Garden Dilemmas, Delights & Discoveries, Ask Mary Stone, New Jersey Garden blog
an avocado seed suspended with toothpicks on a crystal glass on a windowsill

Sprouting Avocado Seeds in Water

Hello fellow readers, I adore meeting folks who take time to chat. Jolee pulled me towards Cheryl of Blairstown, NJ, as she was grabbing her mail, resulting in a lovely chat leading to her avocado dilemma: How fun to revisit the magic of sprouting avocado seeds in water. After nicetie
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red rose shrub in front of golden dry grasses along Virginia Beach

Gardens along Virginia Beach

Hello Fellow Readers, As we speak, I’m overlooking the gardens along Virginia Beach. Three years ago, our last time here was with Miss Ellie in tow, how she loved it here. It’s heartwarming to see Jolee put her paws in the sand for the first time. Along the shoreline is a
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a hand holding a small book titled She who Loves to Garden

Sow Good Services

Hello fellow readers, This is the first since spring I’m starting our chat from the writing chair in the library—not to say the screen porch won’t be put into play over winter. I especially love to bundle up and write when snow is puffing through the screens. But today, if
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milkweed seed pods with clusters of orange-red bugs with black markings

Milkweed Bugs at Merrill Creek

Hello Fellow Readers, Over the weekend, I met my writing buddy Drew Cusano at Merrill Creek Reservoir and Environmental Preserve in Harmony Township, NJ— a place I never explored. I thought this week’s chat would be about the history and ecological initiatives of the reservoir (
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the canopy of a Tree of Heaven canopy against a blue sky

Why is it called Tree of Heaven?

Hello fellow readers, Jolee and I pass a mature stand of Tree of Heaven on our morning walks. There’s been a sickening smell of rotting apples for weeks now, and the trunks are loaded with Spotted Lanternflies. And I ask myself, why is it called Tree of Heaven? Spotted Lanterfly
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Looking up at a native oak tree with the sun shining through the leaves.

Native Plants, especially Oaks, are Essential

Hello Fellow Readers, Native plants, especially oaks, are essential in maintaining the balance of nature. And it begins in our yards. I recently had the privilege of attending a Plant Symposium hosted by the NJ Landscape & Nursery Association themed around organic practices and na
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a glass dish filled with red, orange, and brownish hot peppers

Growing HOT Peppers into cool Jelly

Hello fellow readers, I interviewed my lifelong friend Russ and his wife, Sara, from Oakland, Tennessee, about their adventure growing hot peppers in pots and turning them into jelly. I watched them grow up!  Remotely that is when they decided to start their hot pepper seeds indoors.
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an elongated center of a mauve coneflower with fasciation

Fascinating Anomaly of Fasciation

Hello fellow readers. I enjoy being stumped by mysterious and sometimes magnificent garden dilemmas. Dorrie of Lebanon, CT, found my previous column about Deformed Flowers on Black-eyed Susan. The culprit— insects and a pathogen named Aster Yellows Disease (link below). But I had neve
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a cluster of Japanese Beetles looking lifeless

Japanese Beetle Time

Hello fellow readers, Caught in the act! I found the culprit of Carolyn’s holy rose dilemma we spoke about last week. As I arrived with Pyrethrin in hand, there they were, the shiny green and rust-colored beetles chomping away. Yes, indeed, it’s Japanese beetle time. Their arrival bri
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a brick walk leading to a front entrance with pink knock out roses

Rose Remedies

Hello fellow readers, Two unsightly rose dilemmas came to my attention, requiring a revisit of suggested rose remedies. We’ve chatted before about the plethora of rose challenges such as spider mites and aphids that often run amok. Never mind the fungus amongst them like black spot an
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