Q: If mason bees come out so early, what do they feed on? There is not too much out in my garden in February and I don't see how I could support the bees.
James Rowley Email
A: Mason bees and flowers are temperature sensitive.
This means that flowers are triggered to open when the temperature is right for them to open. At this time, the temperature is also at the right level to prompt mason bees to hatch so that when they emerge, flowers are always waiting for them.
In mid-February in coastal B.C. and the Fraser Valley, witch-hazel is in full bloom, also hardy cyclamen, winter jasmine, winter heather and snowdrops. Other springflow-ers quickly follow.
But even if you don't have any of these in your garden, mason bees travel and there are likely to be early flowers in neighbours' gardens that would nourish the mason bees.
Q: Two-thirds of my front lawn and part of the boulevard has been hit with the chafer beetle. Spring is coming and I will want to re-seed but I don't know what to do with the part that has not been affected. Should I dig up the rest of my lawn or just re-seed the lawn that has been infected. The raccoons that were digging up my lawn have seemed to stop going any further.
Bill Stott Email
A: Some people decide to give up their grass lawn completely and either put in a patio instead or reseed with a new lawn of chafer-resistant plants. These include Dutch white clover (Trifolium repens), Leptinella squalida 'Brass Buttons,' or, for sunny, well-drained areas, Wooly Thyme.
If you want to continue with a grass lawn, it will be best to dig up and re-seed the whole lawn because the part which appears to be unaffected is bound to have some chafer larvae in it - just not as many.
But no matter what you do with your lawn, it's very likely to get re-infested again after the chafer beetles mate in late June and begin laying eggs in early July.
Because these beetles can fly, infestations can move in from other chafer-infested lawns or boulevards in your neighbourhood.
Between mid-July and the month end the newly hatched chafer larvae will be in your lawn but very close to the surface. This is the time to apply the predatory nematode Heterohabdilis bacte-riophora. It has to be done at this time before the larvae move deeper into the soil.
You can order this nematode from garden centres.
These nematodes are tiny living creatures and need to be watered in within a short time of being brought home. There are instructions with each nematode kit.
Q: I would like to know if there is an evergreen ivy. I wanted it in a pot on my deck to offer privacy.
A: All ivies are evergreen. Ivy will provide you with quick, dense cover, but the plain green kinds and ones with large leaves get out of control very fast and need frequent cutting back. Small-leaved ivies are much easier to maintain, but they do grow more slowly.
Ivy also has a reputation as a seriously invasive plant.
? Anne Marrison is happy to answer garden questions. Send them to her via firstname.lastname@example.org.