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

Hello Fellow Readers, “Plant more plants” was music to my ears shared by Claudia West at a NJ Plants tradeshow held in Edison, NJ, a while back. Claudia is the Ecological Sales Representative of North Creek Nurseries, my go-to wholesale propagation nursery in Landenberg, P
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a small butterfly with ornate green, taupe with white streak details

Gift of Meadows & Mountain Mint

Hello fellow readers, An invitation to a pool party inspired gathering flowers from the garden to bring to the hosts. One of the lovelies, Mountain Mint, reminds me of a walk in the meadow with my birder buddy and naturalist I look forward to sharing with you. Voluptuous Hydrangea Flo
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A cluster of light green leaves next to a blue sky with sun shining through

Treasured Tuliptrees

Hello fellow readers, On Friday, while walking Jolee, I came upon a flower of a Tuliptree attached to a cluster of leaves. I learned about the culprit —squirrels building nests or sharpening their teeth, which became a column about the Litter of Tree Tips we see along roads and walks
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milkweed seed pods with clusters of orange-red bugs with black markings

Milkweed Bugs at Merrill Creek

Hello Fellow Readers, Over the weekend, I met my writing buddy Drew Cusano at Merrill Creek Reservoir and Environmental Preserve in Harmony Township, NJ— a place I never explored. I thought this week’s chat would be about the history and ecological initiatives of the reservoir (
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a brown chipmunk with cheeks stuffed with nuts

Beyond Nutty Mast Year

Hello fellow readers, These are nutty times—far nuttier than usual. Have you noticed the plentiful tree nuts as compared to last year? In my neck of the woods, the shagbark hickory nuts are overabundant and golf ball size. So much, so that walking amongst them is risky for ankle stabi
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a blue jay perched on a bird feeder

Blue Jays Bad Reputation

Hello fellow readers, I have a confession to make about a grudge held for blue jays being aggressive, which originates from being beaked by one while jogging in Cliffside Park, NJ, where I once lived. They certainly are beautiful birds with sky blue coloring and black and white accent
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a closeup of a taupe colored American toad below a maroon leafed plant

Attracting Toads to your Garden

Hello fellow readers, Indeed, toads and frogs are beneficial garden guests, each eating a hundred or more insects or slugs every day. And while not all of us have ponds nearby, attracting toads to your garden is doable and fun. But first, may I share a story… While recording a G
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a closeup of a white mayapple flower with a pale yellow center

Mayapple of my Eye

Hello fellow readers, While walking along the Paulinskill Rail Trail the last few weeks, a low-lying plant that lines the sooty path in the shadier spots has caught my eye. Mayapple is a native perennial, a desirable one, unbeknownst to me while planting my first comprehensive perenni
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A man in blue jeans and blue shirt gardening with a black and white dog.

Gardening with Dogs

Hello fellow readers,  We planted Ellie’s memorial tree over the weekend, a ‘Baby Blue Eyes’ Blue Spruce that served as our Christmas tree. It was a heartfelt moment as Jolee stood nearby watching. And, she helped dig a few holes in the yard too. Yup, we have a digge
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a mysterious unaddressed Christmas Card opened up on a wooden table with a red cardinal decoration

Mysterious Christmas Card

Hello fellow readers, May I share a story of the mysterious Christmas card that landed in our mailbox with messages addressed to all. The unaddressed envelope has a lovely illustration of a male and female cardinal. Red cardinals, the males, are often featured in Christmas decorations
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