Triple Oaks Nursery & Herb Garden Newsletter
a glimpse of the nursery
June 2012
Dear Triple Oaks Friend, 

Be sure to page down to the poppy photos! Can you tell which poppies are on my skirt and which are growing? I do love my poppy skirt !
As summer draws near the days get lounger and we often spend more time outdoors. We have scheduled some very unique classes for your pleasure and delight. Please take a look at the following flyers and sign up for one or more of these one of a kind events.   
We have also included a little gallery of just a few of the beautiful plants in our nursery. Many are in bloom and all are ready to plant in your garden. 
Many of you have seen the Legion of honor poppies in the bed in front of our nursery. We do have seeds for these and you plant them in summer or fall for next year's blooms. see photos at bottom of newsletter.
In This Issue
A Walk Through The Nursery...
Want a Evening
The Best of all Worlds
Just add some Sun
Tomato and Herb Pot
Jersey Tomatoes
Swamp Magnolia
Poppy Photo/ Lorraine
Triple Oaks Nursery & Herb Garden
2359 S. Delsea Drive
Franklinville, New Jersey 08322

Lorraine Kiefer

Regular Hours:
Monday - Friday: 9am - 6pm
Saturday: 9am - 5pm
Sunday: 10am - 4pm
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butterfly class

butterflies 2
A Walk Through The Nursery

imp and hosta

What a evening, the weather is delightful after a week of hot muggy days! The plants in the nursery are so very beautiful and they are ready to go home with you and make your garden look great!
Blueberries are very early this year, but ripening non the less. They will grow in sun or light shade as long as the soil is acidic. Plant some under the oak trees now for both you and the birds. A native to be sure!
These evergreen and yellows and blues are perfect for foundation plantings as well as anywhere else in the sun where you need year round color and texture. Some are dwarf .
How would this georgeus gingko look in your garden. Unusual leaves and a LONG history.
herb hanging pots
The best of all worlds to have your herbs and hang them too. At least 5 per pot. edible nasturtiums are spicy and pretty in a salad or in the pot.
This native itea blooms in shade and has great fall color.
july 4th pots
Get your garden ready for the 4th of July! These pots are in all sizes and will last well to frost.
salvia and juniper
Just add some white. Sun lovers red Hot trumpet salvia and blue junipers are pretty. Lady in red salvia is also here and both attract hummingbirds.
little gem magnolia
fragrant and lush, little gem southern magnolia!
swamp maagnolia
large swamp magnolia ready to add fragrance to your garden!
tomato and herb pot
Tomato and herb pot will a farmer make. Add this to your deck or patio now, pick herbs and tomatoes till frost
woodruff i
Grow woodruff in those shady places where you need a gentle, fragrant useful herb. see article about how to make may wine from it,
Jersey tomatoes are best ~ you can still plant now!

tomatoEveryone loves a big, thick juicy slice of a Jersey tomato on a sandwich!  They are easy to grow and most gardeners like to have some tomatoes to pick daily. The popular tomato plant is a tender, warm-season plant that is usually best planted well after the danger of frost is past. 

Some folks insist on heirloom plants with fruits in various combinations of orange, green, purple, red and stripes.  Some like grape or cherry tomatoes and some just want big round red juicy tomato  that taste like a 'Jersey tomato'.  I have planted purple ones and pink one and striped ones over the years, but I  also plant the good old Early Girl that I have grown for years as well as  Rutgers and Beefsteak and I am usually  happy with all the results. 


I continue to plant tomatoes up until mid-July to have fresh ones to harvest late in the season. For fall harvest and early winter storage of tomatoes, late plantings may be made until mid-summer; these plantings have the advantage of increased vigor and freedom from early cold weather diseases and produce a tasty fruit.  Time late plantings for maximal yield before killing freezes in your area.


