Thursday, December 23, 2010

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from everyone here at Ashcombe! Thanks to our loyal customers for making this year a success. We look forward to seeing you and serving your gardening needs in 2011.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

New Poinsettias!!!

Check out these 2 new gorgeous varieties of poinsettias:
Ice Crystals

and Ice Punch

Thursday, November 18, 2010


Pine Wreath Workshop ~ Tuesday, December 7th, 6pm. Each participant will make a beautiful fresh wreath from assorted greens, pine cones, flowers, holiday embellishments and a bow.

Pre-registration and payment required. Fee: $25.00

Children’s Homeschool Class: Pine & Candy Wreath Workshop ~ Wednesday, December 8th, 12:30-1:30pm.

Each child will make a pine wreath from scratch and decorate it with candy, pine cones and more. Ages 5-12+. Pre-registration required. Register at Ashcombe or online at Fee: $8.00

Pine Swag Workshop ~ Thursday, December 9th, 1pm. Hand-craft a beautiful mixed green swag for your window or porch. We’ll use assorted fresh greens, cones, pods, flowers and finish it off with a bow. Refreshments will be served. Pre-registration and payment required. Fee: $20.00

Children’s Class: Make Your Own Snow Globe ~ Saturday, December 11th, 9-10am. Each child will make a snow globe. Ages 5-12+. Pre-registration is required. Fee: $5.00

Victorian Kissing Ball Workshop & Luncheon ~ Tuesday, December 14th, 12:30pm. We’ll start with a

delicious lunch of assorted salad sandwiches, chips, macaroni salad, a bakery tray and drinks. Each participant will then make a beautiful kissing ball to hang for the holidays. We’ll use sprigs of mistletoe, pine, rosemary and lavender and more. Pre-registration and payment

required. Fee: $30.00

Children’s Homeschool Class: Glass Ornament Workshop ~ Wednesday, December 15th, 1-2pm.

Each child will decorate a glass ball ornament with paints and flowers. Ages 5-12+.

Pre-registration required. Register at Ashcombe or online at Fee: $5.00

Boxwood Wreath Workshop ~ Thursday, December 16th, 6pm. Make a beautiful, full boxwood

wreath for the upcoming holidays. We’ll finish it off with a bow. Pre-registration and payment required. Fee: $25.00

Thursday, November 11, 2010


Saturday, November 13th

Special Guests:


Beautiful and creative monogrammed products 9-4.


Duck & Santa Claus Carvings 9-4


with Bekka Rousek 9-4


Share train history, trivia and information and

see a 14’x10’ historical model railroad.

THE STATION 10-4. Share train history and information with members of this New Cumberland based organization

Vegetable & Fruit Garnishing

with caterer Ed Byrem. 9-4


FLOWER PINS 9-4 with Jill Smith.


Unique art for unique people, with Renee Summers 9-4


Framed dried flower note cards & jewelry by Janice Bowen 9-4


Knit hats by Brenda Albert 9-4


with Catalano Brown, author of “My Way” -

a scrumptious cookbook with beautiful photography

Karen Galbraith

Jumping Junebug Jewelry

Adams County Winery

Tasting and sales

Custom Silk Floral Wreaths & Arrangements

Our floral designer can make the perfect

accents for your home!

Christmas Decor At Ashcombe

Gingerbread & Gumdrops

Festive holiday faux candy, cookies and baked goods make this tree deliciously colorful.

Enchanted Forest

Fairies, gnomes and unicorns abound in this

woodland world of whimsy.


Clove studded oranges with berry and pine

accents create the classic touch of colonial Christmas

Snow & Ice, Twice As Nice

Icecicles, snowballs, ice garland, flocked mini trees and ice trees create an ultra-cool winter look.

Majestic Winter

Platinum, greys, silvers and golds are highlighted in exquisite glass ornament.

Beauty Of The Red Bird

Cardinal ornaments, home decor, pottery and more.


