A Living Tribute, Multiplied 10 Times
As I begin writing my June newsletter, I am unsure of what direction to take our monthly discussion. Fact is, there is so much going on in the garden, in the gardening industry, at Home Hardware and on the road across this great nation with my book tour (The New Canadian Garden) that I just want to tell you everything all at once.
But I won't.
Let me start with some of the most exciting news that I have heard in a long time: the Highway of Heroes Living Tribute
is off and running (or, I should say 'planting'). Our first official public planting took place May 7th in Oshawa, just a stones through from the Highway of Heroes right-of-way.
The Scouts of that town showed up en-masse and surprised us with their enthusiasm and commitment. 300 native trees later, one energetic young Scout looked at me about 11:30 a.m. and said, "What, no more trees to plant? Darn!" When he is just a little older I want to hire that kid to work in my garden!
Speaking of fun, it rained cats and dogs and the wind howled, on May 14th, when we planted hundreds of perennials, shrubs and of course trees at the south/west corner of the Coroners office in Toronto. This is the final stop for all repatriated service people who lost their lives in the Afghanistan War. About 40 people showed up, including several members of the Garden Club of Toronto: ladies, some of whom persuaded their husbands to join them. They all picked up shovels and got to work moving a mountain of soil and mulch in a mutual effort to get the job done.
Our Executive Director Scott Bryk took a look at the forecast and the pouring rain and remarked, "Come Monday, we will have to get The Grounds Guys to finish the job." We simply assumed that the volunteers would run out of gas before the job would be completed.
Were we wrong! That day we accomplished the impossible. By 7 p.m. Scott and his assistant Steve swept up and made for home, wet, hungry and exhausted. How we did it, I just don't know.
And finally last Saturday in Trenton (the beginning of the Highway of Heroes) another overwhelming contingent of volunteers showed up.
Only this time with equipment, hard hats and steel toed boots. Scott Wentworth and his team at Wentworth Landscape Group lead a team of professionals including a strong contingent from Signature Landscape Concepts and Gunn-Duncan Landscaping. They must be thanked and congratulated for their commitment to getting 200 large trees in the ground. If you drive the 401 and pass by Glen Miller Road be sure to gaze up at the planting on the north west corner of the highway.
Truth is, we have underestimated the deep feelings that Canadians have for those who served in our Armed Forces and lost their lives during times of war. Over 117,000 of them since Confederation. And we are planting a tree for each one of them.
Of note is this: the 'in kind' generosity of many Landscape Ontario members cannot be overstated. With our first three public plantings under our belt, we can say that for every dollar that is donated in cash, we have received 'in kind' donations of at least 10 times.
In other words, when you give $100 about $1,000 worth of labour/materials and trees have been donated.
For details please go to www.hohtribute.ca. Sign up for our monthly newsletter, keep up to date (fall tree plantings are being planned now) and consider making a cash, tax deductible donation.
Book Tour for The New Canadian Garden
I have been travelling around talking about you: the New Canadian Gardener. My, how we have changed since I wrote the best-seller The Greener Thumb in 1990. Now we focus on food gardening as a priority, consider the environment in all of our gardening activity & planning and we have been introduced to the term 'biodiversity' as it relates to gardening.
Look for me this month (details below) and come on out and say HI! I would love to meet you and add you to my list of best-selling-book-buyers!
Back Hoe Update
This new tool, that we introduced on TV this spring, has put a new complexion on my public face. Now when people see me they often think first of this amazing garden tool, "Oh - The Back Hoe, Home Hardware Guy!"
Yup, that is the new me.
Tease me, as my children and buddies most certainly do, this is an amazing tool. If you go to your local Home Hardware looking for the Marks Choice Back Hoe (item #5036-415) and they are out of stock, I can assure you that it is a temporary condition. Brandon, at my local Markham location told me on Saturday this past week that he orders 36 of them twice a week. They have sold over 400 from one small-ish store alone.
It is the first weeding tool that you will buy that is pre-sharpened. It furrows for planting tomato seedlings and sowing seeds, it roots out large weeds and it is fun to use. Any tool that makes work a cinch is fun to use. This one might just top your list, after you have given this hoe a go.
Remember this when shopping for Dad on Fathers Day.
CTV News Flash: The Green File Garden Tips
Last week I finished recording an exciting new series of 90 second gardening tips for CTV News Channel. They aired live on CTV News Net last weekend and will be accessible online at www.ctvnews.ca.
You can view the first video here. I will post a link to all videos on my homepage, as soon as they are available.
I am excited about this as CTV has provided Canadians with informative, punchy and fun gardening tips that will help to keep you up to date. Helpful reminders of what to do, when and how to get the most from your gardening experience. With thanks to my director Mike McGillivray and my assistant (who else but) Brenda Hensley.
I hope that you like them. Feedback is always appreciated: constructive criticism and compliments, gratefully received at [email protected].
Through the Garden Gate
I am pleased to announce that I am the 'honorary Chair' of Through The Garden Gate, the public tour of private gardens that happens Friday, June 17 through Sunday the 19th.
This tour features the great gardens of the Kingsway: one of Toronto's first planned communities.
Should you plan on attending I recommend that you set most of the day aside for the tour, wear flat soled shoes, bring a camera and some cash to buy your self a locally made fresh lunch. This is Canada's premier garden tour.
Sponsored by Mark's Choice and Home Hardware: don't miss it.
Kids' Run for Nature
A horde of kids running around, raising money for World Wildlife Fund: what could be better than that?
Bring Back the Bees - Planting Event
No doubt, if you own a TV, you have seen the commercial for Honey Nut Cheerios: they took the bee off the front of the box! This was an effort to draw attention to the decline of the honey bee population in Canada.
