Garden Dilemmas, Delights & Discoveries

Garden Dilemmas, Delights & Discoveries

Join columnist and garden designer Mary Stone in sharing dilemmas, delights, & discoveries in the garden of life.


September 24, 2023 9 mins

While meandering the rocky terrain peppered with hemlock and Spruce, my friend Barbara asked why some trees remain evergreen and others don't. Good question. Let's ask the trees.

Towards the end of the episode, you'll enjoy the story of Jolee coming upon a baby squirrel. 

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Why Some Trees Remain Evergreen  

Fall Needle Drop of Renewal column and companion Ep 79. Fall Needle Drop of Ren...

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For special occasions, many come to Liberty Farm's Sussex County Sunflower Maze in Sandyston, NJ. What a treat for those benefiting from the Mental Health Association's services to roam the smiling faces of acres of sunflowers bringing us happiness. 

 Sunflowers represent sunshine, and giving them conveys friendship, good luck, admiration, love, and friendship. Thank you, Raj Sinha and your family, for giving us all that s...

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Late-season gardens can grow tired. Thankfully, there are late-season bloomers, many native plants I rely on to lift the drab and weedy. Glorious Goldenrod is among them. Despite rumors, they don't cause allergies and are not considered invasive by most authorities.

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  • University of Ge...
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September 3, 2023 10 mins

Moths are like butterflies that party at night. Though many are considered ugly, like butterflies, moths are beautiful too and essential! We wrap up the episode by chatting about what moths and bats have in common, sure to bring a smile.
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Moths and Bats are Beautiful, Too

Magical Blessing Moth

Keeping Lighting Pollinator-Friendly with Blaine Rothauser.


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A kind reader's concern about how artificial light impacts pollinators leads to a discussion with Blaine Rothauser, Senior Ecologist and Threatened and Endangered Species Specialist for GZA GeoEnvironmental, who advises how to Keep Lighting Pollinator-friendly.

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Keeping Lighting Pollinator Friendly – Link to come 

 Moths are Beautiful, Too

 Blaine Rothauser's Blogs on Linked In ...

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August 20, 2023 10 mins

I was given an Aloe Vera plant by a client who confessed she neglected it. I know how that goes I said to console her. Rescuing the Aloe appeared hopeless and ended in the compost pile. Then it came to life. 

In this episode, we chat about Tips on Reviving Aloe Plants that help heal.

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Rescuing Aloe Plants Helps Heal

Benefits of Watering with Rainwater

Per  - Aloe Plant Tem...

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I have a newfound admiration for ants and how they benefit our gardens and work as a team which may contradict treatments to solve ant dilemmas shared over the years. 

This episode discusses safe remedies and ways to invite ants to live away from your home and patios.

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 Admiration for Ants & Safe Remedies 

Carpenter Ants and Termites in Mulch

 Ants be Gone

Let Lichen and Moss be

 No-Mow May helps ...

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August 6, 2023 10 mins

As the legend goes, if you see a Clymene Moth, consider it a gift, as you will have a blessing coming forward in your life, as did I. And so they are known as Blessing Moths.
 In this episode, I share the story of saying goodbye to a dear friend and the magical moment of coming upon a Blessing Moth. Plus, a reflection on the origin of Bottle Trees.
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 Moth Ide...

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I recently discovered that Bachelor Buttons are also called Chicory and Chicory Bachelor Buttons. Learn about these blue roadside beauties' origins, similarities, differences, and love stories. And there's a Chicory Fairy poem sure to delight you, reflecting the Cycles of Nature that are never ending and the Hope that exists because of it.

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Bachelor Buttons vs. Chicory Lo...

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In this episode, we meet my favorite understory shrub, Bottlebrush Buckeyes, and how I planted them to hide the Gnarly Tree Knees of Blue Spruce as they began dying from the bottom up from Canker Disease. 

We chat about recent flooding, downed Ash trees killed by emerald ash borers, and the declaration of mainstream media gloom and dooming the changes in climate. 

