Hello fellow readers,
The Shrewsbury NJ Garden Club invited me to speak during their 60th-anniversary celebration and asked that I send a biography. It’s an honor to give a talk. A bit nerve-wracking, too, speaking in front of a group of folks. A membership with Toastmasters in Hackettstown helped me overcome fears of sharing that seem universal. It’s not comfortable to write about oneself either for fear of sounding braggadocios. Over the four years we’ve been sharing through this column, I’ve grown, thanks to you. Therefore, I thought I’d write a brief bio about Mary in this comfort zone.
Thanks to Mom, I began digging in the dirt, who introduced me to gardening through 4H. Once old enough to tag along, I became her ‘assistant’ at a garden center where she worked and dreamt of becoming a tree surgeon if there was such a thing. Later, becoming a classical clarinetist was my path until auditions at notable schools accepted me only on contingency as I wasn’t “formally trained.” Likely a nice way of saying, “not good enough.” I was wise not to accept contingency, a lesson that took far longer to learn in my personal life.
So, I battered and fried at Kentucky Fried Chicken while contemplating the next steps; and became quite accomplished singing songs in a chicken voice, I might add. It occurred to me a flair for sewing, inspired mostly to avoid hand-me-downs from four siblings, maybe a direction. So off I went, sporting a gingham shirt and overalls, to the Big Apple by way of Amtrak to pursue a career in fashion. While my wardrobe developed as I supported my way through college, keeping up with fashion trends wasn’t for me (the overalls should have been a clue!). Hence came a shift to a career in media. After climbing the corporate ladder to VP status, I gratefully found the way back to my roots of digging in the dirt.
I have been blessed to help others beautify their surroundings for over twenty years. I love planning gardens in combinations that are out of the ordinary while embracing and respecting the gifts of our dear earth. I love preparing the soil, placing plants, and digging in. It’s the maintenance in my gardens that’s hard to keep up with. Thankfully gardens can be forgiving when life gets in the way. I believe in creating gardens with good bones, mainly due to the glories of Mother Nature with a thumbprint of a few additions. While I’ve been formally trained in landscape design and continue courses as a writer, the classroom truly is the world around us and each other. Thank you for all you continue to share. Garden Dilemmas? Askmarystone@gmail.com
Click through to Garden Clubs… a Magnitude of Promise for the story of my delightful visit with the Shrewsbury NJ Garden Club during their 60th-anniversary celebration.
Longwood Gardens, Kennett Square, PA