They also gave away wildflower seeds, with the suggestion that, if you sow them in your garden you will attract bees and help to maintain a healthy population. Canadians across the country have received free packages of wildflower seeds from www.bringbackthebees.ca. Over 100 million seeds have been distributed! Now, it's time to start planting and help bring back the bees.
And I am going to show you how to grow them, Friday June 10th. Come on out to Pioneer Village in Toronto in the morning for a tutorial on seed-sowing and enjoy a ceremony that acknowledges the importance of bee habitat and biodiversity in our gardens.
Introduce yourself to me as I would love to meet you.
DETAILS FOR EVENT:
* Date: Friday, June 10, 2016
* Time: 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
* Where: Black Creek Pioneer Village | 1000 Murray Ross Pkwy
Family friendly activities include:
* A beekeeper and hive
* Face painting
* Arts and crafts
* Seeds & planting instructions to create your own bee friendly garden at home
Things To Do this June:
Your hard work in April and May is paying off:
- Weed. Cut weeds down while they are young to keep the job easy and fun. A deep root is a pain to remove, unless you have the new Marks Choice Back Hoe (well, even then, they are a pain).
- Seed. All plants that thrive in the heat (corn, beans, cucumbers, melons, squash, zinnias, marigolds, petunias, nasturtiums) enjoy the warm June soil. Now is the time to sow seeds: early June for all of us except maybe those of you in the mountains and in Newfoundland. You might wait a bit, until day time temperatures are reliably above 18 degrees C.
The selection at garden retailers is never better than right now.
Find time in your busy schedule to look over their inventory and prepare to be inspired.
- Add Earth Worm Castings. I add 10% worm castings to all of my planting soil, whether I am planting in containers or in the ground. It makes ALL the difference in plant performance.
- Harvest your rhubarb and asparagus. It is ready, come and get it!
- Visit other gardens. Call up friends who enjoy gardening and get caught up: see what you can learn and share. Visit public tours of gardens: like Through the Garden Gate in Toronto, only the equivalent in your neighbourhood.
- Sit back, relax and enjoy the finest, freshest, most colourful month on the gardening calendar.
With thanks for reading,
Keep Your Knees Dirty
Fathers Day Contest!
Win a collection of Mark's Choice gardening accessories for your Dad!
(Prize includes: Mark's Choice bypass pruners & sharpener, gloves and a signed copy of my new book The New Canadian Garden)
Tell me what your Dad taught you about gardening... and send a picture. I will randomly select a winner from all comments. Email your entry to [email protected]
Deadline for entry is June 6, 2016.
'Green Lawn' Photo Contest - Winners
Last month I asked you to share a photo of your lawn.
The Grand Prize winner received: a Mark's Choice watering can + 4 packs of Mark's Choice vegetable seeds. ($50 value)
10 second-place winners received a copy of the 2016 Harrowsmith Gardening Digest + 4 packs of Mark's Choice Vegetable seeds ($13 value).
Congratulations to the winners:
Carol Snushall (grand prize), Shan Abate, PJ Pellatt, Karen Ward, Lisa Ettenson, Larry Trerice, Veronica and Derek Blake, Bobbi Wendland, Helen Mousseau, Anne Andersen, Liz Church, Gloria Miller, Lizette Willson
All photos entered can be seen here.
Where is Mark?
June is another busy month with Home Hardware.
I invite you to join me wherever I happen to be.
Products of the Month
Mark's Choice 78" Spiral Support
Supporting your tomato plants has never been easier. Ideal for tomatoes and other tall plants.
These 'spiral' plant supports are all that I use on my 100 tomato plants. They are easy to install, just push them into the earth! And no plant ties or twine are required to support your tomato plants.
Every two weeks, just give the main stem of the plant a twist up the support, and remove the suckers as you go.
Mark's Choice Giant Tomato Cage
Our tomato supports are really tomato castles that have very little in common with the flimsy wire cages of the past.
They are solid and stable, and will double your tomato crop by getting all of the plant off the ground, right to the end of the season and long after the traditional cages have fallen over under the weight of the plant.
The Mark's Choice tomato castles stack for easy storage and are rust proof. Strong, stable, and long lasting - they're an investment, not just another purchase.
Get Ready for Summer with Harrowsmith's Summer Issue
Summer is here, and that means it's time to embark on your favourite outdoor projects by picking up the Summer issue of HARROWSMITH, available now, by subscription or online.
Packed with ideas to make the most of the season, this issue features gardening advice from Gardening Editor Mark Cullen, delicious grilled recipes from Food Editor Joanna Notkin as well as tips on how to build your very own firepit.
Over the last four decades the name Harrowsmith has become synonymous with gardening, country living and how to tread a little more lightly upon the earth. The Summer 2016 edition of Harrowsmith proudly continues that tradition.
Kids' Run for Nature
Mark's Choice is proud to be a national sponsor and supporter of the Kids' Run for Nature.
The Kids' Run for Nature is a 1K and 5K non-competitive "Fun Run" designed to raise funds for the World Wildlife Fund Canada in support of endangered animals in Canada.
It was created by two Toronto 10-year old girls, who wanted to get kids and their families involved in our great natural community by supporting the environment, while getting their bodies active and healthy.
Working with team leaders in various communities, the Kids' Run for Nature is taking place at 7 different locations across the province and country this spring. I encourage you to get your kids, grandkids and friends and get out to a park or green space to run for fun in nature!
Mark's Gardening Connections
My monthly Event Listings are so popular we were running out of room in the newsletter. All event listings have moved to www.markcullen.com.
Event lists are organized by Province and accessible through these links:
Do you have a 'gardening' event you would like to promote? I would be happy to include your event listing on my website.
Send your info to [email protected]
with the subject line 'Event Listing
'. Please provide a brief description of the event, along with a website for further information.