Garden Dilemmas, Delights & Discoveries, Ask Mary Stone, New Jersey Garden blog
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Growing Around Septic Systems

Hello Fellow Readers, Last week we shared Pam and Ed’s steep garden dilemma leading to the flat back forty where their septic field is. Ed thought it best not to plant anything over the field as the root systems could interfere. It’s true it’s not good to plant trees, large shrubs or
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a Native American Treasure

  Hello Fellow Readers, One of the marvels of Cape May NJ is the abundance of Silver Maple trees that shimmer along roadsides. Silver Maple, Acer saccharinum, are native to the eastern US and Canada and are often found near water. Hence they’ve acquired other common names such as
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Fall is for Planting

Hello fellow readers, We’ve had a brief hiatus from the heat and humidity, but its quick return has me weary. It occurs to me one of the biggest challenges in the garden of life is limited time. It’s true finding time in the garden is harder and harder as the summer unfolds. I b
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Juglone Companions

Hello fellow readers, One of the native trees that grace my yard is a shagbark hickory (Carya ovata). Its common name speaks for itself, with shaggy bark that stands out like a sculpture. But a treasure to some can be a nuisance to others. It’s true, the first time a golf ball sized n
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Nooks and Crannies

Hello fellow readers, Natural stone paths are charming; especially decorated with cute little plants in the nooks and crannies. Done well, they look as though Mother Nature has invited you to meander. Rachel of Bangor PA asked how to create a step stone path with plants that won’t min
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Gardens Glow

Hello fellow readers, Do you recall as a kid waiting until the last minute to finish your homework? As adults, it’s not about waiting, more about not having a minute to spare. Rush, rush, rush. You know the drill. Last on the list is my own garden. When I do make the time it bri
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The Wisdom of Ginkgo

Hello fellow readers, I recently attended the Woody Plant Conference held at The Scott Arboretum in Swarthmore, PA. We learned about new plants and the dozen or more years it takes from propagation before they become available to buy. Plant patents, once rare, are now commonplace. The

Bad Bamboo?

Hello fellow readers, Recently Katie of Piscataway NJ shared her ‘horrible backyard dilemma.’ Her home was once her Dad’s which peaked my curiosity. How could her Dad’s backyard be so horrible? It turns out the neighbor’s bamboo has taken over. At first glance bamboo seems appealing.
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Annual Color Calamity

Hello fellow readers, I’ve been known to stop in my tracks to take a photo of a beautiful tree, garden, or the magnificence of nature’s inspiration. Then there’s what I kindly call ‘garden nots’ which became a fun lecture topic not long ago. Recently I visited Cape May where glorious
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Castor Beans hide ‘Uglies’

Hello fellow readers, Last week I shared the desperate measure of hacking back viburnums plagued with aphids. Ironically, Betsy from Stone Church PA asked about using castor beans in her garden which is what I planted to camouflage the ‘uglies’ of the leafless sticks while the viburnu