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.

Winterize Garden Tools and Last Minute Garden Prep

~ December 7, 2011

You have a substantial investment in garden tools and equipment, therefore I recommend that you spend some time with them before putting them to bed for the winter.

I recommend taking the time for preventative maintenance. This will extend the life of tools and equipment and make them work more easily and efficiently.
Remove dirt from all tools using a wire brush or water. Oil all pivot points and springs. Sharpen the cutting edges of shovels, hoes, spades, loppers and pruners. Replace or repair any broken or bent parts. As a final step, treat all bare metal parts and cutting edges with KL73 to prevent rust. This is a long lasting rust inhibitor which lubricates, penetrates and displaces moisture. KL73 is available exclusively at Home Hardware.

Store all tools indoors in a dry location. If you haven't checked out the full line of Mark's Choice cuttings tools, this is the perfect time. It is time to throw away or recycle your old broken tools and invest in the latest Canadian-made cutting tools. Available exclusively at Home Hardware, I chose these cutting tools for the Mark's Choice product line because of their exceptional quality and durability.

Before storing hoses away for the winter, drain all the water from them and store in a dry location. This significantly reduces the chance of hoses springing a leak. If your garden hoses are cracked and/or leaking, replace them with the Mark's Choice non-kinking, continuous flow hose. It is designed and made in Canada and features anti-kink technology. The fittings are the very best quality brass and I am proud to have this hose in the Mark's Choice line of gardening accessories available exclusively at Home Hardware.

While we are talking about ‘winterizing’ let us not forget to prepare evergreens for the winter ahead.
Sunny and windy winter days can dry out the needles of evergreens. Snow and ice can also accumulate on branches causing them to break. Use a double layer of burlap to protect evergreens during the winter. You can either loosely wrap the fabric around the plant, or build a screen. When you wrap evergreens with burlap, be sure to leave the top and bottom open about 1 foot to allow for air circulation. Another option, used for recently transplanted evergreens, is to insert 4 stakes in the ground around the plant and wrap the burlap around the stakes. Lightly fill the space between the burlap and the foliage with dry leaves. Bind upright evergreens, like cedars and junipers, with strong cord or Vexar Mesh to prevent the branches from being pulled out of shape by snow and ice.
Broad-leaved evergreens, such as rhododendrons and hollies, can suffer from desiccation and sun-scald during the winter. They should be shielded from the wind and partially shaded with burlap screens as soon as evening temperatures have fallen below freezing for a couple of weeks and sprayed with Wilt-Pruf, an anti-desiccant. Young evergreens should have the ground around them soaked thoroughly with water before the first big frost. This will help prevent desiccation or drying out.

To prevent rodent or deer damage apply Bobbex. In my experience it is the best repellent on the market. Note that it is the taste and smell of the stuff that keeps rabbits, mice and deer away. No harm to the animal. Go to for more info.