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 the recent NJ Plants tradeshow held in Edison, NJ. Claudia is the Ecological Sales Representative of North Creek Nurseries, my go-to wholesale propagation nursery in Landenberg, PA. He
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Bright yellow daisy-like flowers of Swamp Sunflower near a lake.

Native Plants for Native Pollinators

Hello fellow readers, About a year ago, I enjoyed a visit to a free public garden managed by the Morris County Park Commission tucked away in Far Hills, NJ, which became a column topic titled Wandering Willowwood Arboretum. Bruce Crawford, formerly the Director of Rutgers Gardens, joi
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a white cotton candy looking nest of fall webworms in a tree against a bright blue sky

Fall Webworm vs. Tent Caterpillars

Hello fellow readers, Have you noticed what looks like cotton candy decorating trees? I thought they were Eastern tent caterpillars, also called tent worms, we see in spring. But it turns out the white webs, often two feet wide, are fall webworms –tent worms’ close cousins. Comp
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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 brown chipmunk with cheeks stuffed with nuts

Chipmunk Remedies & Legends

Hello fellow readers, I hope you enjoy the story of Jolee’s big dig, inspiring a chat about chipmunk remedies and legends about why they have stripes. “It’s the only way I could get her to stop digging.” Three weeks ago, after working in the field, I came home
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a cluster of shiny green and rust colored Japanese Beetles feeing on a plant

Safely Controlling Japanese Beetles

Hello fellow readers,  In last week’s chat, we marveled over the miracle of a robin’s nest though we don’t feel the same about baby insects, other than perhaps caterpillars that turn into butterflies. We sure don’t feel the same way about Japanese beetles wreak
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Jolee, a white dog with black ears sniffing crown vetch along the road.

Knotweed meets Crown Vetch

Hello fellow readers, It’s interesting how beautiful plants like Japanese Knotweed arrive unintentionally while others like Crown Vetch are introduced purposely. Then both became invasive yet beneficial to pollinators. And so, a story about Knotweed meets Crown Vetch. Knotweed meets C
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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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a white plastic bag stuck in a tree

Repurposing Pots & Bags into Benches

Hello fellow readers, Repurposing garden pots and turning plastic bags into benches or composite decks is kind to our environment. Now there are new rules banning single-use plastic and paper bags that put me into a tizzy, which is embarrassing to confess. A kind conversation with Dev
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a pruned hedge of yellow flowering forsythia along a white farm fence

Forsythia Hedge at Hospice

Hello fellow readers, I’m a fan of allowing plants and people to grow to what they are meant to be. Not mold them into something they are not or prune them into unnatural shapes. Although formal gardens often call for pruned hedges or topiaries and such. And so, there are except
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