Garden Dilemmas, Delights & Discoveries, Ask Mary Stone, New Jersey Garden blog
closeup of greenish maroon oakleaf hydrangea leaves with reddish brown dry flowers in fall

Oakleaf Hydrangea for All Seasons

Hello fellow readers, While it’s a wrap for gardening this year, there’s still beauty in our late-fall and winter gardens, thanks to plants with all-season interest. One of the standouts is one of my favorites—Oakleaf Hydrangeas in their glory now. Their husky oak-shaped l
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Fall Garden with river birch and dry ornamental grasses after Fall Garden wrap up

Fall Garden Wrap-Up

Hello fellow readers, It’s the fall garden wrap up time, and I tended to some over the weekend. It feels good to be ahead of my usual scramble when the first snowflakes fly. Some fall garden wrap- up tasks, such as cleaning up perennials, may seem obvious. But others, like fall
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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
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Turkey-Puppet-Tree-Topper

Sharing Thanks & Late To-dos

Time sure has a way of sneaking upon us. The good thing, though, Thanksgiving is about giving thanks. And giving thanks is timeless, universal, and a practice for every day. A special thank you for 388 weekly chats and tips on late fall garden to-dos.
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Swarm-of-Common-Grackles

Swarming Common Grackles

Hello Fellow Readers, While recording episode six of my new podcast series from the screened porch, an arresting sound came from thousands of swarming blackbirds that landed in our front yard. Squawking and feeding for a few minutes, then they took off in a synchronized wave – e
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Garlic-closeup

When & How to Plant Garlic

Hello Fellow Readers, Karen of Washington, NJ, emailed, “When should I plant garlic? I’m going to put leaves in my raised beds. Should I mix them in with dirt or just lay leaves on top?” Two great questions! Garlic, Allium sativum, can be planted in the fall or early spring as soon as
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Ripening-Tomatoes-indoors

Fall Tomato Hand-me-Downs

Hello Fellow Readers, While wrapping up the fall planting season, providing garden tweaks for a longstanding client become friend, I had the delight of receiving veggie garden hand-me-downs. Ed of Bridgewater NJ was tidying up his pots filled with green tomatoes; some plants were stil
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Looking-up-at-Fall-Leaves

Leaf Manners

Hello Fellow Readers, Leaf cleanup is underway, which brings me to the subject of leaf manners. It’s not neighborly to put your leaves into other folks’ woods or fields without permission. And, unless your town has a leaf sucking-up program (curbside vacuuming), putting them in the st
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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
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Fall-leaf-in-hand

Fall is not Goodbye

Hello Fellow Readers, There’s a fall-ish feeling in the air, and today it’s official. September 23rd is when the sun will pass directly above the equator as it crosses from north to south marking the autumnal equinox. Soon leaves will change color and drop to the ground where th
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