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Melanie Mathieson - Gardening Guru

The Black Walnut

Many people probably do not know that there are quite a few black walnut and butternuts (also known as white walnut) growing in yards in Fort Frances and properties along the Rainy River. It is not intentionally being kept a secret, but many gardeners just don’t know or realize what tree species it is. When I still lived in Fort Frances, I would receive many calls every year asking for me to come and identify the tree or the nuts, or a problem with plants dying the garden (see below for details).

Plant Milkweed for the Monarch Butterfly

Each fall, hundreds of millions of monarch butterflies migrate from Canada and the United States, to central Mexico, to wait out the unfavourable conditions of northern winters. Each spring, they begin the migration north and need milkweed for food along the way. Milkweed is an important source of nutrients during the migration but is also imperative for the monarch larvae to develop fully into a butterfly. The monarch needs your help, so please plant some milkweed in your garden.

A Contradiction - Earwigs are Both a Beneficial Insect and a Garden Pest.

Due to the mild winters of recent years, earwigs have successfully migrated north and established themselves in the yards and gardens of northwestern Ontario. By far, earwigs seem to be the insect that makes humans cringe the most. When mentioned in conversation, even those that have never seen an earwig have a look of disgust on their face and a comment to match.

The quest for the unusual plants for the shade garden - Part 1 - Trilliums

I am always seeking unusual plant species and varieties, even with over two hundred plant species in my garden, in Thunder Bay, I never stop searching for the rare and unusual to add. Unfortunately, some of those plants always don’t survive my conditions (soil and/or growing zone) but I at least I enjoy the challenge of trying them until I am sure I cannot keep them on my site. I proudly show anyone who visits, my unusual plants some of which include trilliums, wild ginger, liverwort and bloodroot.

Tips and tricks to deter ants from invading your garden

With the drier spring conditions this year, you may find that you are seeing some ant hills develop in your yard or garden.

As I have deep sandy soils that are drier to begin with, I typically have many ant hills, but with the drought conditions in Thunder Bay last summer and this spring, I seem to have ant hills popping up all over. Fortunately, I haven’t found any inside my house to date.

If you are encountering the same problem, here are a few tips to help you with the aggravation of ants.

Keeping weeds at bay organically for a healthier garden

It is true that weeds and unwanted plants are present in almost every garden, but there are some ways to control weeds without them getting out of hand and taking over the garden. With some patience diligence and some early attack methods you’ll soon be keeping weeds at bay and enjoying the later part of the season a little more ‘weed free’.

I have listed some tips for easier and effective organic weed control. Remember, your best tools against weeds are early attack and diligence.