Garden Dilemmas, Delights & Discoveries, Ask Mary Stone, New Jersey Garden blog
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 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
Native-Rhododendron-Leaves

Native Rhododendrons

It felt adventurous to walk a new route enjoying the beauty of a landscape not yet seen. Along Sandhill Road in Blairstown NJ, there’s a steep hill carpeted with golden-brown leaves and a thick colony of native rhododendron standing twelve feet tall. The deciduous trees above, naked o
Honeylocust-Spikes

Honeylocust Trees

Native Honeylocust has long bean-looking seedpods I used to decorate window boxes. The fascinating tree's sharp spikes are prominent this time of year. It’s remarkable how nature creates mechanisms to protect trees from predators - much like a porcupine.
Holly-on-Angel

Legend of Holly & Christmas Trees

Hello Fellow Readers, In search of a special Christmas card, I found one at our local tractor supply. The cover intrigued me. “The Legend of the Christmas Tree,” it said, with an artist rendering of a man on a horse pulling an evergreen towards a log cabin nestled in the woods. The Le
Pink-Peony-Flower

Peony Planting Time

Hello Fellow Readers, Fall is an ideal time to plant peonies. Not to say you can’t install them in the spring. But fall-planted peony will more quickly establish and flower sooner; some say a year before. We adore peonies for their magnificent sweet fragrance and palm-size flowers in

Outcomes of a DIYer

Hello Fellow Readers, Chris from Morristown, NJ, wrote in, “My small Shasta daisies didn’t survive the winter, so I’ll have to choose another variety.  Also, the holly is on a lifeline right now. I’m upset because it was doing well.” Chris is a hardcore DIYer who did an extraordinary
Cedar-Tree-Decline

Evergreen Decline & Artillery Fungus

Hello Fellow Readers, I visited Sandy in Sparta, NJ, not long ago who was concerned about her evergreens. We planted Microbiota decussata, commonly called Siberian cypress, along a rocky embankment to help with erosion. And, to serve as a feathery evergreen groundcover; a softer solut
Deer-Browsed-Hydrangea

When to Prune Hydrangea, Deer!

Hello Fellow Readers, Deer devastation is ramping up in our neck of the woods. I woke to the swath of Bigleaf hydrangeas mowed down despite precautionary spraying using Deer Out, an organic go-to. I’ve used it for years. The devastation brought weepy eyes, which seems silly in hindsig