Garden Dilemmas, Delights & Discoveries, Ask Mary Stone, New Jersey Garden blog
an open bag of Twin Oaks Pine Bark Nuggets

Carpenter Ants and Termites in Mulch

Hello, fellow lovers of all things green. Today’s topic hits close to home. Sandy from Sparta, NJ, wrote, “Brian bought pine bark nuggets to mulch the garden, and there are tons of huge black ants and some termites in it. What do I do?” The close-to-home part is that
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Leaves impacted with Beech Leaf Disease showing dark bands.

Worrisome Beech Leaf Disease

Hello, fellow readers. Leaves are well on their way in their fall shift, but many have dropped dry, never changing color. Likely due to the spring draught followed by our wet summer. Tired leaves fall early. At the same time, many are still green, giving us hope for glorious fall colo
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a single black ant on a bright green leaf with morning dew.

Admiration for Ants & Safe Remedies

Hello fellow readers, I have a newfound admiration for ants and how they benefit our gardens and work as a team which may contradict treatments to solve ant dilemmas shared over the years (links below). But there are safe remedies and ways to invite them to live away from your home an
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A female deer staring at the camera amongst brush and outcroppings

Non-Stinky Deer Deterrents

Hello fellow readers, I woke this morning to my adored sunflowers grown from seed in the garden pots chomped by Bambi, as were the ‘Palace Purple’ Heuchera (Coral Bells). Unlike years past, I didn’t lose my cool – a good thing in the recent heat wave. “No point
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Carpenter Bee, Xylocopa virginica

Carpenter Bees are Essential Pollinators

Hello fellow Readers, Spring is a busy time for folks in the horticultural industry – Spring Madness Mode, I call it, and it’s hard to keep up. It’s also a busy time for wildlife. Birds are flitting about to find their best spots. It’s fun to anticipate new baby bird
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an elderly woman and middle aged woman walking through an arbor

Boxwood Dilemmas & Garden Delights

Hello fellow readers, What a joy to visit with Connie and Susan of Blairstown, NJ. I met Susan and her husband, Don, while walking Jolee. They are building a home nearby, and Jolee (and I) have grown to adore them. One day we spoke about her mom, who loves to garden. Susan said a few
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pink and red roses in the middle of a hedge of boxwood in front of a park bench

Beauty and Beast of Roses

Hello fellow readers, After meeting Stephen Scannilello and purchasing his book A Year of Roses, my love-hate relationship with the beauty and beast of roses turned to respect. As you may guess, the fairytale Beauty and the Beast has something to do with it. I hope you enjoy the story
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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 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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