June 2014
Mark Cullen e-newsletter
Gardening with Mark
In This Issue
Pumps for Food
To Do in Your Garden
Product of the Month
Where is Mark
Canada AM
Stay in Touch
Garden Days



Gardening Connections

Home Hardware 
Toronto Star 
Ottawa Citizen  
CTV Canada AM 
Join Our Mailing List
What do I think about when I think of June? 

Roses, clematis, peonies, the longest days, sowing the last of my veggies [for now], mulching to reduce weeding and watering, and golf. 


Let me address a few of my 'favourite June things' and I won't sing it, I will leave that to Julie Andrews and others more capable.


With a winter that lingered longer than most across the entire country [with apologies to lower mainland BC and Vancouver Island readers] our hyperactivity in May is spilling over into June.  If you are among those who have not planted your tomatoes or sown your beans this may come as some relief.  Nearest that I can determine, we are running between 7 and 10 days later than a typical spring, depending on your location.


I put off planting my 200 tomato plants until just a couple of days ago mostly due to the cool soil temperatures.  Heat-seeking plants like potatoes, tomatoes, peppers [all members of the same sun loving family] plus corn, beans and many annual flowering plants are much happier when planted in soil that is at least 16 degrees C.  Waiting for the 'frost free' date in your region may not be good enough if you are planting hot crops. 


Truth is, the plants that you put in the ground while it is cool will not perform as well as the same size and quality of plant that you plant a couple of weeks later in warm soil.  Point made.  The point is to relax and not to panic if you are feeling 'behind the eight ball' this planting season.


The same goes for winter damage.  This segment on Canada AM with Jeff Hutcheson and I, makes the same point: take your time before you pull dead-looking plants out of the ground, as new growth might just flush at an unexpected rate any day now.  All we need are plus 20 degrees C temperatures.  I will leave most of this activity until after Father's Day... a much appreciated excuse to kick back, have a beer and maybe play a round of golf. 


Ahhh - there it is!  The 'g' reference.  Well, I am not talking so much about the game as I am about 'Pumps for Food'.  

Pumps for Food  


My friend Dr. James Clubine and I are hosting a golf tournament this Tuesday, August 26 at Pheasant Run Golf Course in Newmarket, Ontario and I would be delighted if you would show up.  


$150 buys you a round and a fabulous dinner, chance at some great door prizes and the satisfaction of supporting an amazing cause.


Perhaps you recall my April newsletter in which I talked about my trip to El Salvador with S.H.A.R.E. Agriculture Foundation.  For $1,200 per system we can provide subsistence farmers and landless people in Central America with all the water needed to irrigate up to 3 acres.  A gas powered motor, a pump, cistern and all of the hardware needed to move the water to where it is needed = one system. 


Our goal is to raise $40,000 or enough to purchase 30 systems or 60 to 90 acres of irrigated farm land.  This, in areas where the soil is so dry that virtually no crop would be possible without it. 


For information about sponsorship and to play, please contact Brenda Hensley at [email protected] and plan to sign up  soon - we are limited to 144 players. 


If you are unable to play [live out of the area?] feel free to support our efforts by connecting with SHARE at www.shareagfoundation.org and be sure to tell them that you wish to donate to 'Pumps For Food'



haps this month I will bump into you in BC/Alberta (May 31 to June 9) or the Maritimes (June 19-21).  See times and locations listed below.   Please come out and join me... I would love to meet you!!

Below, 'What To Do in your garden this month'.  Dig, sweat and enjoy..... June is a fabulous month to celebrate growth and life!!



Mark Cullen

Merchant of Beauty


p.s.  This month we celebrate Garden Days in Canada.  You will find more info about this celebration below.  In the spirit of Garden Days,I encourage you to enter your street in the contest for Canada's Best Garden Street.

The Contest prize: The 'bragging rights' of being named Canada's 2014 'Best Garden Street' and $1,000 worth of Mark's Choice Lawn and Garden products from Home Hardware.

To Do in your garden in June:

- Stake and support peonies, hydrangeas and, later in the month, delphiniums.  Watch the video


-  Feed tomatoes with Green Earth tomato food.  Stake using a Mark's Choice spiral stake [no tying required] and mulch with 30cm of loose, clean straw.  Watch the video


- Spread 3 to 4 cm of finely ground up cedar or pine bark to reduce weeding by 90% and watering by 70%.  I do this around all of my perennials and roses.  Watch the video


- Feed roses with Green Earth Rose and Perennial food.


