Garden Dilemmas, Delights & Discoveries, Ask Mary Stone, New Jersey Garden blog
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Nooks and Crannies

Hello fellow readers, Natural stone paths are charming; especially decorated with cute little plants in the nooks and crannies. Done well, they look as though Mother Nature has invited you to meander. Rachel of Bangor PA asked how to create a step stone path with plants that won’t min
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Gardens Glow

Hello fellow readers, Do you recall as a kid waiting until the last minute to finish your homework? As adults, it’s not about waiting, more about not having a minute to spare. Rush, rush, rush. You know the drill. Last on the list is my own garden. When I do make the time it bri
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The Wisdom of Ginkgo

Hello fellow readers, I recently attended the Woody Plant Conference held at The Scott Arboretum in Swarthmore, PA. We learned about new plants and the dozen or more years it takes from propagation before they become available to buy. Plant patents, once rare, are now commonplace. The

Bad Bamboo?

Hello fellow readers, Recently Katie of Piscataway NJ shared her ‘horrible backyard dilemma.’ Her home was once her Dad’s which peaked my curiosity. How could her Dad’s backyard be so horrible? It turns out the neighbor’s bamboo has taken over. At first glance bamboo seems appealing.
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Annual Color Calamity

Hello fellow readers, I’ve been known to stop in my tracks to take a photo of a beautiful tree, garden, or the magnificence of nature’s inspiration. Then there’s what I kindly call ‘garden nots’ which became a fun lecture topic not long ago. Recently I visited Cape May where glorious
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Castor Beans hide ‘Uglies’

Hello fellow readers, Last week I shared the desperate measure of hacking back viburnums plagued with aphids. Ironically, Betsy from Stone Church PA asked about using castor beans in her garden which is what I planted to camouflage the ‘uglies’ of the leafless sticks while the viburnu
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Desperate Measures

Hello fellow readers, I’ve always thought the reasons to prune are similar to the reasons of caring for ourselves and our families. Improving appearance and health, training the young, controlling size, preventing injury or damage, rejuvenating the old, and influencing bounty. Darren
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The Gall of Cedar-Apple Rust!

Hello fellow readers, ‘It looks like a sea anemone!’ wrote Ruth of Hope referring to the alien-looking bright orange thingy with finger-like protrusions found on a cedar tree. Turns out this two-inch slimy blob is caused by a fungi called Gymnosporangium juniperi-virginianae (wowee; t
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Yarrow Babies

Hello fellow readers, I love when folks send pictures of their gardens especially when their plants make new babies. Kathy of Andover sent a picture of her baby yarrows. The dilemma though, is she has more babies than she can handle. Yarrow are indeed ambitious plants native to most o
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Doughnut Trees

Hello fellow readers, What a roller coaster this spring has been. It came on like a lamb with highs up to 70 degrees stimulating early growth. Then, in comes the lion of overnight temps well below freezing. Many of the early blooming trees like magnolias ‘froze their faces’ I can hear