Meet Mark Cullen

Canada's best known gardening personality, Mark Cullen believes that Canadians of all ages need to play more - preferably in the dirt. A best-selling author with over 400,000 books in print, Mark reaches over one million Canadians every week through various media outlets. He is Home Hardware's horticultural spokesperson and regularly contributes to various magazines, gardening shows and newsletters. With a familiar style that people can relate to, he delivers a message that is compelling, fun, informative and inspirational - all based on his organic approach to gardening. In his spare time Mark enjoys driving his Ford Model A - and of course he loves to garden.

Gift Ideas for Gardeners

I have said for some time that it is easy to buy for gardeners: generally you do not have to worry about the colour or size (except for gloves). In most cases the gift will get used because so many things that a gardener needs cannot be “over acquired”.

Take good gloves as an example. I have lost track of the numbers of pairs that I have around the property….tool shed, barn, garage, truck, car trunk and at the front door cupboard. Look for goat skin or reasonable substitute, reinforced finger tips, an open weave back to allow your hands to breathe and a Velcro closure at the wrist to stop dirt from travelling down into the working portion of the glove. I have just described the Mark’s Choice garden glove at Home Hardware. $15.

Garden Magazine. A copy of the latest Canadian gardening magazine does the trick, if you are looking for a ‘stocking stuffer’. For the more generous there are some great deals on subscriptions. We are blessed in Canada to have several great publications that address the peculiar needs of the Canadian gardener. Look for Canadian Gardening, the tried and true ( For information guaranteed to meet the regional needs of gardeners pick up Gardens West/Central/East, for which I write ( and the newest publication on the block is Garden Making, for lots of colour and columns by some names that you may be familiar with (

The Truly Canadian Almanac, by Harrowsmith. Finally there is a great, 100% Canadian almanac that provides you with weather forecasts, small town stories, trivia and all manor of washroom reading. Sure to keep the receiver of this gift busy for hours. $5.95 at Home Hardware and books stores.

How bout yourself?

Consider donating TIME to the receiver of your Yuletide largess. This may be the most appreciated gift of all!

Weeding. Offer to donate several hours of weeding at a mutually convenient time. Every gardener gets weary of pulling weeds, after the romance of the thing wears off about mid June. Bring your own equipment, including a long handled Mark’s Choice Speedy Weeder from Home Hardware. At about $28 it is the best investment that you can make in effective, chemical free weed control - without the back pain associated with stooping and bending.

Pruning. Most of us do not like to cut our own kid’s hair. Ditto the plants in our garden. Offer to come over with your loppers/shears and a green wood saw and do some trimming. Take away the trimmings for a bonus. Btw, the best loppers and hedge shears in the business are made right here in Canada. They are the Mark’s Choice limb loppers ($50 and $70) and hedge shears ($50) at Home Hardware.

Consultation. If you love to garden offer your services to people on your list who have a moderate interest in gardening. Your experience is worth something. Likely more than you know. Can you give advice on plant placement? Soil prep? Accompany your friend(s) to a garden retailer next spring and offer advice on the best deals on the lot, noting that the lowest price is not as important as the quality of a live plant.

I hope that these ideas are helpful.

With many thanks for reading each week, I wish you a very Merry Christmas this week. Regardless of your religious beliefs I encourage you to take the time to reflect on a world of peace and goodwill towards our fellow humans.

Hold the people close to you closer.
Hold the door for a stranger.
Hold out the hand of friendship to someone in need.

And God bless.