- Provide support for the flowering clematis in your garden.


- Finish planting your containers [try the new Pro Mix product that I have been talking about or my own Mark's Choice container mix from Home Hardware.] Watch the video


- Take lots of pictures as your garden is changing more dramatically now then ever.


- Finish planting of annuals and vegetables (you can plant perennials and winter hardy plants all summer).


- Water deeply, but not too often.


- For Father's Day check out my line up of Mark's Choice products at Home Hardware. All torture tested in my garden, all top quality (or I wouldn't put my name on them) and every one of the more than 200 products in the line up will enhance your gardening experience.


- Set up rain barrels at your down spouts. Rain water is 30 to 40% oxygen charged. All plants perform better when watered with rain water. I use 4 rain barrels around my house to water all of my container plants. The results speak for themselves!  Watch the video


- It is not too late to sow seeds for fast germinating flowers and veggies. Sunflowers, zinnias, asters, nasturtiums, calendula, peas, beans, radishes and carrots can be sown now with expectations of a full crop before the end of the season. 

Spring Photo Contest Winners

For my mid-May contest, I asked you to 'show me your favourite spring blooms'.  


The response was overwhelming.  I received many beautiful photos and posted all entries on my Facebook page.


I have randomly chosen 3 winners to receive a Mark's Choice Clear-Flow hose.

  Clear flow hose

Congratulations to: Elaine McMurtrie, Diane Cobon and Linda Riesberry.

Mark's Choice Product of the Month
Adjustable Railing Planter

The new 24 inch adjustable railing planter is available in two colours; terra cotta and white.

Adjust arms 1 inch to 4 inch wide.  No tools, mounting hardware, or drilling required.  Ideal for wood, metal and vinyl railings.

Hidden lower bracket keeps the planter level and locked in place.

Water reservoir holds 6 cups of water, and will auto drain any excess to avoid root rot.


Home Hardware item# 5055-634/635

Where to Find Mark

May 31 - Dunlop's Home Hardware in Port Hardy, BC.  11am-1pm.  Contact the store for more details (250) 949 - 8313.


June 3Shepherds Home Hardware, Armstrong BC. 2pm-4pm.  Contact the store for more details 250-546-3002.


June 5 - Drayton Valley Home Hardware, Alberta. 6pm-9pm.  Contact the store for more details 780-542-4044.


June 7 - Valleyview Home Hardware, Alberta. 11am-2pm.  Contact the store for more details 780-524-3181.


June 19 - Proudfoot's Home Hardware Building Centre, Stellarton, Nova Scotia. Contact the store for more details 902-752-1500.


June 21 - Annapolis Home Hardware Building Centre, Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia.  Contact the store for more details 902-532-7080.

Gardening on Canada AM 

Watch my weekly gardening feature every Wednesday on CTV Canada AM.  


This month we will feature these great topics:

- Planting tomatoes for the best crop on the block

- What is new in 'gardening gizmos' - tools, gear and supplies.....

- A container full of food... what veggies and herbs work best in pots/containers?

- What is new in perennials?


If you miss a segment, you can view online.


Stay in Touch


You can stay in touch with my gardening tips by visiting my:


Weekly blog post - From the Garden Shed - every Wednesday


Weekly audio tip - The Green File - every Wednesday


Daily Facebook page updates


Daily Tweets


And Weekly Canada AM segments, on Wednesdays.


Garden Days
Canada's Celebration of Gardens 

Dates: June 13 to 15, 2014


Garden Days is Canada's coast to coast to coast, three-day celebration of our National Garden Day which is held annually on the Friday before Father's Day.


This three-day program of activities and events is for gardening enthusiasts, families, schools and tourists alike. Garden Days is an opportunity for Canadians to enjoy their own garden, visit or take part in their favourite garden experience, get inspired at their local garden centre or travel to a nearby destination to enjoy their favourite garden.


