MARK AND BEN CULLEN: Lessons from a Gardening Column

As we move into a new year, we look back at the columns we’ve written for you (and researched), keeping an eye out for the highlights.

Here are some of the thoughts we shared that we believe deserve another look.

Mark and Ben Cullen – Contribution

“Rot and rot are your friends.”

Last December, we wrote about the benefits of installing an insect hotel in your backyard and contradicted the popular idea that the garden is a place of order and storage. The idea of ​​creating habitat and providing food for beneficial insects is still a relatively new idea to many gardeners. But it is gaining ground. We approved of the idea of ​​leaving dead leaves in your garden for a while. Now is not the time to bring beneficial wildlife to your garden. Our insect hotels are now taking reservations for spring.

“Basil is an anomaly.”

Without pollinators, 30% of our food would not be produced. So why not maximize the number of pollinators in your garden with plants that are both flowering and good to eat? We have spoken of herbs as a family of plants which are perfect for this purpose. They are compact, require little maintenance, and produce a lot of food. Basil is the only popular herb that requires a lot of water and sun to function well. An abnormality.

“Of all the families in the plant world, none produces as many blank manholes as the evergreen deciduous leaves.”

What are deciduous conifers and why would you plant them? They offer attractive foliage year round, most bloom and attract pollinators (see a developing theme here?), And they’re generally fairly easy to grow. Look for euonymus, boxwood, yews, and holly. And plan to enjoy the foliage all year round.

“At the factory, we planted a plant.

Interpretation: At the plant we put a botanical species in the ground. We have fun with our column. In September, we implored readers to plant and keep planting. Quote from the now famous Peter Wohlleben, author of The Hidden Life of Trees, who reminds us that trees produce rain. If we were to cut down all the trees in Canada, rain would only occur within 50 km of oceans or large bodies of fresh water. Our country would become a desert. Who said that what we do in the garden has no impact on the environment? What do sedum (hens and chicks), Russian sage and ornamental grasses have in common? They are determined and independent plants that require very little maintenance. Unlike humans who after birth need more TLC than any other mammal, there are some plants you can ignore. Our column has listed and explained many of them.

“Goldenrod is the new milkweed”.

At the end of October, we exhibited the virtues of the native goldenrod (Solidago Canadensis) as it attracts a multitude of beneficial insects and songbirds. And to think that many municipalities still classify it as a noxious weed. Only a few years ago the milkweed shared this space, but we learned best when it became known that it is the exclusive host for monarch larvae. What is today’s nuisance that will be redeemed tomorrow? Stay tuned. You will learn it here.

We have suggested that the cardinal rule for attracting birds to your garden is to leave your perennials upright for the winter. Hydrangea and other flowering shrubs too. See? Not all of our columns have ‘things to do’ that you can display on the refrigerator. Here we suggest you relax and enjoy the sofa for a while.

We are busy researching and writing our columns for the New Year as we speak. We continue our commitment to providing you with the inspiration to get out there and enjoy the benefits of gardening and the practical tips you can use. Good year.

Mark Cullen is an expert gardener, author, animator, tree advocate, and member of the Order of Canada. Her son, Ben, is a fourth generation urban gardener and graduated from the University of Guelph and Dalhousie University in Halifax. Follow them on, on Instagram and Facebook.

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