Ask Mark: Newspaper column

So You Thought You Were Done

Published in the Toronto Star November 19, 2016 Those of us who love the outdoors and enjoy puttering around the yard are always looking for an excuse to do something in the fresh air.  This column is not for you.  This is for those who thought that they were done with the lawn and garden. …

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Learn to Relax

Published in the Toronto Star November 12, 2016    “I only went out for a walk and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in.” ~John Muir (1838–1914) Mindfulness. Prayerfulness. Meditation.  All good ideas.  But I have a better one: a walk in the park. Remember when your…

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Communications

Published in the Toronto Star November 5, 2016 “If there’s a book you really want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.” ~Toni Morrison Last month a few hundred ‘garden writers’ met in Atlanta to learn more about their passion and to network.  These are the people who bring…

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Grow Your Own Bird Food

Published in the Toronto Star October 29, 2016 “The tweet that I love best comes from a beak.”  Mark Cullen Time was, birding season was in the winter, when there was pretty much nothing else to do while standing at the kitchen window.  My, how times have changed!  I have this on good authority: bird…

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Life, Strength and Peace

Published in the Toronto Star October 22, 2016 “Freedom is never free.”  ~Author Unknown During the Afghanistan war, Canada lost 158 men and women in the conflict.  Their bodies, once repatriated at CFB Trenton were driven to the Coroner’s office in Toronto. A very Canadian thing happened during those years: people gathered on bridges along…

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Fly Away Home

Published in the Toronto Star October 15, 2016 “The caterpillar does all the work but the butterfly gets all the publicity.” ~Attributed to George Carlin While the decline of the honey bee is high on our radar right now, butterflies are coming in a close second.  And so they should.  In case you have not…

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Your Pick – My Pick

Published in the Toronto Star October 8, 2016 “Did you ever stop to taste a carrot? Not just eat it, but taste it? You can’t taste the beauty and energy of the earth in a Twinkie.” ~Terri Guillemets Where do you buy groceries?  A growing number of us are visiting our local farmers market to…

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Incredible Edibles

Published in the Toronto Star October 1, 2016 “I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought, and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.”  ~G.K. Chesterton Thanksgiving Day is 10 days away.  What are you going to give thanks for?  Many readers need only look out their back window at their bounty…

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Blazing Tulips

Published in the Toronto Star September 24, 2016 “People ask me what I do in winter when there’s no baseball. I’ll tell you what I do. I stare out the window and wait for spring.” ~Rogers Hornsby [I could say the same thing about gardening.  Mark] Are you a planner? Then what I am about…

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To Do List

Published in the Toronto Star September 17, 2016 The kids are safely ensconced in school.  The yard and garden is looking a bit neglected.  It is early September and you have a wonderful opportunity to bring new life to the late summer garden. I am here to help, with one of my now-famous ‘to-do’ lists…

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Raised in a Bed

Published in the Toronto Star September 10, 2016 If you are a gardener, there are many reasons why you would want to raise your plants in a raised bed. Why would you want to build a raised bed in your yard?  There are many answers to this question and most of them can be found in…

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We Just Can’t Stop Them Now

Published in the Toronto Star September 3, 2016 “Teaching a child not to step on a caterpillar is as valuable to the child as it is to the caterpillar.”  ~Bradley Millar The bees are changing everything. Time was “a garden” consisted of a lawn, framed by sweeping beds of perennials, evergreens and flowers – oh…

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Bring on the Critters

Published in the Toronto Star August 27, 2016 “Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.” ~Confucius You may want to kill me for saying this, but I say, “Bring on the critters”. If you happen to be fortunate enough to find yourself in Invermere B.C. any time soon you will notice that every…

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Imagine

Published in the Toronto Star August 20, 2016 “Someone has to stand up and say the answer isn’t another pill. The answer is spinach.” ~Bill Maher, 2007 Hopefully you are enjoying some ‘hammock time’ and have entered a special zone that is reserved for late summer.  A time when you can think more freely: a…

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I Promised You a Rose Garden

Published in the Toronto Star August 13, 2016   It is a new day in the rose garden.  Just as social media is changing the way that we communicate with one another, new rose varieties are changing the ways that we use and appreciate them. A browse through the current Sheridan Nurseries catalogue reveals a…

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Outside the Boundaries

Published in the Toronto Star August 6, 2016 Take a moment to think of your property, even your condo balcony, as something much greater than the boundaries indicated on a survey.  Think of the piece of real estate that you live on as a pearl in a necklace that extends down your street, around the…

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A Sea of Change

Published in the Toronto Star July 30, 2016 “We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.”  ~Native American Proverb I recently completed my annual tour of the country and I have much to report.  While Canadians are gradually become aware of climate change and the impact that it is…

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Take a Break

Published in the Toronto Star July 23, 2016 It is now officially mid-summer and time to treat yourself to a break.  Who says?  This guy.   The guy who knows how you have nurtured the lawn, planted your garden, kept the weeds under control, mulched, pruned and watered all season.  I know these things because I am…

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Looking Up

Published in the Toronto Star July 16, 2016 I have a 10 year old kiwi vine at the front of my house that has strangled my downspout.  This vine, known for producing the most delicious sweet, green fruit about the size of a large grape is quite aggressive.  But I love it. It surprises many people…

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Save Water, Time and Your Back

Published in the Toronto Star July 9, 2016 There is something primal about water.  When the animals on the Serengeti Plain have finished a busy day of chasing each other or being chased, they generally meet at the local watering hole for refreshment.  There you will often find antelope and lion sipping fresh water from the…

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