Garden Dilemmas, Delights & Discoveries, Ask Mary Stone, New Jersey Garden blog
a grey winged insect with black spots and reddish tinge of color

Spotted Lanternfly Update

Hello fellow readers, As I took photos of a landscape renovation I designed for clients in Tranquility, NJ, I came upon a Spotted Lanternfly that landed on the welcome mat by the front door. I snagged a photo of it, thinking to myself, you are not welcome at all. Since The Press (NJ/P
three spruce trees along a driveway bare of most needles due to spruce fungal diseases

Spruce Disease Dilemmas

Hello fellow readers, While spruce disease dilemmas such as Canker Disease and Needle Cast are sadly destroying trees, there are lessons to gain from prevention and remedies that came from an exchange with new clients I’d like to share. It is a delight to begin working with Lori
brown patches on lawn

Brown Patchy Lawn Dilemma

Hello fellow readers, After our volunteer sing at the Karen Ann Quinlan Home for Hospice last Friday, my singing buddy, Ken of Branchville NJ, asked about grub remedies for his lawn riddled with brown patches. He tried a product from a home store, but it didn’t help. It may not be a g

Deformed Flowers on Black Eyed Susan

Hello Fellow Readers, I have an assortment of deformed and dwarfed flowers on my Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia) and Coneflower (Echinacea). In addition to distorted petals, some flowers didn’t form at all.  Plus, the ends of others look like something nibbled them off. The foliage
lady's mantle leaves with water droplets

Dollar Spot & Lotus Effect

Hello fellow readers, Have you noticed on a humid summer morning, sometimes there are shiny clusters of droplets on what looks like cobwebs in the lawn? The webs could be the branching nature of dollar spot fungus. Or, they may be the webs of grass spiders. Then there are the adorable
a newborn praying mantis on oregeno leaf

Praying Mantises Beneficial or Bad

Hello fellow readers, While praying mantises can be beneficial, others can be bad for the garden. It largely depends on whether they are native or non-native. And, what pests you intend to target as even the native praying mantis feed on bugs that are good for your garden. Praying man
native beneficial ladybug on a hand

Beneficial Ladybugs

Hello Fellow Readers, Sometimes, I think I should’ve been a bug expert given all the garden dilemmas from insects that folks ask about. Fortunately, there are also beneficial bugs, such as the much-loved ladybugs. Aphid remedies before introducing beneficial ladybugs For sure ma
two hydrangea leaves perfectly stuck together creating what looks like a tent.

Hydrangea Leaf-tiers

Hello Fellow Readers, The violence added to the pandemic is hard to comprehend. A foundation of our column, shared over eight years, is finding lessons in our gardens and nature and taking these lessons into the garden of life. And so, especially this week, we long for wisdom to sooth
hemlokc trees wiht lower branches

Hemlocks Dying from Bottom Up

Hello Fellow Readers, Robert, an associate landscape installer, asked about a client’s Canadian hemlock installed about two years ago dying from the bottom up. Likely causes of Hemlocks Dying from the bottom up When he first described the dilemma, I thought the issue might not b
closeup of boxwood leaf with leaf miner

Boxwood Leaf Miner

Hello Fellow Readers, I think you’ll enjoy this story about Boxwood Leaf Miner also known as Hotdog Flies :^) “Our boxwoods are hissing,” my new neighbor said. Monica and her husband are first-time homeowners filled with do-it-your self-skills and stamina. “I s