Our gardens have long been among the country's great assets


All Canadian gardens, garden and horticultural organizations and garden-related businesses (eg. garden centres) are invited to organize activities or events to celebrate public gardens and home gardening and to be included in the Garden Days program.  It's as simple as visiting www.gardendays.ca and clicking on the 'Register Your Activity' button.


Find a Garden Days activity near you and enter the 'Best Garden Street' Contest

Above all, have some great outdoor fun by adding more garden to your life.

* * * * * * * * * *

Garden Days is sponsored by:  VIA Rail Canada, Enterprise Canada, Mark's Choice, Chimpanzee and Baxter Travel Media and supported by the Canadian Nursery Landscape Association.


Submit Your Event Listings 


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'.  Please provide a brief description of the event, along with a website for further information.


American Garden Award


The American Garden Award is a unique opportunity for the general public to view, choose and vote on a specific flower that they think has the most appealing charateristics.  


Voting is open through September 30, 2014.  Voting is free with admission to the garden.  


Voting is available at the following gardens in Canada:


Domaine Joly-De Lotbiniere, 7015, route de Pointe Platon, C.P. 1000, Sainte-Croix, Quebec www.domainejoly.com/fr/accueil/


 Montreal Botanical Garden, 4101 Sherbrooke East St, Montreal, Quebec http://expacepourlavie.ca/en


More info.

Newmarket Garden Club - Plant Sale



June Meeting

Date: June 1

Time: 1pm

Location: Newmarket Community Centre, 200 Doug Duncan Drive, Newmarket


All plants are donated from our members' gardens.  


More info.

Annapolis Royal Historic Gardens

Nova Scotia


Historic Gardens

Date: June 4

Time: 4:30pm

Panayoti Kelaidis: Great Rock Gardens & Plants of Eastern North America

The second talk in our Spring Speaker Series.


Panayoti Kelaidis is the Senior Curator and Outreach Director at the Denver Botanic Gardens. He designed plantings for the world famous Rock Garden at the DBG. He is a plant explorer and has introduced many plants into horticulture. His talk will be fun and you'll probably have to buy more plants for your garden.

$10 per person. (Free for Gardens Members)


More info.

Riverside BIA



Annual Eats & Beats StreetFEST

Date: June 7

Time: 1pm - 6pm


Riverside extends from the DVP to just past Degrassi Street along Queen Street East.  Local eateries will be opening their doors serving tasting plates and musical entertainment. There will be a diversity of event destination points with live music, and entertainment including: cooking demos,  belly dancing workshops, instrument making, kid's crafts, henna tattoos,  food and art walking tours and of course some mouthwatering Riverside tasters. 


More info.

Niagara-on-the-Lake Shaw Guild Garden Tour



Date: June 7

Time: 10am - 4pm

Tickets: $20


The annual fundraising garden tour will reveal seven more magnificent secret gardens in the lovely Old Town area of Niagara-on-the-Lake.  Master Gardeners will be on site to answer questions.


More info.

Friends of the Central Experimental Farm

Ottawa, Ontario


Peony Tour

Date: June 7

Time: 9am - noon

Take a guided tour of the CEF Peony Beds.


Preston Lilac Tour

Date: June 7

Time: 2pm

Take a guided tour of the Isabella Preston Lilac Collection.


Fletcher Wildlife Garden Annual Native Plant Sale

Date: June 7

Time: 9:30am - 12:30pm

Hundreds of wildflowers native to Ottawa on sale at the FWG building.


More info.

West Kildonan Horticultural Society




Fiesta Day Plant Sale

Date: June 7

Time: 10am - 2pm

Location: Seven Oaks Arboretum, 430 Partridge Avenue, Winnipeg, MB

Cabbagetown's Hidden Gardens & Private Spaces Tour



Date: June 8

Time: 10am - 3pm

Tickets: $15


Stroll through privately owned gardens in the historic Cabbagetown Heritage Conservation District.  This self-guided tour will inspire you with imaginative solutions to many urban challenges such as small spaces, wildlife, and shade!  This year, the CPA is proud to have several Toronto Master Gardeners stationed throughout the tour!

Your ticket will include a map, gardening tips, and special offers from local restaurants and merchants.


More info.

