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.

Greatest Show on Earth.

~March 14th, 2011

The back of winter may not be broken where you live, but the strength of the sun continues to increase and we just received a one hour raise this past weekend (except in Saskatchewan where they did not turn their clocks back). So days are longer and the sun higher and the first day of spring is this Sunday.

Things could be worse for Canadian gardeners.

Before I launch into a series of blogs that will feed you timely information that you can take into the garden and use, let’s talk about where to find inspiration for this years’ garden.

This week, beginning on Wednesday, I am speaking at Canada’s largest flower and garden festival, Canada Blooms. I look forward to this festival every year as it provides a great opportunity for me to meet a great number of Canadian gardeners under one roof AND to get inspired myself by the feature gardens that have been installed there.

At the time of this writing the construction phase of Canada Blooms is almost over and I am once again impressed by the sophisticated level of design and the professionalism of the landscape installations. Over $9 million worth of plants, materials, labour and design expertise go into this event and is paid for by the industry professionals of Landscape Ontario, our industry trade association.

In addition to the ‘feature gardens, the ‘Floral Hall’ features the works of international floral designers from New Zealand, Europe, Africa and points beyond. It is the only juried flower show of its kind in the country. The Garden Club of Toronto puts on an outstanding display of flower arrangements that includes numerous categories. If you enjoy flower arranging you won’t want to miss it.

I am looking forward to the ‘Marketplace’: this is where you can buy stuff for your garden. Plants, seeds, bulbs and cut flowers are available in abundance. Pick Ontario is there with bouquets of flowers that will knock your gardening socks off. There are clothes for gardeners, hats, garden d├ęcor items, outdoor furniture, garden tools and you name it. Quite possibly this is the largest assemblage of garden ‘stuff’ any where in Canada at any one time.

Over 200 hours of education.

There are 3 permanent ‘stages’ from which speakers provide almost a constant flow of information: learn how to garden, cook, build a deck or don’t learn a thing, if you want. Just sit and enjoy a break in your busy day at Blooms.

How do you get there?

Exhibition Place, Direct Energy Centre. Go to for all of the info.

If you are driving, it is easy.
If you are flying, Air Canada and Westjet both have some great last minute deals – I recommend that you check them out. Last year I flew Porter, from the Toronto Island Airport for the first time and was thrilled… check them out too, if you live near Ottawa, Montreal or Halifax.

And go to VIA for rail travel info – and note that VIA is sponsoring the VIA Garden Route contest at Canada Blooms… check it out and get on board!

Is it worth the trip?

You could spend 3 days at the festival and still not see it all.

What should I bring?

- camera
- flat soled shoes
- money (‘cause you will want to buy stuff and feed yourself)
- a laid back attitude that allows you to drink in an early, most inspiring spring.

See you at Blooms this week!!