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

The Gifts of Nature

A fawn lying in tall grass

Hello fellow readers,

At last, the internet and cell service are restored after a week without due to the Wizard of Oz-like storm coupled with my computer fixer-upper (dear Curt) away on business. There are benefits to being unplugged. It heightens the sounds in nature, the pleasure of feeling the earth in our hands and noticing the miracles around us, like marveling over making more plants by dividing them and sharing them with others.

Mary Stone, Garden Dilemmas, Ask Mary Stone,Gardening tips, Garden Blogs, Stone Associates Landscape Design, Garden Blog, Plethora of maple saplings

Maybe maples know they need to reproduce exponentially as their species is drastically declining.

With the daily rains, plants (and weeds) have exploded as if to catch up with our delayed spring start. Among them is an enormous population of baby maples; hundreds of saplings are in the gardens, yet no momma maple is nearby. Maybe maples know they need to reproduce exponentially as their species is drastically declining due to disease.

A side note… for the second time in a week, Ellie put on the brakes midway through our walk, purposely cut short. It gives me a heavy heart to see her aging. “We’re both getting older, my dear girl,” I soothed, offering her water. Gratefully a kind passerby gave us a ride home. That afternoon as I tackled the weeds with Ellie resting and watching over, I heard the cries of a fawn nearby. Over and over, pitiful sounds with no momma to be found. The speckled baby was only thirty feet away, spindly legs wobbly as she walked and cried under the wood line. Fawns are left for four to six hours while their mommas’ forage. They lie perfectly still in the first five days after birth, and we must stay clear. They’re born scent-free, which protects them from predators, so leaving a human scent puts them at risk. Concerned the cries would also call predators, I moved to weed elsewhere.

Antler Ridge in Newton, NJ, is a revered wildlife sanctuary. According to their website, “Every year, especially during the spring and early summer, the lives of many young animals are disrupted. Well-intentioned people attempt to ‘save’ animals, and more often than not, the mother is nearby witnessing her young being taken.” In boldface, they write, “Don’t give the animal food or water. Do NOT feed it infant formula – it will kill the animal you are trying to help!” Only when wildlife is found injured or nearby a deceased mother is there a reason to assist by contacting your state’s Division of Fish & Wildlife, who will refer you to a licensed wildlife rehabilitator.

While fawns grow into one of our biggest garden dilemmas, I have a soft spot for the miracle of wildlife. They belong on this dear earth sharing the gifts of nature.

Garden Dilemmas?


Mary Stone, Garden Dilemmas, Ask Mary Stone,Gardening tips, Garden Blogs, Stone Associates Landscape Design, Garden Blog, Let Fawn Be, Mary Stone withe Ellie

Ellie “assists” in planting divides around my folk’s plot.

Our family history of plant pilfering…

A Mother’s Day email to my siblings…

Hello Family, I just left the folk’s gravesite after dividing perennials from my gardens and planting them there… hosta, coral bell, lady’s mantle, lambs ear, hakone grass, and shasta daisy. Once they grow, there will be lots from which others can pilfer. ;^} Love to All, Mary

My sister Dot writes back…

In true fashion, there is a family story about the gravesite and pilfering. I was told this scene countless times, and now see it as a perfect vision. Mom is a child, probably bored because she was dragged to the family gravesite again. She is tight-roping between the gravesites because she was told that walking over people’s graves was disrespectful. “Yes, Emma, even when they are dead.”

Her mother, Bessie, has another mortification to deal with. A few plots over, Baba (aka Emma’s grandmother Mary) is bending over the gravesite of a non-family member to pilfer plant cuttings for her garden. Bessie chimes in, “Mother, stop stealing from the gravesite.” Her mother retorts, “Why, Bess? They would give me permission if they were alive.” And so it goes.

Thanks, Mary, for beautifying the family gravesite and providing flowers to pilfer. Love, Sis



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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