Thursday, September 1, 2016

The New Canadian Garden and Highway of Heroes Tribute

In July I submitted a photo of my front yard butterfly/pollinator garden for consideration to win a copy of Mark Cullen's latest book 'The New Canadian Garden' that came out in February of this year. I was thrilled to be contacted and told I'd won a copy.
For my American blogging sisters, Mark Cullen is our Canadian Garden Guru who shares his expertise through presentations, syndicated newspaper columns, radio shows, television, a newsletter and in several books before The New Canadian Garden.
Mark often addressed us at our annual meeting and luncheon when I was still a member of the Garden Writers Association. When one hears or reads Mark's words you become aware of his passion for gardening.  For myself, being a garden communicator isn't something that ended when I retired from active duty as a Master Gardener and writer.  My own passion persists as I want to share what I've learned and continue to learn.
In the introduction Mark asks if gardeners live longer than non-gardeners? When I started this blog I had in the 'about me section' "I live to garden and garden to live" so if you too are a gardener, think about what your response would be.
Styles and methods of gardening have changed immensely over the years, in my beginner garden adventures back in the 70s one scuffled the soil every spring to break up the clumps and add oxygen. We later learned that this was not a good thing to do as it disturbed the soil microorganisms and the better way was to add a couple of inches of compost and let the worms and insects work it in for us.
We've all noticed how much the typical backyard has shrunk to, postage stamp size is a term frequently used. Gardening in small spaces is what a new Canadian garden looks like and balcony and roofs are being put to use too. The new gardener is not lusting after plant collections such as my (boomer) age group has but is instead more concerned with being environmentally responsible and growing their own organic food. They're also the ones spearheading allotment and community gardens.
I've written before here how generation x and the millennials are intent on social media sharing rather than going to horticultural society meetings. When this 'aha' moment struck home I quickly started a FB group for my community where plant swapping and questions take place.
Farmers markets are springing up everywhere and are successful with people wanting fresh fruit and produce if they're not growing their own and to support local farmers and other vendors.
Mark has quoted Jim Nollman from his book Why We Garden more than once in The New Canadian Garden and truer words were never said..."Gardening is hard work; it doesn't make life easier, although it often makes it more fulfilling."
Basic gardening skills required for soil, starting seeds,  pests and diseases are covered in the book as well as all about biodiversity and the benefits of having children learn to garden from an early age.
The New Canadian Garden is the perfect gift for a beginning gardener and one that will definitely inspire a seasoned baby boomer.
photo from the OHA newsletter
One last thing to share about Mark Cullen, he has been involved from the start as volunteer chair for an admirable campaign called the Highway of Heroes.  117,000 trees trees to be planted on the Highway of Heroes between Keele St (the coroner's office) in Toronto and CFB Trenton along the 401.  One tree for every one of Canada's war dead. Further more, all of the author royalties from the sale of The New Canadian Garden are donated to the campaign.
This summer the Ontario Horticultural Society donated (with a final count) over $28,000 with my own society donating an awesome $1,000. Mark Cullen is third from the right in the above photo.
I wasn't required to write a book review but when your own gardening journey has been affected by a down to earth fellow who has assisted you along the way with his books and presentations, it only makes sense to share Mark's latest book which, by the way, will be useful to gardeners others than Canadians.
Welcome September
Happy Gardening!

Linking with Mosaic Monday.


  1. Congrats on winning the book. We will be working on our garden this weekend cleaning the beds up for fall.

  2. Congratulations, Judith!.

    We often watched Mark on Canada AM. I miss that show!

  3. Congratulations on the win, Judith. Good of you to jump into the current day and start the fb page for the younger-living-online people. What they miss, though, not meeting in person. I do think gardeners live longer--gardening slows you down and gets you outside and exercising and if you grow food, it's healthier!

  4. Hello Judith, congrats on winning the book. Your garden images are lovely. The tree planting sounds like a wonderful campaign. Happy Thursday, enjoy your day!

  5. Congratulations, Judith! I will look for the book.
    I was so touched to read about the tree planting - what a beautiful thing for Mark Cullen to support!

  6. Congratulations, Judith! Your butterfly garden does look wonderful.
    Planting trees for the war dead is a beautiful idea. So many trees, so many reminders...

  7. Sounds like a great book and congratulations on winning it. The photo you submitted is beautiful! I adore your gardens, Judith, and am so glad I had the opportunity to view them in person. They are amazing. I, too, love gardening even though it is hard work. :)
    Hugs, Beth

  8. I'm glad you said that last line, Judith, because I am just thinking that I'd like to look into his advice and publications. Your butterfly garden is beautiful!

  9. I'm signing up for his "free" newsletter. Thanks, Judith!

  10. How exciting to be given the book, that's brilliant, especially as you are such a fan and will appreciate it.

  11. I'm not surprised...your flower photos are beautiful...
    so glad you were given the book and I know you will enjoy it for a long time...

