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.

Bulbs Help Beat the Blues

~ February 1, 2012

Forced bulbs in the home are a wonderful sight and a great pick-me-up after a long Canadian winter. What better way to celebrate spring is finally on the way than with a fresh show of colour and fragrance, and the promise of a new gardening season just around the corner?

You may have experimented by forcing your own bulbs this year, but if you ran out of time, forgot to buy extra bulbs, or simply thought you’d delay the experience until next year, this is the answer. The only effort involved is a trip to browse around the garden centre, and what could be a better way to get a horticultural ‘fix’ at this time of the year!

The bulbs you will be seeking will be green, plump with buds, and almost ready to burst into bloom. They will most likely include the proverbial herald of spring; the daffodil, together with splendid Darwin tulips and fragrant hyacinths, all displaying the latest colour shades available for 2012. If you look carefully you will also find containers of mixed bulbs combining both fragrance and colour. What could be more exhilarating when snow still covers the ground, blotting out all signs of the earth and new growth, than cheery spring bulbs?

If you bring potted flowering bulbs into your home, I suggest that you will get the best and longest blooms from bulbs when you ensure they are not in a direct line with the warm, drying air from the heat vents. It is enormously beneficial to put them in a cool spot overnight, such as a cold room to prolong the blossoming period by several days or a week.

Once the blooms have finished don’t neglect these enthusiastic performers. They will perform an encore for you next year if you plant them in your garden. Keep them watered sufficiently to maintain healthy foliage to nurture the bulbs until you can plant them directly into the ground when the soil thaws. Next spring they will bring your garden to life when Mother Nature dictates.