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Triple Oaks Nursery & Herb Garden Newsletter
Winter Full Moon
January 2013
In this issue
Winter doldrumns
Sweet Peas if you Please!
Triple Oaks Forum!
Dear Triple Oaks Friends,
It sure is winter. And how about that January full moon. It was shinning in one window when we went to bed last night and shinning in another when we got up this morning .click here  to see a neat article on this full moon.

  It has been cold, but then it is winter. I go out to get some kindling for the fireplace insert, to feed the birds and chickens , to walk to the shop, but  not much else. I remember ice skating for hours on end on Franklinville lake and long woodland walks when i was a kid, never seemed to mind the cold then!
Joe worked in the greenhouse yesterday. Warmed by the sun and fragrant from blooming Daphne it was quite pleasant. Too early to start most seeds so he repotted cuttings that were ready and sorted and cleaned up. 
Speaking of seeds, our natural, organic , and heriloom Renee's seed should be in sometime this week. You can choose and plan your garden. 

Next Sunday is our house plant  'PLANT TALK'. This program is free, but it will be up in the plant loft area, so please RSVP so we do not overbook. Homemade sweetheart refreshments will be served!

Just for fun, Grandma's Attic , vintage values shelves in our shop are loaded with new values. Come see the old and the unusual. Llardo, some china, glass etc , something  different for the winter months. Come take look . vintage valutes vintage values 1

Valentine's Day is coming. Surprise someone with a blooming plant or a bouquet, we have both, plus lots more. Valentine
Just a few of our great Valentine creations, call early to reserve one today. Local delivery or wire worldwide. 
valentine val1 val2 val3 val5

Below see the Herb society of America, South Jersey unit's annual Sweet heart tea. This year it is being held at the Richwood Methodist Hall. Must prebook, no tickets at the door. see flyer below.
valentine tea party pisankik pansy party
 palm braiding
Winter Doldrums


The cold days of mid winter are often frustrating to gardeners.  It may be invigorating to get outside for a short time , but there is really very little to do when the ground is frozen.

 We fill the feeders, pick up kindling, spread ashes on lavender and lilac or any other areas that need lime . This time of the year the minutes of daylight are getting a bit longer each day which in turn makes the color of birds begin to intensify.  In a few weeks, usually by Valenitne's day they begin to sing rather than chirp.  This is all hormonal and also caused by longer times of daylight. The sun makes it all happen as we watch for spring. Actually is a little under two months until the vernal equinox or the first day of spring.  


Gardeners have to be satisfied with houseplant gardens inside.  It is a good time to shower all houseplants. Several customers have come by for insecticide soap to spray their plant foliage. Seems that this time of the year insects seem to appear.  It is always good to wash the plants really well and let them dry before spraying. This will wash off insects, eggs and larvae.  If you spray indoors make sure it is with one of the safe products. I am once again feeding my houseplants since the longer daylight times allow them to use more food.  Watch the dry house heat during cold days and water plants more.  Wash off dust with a shower and allow them to have  soak up the moisture.


Sunlight is  good for you as well as for the plants. Open drapes and blinds every single day. Studies have shown that people feel and act much better when the sun comes in their windows.I like to ride my bike in nice weather and i always notice when blinds and drapes are tightly drown every single day.  Both you and your plants benefit when the sun shines in!  


Some jasmine are budding up now, water and feed them so that the buds do not drop off.  Cyclamen and kolanchoe are out for Valentine's day and many other blooming bulb plants will soon be available for a temporary color and fragrance 'fix' for the indoor garden.  African violets are pushing buds and benefit by a warm water shower and food too. 


If you are one who forgets to water plants indoors, yet still wants to have a window garden think about growing succulents. Many of these are really drought tolerant and some even bloom.  A collection of kolancoe can include colors from white to red , with orange, yellow and pink in between. These can be cut back after blooming and put out for the summer and they will bloom again next year. There are many colorful succulents that will add some charm to a sunny window sill. 


If you have few sunny windows try some ivy, fern or spathephylum. All of these will do ok with  just 'light' from a near by window. the ivy and fern need more if possible. A summer outside in the shade will often ready them for another winter in your house . A pretty terrarium is also good for an area near a window.


I like to give all my plants some time release fertilizer now so that every time I water they get a mild does of  food. Grains of osmocote will do this. Later as light increases I often give one or two drinks of a 'blue' water which is  plant food added to water. I usually give booming plants one that encourages blooms. Last week I gave a dose of this to jasmine, gardenia, citrus, and any other blooming plant in our plant loff.

