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

Robins of Renewal in the Garden

Hello Fellow Readers, The American robin is considered a sign of renewal adored in the garden. Though migratory birds, you can create a garden to keep them in your yard year-round— if I may share a story of my family of robins. On Sunday, after “first call” with Miss Ellie
Close up of a purple dahlia

Spring Planted Bulbs

Hello Fellow Readers, Last evening, I enjoyed an outing to Papermill Theatre in Millburn, NJ, which allowed me to brain pick my design colleague and friend Marty about her favorite spring bulbs to plant in the spring. Since my snow dance didn't seem to work — not one cross-country ski
Swarm-of-Common-Grackles

Swarming Common Grackles

Hello Fellow Readers, While recording episode six of my new podcast series from the screened porch, an arresting sound came from thousands of swarming blackbirds that landed in our front yard. Squawking and feeding for a few minutes, then they took off in a synchronized wave – e
Dutch-Clover-Field

Clover Lawn Alternative

Hello Fellow Readers, I stumbled upon the most beautiful field of clover. Pollinators were scurrying from one dainty puff to another busily gathering nectar and pollen. Their hairy legs were combing through each petal of the pinkish-white blooms. There were mostly honeybees, but many
Marigolds-Races-Farm-Blairstown-NJ

The Legend of Marigolds

Hello Fellow Readers, I recently shopped for annuals for Ron of Stillwater NJ who wished for bright hues. Previously he planted marigolds. I haven’t used them for years, which likely has to do with a childhood memory of my first garden – primarily marigolds grown from seed. “Mar
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Doublefile Viburnum Angels

Hello Fellow Readers, I am thrilled to report the robin mentioned last week did indeed nest in the Doublefile Viburnum outside our kitchen window. Perhaps the same robin that nested there last year. They say they can return to a spot if they’ve had successful broods prior. It tu
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Carpenter Bees: Friend & Foe

Hello Fellow Readers, How about all the carpenters buzzing about – eastern carpenter bees, that is. Xylocopa virginica, the most common species, is wreaking havoc on my neighbor’s deck which is not inspired by their yen to eat wood. Rather, they’re nesting. Please don’t hold the
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A Walk in the Meadow

Hello fellow readers, A walk in the meadow with my friend and go-to mystery solver of all things in nature is always a treat. While Dennis Briede’s day responsibility is Stewardship Manager for The Land Conservancy of New Jersey (http://tlc-nj.org/), his true passion is living among n
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Relocating Bees

Hello Fellow Readers, We had a near stinging episode from a garden pot begging for its annual dressing; a task not yet done due to a humbling hand procedure gratefully on the mends. A client grew tired of deer spraying and passed along Hosta, which I nested in the pots as a temporary
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Sexy Natives

Hello Fellow Readers, I didn’t realize until Bruce Crawford, Director of Rutgers Gardens, emailed the plant list for his recent lecture that it was titled Sexy Natives. The G-rated version in the program for the NJ Plants tradeshow held in Edison NJ was Native Plants for Native Pollin