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

Easter Blessings

White daffodils wiht yellow centers along a stone path

Hello fellow readers,

Our world is greening up, and the snowdrops are finally peaking almost a month behind last year. As predicted, the ticks have made a robust comeback after a long winter protected by the snow. Nasty pests I think our creator could have done without, though I suppose they provide food to other critters.

I just returned from a stay with Mom while my sister traveled on vacation. Dear Mom, my garden inspirer, mentor, and life coach is now convalescing in a nursing home about an hour from Richmond. It is hard to see the dramatic changes from the last visit; her dementia is rapidly progressing. At times her conversations are clear, especially as she reminisces about the years gone by.

Crabapples Mary Stone of Garden Dilemmas

Crabapples in bloom!

Virginia’s spring was in fast forward the ten days I was there; pent up energy from the harsh winter they too experienced. I am grateful for the crabapple trees that busted out in bloom right before our eyes and the daffodils that faced the shifting sun providing happy talking points as Mom remembered the first signs of spring on the farm growing up. Sebastian, the resident cat, a stray gone domestic, parades in and out like he owns the place, giving joy to the cat lovers, which would be Mom, and indifference to those not so feline friendly. Mom wonders when they’ll plant the vacant pots by the front door, a question she endearingly asked over and over again. I reminded her of the lesson she taught me; that it is essential to be patient and wait to plant annuals until after the risk of frost, which is about Mother’s Day here.

While where Mom is staying may be dated and lacking sufficient common areas, the nursing home has caring, loving staff, and residents that touched my heart. Sadly, other caregivers are not kind, which is beyond troubling. As Mom’s 85-year-old sharp as a tack roommate pointed out, there are always a few bad apples anywhere you go. I added in every bad apple; there are seeds of promise in the core. There is hope; there is love and new beginnings just as there is spring. And yes, there are endings, but they will lead us to another glorious place. Happy Easter!  Garden dilemmas?

There’s more to this story in Episode 14 of the Garden Dilemmas Podcast:




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

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