daylily Gardens. Large selection of surplus perennials for very reasonable prices.
Tree Tenders Volunteer Training: Toronto
Date: September 24
Location: Toronto Botanical Garden, 777 Lawrence Ave. E
This multi-day course is designed for individuals who want to gain tree-related knowledge and skills. Each session provides basic arboriculture training which includes a combination of indoor and outdoor instruction, and a group tree planting.
Stewardship in Action Tree Tour:
Uncovering the Magic in Pomono Mills Park
Date: September 28
Location: Pomona Mills Park, West Entrance by 15 Church Lane, Toronto
Can urban forests help build a community? Join us as we explore the exciting community initiatives in Pomona Mills Park.
|The Toronto African Violet Society|
Open House and Plant Sale
Date: September 29
Time: noon to 4pm
Location: Toronto Botanical Gardens, 777 Lawrence Ave. E.
|Alberta Regional Lily Society|
Date: September 29
Time: 10am -5pm
Location: Muttart Conservatory, Edmonton, AB
Lily bulbs - martagon, Asiatic & other varieties available.
32-Acre World Class Show Garden
This will be the final season of operations for Minter Gardens!
The last day of operation will be Monday, October 14, 2013.
Open 10am -5pm daily