Gardening with Mark, December 2013
In With The New
I can’t believe how fast 8 years has gone by.
It was in 2005 that I ‘revamped’ my website: it was, faster, jammed with more information, more pictures and generally more ‘user friendly’.
Welcome to the 2010’s. People change, technology changes and how we use it changes. Isn’t that just the fluid, ever-flowing alchemy of life? Like water, always seeking the lowest level. Not in a bad way but rather in a powerful, predictable way that we never foresee with absolute clarity.
And so, the need to change my website crept up on me and one day, bingo! It seemed like the most obvious thing to do.
When you visit the new www.markcullen.com you will find:
– More pictures [surprise!]. Between my assistant Brenda and myself, we have a library now of over 15,000 garden shots, many from gardens across this great land of ours in Canada, others from abroad and of course too many from my own 10 acre garden [is that possible?].
– More videos. Call me a little slow [you would not be the first, isn’t this why we have kids?] but I have joined the YouTube generation. There are 16 how-to videos online as we speak, plus direct access to an inventory of my work on CTV/Canada AM with Jeff Hutcheson.
Click on the Home Hardware link for even more How-To videos featuring moi – learn how to prune permanent garden plants, enjoy the best looking lawn on the block, how to plant your vegetable garden and more. With more, of course, to come.
– My weekly blog. Thoughts on a current subject related to gardening and our environment that is useful, practical and sometimes contemplative.
– Answers to your gardening questions. All of my written work over recent years is catalogued and cross referenced using a powerful new search engine. Type in a keyword to find the information that you are looking for, whether it is a favourite newspaper column that I wrote or a simple answer to a straightforward question.
This section is faster, more thorough and useful than the previous website. Search the ‘article library‘ to find the search engine and to get answers.
– Facebook. A fast connection to social media where I post pictures, my current media work in print/broadcast and commercial [Home Hardware and Golfgreen], daily reminders of ‘what to do in the garden’ and of course the special events that I attend and/or support.
With more than 5,000 ‘fans’ on Facebook and growing, I can’t afford to NOT post something everyday. Ditto Twitter…
– ‘Popular posts’. While my work is enormously popular [a little humour], not all of it is equally so. We use the home page of www.markcullen.com to post the most popular stories of the week… and they will change weekly.
It is my plan to feature one story on food gardening, another on ‘how to’ gardening advice that is timely and practical, another that features environmental issues as they relate to gardening and a fourth that draws attention to garden events, contests, travel and the like.
In short the new www.markcullen.com is meant to give you more information with less effort, a smattering of entertainment and a persistent reflection of how I see the world of gardening/environment.
It is meant to be helpful and thought provoking. Welcome to my new world! Faster, deeper, more colourful and engaging.
I would really appreciate your feedback – good, bad or indifferent – on our efforts. Today is the official launch!
Reply to this email to share your feedback, or email email@example.com.
My Prostate Cancer message
Last month I wrote a newsletter that featured a story about my recent journey with prostate cancer.
The response was overwhelmingly positive. Many thanks to all of you, for your kind words of encouragement and for sharing your personal stories about cancer.
I believe that the message touched a lot of men [many through female readers], some of whom may not have been planning on getting a physical exam or PSA test but who now will.
To you guys: God bless you and thanks for acting. Mission accomplished, for today.
Things To Do ‘In the Garden’ this Month
Hey! What garden?
Ok. Let’s get serious. Even on the prairies and way up north, gardening can still be engaged in:
– Plant amaryllis for mid winter colour. It is a lot of fun to watch the stem develop on an amaryllis as it reaches for light in preparation for blooming. Look for the over-sized bulbs in the Mark’s Choice amaryllis kit [featured below].
– Poinsettias. With proper care your poinsettia will last through the holiday season and well into the New Year. Place in a room where there is sufficient light and warmth, not where the sun will shine directly on the plant. Avoid hot or cold drafts or excess heat from appliances, baseboard heaters or heat ducts.
Set the plant in or on a waterproof container to protect your furnishings. Water the plant thoroughly when the soil is dry to the touch. Remember to discard excess water from the saucer. To prolong the bright colour of the bracts, temperatures should not exceed 72 degrees F during the day or 60 degrees F at night.
– Selecting a cut Christmas tree. This is a popular subject every December. Check out last week’s blog postfor tips on selecting a tree, or you can watch my CTV segment from this week.
– Repotting tropicals. Think about the tropical plants that you brought indoors in the fall. Are the hibiscus, oleander, mandevilla vine, and herbs now dropping leaves on your living room floor? They could use some TLC right about now.
– Shake snow off of evergreens to prevent snow damage.
– Use Alaskan Ice Melter instead of salt – save your plants and your cement walkway.
– Using evergreen boughs and a cut tree? Apply Wilt-Pruf to the needles to minimize loss of moisture and reduce fire hazard. Odourless, colourless and easy to use. Available at most independent garden centres.
– If you plan to build an ice rink in your yard this winter, I remind you that the clear flow hose is perfect for flooding the rink. It is lightweight and freeze-proof to -15 C without windchill. Great gift for dad !!