Garden Dilemmas, Delights & Discoveries, Ask Mary Stone, New Jersey Garden blog
A an older golden retriever with a white face and big smile named Miss Ellie Mae sitting in a garden .

Origin of Dog Days & Sweating Like a Pig

Hello fellow readers, Mysteriously, a photo of our dear Miss Ellie appeared while posting last week’s column. It was taken on a hot day while out weeding. Miss Ellie plopped herself in the garden to cool herself off. It brought a smile as recently I snagged a photo of Jolee doin
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a brown chipmunk with cheeks stuffed with nuts

Chipmunk Remedies & Legends

Hello fellow readers, I hope you enjoy the story of Jolee’s big dig, inspiring a chat about chipmunk remedies and legends about why they have stripes. “It’s the only way I could get her to stop digging.” Three weeks ago, after working in the field, I came home
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a tightly branched Alberta Spruce shrub with a mutating branch reverting to a regular white spruce

Mystery of Mutating Alberta Spruce

Hello fellow readers, We chatted recently about grafted weeping cherry trees that can revert to their rootstock and shoot out straight branches, often flowering a different color. Matthew from Hope, NJ, asked if that’s what’s happening to his Alberta Spruce. “It look
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tips of pussy willow branches with puffy catkins against a bright blue sky

Easter Pussy Willows

Hello fellow readers, Outside the screened porch is a stump of what was a large pussy willow planted by the previous owners. It was in severe decline before we cut it down last fall. It typically bloomed around Easter, which is likely why we decorate with pussy willows during the holi
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Close-up of winter berries in snow

Winter Beauty of Winterberry

Hello fellow readers, While enjoying the respite from gardening, we can relish the winter landscape filled with many treasures. Such as the winter beauty of native Winterberry I came upon along the access road to Camp Mohican in Blairstown, NJ— the red berries brilliant against the dr
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a closeup of a peeper on foliage

Planting Following Nature

Hello fellow readers, Have you ever heard when the peepers are peeping, it’s time to plant peas? Or when dandelions bloom, it’s a cue to dig in potatoes? It’s called phenology –observing animal migrations and when certain insects, amphibians, and hibernating animals
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a black and white dog in a snowbank with a tennis ball in shadow

History of Groudhog Day

Hello fellow readers, As I write, the snow is falling and is likely to continue well into Groundhog Day. They say if the groundhog sees his shadow, they’ll be six more weeks of winter. If he doesn’t, it will be an early spring. With all this snow, it may be six weeks before we see the
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red fox sleeping in lawn

Foxes in the Garden

Hello fellow readers, After a week’s transition in the garage to re-acclimate our ‘Baby Blue Eyes’ Spruce to the outside world, Ellie’s memorial Christmas tree now sits in a protected spot. She’s in front of the future vegetable garden where the rundown h
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a snowman with a blue CZC tag around his neck with the name Mark Frosty

What’s in Store? Lessons from Frosty

Hello fellow readers, It’s coming up on nine years of our weekly chats. Hard to imagine! One of the annual topics is what’s in store for winter in the garden of life. From weather folklore to the go-to almanacs and weather authorities, none seem to agree this year, much li
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Benefits of Dragonflies

Hello Fellow Readers, You’ll enjoy the story of a dragonfly visiting an extraordinary memorial tree and what they symbolize. Plus, the benefits of dragonflies and their mysterious life cycle… I partook in a happy email exchange from the caretaker of Myles memorial tree. It
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