Sandra Mason: How good are indoor plants at fighting pollution?

Ahhh — that new-carpet smell. Unfortunately, these days, "new stuff" can bring unhealthy air pollution. Combine "new stuff" with our winter habits of spending more time indoors and sealing our homes to keep the warm air in and the cold air out, and the result can be an unhealthy situation.

Sandra Mason: What not to say to the extreme gardener

With world event worries and cold weather concerns, even my dog is getting squirrely. Not "The Shining" kind of squirrelly, but the giggling uncontrollably kind of squirrelly. I get giddy when I discover a new garden catalog in the mailbox, or I realize the road is clear for a hike at Allerton Park.

Sandra Mason: Gardeners are a thankful bunch

In an article earlier this year, I highlighted the writing of Dr. William Sullivan, a professor and the leader of the Department of Landscape Architecture at the University of Illinois. I referenced his chapter "In Search of a Clear Head" in the book "Fostering Reasonableness: Supportive Environments for Bringing out our Best," edited by Rachel Kaplan and Avik Basu.

Sandra Mason: Insects on the menu

As you plan your Thanksgiving feast, is caterpillar custard or grasshopper gravy on the menu? Likely not; however, much of the rest of the world figured out long ago that entomophagy (insect consumption) can be a healthy, environmentally friendly gastronomical option.

Letters from Birdland: A great visit to the Pacific Northwest

We left Birdland for the Pacific Northwest. We wanted to see our oldest boy, Chandra. I had visited him in Seattle before, but it was the first time for Michael. My husband was glad to finally get a chance to go along.

Sandra Mason: New uninvited guests

This fall, we've had an extended warm period. In fact, the statewide average temperature for October was 59.8 degrees, 5.4 degrees above normal and the seventh-warmest October on record, according to Illinois State Climatologist Jim Angel, Illinois State Water Survey, University of Illinois.

Sandra Mason: Holes in trees: Borer or bird?

Got holes in your tree? A myriad of insects, often beetles or clearwing moths, have a larval form that chews wood. Some feed deeply within the tree, while others, such as the emerald ash borer, feed just below the bark.

Sandra Mason: Small bulbs pack big punch

With a little work in October, we will be rewarded with a major color show in early spring, when the rest of the landscape assumes a brown and gray color scheme.

Tulips and daffodils may be our first recollection of spring flowering bulbs; however, a myriad of lesser-known bulbs are easy to plant and will provide years of spring delight.

Tom's #Mailbag, Oct. 21, 2016

Questions for Tom? ASK THEM HERE and he'll chase down your answer.

Sandra Mason: 2016 trial standouts

One of the great corollaries of being a gardener is the opportunity to try out new plants and new techniques (or rediscovered old techniques). Some shine, and some leave us wondering what the fuss is all about.