Garden Dilemmas, Delights & Discoveries, Ask Mary Stone, New Jersey Garden blog
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Canaan fir

Hello fellow readers, I visited with Anne of Lafayette NJ last week and was delighted to see that she still has her Christmas tree. “It’s so fresh, I don’t have the heart to toss it out.” She combed a branch with her hand and not one needle dropped. Anne modified the decorations since
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Prized Umbrella Pine

Hello fellow readers, One of my favorite evergreen conifer specimens is the Umbrella Pine. It sits to the right of the garage giving it protection from winds as advised by experts when Sciadopitys verticillata is planted in zone 5. Michael Dir, the guru of woody plants, lists its hard
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Arbor Day Foundation

Hello fellow readers, We are inundated with requests for donations that come in varying forms and disguises and while we wish to give back and help others, evaluating good causes can be confusing. I recently received an official-looking envelope labeled 2018 New Jersey Tree Survey and
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A Nutty Winter in Store?

Hello fellow readers, Nuts are abundant this fall which, in weather folklore, means a harsh winter is ahead. When walking around our Shagbark Hickory trees (Carya ovata) it feels as though I’m skating on marbles. The first time I was introduced to shagbark nuts was when a golf ball si
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Worrisome Needle Drop

Hello fellow readers, Andrea of Morristown NJ asked what’s going on with her white pines. Seeing evergreens drop needles often triggers concern. It’s kind of like an abundance of hairs in your shower drain. Evergreen foliage, despite their name, does not live forever. As new growth em
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A Steep Woodland Garden

Hello fellow readers, I’ve had the privilege the last few years to work with Stephanie of Denville, NJ who moved from the west coast. She bought a cute cottage in a lake community with views overlooking a magnificent forest that’s reminiscent of scenery on the Appalachian trail. The d
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Sweet Autumn Clematis

Hello fellow readers, One of my favorite vines is the Sweet Autumn Clematis in her glory this time of year with a plethora of tiny white blooms from August through September that looks like a snowdrift and smells heavenly. Once the blooms are spent, a silvery blanket of seed heads fol
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Urban Gardens

Hello fellow readers, A visit to Point State Park in downtown Pittsburgh was a highlight of a recent trip. The mist from a glorious 150-foot fountain that sits at the point where the Allegheny, Monongahela and Ohio Rivers combine provided soothing relief from the oppressive heat of th
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Alternatives to Invasive

Hello Fellow Readers, When I began as a designer I thought barberry overtaking forest floors was native which is not the case. The maroon leaf Japanese Barberry, Berberis thunbergii, has been overused in deer populated areas for years; though it’s understandable why their popularity.
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Rose is a rose

Hello Fellow Readers, Earlier this season my brother Rick from Knoxville, TN and a dear friend Ruth of Hope, NJ asked about rose dilemmas. Personally, I find roses fussy and hard to keep in their glory. There’s spider mites and aphids that often run amok. Never mind the funguses