Whither winter wimps?

Lug it in or let it die?

Each September, I am torn as I debate the fate of my tropical plants. Their very warmblooded tropicalness renders them winter wimps. They pout at temperatures below 55 and may perish at temperatures below 40.

Letter from Birdland: Growing season is winding down

Birdland is cool, and the skies are woolly and gray. I like it. We've had enough steamy weather to suit me. It's been too hot to mow, so the grass is long, and if the dew dries off in the sunless, still morning, I will mow a little around the house and trim up my garden path, the one I call my "Path to Joy."

Treat them like royalty

OK, so let me get this straight. You want me to buy a plant with the explicit goal that it will be eaten down to a stub by caterpillars.

This act of wanton herbivory goes against everything I was taught about horticulture. In gardening, plants are the goal, right?

A late summer garden to-do list

About this time of year in 2012 (after a summer of soul-sucking heat and drought), we had squat garden expectations. We craved to see a glimmer of life in our garden plants. Now in 2014 with a cooler and wetter summer, most plants are lush and lovely, except of course the plants that require hot and dry weather. Mother Nature has a wicked sense of humor.

Add handsome hibiscus to your landscape

Expectations: We all have them. But our expectations don't always convert into reality. Imagine the tuxedoed man waiting for the arrival of his escort service date to the opera, but a hairy armed guy driving a truck topped with a flashing yellow light shows up.

Sandra Mason: Waging war on weeds with herbicides

In the continuing saga of weed wars, let's delve into the world of herbicides.

My column published on Aug. 2 included all the other tactics to prevent and manage weeds. Last week's column highlighted information about herbicide terminology.

To Your Health: Tried and true recipes for your garden bounty

By Leia Kedem/University of Illinois Extension

Summer has gone by quickly yet again, and now is the time when backyard gardens and supermarket bins alike are overflowing with tomatoes, zucchini, green beans and more.

That's all fine and dandy from a nutritional standpoint — these vegetables are chock full of vitamins, minerals, fiber and antioxidants.

Sandra Mason: Herbicides can get to the root of weed problems

As gardeners, we make choices all the time about what plant lives and what plant ends up on the compost pile. I've ripped out many plants that a few years before in my naivete I had purchased and planted with the dream of beauty and brevity in maintenance. But they quickly became thugs and I cursed their very existence.

Sandra Mason: Are the weeds winning in your garden?

Why do the plants we don't want appear to grow better than the plants we do want? Is it just nature's way of rebelling against our desire for orderliness? Are our gardens being overtaken by anarchists?

How to get a better lawn with less work, cost

By The University of Illinois Extension

Homeowners strive to have the best lawn on the block and, all too often, at the expense of their checkbook, said a University of Illinois Extension horticulture educator.