In This Issue: Golfgreen Lawn Fertilizer Mark Cullen Approved Garden Centres Things To Do This Month New Mark's Choice Products for 2013 Amaryllis Care ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Hello 2013! Here we are, the Christmas celebrations neatly behind us and a new year staring us in the face. I am excited about this juncture for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is the growing number of readers to this newsletter and followers on my Facebook fan page. You have voted by your actions. By signing up in record numbers for the various sources of gardening information that I offer by way of the internet you have indicated that I am on the right track. I will keep doing what I am doing until you tell me that it is a bad idea. Also exciting is the addition of many new products in the Mark's Choice line up of products, exclusive to Home Hardware. As we enter the 10th year of our relationship I am more confident than ever that we can meet and exceed the expectations of Canadian gardeners. See below for more details. I might add that Canadian gardeners are becoming more diverse and sophisticated than ever. Understanding how to make the gardening experience a pleasant and satisfying one is a challenge that I enjoy in the extreme. Our search for new products and innovative ideas to meet this challenge is taking us to wonderful and exciting places. I thank you for creating this opportunity. Without your demand for new and better gardening products I would be out of a job. Allow me to take this opportunity to wish everyone a very Happy New Year. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Golfgreen Lawn Fertilizer There is a new formula of Golfgreen lawn fertilizer that we are introducing this year: look for it. You will see us advertising it on television. It is an enhanced formula that is guaranteed to green up your lawn faster, produce a deeper green and last longer than any other consumer brand. More details to follow. Speaking of television advertising, there is a campaign being hatched as we speak that will knock your gardening socks off. More on that later, but suffice it to say that the Mark's Choice product development team has come up with a unique item that will be useful to most everyone reading this newsletter. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Mark Cullen Approved Garden Centres We added 5 new Mark Cullen Approved Garden Centres to our line up in 2012: Three Hills Home Hardware Building Centre in Three Hills Alberta Napanee Home Hardware Building Centre in Napanee Ontario Iroquois Falls Home Hardware Building Centre in Iroquois Falls Ontario Invermere Home Hardware Building Centre in Invermere British Columbia Sissiboo Home Hardware in Weymouth Nova Scotia. If you live anywhere near them, please drop by and see what surprises they have in store for you. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ What a Plant Knows Coming up in January is a two-part newspaper column on 'What a Plant Knows' based on the book by the same title (by Daniel Chamovitz). I encourage you to look them over January 12th and 19th by visiting my website at www.markcullen.com and clicking on the hot link to the Toronto Star. Announcing The Pioneer. The most recent addition to the syndication of my newspaper column is located in the Columbia Valley, Invermere. This is my first newspaper column in British Columbia and I hope that it will be one of many more to come. Go to www.columbiavalleypioneer.com for details. If you live anywhere in Canada where my weekly newspaper column is not carried, please let us know. We will follow up with the editor of your local paper to enquire if they would be interested in carrying the column. Finally, below is a rundown of the new Mark's Choice product for 2013. Give it a read and watch for the spring edition of Home At Home magazine [available this Spring at your local Home Hardware location]. There is a wonderful 8 page 'pull out' section in it. We have worked very hard to create something useful and meaningful that will enhance your gardening experience and help you to achieve greater success in your garden. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Things To Do This Month * Repot over grown indoor tropical plants. * Prune apple trees [I did this time last year!] * Water the potted perennials that you left in your garage over winter. * Check your dahlias and other summer flowering bulbs that are in storage in your basement or cold cellar. Compost the rotten ones. * Start petunia and impatiens seeds in January. * Review seed catalogues: get inspired and order early! * Read. There are too many great gardening magazines and books to list here but be sure to check out what is out there and take your time to review your favourites. * Dream. January, more than any other month, is the month that gardeners can dream of the great garden you are going to have this coming season! ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ New Mark's Choice Products for 2013 The Mark's Choice brand of gardening equipment and tools has developed over 8 years in an effort to meet the demands for high quality, competitively priced products for you - the Canadian home gardener. Every product has been 'field tested' by me personally (or I will not put my name on it!) and wherever possible we insist on sourcing our products right here in Canada. I am proud of Mark's Choice and the many people on the Home Hardware and Mark's Choice product development team who have succeeded in putting together a line of more than 150 products. The lineup of new products for 2013 under the Mark's Choice brand will include some very exciting additions (look for them late this winter and early this spring): Potato Planting Bag - Ideal for growing potatoes anywhere on a patio, deck or balcony - Simply fill with soil, plant, repeat in layers, water