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

Clearing Space

Mary Stone, Garden Dilemmas, Ask Mary Stone,Gardening tips, Garden Blogs, Stone Associates Landscape Design, Garden Blog, Clearing Space

Hello fellow readers,

A new year often brings resolutions like exercising, getting organized, or quitting habits like smoking or stacking up garden magazines (busted!). I spent an afternoon in the basement tending to a long overdue task of clearing things out. Basements are limbo places for things too good to toss. You may need them again. Or want them. Some things, like tax returns, must be saved for seven years. The thing is, unless you think to toss them, they stack up. Savvy savers toss one each year when adding the next year’s tax return. Makes sense. It’s a matter of having a system—a routine. And one of my routines is subscribing to horticultural and home & garden magazines for plant and design ideas—more than I can keep up with, especially during my busy seasons of spring through fall. Magazines stack up in a very organized pile, I might add, right near the Stairmaster. A perfect time to browse a magazine is while sweating it out on an exercise machine. The thing is since Miss Ellie came into my life as an anxiety-ridden rescue, streetwalking became my exercise routine to calm her. It’s tough to read a magazine while walking.

Folks claim you can read and browse everything online, including design ideas. I don’t know, there’s something about words and pictures on the page. It’s like the digital photos we never make into prints. What happens if your computer crashes and you didn’t save photos in “the cloud,” if you did, what if “the cloud” crashes? (Where is this cloud anyway?)  One of my resolutions is to create a photo book each year highlighting family, friends, and beautiful photos of gardens and nature.

In the cleanout, I uncovered a box filled with dry flowers used to decorate the earlier house. They were carefully wrapped in inkless newsprint and moved to Blairstown eighteen years ago. Yikes! It should be noted dry flowers don’t last forever. All but branches that looked dyed are now in the compost pile.

Mary Stone, Garden Dilemmas, Ask Mary Stone,Gardening tips, Garden Blogs, Stone Associates Landscape Design, Garden Blog, Mary Stone, chicken made of dried beans

Another box of country decorations, no longer my style, was easy to put in the giveaway box, other than a chicken made of dried beans on top of a gingham-covered shadow box that I made for mom when I was a teen. Amazingly critters didn’t nibble the beans. I considered keeping it, but in the donation box, it went. It’s easy to pass things along if there’s a person or place that can use them. Throwing them out to rot in a landfill seems irresponsible.

Back to the garden magazines kept for design ideas. Some dated back to 2002. Busted! I flipped through and grabbed only a few tear sheets, then bundled up the rest for recycling, making room for the seed catalogs soon to come. Uh oh. What do they say about teaching old dogs new tricks? Garden Dilemmas?

You’ll enjoy the companion podcast:

Miss Ellie, a rescue now nine-plus years old, learned to wear a t-shirt at a recent 5K Fundraiser for Karen Ann Quinlan Hospice. Surely, I can learn not to stack magazines and seed catalogs. :^?

Mary Stone, Garden Dilemmas, Ask Mary Stone,Gardening tips, Garden Blogs, Stone Associates Landscape Design, Garden Blog, Mary Stone, Miss Ellie Mae, Karen Ann Quinlan Hospice 5 K   

Column updated 12/27/22

Mary Stone, owner of Stone Associates Landscape Design & Consulting. As a Landscape Designer, I am grateful for the joy of helping others beautify their surroundings which often leads to sharing encouragement and life experiences. These relationships inspired my weekly column published in THE PRESS, 'Garden Dilemmas? Ask Mary', began in 2012. I dream of growing the evolving community of readers into an interactive forum to share encouragement and support in Garden and Personal Recoveries - seeking nature’s inspirations, stimulating growth, weeding undesirables, embracing the unexpected. Thank you for visiting! Mary
  1. Diane Dellicker Reply

    Mary, I moved everything here & put it in the cellar & a couple of rooms. Too many “collections”! Now I have to bring myself to get them out of here, but…. If it were junk, it would be easy, but it’s not! The thrift shop gets a lot, but I sure wish my kids wanted a lot of it. Why don’t you bring your magazines to the library’s magazine trading area? People sure do seem to like the ones I leave there.

    • Mary Stone Reply

      Hello Diane, Thanks for the idea about the library for passing on garden magazines. I hadn’t thouhgt of that! Treasured collections are indeed are hard to let go of… All the best, Mary

Leave a Reply


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.