Garden Dilemmas, Delights & Discoveries, Ask Mary Stone, New Jersey Garden blog


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Mary Stone, Garden Dilemmas, Ask Mary Stone,Gardening tips, Garden Blogs, Stone Associates Landscape Design, Garden Blog, Garden Podcast, Mary E Stone podcast, garden Dilemmas Podcast

Mary E. Stone

It’s a joy to help others beautify their surroundings to create a place of respite and peace. I believe in creating gardens and landscapes that embrace the glories of nature and specialize in designing plant and hardscape combinations that are out of the ordinary while respecting our dear earth.

I began digging in the dirt, thanks to Mom, who introduced me to gardening via 4H. Once old enough to tag along, I became her ‘assistant’ and produce picker at a garden center where she worked. The marvel of food and flowers growing in the dirt became rooted in me. I often reminisce about Grandpa, a dairy farmer by trade. He lived with us his last few years and hand-dug and sat vigil to his vegetable garden graced with sunflowers watching overhead (my addition).

“It’s more than about gardens… it’s about learning and growing and sharing
Dilemmas, Delights & Discoveries in the garden of life…” 

As a Landscape Designer, Garden Coach, Writer, Podcaster & Speaker, I find the joy of helping others beautify their surroundings often leads to sharing encouragement and life experiences. These relationships inspired a weekly column published in THE PRESS (NJ & PA), Garden Dilemmas? Ask Mary Stone, which began in 2012. In 2019 the Garden Dilemmas Podcast launched on your favorite Podcast Apps.

Beyond the garden, I relish helping our youth (the seeds of our future) as a volunteer for Comfort Zone Camp, a bereavement camp for children and young adults who lost a loved one too early in life. And, it’s a privilege to serve our elderly (honoring lives that have nourished us) by providing music therapy as a volunteer for Karen Ann Quinlan Home for Hospice.

This website is a step forward in growing our evolving community. Sharing encouragement in the garden and personal delights & discoveries ~ seeking nature’s inspirations, stimulating growth, weeding undesirables, embracing the unexpected.  Shall we get started?  We have lots to talk about! Thank you for dropping by, Mary

     About my unexpected furry messenger:
Miss Ellie's arrival

Miss Ellie Mae’s arrival on June 23, 2009

Mary Stone sitting next t a tree with her golden retriever Miss Ellie Mae

Miss Ellie Mae & Mary Stone, August 2012

While walking among the trees has been a lifelong passion, it wasn’t until Miss Ellie’s unplanned arrival that walking became a daily routine. On trails or along the road, walking was the only way to calm my then foster dog filled with heightened anxiety due to her first year of life. She lived alone in a cage, unprotected from the hot Georgia sun, rarely fed or watered. It turns out we share a history of living in isolation and neglect. She from owners that likely loved puppies but not dogs. I from a then-husband that was married to an assortment of addictions rather than to me.

The first time I brought my southern belle for a walk in the woods, it was the day after I became her foster mom. She escaped from the back hatch before I could lasso her up and ran like the wind, her mangy featherless tail flying. “This isn’t good,” I said to myself. Being a foster failure by losing her came to mind. I didn’t have a name for her yet but came up with “Missy! Missy! Come!” With her contagious grin, this thin-coated, alien-looking blonde captured my heart as she came running back to me in the sheer joy of being free. Her name became Miss Ellie Mae, and we’ve walked four to five miles a day since June of 2009. That’s over 11,000 miles so far, moving forward one step at a time.

On August 18, 2020, we helped Miss Ellie go home. 

I invite you to read the story about my Unexpected Furry Messenger – forever in our hearts. 

Black and white photo of a smiling golden retriever in front of a boulder

Miss Ellie’s smile says it all.

Head shot of Mary Stone in a straw hat   Join my free weekly newsletter!
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