Check out our gift area for Old World Ornaments; Beanpod, Yankee & Crossroads Candles;

beautiful stained glass; quilted placemats, throws & quality linens; bath & body scents, soaps & lotions; women’s jewelry, scarves & handbags; over 20 Christmas tree themes and so much more!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Fall Harvest Comes To A Close

Well, I can't believe it, but Fall Harvest is coming to close. This Saturday will be our last day of events. Come send out the season with a horse drawn wagon ride, pick your own pumpkin and have some fun on our family-friendly field games.

If you like to plan ahead, reserve Saturday, November 13th on your calendar for Ashcombe's Holiday Open House. We will have lots of special guests, beautiful displays, great ideas for holiday decorating, and of course...lots of taste testing.

For some helpful hints on pruning, join our expert, Mike Larkin on Saturday, November 13th for a program on Pruning Basics - 10:30am-12noon. Learn the right time and the proper way to make the best pruning cuts to enhance your trees and shrubs. Pre-registration is required. Fee: $5.00.

Thursday, October 21, 2010


It's not too late to enjoy Ashcombe's Fall Harvest Days! Join us daily through the 30th of October for great family fun!

Hours for Fall Harvest Events are: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday & Saturday: 9-6
Wednesday: 9-5 and Sunday 11-4 (weather permitting of course)

Hayrides ($3.00) • Pick-Your-Own Pumpkins ($3.00 and up) • Field Games & Hayworld (FREE)

Here is what's happening this weekend:

Saturday, October 23rd

Apple Butter Making

Pick-Your-Own Pumpkins


Big Rock Alpaca Farm 9am-3pm

Visiting Nigerian Dwarf Goats

Special harvest foods

Free games & children’s activities

Tuesday, October 12, 2010



Our special fall harvest celebration is in full swing. Join us daily through the 30th of October for great family fun! For the first time ever we will be also be open on Sundays from 11-4!

Hours for Fall Harvest Events are: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday & Saturday: 9-6
Wednesday: 9-5 and Sunday 11-4 (weather permitting of course)

Hayrides ($3.00) • Pick-Your-Own Pumpkins ($3.00 and up) • Field Games & Hayworld (FREE)

Each weekend will feature some additional events, so check our website for a complete schedule. Here is what's happening this weekend:

Saturday, October 16th

Scarecrow Making 10-4- For $10 we’ll

supply the head & straw, for $15 we will

supply everything!

Pick-Your-Own Pumpkins


Big Rock Alpaca Farm 9am-3pm

Visiting Nigerian Dwarf Goats

Special harvest foods (& Sunday)

Free games & children’s activities

Thursday, September 30, 2010


Do you know what Fall means at Ashcombe? Fall Harvest Days! This year our month long event will take place October 1, 2, 3 and daily from the 8th through the 30th. For the first time ever we will be also be open on Sundays from 11-4!

Hours for Fall Harvest Events are: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday & Saturday: 9-6
Wednesday: 9-5 and Sunday 11-4 (weather permitting of course)

Hayrides ($3.00) • Pick-Your-Own Pumpkins ($3.00 and up) • Field Games & Hayworld (FREE)

Each weekend will feature some additional events, so check our website for a complete schedule. Here is what's happening this weekend:

Friday, October 1st

Pick-Your-Own Pumpkins, Hayrides

Visiting Nigerian Dwarf Goats

Free games & children’s activities

Saturday, October 2nd

Fire Safety & Awareness Day ~ Local fire companies and rescue services will be here to educate children and families on life saving techniques and equipment. Fire and ambulance apparatus will be on display for viewing and demonstrations.

