Q: One of the few places I've seen lilacs flower in Southern California is Descanso Gardens in La Canada Flintridge. Why don't lilacs grow here the way they do in the Midwest and in the East? --T.W., Pasadena A: According to Descanso Gardens experts, lilacs do not grow well in areas with warm winters. However, there are now strains that don't require as much chilling: Lavender Lady, Descanso Giant, White Chiffon, Spring in Descanso, Sylvan Beauty and Pride of the Guild. Buy these lilacs in the spring, when they are in bloom at nurseries. Descanso Gardens experts recommend that lilacs be planted in full sun, away from plants that need winter watering. After mid-September, withhold water to force them into dormancy. Lilacs that don't go dormant bloom early and produce small, poorly formed flowers. Remove all faded flowers to prevent the formation of seedpods. If they are left on, the next season's bloom will be scanty.
Q: A weed called nut grass infests my lawn and vegetable garden. How do I control it? -- D.E., Playa del Rey
A: In a bluegrass or fescue lawn, nut grass grows faster than its host and has a markedly different texture, making it an unsightly intruder.