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.


Well gardeners – are you enjoying your ‘time off’?
God gifted us with this season that we call ‘winter’ to relax, reflect on the season ahead, educate ourselves and drink lots of coffee.
We do this now because there is precious little time for any of it come spring.

I took a walk around my garden the other day after a particularly beautiful snow fall. Only a couple of centimeters had arrived overnight, but it landed so lightly and in such cold conditions that I would have turned down a free trip to Florida even without the usual hassle of customs and airport security just to be in that moment.

Here is a shot of my now famous hydrangea garden covered in a fresh shroud of snow.

Here also is a shot of the same hydrangea garden in mid summer, looking its best.
One has to marvel at the dramatic changes that occur over the year in the average Canadian garden, regardless of where you live. We observe the cycles of new growth, flowering, fruiting, colour change and the slow onset of dormancy knowing that we – the gardeners – exercise very little control over any of it.

Plant Managers.

I am not sure that gardeners even orchestrate change – waving a baton at the key players in a symphony of colour, fragrance and flight of wing. No: I think that we are, at best, plant managers.

Gardeners can design and plant a garden. We can add to the existing soil or dig the whole mess out and replace it with the good stuff. We can prune existing shrubs and trees and move perennials around the yard as they mature. But we don’t actually ‘grow’ anything. Evolution took care of that job for us many generations of Hosta and hoyas ago.

If you don’t believe me, take a look around you and you will notice that there is a whole big green world out there that is growing without any help from any of us. Thank you very much. Before the Europeans arrived in this land the woodlands were left for the most part on their own. Carbon dioxide was exchanged for oxygen and a few other goodies and voila – forests grew up all over the land.

The best time to plan and to dream.

Mid winter is the best time of year for us to think about the garden that we want this coming year, to plan for it, to make some calls to contractors and designers to enlist some assistance in this process. And to dream.

It would be easy for me to recommend that you subscribe to seed catalogues right now, to read gardening magazines, to visit my website to get your nagging gardening questions answered at and to go to a few horticultural meetings. These meetings are occurring all across the country in greater frequency than ever before. They are a great way to meet like minded people and engage in some conversation that will get you going in a direction that will help you produce the garden of your dreams.

But I am not going to suggest any of that.
Instead I merely want you to do one thing this week: to dream the dream of the greatest garden and yard that you ever had.
No great accomplishment in this world ever occurred without a dream.

It is your turn, Canadian gardeners.

Our ability to dream is a vital part of the gift.

Dream about keeping your knees dirty – and pour yourself another cup of coffee.


Join me on Thursday, January 20th for an event with the Applewood Garden Club. The event takes place at the Lakeview Golf Course in Mississauga. For more details, visit Hope to see you there!