Baltimore Life Insurance Co. will be on hand to provide FREE child photo IDs

Monroe Chicken Barbecue

Pick-Your-Own Pumpkins


Big Rock Alpaca Farm 9am-3pm

Visiting Nigerian Dwarf Goats

Special harvest foods

Free games & children’s activities

Sunday, October 3rd

Pick-Your-Own Pumpkins

Hayrides 11-4

Special harvest foods 11-3

Visiting Nigerian Dwarf Goats

Free games & children’s activities 11-4

Thursday, September 16, 2010


Mum Care

Chrysanthemums are lovely, semi-hardy perennials that bring color to the late summer and early fall garden. Here are a few tips to help insure growing success. Plant early to establish good roots. It’s fine to keep mums in their pots for display, but for successful over-wintering, they should be planted in the ground as soon as possible. Plant garden mums in full sun and well-drained soil. Add humus, leaf mold, and manures to help loosen compacted soil.
Mums bloom at different times throughout the fall. Some in September and some in October. Blooms last for about 4 weeks. Cool weather can extend this and rainy warm weather can shorten bloom time. Most mums will be done blooming in the beginning of November.

Plant mums 24 inches apart or more. You will be surprised at how much growth they put on the second year. Keep moist throughout the fall so they do not suffer stress and can get well
established before winter arrives.

Do not cut stems off after mums have finished blooming or leaves turn brown.
At the holidays, cut the branches off your Christmas tree when you are done with it. Lay them across the mums about two layers thick. If you don’t have a tree, many tree lots will give you trees after the holidays free of charge. A layer of straw can be used if it is not applied too heavily. The idea is to keep the mums at an even, cold temperature. Cold doesn’t usually kill mums, heaving from frost does. Leave your mums covered until mid March or about the time the crocus bloom.

In the spring after uncovering and new growth has appeared, trim back dead stems to the ground and feed the plants with a 5-10-10 formula fertilizer.

To keep the small, compact bushy shape that typifies your mums the first year, cut them back to a height of 8 inches until mid-July or as late as August. They grow quickly and you may have to cut them back several times through the season. After mid-July, let the stems grow and form flower buds. Do not trim stems once buds have formed. Without the “haircuts” your mums will still bloom but they will be taller and may need support when in flower.
Mum plants can be divided every other year. To divide, wait until early spring, dig up the clump and cut into sections. Make each section at least 6x6 inches to be sure you have a good number of rooted stems.

Thursday, September 9, 2010


Bulbs are planted mostly 2 times a year. Spring and fall. Spring bulbs include Gladiolas, Tigridia, Canna, Dahlias and Begonias are usually not hardy in our climate but make a long blooming show during their season, which is summer.

Gladiolas and Dahlias make nice cut flowers for the summer table and Cannas are the show of the garden from July until frost. Begonias do nicely in dappled shade. Tigridia or Tiger Flower is a beautiful and curious shell-like flower, giving abundance of bloom for a long season. Individual flowers last only a day but more seem to come on as the season progresses.

A rule of thumb for planting bulbs is they should be planted at a depth of about three times their length or at least two inches deep.

Their hardy cousins on the other hand, which include Tulips, Hyacinths, Daffodils, Crocus, Iris, Alliums, Snowdrops are planted in the fall before a hard freeze and bloom in the spring months beginning with Snowdrops and Crocus in February/March and continuing with late blooming Tulips in May.

Often people people come into the garden center and want to get the bulbs for these hardy flowering plants and we must tell them to come back in September. Planting instructions are usually on each package or box of bulbs as to th time of bloom and the depth to plant them.

Research has shown that bulbs planted at incorrect depths will usually move up or down in the soil to adjust. Our experience here at Ashcombe has verified this. It is always wise to do your best at planting properly, but don't worry when you have a lot of them to put in. They will adapt.

Bulbs can be planting in the fall as long as the ground isn't frozen. Sometimes here in Central PA we can plant up until the end of the year safely. It's best to mass color to get the most striking effect. Some years ago a gardener of ours removed about 8 inches of soil from an entire bed, then set bulbs on the ground and covered them. He also mixed various seasonal types so the bed blended well for the entire blooming season April and May. What a show this was for a few years!

Tulip bulbs will do well for two years and begin to fade the third year. Daffodils almost continue endlessly but will fill in and take over your bed if not dug up and thinned. The best investment in bulbs in the minis (snowdrops, iris, crocus and hyacinths) as they seem to self-maintain and appear again each year in robust fashion.

