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.

Get the Jump on Spring

~February 16, 2011

You know the feeling of planning for a big day so far in advance that you kick back and just kind of dream about it and then all of a sudden you realize that the big day is not that far off and you had better get your butt in gear and get serious about it? Well, that day is today.

I know that there is likely a lot of snow on the ground where you live right now and some of you are still in the deep Canadian freeze. We often forget that the piles of snow at the margins of our driveway will melt away in just a few short days. This may not happen tomorrow or the next day, but it WILL happen and when it does it behooves all of us gardeners to be prepared for it.

The usual cycle is: snow to water, water to ice, ice with snow on it, snow to ice and ice to water and then a big wind and then the sun and then you just want to be outside because hosing down the driveway feels like a trip to Florida.

On that first day of plus 15 °C with the sun shining down, you open the door and shove the kids out of it and get yourself a cup of something hot and sit on the steps and watch them play. Maybe my kids are a little too old for this scenario as they have all moved out, but I will still do this only the kids are now the wild birds that I will sit on the step and watch play. And if it is late in the day it will not be something hot that I will be drinking….

All of this is to say that February is a wonderful month to be a gardener as we have SO much to look forward to and ‘the big day’ – which is really a ‘season’ - is really not that far away. For all Canadian gardeners, the truth is that we are over the hump and more than half way through our ‘time out’.

This Saturday take a break from winter and start planning for this year's growing season at Get the Jump on Spring.
If you are counting the weeks until Spring arrives you can look forward to one of the earliest harbingers of the season at the Toronto Botanical Garden's Annual event, Get the Jump on Spring, on Saturday, February 19, 2011 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is FREE, but a $2 donation to the TBG will give visitors chances at great, garden-themed hourly prizes!Put on in partnership with the Ontario Horticultural Association, District 5 and the Toronto Master Gardeners, the event offers a chance to find out more about horticultural societies, garden clubs and environmental organizations from across Ontario. Master gardeners will be on hand to answer questions and there are fascinating hourly lectures and demonstrations, a popular floral design competition and a marketplace with spring flowers and many garden-themed products for sale. Indulge in a delectable treat at the Jump Cafe.


Every hour, starting at 10:30 a.m. well-known gardening experts and members of the Toronto Master Gardeners will give free 45-minute presentations and demonstrations on subjects ranging from Bee Keeping in the City and Balcony Gardening to tips on cooking with and preserving herbs.
Location: Toronto Botanical Garden, 777 Lawrence Avenue East (at Leslie) Toronto.

Free parking.For more information call 416-397-1341 or visit
A reminder that Canada Blooms comes to the Direct Energy Centre in Toronto Wednesday, March 16 to Sunday the 20th. It is the biggest and the best flower and garden festival in the country. Come say Hi – I will open the event each day with Denis Flanagan at 11:30. (though, not on Sunday.)
Get a discounted ticket on line at