Living in Northern Ontario means sharing the land with an abundance of wildlife big and small.

We are fortunate to have so many forests, lakes and mountains to enjoy. But it also comes with challenges such as long and harsh winters. We experience a lot of ‘false starts’ to spring as well and this makes it harder for new plants to get started.

Box It Up

Typical cold frame

To accommodate the early pollinators in our area we built a cold-frame box for growing flowers native to our region. This box has a lid on it so can keep open if it’s sunny and +10°C then close it if it’s snowing and 0°C the next. It acts like a little greenhouse and keeps our flowers warm and safe. Learn how to build your own >

Patchwork Mowing

We also leave all of the dandelions for as long as possible and if we need to cut the grass we do it in ‘patches’. This rotation-cutting ensures we always leave an abundance of food for our pollinators.

The amount of bees and butterflies, hummingbirds and others using the flowers in our cold-frame box or dandelion patches, always bring a sense of joy and wonder to us and to whomever visits our property. Rotation lawn cutting doesn’t cost us anything and a cold-frame box can easily be built for under $50.

We love exploring new ways to help out!

About the Author

Helen-Anne Embry is a CWF Certified Gardener based in Mattawa, Ontario. Learn more about certifying your garden or gardening for wildlife.