Mark Cullen to host gardening presentation for Harriston residents

Mark Cullen is coming to town.

John and Patty Mock, owners of the Harriston Home Hardware, spoke to Minto councillors recently about Cullen’s presentation, to be held April 7 as a fundraiser.

Mayor David Anderson said the pair are working with the town’s Communities in Bloom committee. With them was Louise Bexton, Minto’s Com­munity in Bloom administrator.

Bexton said it all started last year at the 2008 Communities in Bloom conference. The conference head office had brought in Cullen at the last minute.

“We were fortunate, and he made an excellent presentation. He’s very informative, knowledgeable, funny, personable.”

Bexton said at the end of the presentation, there was the opportunity to purchase copies of his book and have it autographed.

While she said she had been dying to talk to him, there was another workshop she had to get to.

She said she did not get the chance then, and was told that there had not been enough books to go around.

In getting ready for dinner that night, she and her partner happened upon Cullen, walking “all by himself, with three books in his hands. We couldn’t believe our luck.”

Not only did they get two books, they asked how they would be able to book a similar presentation in Minto.

The choice was to be sponsored through Home Hardware head office, or pay him.

Once back in Minto, Recreation Director Dave Stonley contacted the Mocks, who worked to bring Cullen to town.

John Mock said after talking to Bexton last September, they put in a request to have Cullen come to the community.

“I’m not sure how many phone calls were made.”

But, Mock said, “to put it into perspective, Cullen probably only does four or five such events for Home Hardware across Canada as part of his endorsement deal.”

Once the approval was made, Mock quickly contacted Bexton.

“I didn’t need a phone to hear her [response to the News] from Palmerston,” he said. “She was quite excited to say the least.”

A small committee was set up “to make sure this comes off without a hitch.”

Mock noted there were some reservations bringing Cullen into a small town.

Posters have been distributed to Home Hardware stores across the region.

He said quite a few tickets have been sold already to Kin­cardine and Kitchener residents already.

At the event itself, Mock said they are trying to bring in some Minto-only garden-based businesses as a chance to spotlight their businesses before a captive audience.

Overall, the goal will be to promote Cullen’s products, but the only items for sale will be his books – with a signing session.

He noted part of the proceeds will be going to support Minto’s Communities in Bloom and the local horticultural society.

He said other Home Hard­ware stores are just as interested because the presentation will help them as well.

Mayor David Anderson said sees the event as another huge attraction to the community.

Part of the event will include gift bags and door prizes for those attending.

Mock added he sees it as an introduction to next year’s home show.

Stonley said organizers are anticipating a crowd of 300 people for the event.