Space small varieties 15 inches apart in the row, staked plants 15 to 24 inches apart, and trellised or ground bed plants 24 to 36 inches apart.  Some particularly vigorous indeterminate old-fashioned varieties may need 4 feet between plants and 5 to 6 feet between rows to allow comfortable harvest room. Staking or caging tomatoes keeps them off the ground and easier to tend.




Prepare the soil with good compost in the spots where the tomatoes will be planted. Avoid fresh manure or high nitrogen products, as this will produce a jungle of leaves but little or no fruit.  Some old timers who grow tomatoes naturally suggest lots of compost. Plant small plants deep enough to hold them securely.  Long lanky stems can be buried; roots will come out of them.  Sometimes I almost bury half of a lanky seedling. Tomatoes need a bright sunny spot.    



Hoe or cultivate shallowly to keep down weeds without damaging roots in and around plants.  Mulching is recommended once the soil warms.  I used cardboard last year and although I didn't like the way it looked, it worked well.  Some people use black plastic  and organic materials are suitable for mulching.  Your objective is to always keep the soil moist!  You may also use grass clippings o  to keep the soil moist.  A tad bit of extra fertilizer  works best when the mulch is new. 


Water the plants thoroughly and regularly during hot dry periods.  Plants confined in containers may need daily or even more frequent watering.  Remember that good compost and good soil produce the best plants naturally.  Tomatoes need food.  Some folks have sandy or poor soil and also need to feed with granular 10-10-10 fertilizers or 14-14-14 time-release fertilizers.  Water in new plants with a mild liquid feeding. Sprinkle the fertilizer mix approximately one foot from the base of the tomato plant.  Make sure you circle the entire plant. Cover the mix with 2" of topsoil and then place a light covering of grass cuttings or root mulch over the fertilizer mix and soil.  Be sure to soak the area!  Make two more applications of 10-10 -10, 3 and 6 weeks later if you don't use the time release, which is good for 4 months.  If the weather is dry following these applications, water the plants thoroughly.  Do not get fertilizer on the leaves.  Many gardeners train their tomato plants to stakes, trellises or cages with great success..


Tomato cages may be made from concrete-reinforcing wire, woven-wire stock fencing or various wooden designs.  Choose wire or wooden designs that have holes large enough to allow fruit to be picked and removed without bruising.  The short, small, narrow type often sold at garden centers are all but useless for anything but the smallest of the dwarf types.  Most modern tomatoes easily grow 3 to 4 feet tall and old fashioned continue to get taller until  fall, easily reaching at least 6 feet in height if not pruned.  Use cages that match in height the variety to be caged and firmly anchor them to the ground with stakes or steel posts to keep the fruit-laden plants from uprooting themselves in late summer windstorms. We usually end up with toppled over tomato cages everywhere!  Maybe this year we will do it right.


In mid summer I often spray my plant with a natural fungicide such as natural neem oil to avoid disease on the foliage. . If your tomatoes  have brown dry sunken decay has developed on the blossom end this is an indication of low level of calcium in the fruit itself. Some folks add calcium or even Epsom salts . Adequate preparation of the garden bed prior to planting is the key to preventing this . Insure adequately draining soil, maintain the soil pH around 6.5 - a pH out of this range limits the uptake of calcium. Lime (unless the soil is already alkaline), composted manures or bone meal will supply calcium but take time to work so must be applied prior to planting. Excess nitrogen in the soil can reduce calcium uptake as can a depleted level of phosphorus. After planting, avoid deep cultivation that can damage the plant roots, use mulch to help stabilize soil moisture levels and help avoid drought stress, avoid overwatering as plants generally need about one inch of moisture per week from rain or irrigation for proper growth and development.