Friday, August 27, 2010


Grasses have a beauty all their own from the Giant Miscanthus to the Festuca or Blue Oat Grass .
The first picture above shows grasses as they emerge spring and early summer and the next two are late season pictures with their blooms and showing how they fit into the landscape.
Grasses need to be cut back in the early spring and have a winter character that few other perennials have. They are a shelter for birds, can be a wind break for tender shrubs and have a special accent in the winter landscape. Give them plenty of room, as they will spread in a few years and can be divided late fall but preferably early spring.
Their plumes are very impressive and occur from August through the fall. There are literally hundreds of varieties of grasses both for sun and part shade and many tolerate dry conditions so those who want to save water would do well to consider grasses in their gardens. They require very little care and if you buy them from a reputable source they will winter over nicely. One variety that will not winter is the red fountain grass (Pennisetum Rubrum) so beware of this one if you want a hardy grass. Other nice grasses are pictured below.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Color & Texture In The Garden

All of the above are perennials and shrubs that have been in this garden for years. This picture was taken on June 22, 2010 showing the color and texture that happens with just a little planning. It is located in our Ashcombe American garden adjacent to our parking lot.
Pictured above are yellow Euonymus, front and center, blooming white yucca amidst grasses, and behind are Perovskia, (Russian Sage) and Salvias’ May Night and Caradonna. The background for this garden is evergreens, which give a soft touch to the garden. This is of course a sun garden and a dry garden. For a shade garden the one pictured below is a combination Hostas, grasses and a water feature that attracts birds. It is located in our bird garden in the same area as the picture above but with shade from bushes and trees.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Ashcombe Dog Days

Make plans to join us at Ashcombe for our annual "Dog Days"... a morning dedicated to dogs and organizations that work hard to help them. Our list of special guests keeps growing, but currently we will have these organizations on hand:
Brookline Lab Rescue
Canine Rescue of Central PA
Cocker Spaniel Adoption Center, Inc.
Miss Lucy's Dog Treats
Harrisburg Kennel Club
1 Life Rescue
Carlisle Area Dog Parks
K-9 Kozeez - Hand Made Fleeceware
Furry Friends Animal Network
Basset Rescue of Old Dominion
"Chill-Outz" Cooling Neck Scarves
Compassionate Hearts Animal Rescue

Bring your loyal companion for a dog wash between the hours of 10am and noon.

We will be giving away door prizes every half hour and will host a "dress your dog" contest and pagent. If you're hungry -- we will have a lunch special: Hot Dog and Soda for $2.00 at our indoor deli.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

How To Prevent Blossom End Rot In Tomatoes

Blossom end rot is a disorder commonly found on tomatoes that is caused by a lack of calcium in the plant. This occurs when the tomato plant experiences periods of wet soil and periods of very dry soil. A balance needs to be maintained for roots to properly absorb calcium from the soil. You will recognize blossom end rot by the nasty looking brown spots that may begin as small spots on the blossom end (opposite the stem) of the green tomato. As the fruit matures, the spot spreads to cover larger areas and deepens in color. At maturity blossom end rot may take over nearly the whole tomato and appear black and leathery. Preventing blossom end rot takes a little time and effort, but the results are well worth the effort.

1. Choose soil that has good drainage. Tomatoes need to be kept evenly moist to properly absorb the calcium needed to promote fruit production.

2. Add plenty of composted materials to the soil before transplanting your tomatoes. These organic additions to the soil will help retain moisture and prevent the roots being exposed to overly dry soil.

3. Mulch tomatoes with straw, newspaper or black plastic to retain moisture. This will keep the soil moist even when the weather is hot and dry.

4. Water regularly. Even tomatoes that are mulched need to be watered on a regular basis. Avoid letting the soil dry out completely between waterings. Uneven watering seems to be the biggest contributor of blossom end rot.