Nature is constantly changing. Nothing remains forever. But from endin...

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July 16, 2023 10 mins

We start the episode with a fascinating follow-up of last week's (Ep 116) Owl and Hawk story – witnessing a rat snake snagged by a hawk. 

Leeding to the wisdom of not tampering with nature despite the biggest garden dilemma - Darn Deer. We chat about Non-stinky Deer Deterrents to spare your gardens and why feeding deer is detrimental.  

And wrap up with Eastern Rat Snakes' remarkable hunting and predator avoidance technique...

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What looked like clusters of rusty brown leaves were remnants of our resident Red-shouldered Hawk—a heavy heart. The likely culprit is a Great-horned Owl. 

 We chat about the behavior, history, and legends of Red-shouldered Hawks and Great-horned Owls and how they benefit the garden, including a humorous bit about a skunk family that took up residence in a client's basement. 

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Great-Horned Owl me...

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Remember the seed-spitting contests on the Fourth of July? It's hard to do nowadays as most watermelons are said to be seedless, but the truth is, it's not so.

In this episode, we discuss how Seedless Watermelon came to be and why they compare to mules. Plus, we learn why they are not genetically modified (non-GMO) and can be organic. And the health benefits of the pink fleshy fruit. 

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Are ...

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A country song by Kathy Mattea titled Seeds starts with "We're all just seeds in God's hands." I hope you enjoy the story of the magical transport systems of seeds and a reflection of how the song has circled through my life.

We all carry seeds of opportunity to help our dear Earth and our communities and serve others. As we become aware of it, the roots of our spirits grow. And as we shine our light within, the ...

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Green beans aren't only green anymore. And tomatoes come in all sorts of shades and mottled blends of colors. Are funky vegetables genetically modified? 

This episode discusses the differences between genetically modified (GMO) versus heirlooms versus hybrids. Then there are organic seeds and vegetables to consider and how funky vegetables can be non-GMO and even organic.

We chat about the origin of the Safe Seed Pledge and how ...

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After last week's chat about Fawn's Cry and Perennial Pilfering (Ep 111) and letting wildlife be, I thought you'd enjoy a story about running into Seal Pup Surprise at Island Beach State Park, NJ.

We wrap up with an announcement of Growing Forward – how I finally submitted a book proposal for The Lesson of the Leaf to Hay House Publishing. I hope the story will inspire you to push through self-doubt too. Thank you, ki...

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While hearing a fawn's cry can cause concern, only when wildlife is injured, or a deceased mother is nearby should we assist by contacting a licensed wildlife rehabilitator. 

The story celebrates the generous spirit of Kelly Simonetti, founder of Antler Ridge, a revered Wildlife Sanctuary in Frelinghuysen, New Jersey, which sadly closed, unable to keep up after the passing of Kelly in November 2022. 

 We wrap up with an addendum...

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In this episode, we discuss the history and Meaning of Memorial Day and the Flowers of Remembrance. 

And reflect on Comfort Zone Camp, a grief camp for kids that hosts a loss-by-suicide camp the week before Memorial Day. One year the camp theme was a  Phoenix representing resurrection and renewal associated with the bird on the first great seal of the United States. 

We wrap up on a personal note about losing a family member to suici...

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We start the episode reflecting on invasive anger between neighbors and the analogy of the territorial behavior of the North American Robin crashing into windows, fighting their reflection out of fear. And ways to resolve it. 

Then chat about the Asian species of Wisteria, invasive in the US, and a native alternative, plus ways to encourage blooming and manage their size. 

Then we wrap up with a reflection on what makes plants invasi...

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While it grows rampant in the wild, Virginia Creeper is native, therefore not considered invasive, and is valued as an ornamental plant. And, like its look-alike Poison Ivy, Virginia Creeper is loved by wildlife. 

In this episode, I share my big sister's "I dare you" challenge as a child and a fun review of how to tell the difference between Virginia Creeper and Poison Ivy.

We wrap up with a sad sequel to Mending Fence...

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