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, by email
Mason bees and flowers are temperature sensitive.
This means 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.
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 spring flowers 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.
Two-thirds of my front lawn and part of the boulevard has been hit with the chafer beetle. Spring is coming and I want to reseed, but I don't know what to do with the unaffected part.
Should I dig up the rest of my lawn or just re-seed the infected lawn? The raccoons digging up my lawn seemed to stop going any farther.
Bill Stott, by email
Some people decide to give up their grass lawn and either put in a patio or reseed with a new lawn of chafer-resistant plants.
These include Dutch white clover, Brass Buttons or, for sunny, well-drained areas, Wooly Thyme.
If you want to continue with a grass lawn, it is best to dig up and reseed 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, 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 infested lawns or boulevards.
Between mid-July and the month end, the newly hatched larvae will be in your lawn but close to the surface. This is the time to apply the predatory nematode Heterohabdilis bacteriophora. It has to be done before the larvae move deeper into the soil.
You can order this nematode from garden centres. They are tiny living creatures and need to be watered within a short time of being brought home.
There are instructions with each nematode kit. It is very important the nematode mixture contacts bare earth - this enables them to move quickly down to the chafer larvae.
I would like to know if there is an evergreen ivy. I wanted it in a pot on my deck to offer privacy.
Helga, by email
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 slowly.
Ivy has a reputation as a seriously invasive plant.