5. Maintain a PH of 6.5 for optimum calcium absorption. You can purchase an inexpensive soil test to determine the PH level of your soil at your local gardening supply store. Follow the instructions with the kit to raise or lower the PH.

6. Bone meal or manure will increase the calcium in the soil, but this is seldom necessary. Generally low calcium content in the soil is not the cause of blossom end rot. It is the inability of the plant's roots to absorb calcium due to uneven watering that is actually the culprit.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Beautify Your Patio or Garden!

Does your garden or patio need a boost? Our greenhouses, nursery and courtyard are still stocked full with fresh, beautiful plants - ready to brighten and area with an instant splash of color.

Help your garden to survive this exhausting heat spell we are having...

1. Water sparingly, but also when the ground is best able to absorb the most moisture. Watering is best done in the early morning hours or in the late afternoon. When watering during the heat of the day, evaporation will steal much of the water.

2. If you mulched your garden this spring, this ground cover will help to hold in moisture until the rain comes.

3. If you have a large area to water, trickle irrigation puts the water right where it's the root of the plant. This saves much water and is also labor efficient. You can make your own trickle irrigation system by using old plastic gallon jugs and punching holes in them. Soaker hoses also work well. Be creative and your garden will flourish.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Seeding and Planting

There are array of varieties one can plant of any one category of vegetables. Read carefully the number of days from seed to ha

rvest so you have an idea when to expect picking your favorites. Often the long season ones will be larger and more productive, Good things take time. Also to insure a continuous harvest you may want to make staggered plantings. For example green beans can be seeded from May to late July ensuring you have some to harvest every week from late June until late September. The same can apply to Summer Squash, C

antaloupes and Sweet Corn. Cool crops like Leaf Lettuce, Peas, Radishes, Cabbage and Broccoli can be planted early spring and then again in August for a fall crop.

Bugs and Drought

The likelihood of disease, insects and drought are much less in highly organic loose soils. A soil that is healthy and rich will produce plants

that the insects and diseases aren’t interested in. Like a healthy body is less likely to be affected, plants growing in the right soil will fend off diseases and insects.

If however you do find problems with insects there are products that will control them. Pictured above is one of the most difficult ones the Japanese beetle which appears at the onset of hot weather mid to late June. They are attracted to certain trees and plants and usually over winter in the soil near these plants. To control the adult beetles in summer (when they feed on foliage and flowers) use Bayer Advanced™ Dual Action Rose & Flower Insect Killer Concentrate according to label directions. And to control the Grubs a one time application of Bayer Grub Control

Irrigation Most garden crops can make it on normal rainfall but you want to be sure to water your plants the first ten days or two weeks until their roots become established and then taper off to once a week when there is no rain, soaking the plants well and letting them get dry between waterings. The roots will go deeper to find moisture and nutrients to sustain them. Of course if your growing in containers this will vary somewhat and you need to look at your plants for signs of wilting.

Saturday, March 13, 2010


These mouth watering vegetables can be easily grown in your garden this year and will add to the healthy diet you want for yourself and your family. The nice thing about them is they are cold tolerant and can be planted in late March and April before your warm veggies need to go in.

Onions come as sets and should be planted about 5 inches apart in rows or solid square foot plantings. The reason they are called sets is because of the way you plant them, setting them just an inch or less under the surface of the soil pointing up toward the sky. There are four varieties of Onion sets we carry white, red, yellow and Stuttgarter.The first three can be pulled as “spring onions” or left to grow larger and the Stuttgarter can be also or left to mature into a larger onion because it keeps better than the other varieties.

Peas come in regular Hull Peas, Edible Sugar Snap, and Sugar Peas. At Ashcombe we carry a number of varieties in packets as well as bulk seed for the serious gardener. The earliest Sugar pea we carry in bulk is Dwarf White Blossom or 50 days from seed to harvest. The Hull peas are Progress # 9 at 62 days and Little marvel at 63 days. As a rule harvest begins late May from an early April sowing. All peas can be sown at 1 inch spacing’s in rows covering seeds with 1⁄2 to 1 inch of soil. For best results and easier picking provide support for them as they get six inches tall by putting a bamboo pole every six feet or so along the row and using sturdy twine in an X pattern along both sides of the row.