Now is a good time to plant the garden on paper.  Read about plants and find some new ones to add  to your garden in April or May.  Always find out all about  a plant before you add it to your landscape. I
 teach two 6 week courses through Gloucester County college  this spring . They are 5 Wednesday evenings and one Saturday morning.  These courses are for people who want to learn more about natural gardening and plants . We also have plant talks and walks as well as other classes.  check out my web site Plant talk Sunday February 3 at 1:00 . Free and open to the public, but RSVP 856-694-4272, ask all your plant questions. 



kiefer book
Read on cold winter days! 
Here are two books that we have at the shop. My easy to read, colorful New Jersey Plants book will tell you all about the plants that will grow best in your garden. Come for one and I will gladly sign it for you. 

The other is Doug Tallemy's bringing nature home, a great book that will really tell it all about making your garden/yard a better place for you and for future generations.  Come pick one up today.
Sweet peas if  you please !

  sweet peas

Sweet Peas If you please !

(Sweet Pea Contest)


 I love sweet peas and I rarely have luck with them This year I will try again and try several methods. I want ot have a sweet pea contest and have  people send me pictures of their sweet peas and bring in a bloom. There will be Triple Oaks gift certificate for prizes as well as an article! 


Sweet Peas are usually planted in March. Some folks put them right in the ground, others in pots of RICH compost type soil in a cold greenhouse . I have tried both ways . Here is a link to Rene's seeds sweet pea culture.  Click here click here for sweet pea culture

Here is another link to a Renee sweet pea sheet,  click here !  remember we do carry here seeds at Triple Oaks.


 I love the neon colors of these intensely fragrant flowers, but they also come in many pastel shades. The Sweet Pea or Lathyrus odoratus is a highly scented annual of the Leguminosae family.  An individual bloom consists of three or four flowers (or florets) on a stem.


Almost all seed companies have some sweet peas from which to choose. Many heirlooms, heat resistant and cutting sweet peas are found in the Renee's Garden seed line that we carry at Triple Oaks   Just keep in mind these wonderfully sweet posies need a cool time in which to bloom. They can be planted in our area any time from mid March to the middle of April. Good mulch, frequent watering and soil rich with compost will help insure bloom for a much longer time.

In cool climates like New England, northern California and northern European countries these flowers bloom all summer. In our area they often die out when it gets very hot in July, but a good soil and adequate watering, as well as dead heading will lengthen their bloom time. If you manage to get them through the summer they will continue to bloom in fall as long as they are deadheaded, watered and fed. 


They were one of the first bouquets I was given on our first trip to Poland in 1990. Imagine my surprise and delight when my cousins met us at the airport with sweet pea bouquets in mid summer. On our second trip, Ted and I biked around the forest area of Bialowieza. Here we saw beautiful, quaint little cottages built of rustic wood where the gardens were an absolute riot of colors. The cool summer in this northern region allowed flowers that bloom only in the spring here in the Delaware Valley to blossom all summer there.

Most noticeable to me were the sweet pea vines on fences, trellises and porch railings. The colors were almost neon and the fragrances sweet and spicy. They were just everywhere along with poppies, hollyhocks, roses and also a great variety annual and perennial plants. 


I have always tried to grow garden peas for eating and sweet peas for cutting flowers. Some years I don't get them in the ground early enough, but this year I  hope to start a few pots in an unheated  hoop house. 


They need good watering and food. I now use osmocote on most of my plants for continuous feeding (organic matter is also of utmost importance with sweet peas). . This is an easy to apply, time release granular fertilizer that is applied in small amounts to the top of the soil. Being a time-release fertilizer, it   allows food to be released each time the plant is watered. Water often-in warm weather and mulch to keep roots cool. Pick often to keep blooms from going to seed, as well as to enjoy as a fragrant cut flower.


Try to find old fashion seeds for the best fragrance. Seeds named Cupani are said to be one of the oldest varieties. Father Francis Cupani, an Italian monk in the 1600's was a botanist who discovered them and first collected the seeds. They soon became a favorite with the royalty. To this day sweet peas are very popular as a cut flower in Europe. 


Folklore suggests to plant sweet peas before sunrise on St. Patrick's Day, but any time  in mid March  will do. Just be sure to do it early or the warm weather will zap the plants before they get a chance to bloom.

Email garden questions to Lorraine or visit




 Triple Oaks Forum click here

I noticed a lot of internet activity during cold weather. If you like to talk to other gardeners and ask questions or tell about related garden experiences click  on to our forum. Click here

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