and harvest - Reusable - Item# 5090-690 Premium Dahlia Flower Bulbs - Assorted 5 paks containing either giant painted or fimbriata varieties - Selected for outstanding garden performance. Extra large tubers. - Item # 5029-213 Peony Flower Bulbs - Assorted 2 paks containing a patio mix or a miniature double blossom mix - Selected for superior garden performance. I love double flowering peonies as cut flowers - I strongly encourage you to plant some out in a sunny position in well drained soil. - Inexpensive, very long lived [up to 100 years] - the focus of the late spring garden. - Item# 5029-214 Container Mat Bulbs - Exclusive to Mark's Choice and a first for this product to be sold outside of Europe - Bulbs are pre-arranged in biodegradable 'egg' trays - Simply place the tray in a planter or in the garden, cover with soil, water, and in a few weeks you have a perfectly arranged flower feature - Item# 5029-212 Professional 3" Folding Gardeners Garden Knife - It took us 4 years to find the perfect gardening knife: extra hard steel that holds an edge, easy to carry and access in leather pouch, easy to open even with gardening gloves on - Professional quality stainless steel gardening knife at a very affordable price - Complete with carry pouch - Item# 7680-131 Clay Twine Pot with Scissors - For the gardener that has (almost) everything - A unique and useful item that will ensure that you have string where and when you need it. In the tool shed, the garage, the basement of potting shed. One hand use for multi tasters. - Item# 5462-211 Self-Watering Patio Planter - Perfect for the small space gardener: an intensive growing unit that will ensure overwhelming productivity in less than 6 square feet. - A mini-garden for the balcony, deck or patio - Grow fresh vegetables, herbs or flowers in any sunny location - Hidden reservoir prevents over watering, provides proper drainage - Great for people who enjoy a brief vacation from watering during summer - Made in Canada - Item# 5055-615 - Also available, a planter stand. To elevate the Mark's Choice Patio Planter. Item# 5092-760 Burlap Gardening Tote - A British gardening idea that we perfected. - Ideal for many gardening tasks: weeding, planting, harvesting - Outer pockets hold garden tools, seeds, sun screen, cell phone, water bottle, etc. - Adjustable strap for carrying - Designed for use with a bucket, for rigidity and water tightness or without a bucket for dry items - Item# 5011-800 First Rate Wall Mount Hose Reel - Made by the same people who produce my 'World's Best Rake'. They do not make junk! - This will be the last hose reel that you will ever buy: chances are you will want to take it with you when you sell your house. - Low profile, heavy duty metal - Swivels to either parallel or perpendicular positions - The very best quality on the market - Holds 75' of 5/8" hose - Item# 5042-293 Ladies' Gardening Gloves (model 1) We worked hard at improving one of the Mark's Choice best sellers and came up with: - Synthetic leather with silicone dotted palm for extra wear and grip - Neoprene flex joints with rubberized fingertips [similar to the Mark's Choice Men's gloves that have been such a hit] - Flexible spandex and mesh back keep hands cool and comfortable - Snug fitting elastic wrist with Velcro closure keeps out dirt and debris - Item# 5032-105, 106, 107 Ladies' Gardening Gloves (model 2) Similar to the newly designed gloves above, but more 'fashion forward': - Pigskin leather for strength and durability - Spandex back for a comfortable fit - Full leather index finger and hooded fingertips for added protection - Elastic wrist keeps dirt and moisture out - Item# 5032-307, 308, 309 Metal Speedy Weeder - The best weed digger in the business just got better! Regular users of the Mark's Choice speedy weeder will want to put this item on their 'most wanted' list of new garden tools. - New improved version of the original Speedy Weeder - All metal construction for strength and durability; just try to wear it out! - Item# 5078-252 Many thanks for reading and for your valuable feedback. A reminder that you can reach me at www.markcullen.com by clicking on 'Ask Mark' and I invite you to provide feedback on your experience with Mark's Choice products by clicking on 'Mark's Choice Product Feedback'. Keep your knees dirty [or, think about it anyway]. Mark
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Amaryllis Care Were you one of the lucky people who purchased a Mark's Choice Amaryllis kit before they sold out? I heard from a number of gardeners who were disappointed that they couldn't purchase a kit at the end of December. I apologize for the disappointment. I'm told that we sold out in early December. Next year I will remind you to visit your local Home Hardware store in November to shop early. If you are growing an Amaryllis at home you may be wondering what to do with the plant once it is finished blooming. Once the amaryllis has finished blooming it requires some attention. Cut the flower stalk back to about 2" in height. Allow the leaves to continue to grow and water when the soil feels dry. This will allow the leaves to produce energy which the bulb will store for future blooms. In the spring you can plant your Amaryllis in the garden. Find a location with partial shade and water during periods of drought. Fertilize regularly with a high phosphate liquid plant fertilizer. In late September bring the plant indoors and cut back the foliage. Dry the bulb for 2 weeks at 65 degrees F and then store for about 10 weeks in a cool, dry, dark place. At the end of this storage period you will need to repot your Amaryllis bulb in fresh potting mix and start the cycle again. This year I am growing 3 different amaryllis kits to make sure the Mark's Choice kit is the best value and quality. Check out the photos on my Facebook page. I am posting weekly updates.