  12. Oh how wonderful you won that copy - it is absolutely perfect for you!

    Neat about the highway tree planting tribute - that's so wonderful! Hugs! ♥

  13. Hello, Judith,
    Such a wonderful news! Congratulations,Judith. Your flowers and butterflies are always beautiful. (*^^)v!!

  14. What a beautiful butterfly garden! Your photo was beautiful!

  15. The book looks right up your alley indeed! Congratulations on the beautiful photo! I have caught him on TV while in Canada and enjoyed his presentations...a special honor for you!

  16. Congratulations on winning the book, and what a lovely write up / post.
    Wishing you a good weekend, and also a happy September

    All the best Jan

  17. Judith, how delightful! Congratulations! Your photograph is lovely.

  18. So glad you won the book, Judith! I used to enjoy watching Mark Cullen although I never got into gardening too much. I was amazed at his knowledge. I love the idea of planting trees along the highway to honour our heroes. Enjoy your weekend, my friend.


  19. Congratulations on winning the book, Judith! I can't think of a more deserving winner.

    It's interesting how many Buy/Sell groups have popped up on FB. Apparently, you can buy items on Instagram now too!

  20. Well done on winning a copy of Mark's new book. The highway of heros is special to us as we are right by CFB Trenton and frequently drive through the base, seeing the signs. The local roads it takes from the base to the highway are lined with houses and businesses proudly flying the Canadian flag. Hope you group on Facebook survives. I had a similar group here in our area, through Yahoo groups, but it seems those types of groups have faded away in the past year or so. Growing up I lived in Whitby very close to Cullen Gardens where they had the wonderful miniature village

  21. Congrats on winning the copy! Your garden is beautiful ♥

  22. Congratulations on your winning garden Judith! That IS a really nice shot of your garden. You've written a wonderful review of this new book, and I can tell you're excited already for next spring ;) I like the new decision to plant the trees along the highway. Earlier this year, we saw huge swathes of mature trees chopped down along that same highway to make way for something new. Not sure if this will be part of the 407 extension or what, but it was sad to see them heaped in piles along the highway.

  23. Judith, congratulations on your win. Mark Cullen sounds like a man who knows his stuff. Wonderful review. Happy Monday!

  24. I couldn't think of a more deserving or a more appreciative recipient of the book win - I'm sure Mark would be thrilled with your post too! Have a lovely week :)
    Wren x

  25. I'm not in the least surprised that your amazing photograph of your garden won you this book prize. As a hobby gardener who loves to grow her own produce I found your post very interesting especially the part about how social media is helping new gardeners to share their expertise. Thanks for telling us all about this hugely talented gardener at Mosaic Monday this week.

  26. Congratulations on winning the book, Judith. I have not heard of Mark Cullen - here in the west we have Brian Minter who is on the radio and shares his expertise. Gardening is a wonderful activity. I really enjoyed reading how it's changed over the years. I know our own children love growing their own food and spend hours in their gardens - quite a switch from all the complaining when they were asked to pull weeds as youngsters!

  27. How interesting! You already know so much about gardening but it's always fun to have a new book for inspiration! I'm happy for you! Hugs, Diane Happy mosaic Monday!

  28. Has he done videos that I might have seen? Gosh, he looks familiar. I love how a garden enhances a home, but I can honestly say that I do not live to garden. Maybe once in a rare while I get a thrill thinking of a garden solve or of a new plant. And I cannot be so cruel as not to water my poor garden. If the rain does not come, I will come up with something to keep my flowers and plants alive.

  29. Congratulations on winning this book, Judith. I'm sure you will enjoy it.

    I love growing herbs --they are my favorite plants and I love to have flowers in my garden. Even in the challenging weather and animal grazing that goes on here in Colorado I've filled my front and back garden beds with flowers and get many compliments from my neighbors. It brightens my day to see birds, butterflies and hummingbirds enjoy my flowers.

  30. Congratulations on winning the book, Judith. It sounds very useful. I'm glad that more people are taking even their small spaces and gardening to raise their own food. Besides our large vegetable garden, I have a couple cherry tomatoes growing at the top of our driveway. One day the postman asked when i was going to hang a salt shaker out there. Lol

  31. Congratulations on winning a copy of the book, Judith! I'm always in awe of your garden and your GORGEOUS flowers. I think the Highway of Heroes is such a wonderful way to honor those Canadians who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country -- truly a gift that keeps on giving.

    I know you'll enjoy this new book and hope you'll share with us some of the inspiration you find there. Have a wonderful week, Judith! :)

    Hugs to you,

    Denise at Forest Manor

  32. What a great post, and I enjoyed learning about a garden writer in Canada. He sounds quite devoted to gardening, and I love what he is doing with his good works. Happy you won a copy of the book so you could share it with your readers! (I also think it's quite brilliant that you started that FB group for plant swapping, etc. in your community. Terrific!)


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