Garden Dilemmas, Delights & Discoveries, Ask Mary Stone, New Jersey Garden blog
red fox sleeping in lawn

Sharing Comfort & Perennials

Hello fellow readers, Walking Jolee the morning after attending Comfort Zone Camp, a grief camp for kids, became a reflection of cherishing the season’s magnificence unfolding. We count on it from year to year; some may take it for granted. Others marvel with gratitude. I notice
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purple flowers and heart shaped leaves next to stone patio.

Favorite Plants between Steppingstones

Hello fellow readers, Last week’s chat about cleaning stone walks and patios without harming plants in the nooks and crannies brings the question of favorite plants between steppingstones or amid patios. I adore volunteers Many favs found their way on their own, like the Lady
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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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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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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 favorite mulch alternative with large heart-shaped silver leaves outlined by a web of green veins and light purple flowers.

Plant Mulch Alternatives

Hello fellow readers, Last week’s chat about remedies of carpenter ants and termites in mulch brings to mind the best solution of all. Plant mulch alternatives instead—groundcovers, which go beyond everyday ones like pachysandra and vinca minor. First, consider cultural requirem
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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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a sundial in a garden of gravel and river stone and sedum

Sedum & Succulent 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
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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. This year,
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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
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