Garden Dilemmas, Delights & Discoveries, Ask Mary Stone, New Jersey Garden blog
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
a sundial in a garden of gravel and river stone and sedum

Sedum Garden

Hello fellow readers, Earlier this summer, I had the privilege of helping the Rimi’s of Washington, NJ, choose a few plants for their already beautiful gardens. What a unique property! There’s a small building, I think a springhouse in its day, charmingly serving as a back
a closeup of a flopping limelight hydrangea

Flopping Limelight Hydrangea

Hello Fellow Readers, Lorraine from Sparta, NJ, writes, “Hi, Mary!  Hope you’re well. I have a Limelight Hydrangea garden dilemma. I prune it every spring to about three feet. It grows to a total of about six or seven feet tall and wide by August with ginormous blooms. But with the he
spoon with tomato seeds and gel scooped out from a tomato

Saving Vegetable Seeds

Hello Fellow Readers, The idea of saving vegetable seeds came to me a few years back while buying produce at a farm market. One tomato weighed in at five bucks. True, it was a beefy one. When I shared my sticker shock, the farmer said it was an heirloom tomato grown organically. And s

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
Litter being picked up in a white grovery bag with a smiley face next to mugwort

Weeding Mugwort – Picking up Litter

Hello fellow readers, Did you ever wonder why folks toss trash out their window littering our world? Did someone teach them that? Or is it they have no respect for our dear earth. Rather than being angry about it as I used to be, I’ve begun to pick it up during road walks. I think of
two woman and a man planting a redbud tree in front of a highschool

A Forest Pansy Redbud of Hope

Hello Fellow Readers, The printed version of our column in The Press is back on the stands. It’s nice to see some things returning to how they used to be. Others will never be the same, which is always the case. A sure thing in life is it’s ever-changing. May a rainbow of
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