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

Thanks for Giving Thanks

Mary Stone, Garden Dilemmas, Ask Mary Stone,Gardening tips, Garden Blogs, Stone Associates Landscape Design, Garden Blog, Thanksgiving, Tree Peony

Hello Fellow Readers, Thanksgiving is a time to gather and reflect on gifts we are grateful for. Versions of the holiday are celebrated at different times of the year by other countries too. While most folks consider it a secular holiday (not based on religion), most religions offer prayers of thanks after harvests or other times. Wonderful to imagine, despite our differences, we share gratitude and thankfulness.

It’s up to us to change the regrettable need to be right

In today’s world, it’s hard to see beyond devastating violence and fear caused by intolerance driven by the regrettable human condition, the need to be right. We feed the division by engaging in it. Media counts on it for ratings and clicks. Politicians depend on it for votes. And we sadly follow their lead, setting an example of intolerance to our youth.

Mary Stone, Garden Dilemmas, Ask Mary Stone,Gardening tips, Garden Blogs, Stone Associates Landscape Design, Garden Blog, Thanksgiving, Tree Peony

My Tree Peony in her Glory. Enough sun, nutrition, and love.

Then there’s this little paper that largely shares happiness and good news. I’m grateful to The Press for nurturing our community and for all of you for being part of it. Recently I had the joy of meeting with June of East Bangor, PA, who lives in her family home dating back a hundred years. In her garden is a Tree Peony (Paeonia suffruticosa) planted by her Aunt Stella nestled below several mature Norway spruce.

A lesson gained from a special Peony

While peony like a break from the hot sun with dappled shade from nearby trees, they’ll struggle if overshadowed. They don’t like sharing their root space with surrounding trees and shrubs, either. An old photo of June’s peony busting in blooms illustrates the change in vigor since the surrounding trees were not crowding her out. I suggested we move her peony to a sunnier spot. Indeed, peonies aren’t fond of moving, but fall is the best time to try. For now, June prefers to keep her peony where she is. Let her live out her years rooted where she’s been. There’s great respect in that.

Together we can create a beautiful garden of life. 

Like people with opposite points of view, different religions, and cultures, plants need their own space to thrive. All people and plants need nourishment, water, and love. Each is an individual, but together they create a beautiful garden and ecosystem for pollinators and other wildlife if we allow it. Or, we can destroy it with toxic chemicals and overshadowing, rather than allowing each to have what is needed while living in harmony among each other. Imagine if we gave each other just that. Without judgment. Without intolerance. Without violence. These things I pray for our world, which begins here at home. Happy Thanksgiving.

Garden Dilemmas? (and your favorite Podcast App.)

Episode 22 of the Garden Dilemmas Podcast features Thanks for Giving Thanks -click the arrow below or find it on your favorite podcast app.

I have a framed copy of Robert Fulghum’s poem All I Ever Really Need to Know, I Learned in Kindergarten that dear Mom gave me years ago. It ends with “…it is still true, No matter how old you are when you go out into the world, it is best to hold hands and stick together.” Imagine that…


Two male turkeys standing side by side on a stone patio

Photo taken by my dear friend and artist Dorothy Little during our visit at a garden center in Round Top, Texas, graced with turkeys

Thanks for Giving Thanks … and for Holding Hands

Column updated 11/24/21 



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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