A checklist for success with tomatoes


1.  Plant tomatoes in full sun.  

2.  Add compost or humus with your soil. 
3.  Make sure the soil drains well and is not muddy clay.
4.  Add any of the following below the hole dug for the plant: fish heads, the tops from a pack of matches, coffee grounds, eggshells, Epsom salts (these are all old wives tale given to me by some of our readers, let us know your secret ingredient). 
6. Plant or Bury the plant at least 50% of the plant's height. (This will insure a deep, strong root system)
7.  Each plant should be spaced 18" to 24" apart. 
8.  Stake plants with a sturdy 6' high stake or cage anchored well.  If plants get too tall, you can prune tomato plants.  

 This year, enjoy the adventure of growing summer's most popular product,a Jersey tomato ! So whether you plant one or one hundred tomatoes, you will enjoy them.


Swamp magnolia/ a favorite in bloom  

Fragrant Swamp Magnolia Noteworthy Native

In early summer, from the end of May till early July there are wonderful fragrant plants in bloom. Traveling along any of the many South Jersey roadways that cross over a creek you might just smell the wonderful aroma of our local native magnolia, Magnolia virginiana.   Blind folded I would know this familiar favorite scent!  As a teen I often rode my bike and the ride through the stretch where the swamp coolness, the fragrance of the magnolia and the shade transformed the dusty roadway was best. (I still travel this route today and still like it best) 


A graceful small tree, sweet bay magnolia as it is called, loves to have wet feet, but it has adapted to almost any site on our woodsy, sandy property where planted.  We are on the edge of the Maurice River and most times the surface water is not too deep so moisture-seeking roots do well.  


Sweet bay used to be almost impossible for a homeowner to find in a retail nursery; now many nurseries have plants started from seeds or cuttings.  

Its leaves and blooms are smaller than the southern magnolia, but in my opinions more fragrant.  The two to three inch blooms often cover a mature tree with their cup like blooms, a whirl of a dozen or so petals.  Flowering lasts for about six weeks with sporadic bloom until late summer. 


Ever since I was a kid everyone I knew just called it 'swamp magnolia' to distinguish it from the magnolia growing in his or her yards. Now that it does grow in many gardens we refer to it more often as Sweet Bay magnolia or magnolia virginiana.  This name came about as the leaves remind some of bay. The scent is quite obvious, there is nothing blooming in June and July quite as nice as this magnolia.  


I love to pick the blooms and put them on the kitchen table, in the bathrooms, on the nightstand or just everywhere.  They do not last long when cut, but it is well worth the little effort to have that fragrance inside. I find that picking the plants on our property for the last 40 some years has only increased their bloom. The branches become bushier and seem to get more flowers after a bloom is cut. 


Some trees grow in shade next to my back deck; these are very tall and thin. They also grow under large trees where the birds have seeded them and these are often bent or growing toward the sun. Others that are in the middle of a sunny lawn grow into full, multi trunk specimens with hundreds and hundreds of blooms.  So this tree will adapt to its environment. It does need to be watered and should not be allowed to become parched. (Not a problem this spring). It needs little else except the normal acidic soils found locally and woodsy, humusy mulch.  


I always include at least one magnolia virginianana when I design a fragrant garden; there is nothing more wonderful than the fragrance of its blooms in mid summer. 

The scent is usually quite obvious near the creeks on   any of the back roads where there is a swamp or lake. But now you too can plant one in your garden and have this typically south Jersey fragrance. If you have never smelled deeply of this bloom let me know and stop over to experience it, the first week in June.   



Poppy Photo/  Lorraine & and poppy loving customer!
poppy lady

A customer wears a poppy shirt and poses in front of our Leagion of  Honor Poppies. 

Lorraine loves her poppy skirt.   Can you tell where the real poppies begin and the skirt poppies end ?

Poppie Skirt Poppies go for about 150 feet along Delsea Drive in front of shop. 

Original seeds from Flander's field.poppies drive

We sell Renee's seeds for these Legion of Honor  poppies and also share pods  from ours from last year while they last to folks  
making a purchase and asking for poppy seeds.



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Rose the herb of the year'
Vase of roses or a rose bush!
Offer Expires: June 9, 2012