Streetsville Horticultural Society



Friends Day

Date: June 10

Time: 7:30pm

Location: Community Christian Reform Church of Meadowvale, 2630 Inlake Crt, Mississauga

Program highlights include: special presentation, spectacular flower show, free admission, great refreshments, draw prizes and more.

Come meet new friends and enjoy a great night out.


More info.

Tree Tenders Volunteer Training




Date: June 11, 12, 14, & 18

Time: 6pm-9pm

Location: Bain Apartments Coop Community Centre, 100 Bain Avenue, Toronto

This multi-day course is designed for individuals who want to gain tree-related knowledge and skills.  Each session provides basic arboriculture training through a combination of indoor and outdoor instruction, and a group tree planting.


More info.

The Butchart Gardens - Garden Days

British Columbia


Date: June 13


Garden Days is Canada's coast to coast to coast, three-day celebration of our National Garden Day which is held annually on the Friday before Father's Day.


More info.

Deepening Our Roots



Date: June 13

Time: 10am - 2pm

Location: Markham Museum, 9350 Markham Road, Markham


Join Seeds for Change, the City of Markham and the City of Vaughan for a day of conversation, sharing best practices, new initiatives and policy development in urban food growing across York Region.  A panel discussion about community gardens and urban food growing in York Region.


More info.

Mill Bay Garden Club

British Columbia 


67th Annual Community Flower & Garden Show

Date: June 14

Time: 9am

Location: Cobble Hill Hall, 3550 Watson Avenue, Cobble Hill, BC


This easy-to-enter show is open to members of the public of all ages and experience. We have volunteers on hand to help you select the correct class and give advice on displaying your flowers. Included in the show are Plant Sales, Commercial Plant Vendors, Garden Accessories and a large Silent Auction. The Master Gardeners will be there to help solve your garden queries and the Lake Bay Hill Ladies Auxiliary will be serving their delicious Strawberry Teas. A variety of gardening workshops/ seminars will be held every 30 minutes from 9.30am to 12.00pm


More info.

Gates Open Home and Garden Tours



Date: June 14

Time: 10am - 4pm

Looking for spectacular new home and garden ideas?  Don't miss the Gates Open Home and Garden Tour.  Breath-taking homes situated along the Scarborough Bluffs in Toronto East will be featured.

Tickets: $30

Guests are asked to meet at the Cornell Campbell House, a heritage site located at 3620 Kingston Road, where they will pick up an area map with the participating homes listed. The tour is self guided. 


Tickets and information.

Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony House & Garden Tour of Note



Date: June 14

Time: 10am - 4pm

Tickets: $30

Tour outstanding homes and gardens in Waterloo and Kitchener.  


More info.

Garden Art Show and Sale



Date: June 14

Time: 10am - 4pm

Location: Monika Schaefer Pottery, 2 Palomino Drive, Carlisle, ON

Lots of fabulous handmade items.  Something for everyone.  Hosted by Monika Schaefer who makes garden pottery as well as botanical themed fibre art to wear and adorn your walls. 


More info.

West Carleton Garden Club and Horticultural Society - Victorian Tea



Date: June 14

Time: 2-4pm

Location: Reading Garden at the Ottawa Public Library, Carp branch.  3911 Carp Rd, Carp, ON

A Victorian Tea to celebrate our 25th Anniversary.

Tickets: $10


More info.

10th Annual Peony Festival & CPS Ontario Region Peony Show



Date: June 14 and 15

Time: 10am - 4pm

Location: Oshawa Valley Botanical Gardens, 155 Arena Street, Oshawa, ON

A celebration of Canada's largest contemporary peony collection featuring over 300 different cultivars.


More info.

Through the Garden Gate: Hogg's Hollow



Date: June 14 and June 15

Time: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.


One-Day Pass: Public $45 / TBG Members $40

Two-Day Pass: Public $60 / TBG Members $55

Experience 19 Private Gardens on Father's Day Weekend; Toronto Botanical Garden's 27th annual tour of private gardens in Toronto.  This self-guided tour is done at the pace and interest of the participant. Complimentary shuttle buses allow garden-goers to 'hop on and off" as they make their way around the garden route. If there are any questions, Toronto Master Gardeners are stationed in each garden to help identify unusual plants and points of interest. A printed guide and map are also provided with the purchase of your ticket and some gardens even have QR codes to download the full plant list.


More info.