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.