Garden Dilemmas, Delights & Discoveries, Ask Mary Stone, New Jersey Garden blog
the canopy of a Tree of Heaven canopy against a blue sky

Why is it called Tree of Heaven?

Hello fellow readers, Jolee and I pass a mature stand of Tree of Heaven on our morning walks. There’s been a sickening smell of rotting apples for weeks now, and the trunks are loaded with Spotted Lanternflies. And I ask myself, why is it called Tree of Heaven? Spotted Lanterfly
Read More
Looking up at a native oak tree with the sun shining through the leaves.

Native Plants, especially Oaks, are Essential

Hello Fellow Readers, Native plants, especially oaks, are essential in maintaining the balance of nature. And it begins in our yards. I recently had the privilege of attending a Plant Symposium hosted by the NJ Landscape & Nursery Association themed around organic practices and na
Read More
a cluster of Japanese Beetles looking lifeless

Japanese Beetle Time

Hello fellow readers, Caught in the act! I found the culprit of Carolyn’s holy rose dilemma we spoke about last week. As I arrived with Pyrethrin in hand, there they were, the shiny green and rust-colored beetles chomping away. Yes, indeed, it’s Japanese beetle time. Their arrival bri
Read More
a brick walk leading to a front entrance with pink knock out roses

Rose Remedies

Hello fellow readers, Two unsightly rose dilemmas came to my attention, requiring a revisit of suggested rose remedies. We’ve chatted before about the plethora of rose challenges such as spider mites and aphids that often run amok. Never mind the fungus amongst them like black spot an
Read More
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
Read More

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
Read More
yellow forsythia in bloom with the ealry morning making it glow

Forsythia not blooming?

Hello fellow readers, Denise from Mt. Tabor, PA, asked why her forsythia aren’t blooming. You’re not the only one, Denise; mine hasn’t either for over two years. Non-blooming forsythia most often has to do with improper pruning. Though deer browse, not enough sunlight, improper
Read More
a leafless three foot wide trunk of an old black walnut tree ina late winter lawn

Fruits and Veggies near Black Walnut

Hello fellow readers, Last week, I had the privilege of visiting with Elisabeth, who moved back to Blairstown from Chicago to be near her family. She purchased a farm built in the 1800s and is amid renovating and restoring the house and barn. Elisabeth wishes for a landscape design fi
Read More
a large patch of bark fallen from an ash tree

Emerald Ash Borer a Lost Cause?

Hello fellow readers, Upon investigating the culprit of a tree largely de-barked, I learned the US Department of Animal and Plant Health Inspection recently dropped the quarantine laws to prevent the further spread of Emerald Ash Borer. Could it be that EAB is a lost cause? After the
Read More
blonde woman in pink garden with a three foot tall blue spruce in a red pot

Ellie’s Living Christmas Tree

Hello fellow readers, We were late putting up a Christmas tree due to waffling of what type of tree to decorate—a cut tree, an artificial, or a living Christmas tree, perhaps. In truth, my indecisiveness is primarily because of a heavy heart. The tree is on the corner of the family ro
Read More
Head shot of Mary Stone in a straw hat   Join my free weekly newsletter!
Holler Box