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

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
Whitefly-or-Mealybug-closeup

Mealybugs and Whiteflies

Mealybugs and whiteflies are similar and can look like mold on your indoor plants. They both suck sap, causing curling and yellowing leaves, and are stealth in finding their way inside. Click through to how-to remedy your unwelcome guests.
fiddle-leaf fig

Fiddlehead Fig

Fiddlehead Fig Trees, also known as Fiddle-leaf Figs, have become quite a craze, and I can see why. They have foot-long leathery leaves that look like a fiddle, hence the common name. Fiddle-leaf Figs can be fickle, though. Learn the tips in making them happy in your home.
Spiderwort-Tradescantia-ohiensis

Spiderwort invading Pachysandra

Hello Fellow Readers, I received an inquiry about an invasion amongst a patch of pachysandra from Josephine (Jo) of Phillipsburg, NJ. “How do I best get rid of spider warts?” she asked. We shared a back-and-forth email chat that played out like an investigation. “I never heard of spid