Garden Dilemmas, Delights & Discoveries, Ask Mary Stone, New Jersey Garden blog
a small butterfly with ornate green, taupe with white streak details

Gift of Meadows & Mountain Mint

Hello fellow readers, An invitation to a pool party inspired gathering flowers from the garden to bring to the hosts. One of the lovelies, Mountain Mint, reminds me of a walk in the meadow with my birder buddy and naturalist I look forward to sharing with you. Voluptuous Hydrangea Flo
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Jolee, a white dog with black ears sniffing crown vetch along the road.

Knotweed meets Crown Vetch

Hello fellow readers, It’s interesting how beautiful plants like Japanese Knotweed arrive unintentionally while others like Crown Vetch are introduced purposely. Then both became invasive yet beneficial to pollinators. And so, a story about Knotweed meets Crown Vetch. Knotweed meets C
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Mary Stone on the outcropping at Blue Mountain Lake carrying Callie, a small brown dog, with Jolee, a large white and back dog at her feet.

Flora & Reflections from Blue Mountain Lake

Hello fellow readers, We recently hiked Blue Mountain Lake, an area frequently visited, though not in the summer. It’s become a beach for folks, not always respectful of others, playing loud music, leaving trash and dirty diapers attracting bears. Sad. But our visit was peaceful
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A rock with moss in the shape of a hippo.

Let Lichen and Moss be

Hello fellow readers, Each spring, mostly from neat and tidies, the intention to remove moss or lichen from walls and walks comes up. Of course, if they cause a slipping hazard, the desire is justified. But what is it about moss and lichen that folks don’t like? Moss is cute and
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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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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
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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
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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
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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
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Purple-Cone-Flower-Echinacea

Deer Resistant Butterfly Plants

Hello Fellow Readers, We spoke a few weeks back about Sarah’s mile-a-minute weedy dilemma in Hope, NJ. She proudly sent photos of the clear-out of her front foundation garden poised to be a butterfly garden. Sarah asked if there was a list of native deer-resistant butterfly plan
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