Garden Dilemmas, Delights & Discoveries, Ask Mary Stone, New Jersey Garden blog
a closeup of a white mayapple flower with a pale yellow center

Mayapple of my Eye

Hello fellow readers, While walking along the Paulinskill Rail Trail the last few weeks, a low-lying plant that lines the sooty path in the shadier spots has caught my eye. Mayapple is a native perennial, a desirable one, unbeknownst to me while planting my first comprehensive perenni
Read More

Native Tree and Shrub Replacements

Hello fellow readers, The influx of insects killing stands of trees is heartbreaking. But beyond the losses of our much-loved trees is an opportunity to plant beautiful native trees and shrub replacements. We spoke before about how the emerald ash borer is devastating trees. They say
Read More
A selfie of black sneakers on a lawn filled with sunny yellow dandelions

Benefits of Plantain & Dandelion “Weeds”

Hello fellow readers, Have you ever considered plantain, the flat-leaved weed with spikey seed heads that invade your lawn, a beneficial plant? It was news to me to learn that plantain is a valuable herb, though I’ve known for years that dandelions should be considered welcome l
Read More
a woman in jeans and black boots from the waist down behind a broadfork

Starting a No-till Garden

Hello fellow readers, Last week, we learned about No-till Gardening thanks to Patti Doell of Little Big Farm. She began using the system for her flower farm three years ago and has remarkable results of improved soil, fewer weeds, and increased bounty. I asked if a homeowner wanted to
Read More
yellow forsythia in bloom with the ealry morning making it glow

Forsythia not blooming?

Hello fellow readers, Denise from Mt. Tabor, PA, asked why her forsythia aren’t blooming. You’re not the only one, Denise; mine hasn’t either for over two years. Non-blooming forsythia most often has to do with improper pruning. Though deer browse, not enough sunlight, improper
Read More
a single reddish orange nasturtium flower with foliage peeking throuhg wall boards.

Plant Companions for Vegetables

Hello fellow readers, Many of you reached back with kind wishes and shared stories about your furry companions. Your kindness means so much. Jolee recovered quickly from her foot full of porcupine quills. And as it turns out, Maria, the selfless hiker that stepped in to help, found me
Read More
closeup of a black and white dog with a nametag Jolee

Three Sisters Gardening & Jolee’s Emergency

Hello fellow readers, I intended this week’s topic to be about Three Sisters Gardening—companion plants in your vegetable gardens stemming from Native Americans. They combined corn, pole beans, and squash, creating an ecosystem for sustainable gardening. Rather than planting in
Read More
a leafless three foot wide trunk of an old black walnut tree ina late winter lawn

Fruits and Veggies near Black Walnut

Hello fellow readers, Last week, I had the privilege of visiting with Elisabeth, who moved back to Blairstown from Chicago to be near her family. She purchased a farm built in the 1800s and is amid renovating and restoring the house and barn. Elisabeth wishes for a landscape design fi
Read More
Kearny Community Garden using strawbales

Vegetable Gardening Basics

Hello fellow readers, Thanks to Anita from Blairstown, NJ, who sent me an alert; I sat in on an informative talk about Vegetable Gardening Basics—virtually, that is, like everything these days. Kelly Durkin, Manager of Catherine Dickson Hofman Branch of Warren County Library, looking
Read More
a large patch of bark fallen from an ash tree

Emerald Ash Borer a Lost Cause?

Hello fellow readers, Upon investigating the culprit of a tree largely de-barked, I learned the US Department of Animal and Plant Health Inspection recently dropped the quarantine laws to prevent the further spread of Emerald Ash Borer. Could it be that EAB is a lost cause? After the
Read More