Harvest both hull and sugar peas before they become too mature for the sweetest flavor. Best way is to pick a few and taste them when their small. Potatoes a healthy root crop. Nutrients without skins (156 g) (% RDA) With skin (173 g) (% RDA) Vitamin C 33 28 Thiamin 11 7 Niacin 11 12 Vitamin B6 23 27 Folate 4 12 Pantothenic Acid 9 7 Iron 3 10 Magnesium 10 12 Potassium 17 26 Copper 17 10 Dietary Fiber 9 15

Potatoes A root crop that comes as a surprise several months later when you dig up the dead vines and find ten times as many potatoes as the seed you put in the ground in April. This is exciting as well as rewarding and you can have a choice of nine varieties here at Ashcombe--- reds. whites, blues and yellows. We carry the old fashioned Irish Cobbler , Katahdin and Kennebec all white varieties as well as the Norland and Pontiac Red varieties, and the new favorite Yukon Gold.

For those who want to grow Russets we carry the Russet Norkotah a long, smooth, shallow-eyed, russet-skinned potato cultivar with wide adaptation. It has a smooth golden russet-skin and produces a high percent of medium sized U.S. No. 1 tubers.

Planting guide: Be sure to use certified seed potatoes as store potatoes may have a sprout inhibitor sprayed on them and will not sprout for you.


Days to Harvest: 2 - 4 Months.

The entire crop is ready to harvest once the tops of the plants die off. You can leave the potatoes in the ground for a few weeks longer, as long as the ground is not wet. New potatoes are small, immature potatoes. You can harvest a few of these without harm to the plant, by gently feeling around in the soil near the plant, once the plant reaches about a foot in height.

Harvest carefully, by hand or with a shovel. Turn the soil over and search through for treasure. The tubers can branch out and digging in with a fork is a sure fire way of stabbing a potato or two.

Pest & Diseases:

Beetles & aphids defoliate. Monitor early in season, before they become a major problem. The Colorado potato beetle larva, at left, is easy to spot. Also check for egg masses on the undersides of leaves.

Thin, red wire worms attack underground. I wish I had a better solution, but rotating crops is the only thing that has worked for me. A low pH will help control scab. Late blight, the cause of the Irish potato famine, turns the foliage black, then moldy. Burn the foliage. The potatoes can still be harvested, but you should wait several weeks. Use certified disease-resistant seed potatoes.

Thursday, March 4, 2010


It’s that time of year when lettuce will soon be ready to put out and Pansies will cheer us up (with their bright faces) after a long cold winter. Onion sets and seed potatoes can soon be put in the ground and were thinking about warmer weather. Visit our web site at for lots of good gardening information you can use this season.

And be sure to visit our Spring Open House Saturday March 20th & 27th to see a preview of the wonderful season ahead. Seminars and displays and children’s crafts both Saturdays.

You not want to miss this event as it kicks off Spring here at Ashcombe. And see the beautiful selection of bulbs and flowers for Easter which is early this season. April 4th.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


1.  There is a return to home and growing your own organically.  Children can become a part of this and are fascinated by seeing their seeds and plants produce flowers and edibles in a short time.  Here at Ashcombe we have found our children's classes fill up fast as parents see the value of doing things together without a great expense.  Gardening is a lifelong's a journey, not a destination.

3.  Small space gardening is still very much "in".  Containers can be placed in proper sun or shade locations and make growing easier.  People see the benefits of growing tomatoes, peppers, herbs and other vegetables all on their own...then using them in culinary dishes.

4.  The opportunity to increase property value is becoming a major factor in the use of shrubs, perennials and flowers.  A few dollars spent on landscaping can make all the different to a potential buyer.