Garden Dilemmas, Delights & Discoveries, Ask Mary Stone, New Jersey Garden blog
three spruce trees along a driveway bare of most needles due to spruce fungal diseases

Spruce Disease Dilemmas

Hello fellow readers, While spruce disease dilemmas such as Canker Disease and Needle Cast are sadly destroying trees, there are lessons to gain from prevention and remedies that came from an exchange with new clients I’d like to share. It is a delight to begin working with Lori
a closeup of a flopping limelight hydrangea

Flopping Limelight Hydrangea

Hello Fellow Readers, Lorraine from Sparta, NJ, writes, “Hi, Mary!  Hope you’re well. I have a Limelight Hydrangea garden dilemma. I prune it every spring to about three feet. It grows to a total of about six or seven feet tall and wide by August with ginormous blooms. But with the he
two woman and a man planting a redbud tree in front of a highschool

A Forest Pansy Redbud of Hope

Hello Fellow Readers, The printed version of our column in The Press is back on the stands. It’s nice to see some things returning to how they used to be. Others will never be the same, which is always the case. A sure thing in life is it’s ever-changing. May a rainbow of
two hydrangea leaves perfectly stuck together creating what looks like a tent.

Hydrangea Leaf-tiers

Hello Fellow Readers, The violence added to the pandemic is hard to comprehend. A foundation of our column, shared over eight years, is finding lessons in our gardens and nature and taking these lessons into the garden of life. And so, especially this week, we long for wisdom to sooth
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