Garden Dilemmas, Delights & Discoveries, Ask Mary Stone, New Jersey Garden blog
an elongated center of a mauve coneflower with fasciation

Fascinating Anomaly of Fasciation

Hello fellow readers. I enjoy being stumped by mysterious and sometimes magnificent garden dilemmas. Dorrie of Lebanon, CT, found my previous column about Deformed Flowers on Black-eyed Susan. The culprit— insects and a pathogen named Aster Yellows Disease (link below). But I had neve
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light beige frothy slime mold on a variegated ornamental grass

Slime Mold & Artillery Fungus

Hello fellow readers, Several fungal dilemmas are showing up as of late. Bob of Piscataway, NJ, sent a photo of icky creamy, frothy stuff on Hakonechloa. Also known as Japanese Forest Grass, it’s one of my favorite shade-loving ornamental grasses. It’s the first I’ve
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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
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a birdseye view of purple and white petunias and American Flag for Memorial Day

Meaning of Memorial Day – A Little Hope

Hello Fellow Readers, A Little Hope Foundation funded a recent Comfort Zone Camp supporting those who lost a parent, child, or sibling to suicide. The camp, held the weekend before Memorial Day, reflects the meaning of Memorial Day. Gratitude fills my heart. History and Meaning of Mem
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A selfie of black sneakers on a lawn filled with sunny yellow dandelions

Benefits of Plantain & Dandelion “Weeds”

Hello fellow readers, Have you ever considered plantain, the flat-leaved weed with spikey seed heads that invade your lawn, a beneficial plant? It was news to me to learn that plantain is a valuable herb, though I’ve known for years that dandelions should be considered welcome l
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a sundial in a garden of gravel and river stone and sedum

Sedum Garden

Hello fellow readers, Earlier this summer, I had the privilege of helping the Rimi’s of Washington, NJ, choose a few plants for their already beautiful gardens. What a unique property! There’s a small building, I think a springhouse in its day, charmingly serving as a back
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Litter being picked up in a white grovery bag with a smiley face next to mugwort

Weeding Mugwort – Picking up Litter

Hello fellow readers, Did you ever wonder why folks toss trash out their window littering our world? Did someone teach them that? Or is it they have no respect for our dear earth. Rather than being angry about it as I used to be, I’ve begun to pick it up during road walks. I think of
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native beneficial ladybug on a hand

Beneficial Ladybugs

Hello Fellow Readers, Sometimes, I think I should’ve been a bug expert given all the garden dilemmas from insects that folks ask about. Fortunately, there are also beneficial bugs, such as the much-loved ladybugs. Aphid remedies before introducing beneficial ladybugs For sure ma
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Closeup of Purple Siberian Iris to be divided

Dividing Iris

Hello Fellow Readers, Especially now, I encourage you to find respite amongst the miracles of nature. And in our gardens, for those who like to dig in the dirt. Dividing Iris can be a perfect therapy.
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Hakonechloa-Hanoke-Grass-Mountsier-Garden-Lawn-Alternative

Lawn Alternatives Part 2

Hello Fellow Readers, Last week’s chat about Dutch clover (Trifolium repens) as a lawn alternative created quite a buzz. Beyond the buzz of our happy pollinators scurrying from bloom to bloom. It seems the algae bloom on New Jersey’s Lake Hopatcong has brought the devastating di
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