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
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
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
a garden of yellow daffodils in the shape of a cross

Dividing & Sharing Perennials

Hello Fellow Readers, I thought you’d enjoy the story of how I celebrated Easter dividing and sharing perennials. Easter with family wasn’t to be as I’m sure was true for most of you. Instead, we took a road trip up to Pine Bush, NY, to tend to my family’s plot
A rejuvinated pruned maroon leaf smokebush in bloom that looks like smok

Rejuvenation Pruning & Smokebush

Hello Fellow Readers, It felt therapeutic to tend to rejuvenation pruning of the Smokebush and other shrubs over the weekend. Rejuvenation pruning is drastically cutting back overgrown plants to restore them to their intended shape. Or, to manage its size, which was the case of my Smo
Closeup of Purple Siberian Iris to be divided

Dividing Iris

Hello Fellow Readers, Especially now, I encourage you to find respite amongst the miracles of nature. And in our gardens, for those who like to dig in the dirt. Dividing Iris can be a perfect therapy.