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.

Gentle Reminders as Winter Approaches

~November 2, 2011

Now is the ideal time of year to protect your young fruit trees from rodent damage with one metre long plastic spirals and Bobbex deer repellent. The enemy in this case consists of mice, rabbits and rats that will find a meal of tree bark on an apple, pear, peach or you name it, including many ornamental trees like crabapples quite tasty come mid winter. These critters will get so desperate for sustenance that the bark of a tree that is 5 years or younger is mighty tempting indeed. Put your spirals on and spray with Bobbex before the snow seriously gets going in your area.

Upright evergreens need protection from wind and sun. Wrap up in two layers of burlap or look for a Canadian-made product called ‘Better than Burlap’ (that is its’ name). It insulates very well and has a gloss to its finish on one side of the material that encourages snow and ice to slide off. Cool.

I offer another reminder that rhododendrons and yews need to be protected from wind and sun too. The burlap treatment is useful, plus I recommend that you spray them with an anti-desiccant called ‘Wilt-Pruf’ (Home Hardware item# 5097-815).

Also, this is a good time to feed the birds, if you are not already doing so. Who, after all, does not have an unused bird feeder in the garage or basement? Get to it now, while you still have a chance to influence the choice of feeding stations that your neighbourhood song birds will frequent come mid winter. Yes, our fine feathered friends are creatures of habit, much like ourselves. You won’t regret your decision when the snow is lying hip-deep.

Have you winterized your roses yet? A reminder (yes, I mentioned this 2 weeks ago) to get to it before the Grey Cup game, if only to reward yourself by settling down into the couch with a beverage of choice while watching whoever smash up someone else whose name you do not know, unless of course you were watching the CFL before the final game of the season. The point is that wasting some time in front of the tube is your reward for doing something useful in the garden when it is generally not very tempting to be out there doing physical work.