Thursday, June 21, 2012

Trees & Shrubs

Trees and Shrubs

In our nursery this summer are a collection of versatile plants that will give your yard the look above, with color texture, blooms in most all seasons and best of all low maintenance year around. Click on to see the selection of trees and shrubs we carry. An especially good plant for durability is the butterfly bush, which come in various colors and sizes.

An extensive amount of care information is available in the nursery area as well as knowledgeable staff so that you get the right plant for the location you want it in. There are free care sheets with information about black walnut’s and their effect on other plants. Below are a few of the interesting shrubs you’ll find in our nursery this summer.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Upcoming Events For The Whole Family!

There's always so much to do at Ashcombe Farm & Greenhouses.  In addition to great quality plants, a delicious daily lunch menu at our deli, a bakery, unique gifts, gourmet foods, fresh seasonal produce, garden gifts, supplies and accents, we offer classes for all ages.  Check out these exciting upcoming events...

Yard Sale ~ Saturday, July 7th  Beginning at 7am.  Make plans to join us for this annual event.

10 Landscaping Tips To Improve Your Home’s Curb Appeal ~ Tuesday, 
July 10th, 6-7:30pm   Michael Larkin, PA Certified Horticulturist and owner of Michael 
Larkin Garden Design, will share some tips on how to give your landscape a fresh look.  
Learn how you can make some easy changes to your landscape to improve the curb appeal.  We will discuss some common mistakes and how they can be improved.  We will also discuss 
maintenance tips, plant selection, color coordination, seasonal interest and more. 
Pre-registration and payment required.  Fee:  $5.00

First Yard:  Things I wish Somebody Would’ve Told Me Before I Ruined The Landscape, with George Weigel ~ Saturday, July 14th, 10am   The “soil” most yards offer is only slightly better than asphalt.  You can’t plant any plant wherever you like.  And not all plants are created equal.  These are just a few of the landscaping truisms that most people figure out by trial an derror.  A better way is for me to just tell you what you ought to know before it goes wrong in this program geared to young homeowners but also of help to those still in the process of ruining the yard.  Pre-registration and payment required.  Fee:  $8.00

Red Hat Day ~ Thursday, July 19th  - Look for our flyer at the register area for more details! 

Children’s Garden Craft Class:  Christmas In July - Making Floral Garland For The Holiday Tree ~ Saturday, July 21st, 9-10am   Each child will make garland from fresh flowers.  These special flowers will dry tight to the string and will look wonderful on your holiday trees in December.  Ages 5 and up.  Pre-registration required.  Fee:  $5.00

Wednesday, July 25th ~ Canning - Home Grown Goodness.  1-2:30pm  
Preserving and canning fresh fruits and vegetables is healthy, gratifying and fun!  In this class, we will teach some basic canning techniques as well as some new tricks.  Whether you are a beginner or want to brush up on your canning skills...this class is for you!  The class will be led by Ashcombe’s own kitchen chefs.  Each participant will receive a “Ball Canning Starter Kit”.   Pre-registration and payment required.  Fee:  $30.00

Summer Soups Luncheon ~ Thursday, July 26th, 11am  Our chef will prepare 
several delicious summer soups using fresh fruits and vegetables.  Assorted breads, drinks and dessert will also be served.  Recipes and handouts will be available.  Each participant will receive an herb plant.  Pre-registration and payment required.  Fee:  $10.00

Monday, June 4, 2012

Ashcombe Turns 50!

Ashcombe's Turns 50

Published: Thursday, May 24, 2012, 8:20 AM

ashcombe.BW1962.JPGAshcombe's original farm-market stand, dating to 1962.
   Soon after graduating from Penn State University, Glenn Gross and his young bride, Mary Ellen, thought they'd take a crack at selling fruits and veggies at a roadside stand along West Grantham Road in what was then the boonies of Monroe Twp.
   "We set up a table out front with a few strawberries and hoped someone would come by," says Gross. "Our goal was to sell what we grew. We weren't sure if people would drive out this far or not."
   Turns out they would -- and did.
   That humble beginning in 1962 morphed into what local gardeners today know as Ashcombe Farm and Greenhouses -- a 15-acre full-service garden center that attracts shoppers from more than 100 miles away.
   As Ashcombe ( turns 50 this year, Gross has handed off the reins to a new generation of ownership that comes from its past.
   Long-time employees John and Ellen Bear, Deb Shearer (formerly Laudig) and Gwen Raymond are now part-owners while Gross remains president.
   "Five years ago, my wife's health failed, so we decided it was best to turn it over to the people who ran it the last 30 or 35 years," says Gross.
   Mary Ellen passed away last year. Fittingly, a reception was held in the Ashcombe greenhouses.
   Neither envisioned in 1962 where that little fruit stand would lead.
   Gross got the plant bug from his father, who ran the Gross Celery Farm in Camp Hill.
   "We had 40 acres of celery at one time," says Gross. "When I was in high school, I was his salesman."
   Gross originally wanted to be a forester but ended up majoring in horticulture at Penn State, where he took a special liking to growing vegetables.
   "I realized I liked people too well to sit out in the forest somewhere," he says.
   Gross's first job was growing wholesale asparagus and blueberries for Henry Thornton, who owned 7 farms near Ashcombe's current location. (The name Ashcombe comes from a stand of ash trees that were growing on the comb of a nearby hill.)
   Within a few years, he worked out an agreement to grow his own fruits and vegetables on 25 acres.
   Mary Ellen had gone to school for business, so she did the bookkeeping, as well as pitching in with all of the planting, growing, picking and selling involved in a small, labor-intensive business.
   It didn't take Gross long to figure out the business wasn't going to thrive on strawberries and tomatoes alone.
ashcombe.perennials.JPGThe perennials section at Ashcombe's today.
   Bedding flowers were added the next year, and additional greenhouses were continually added as that part of the business took off.
   Over the years, the stand became a store and then a complex as new features were added -- garden supplies, a woody-plant nursery, a gift shop, dried flowers, houseplants to drive winter traffic, a pick-your-own-fruit operation, a gourmet-foods section, a deli with ice cream and homemade pies, display gardens, cozy restaurant seating (50 indoors and 20 outdoors) and 5 acres of greenhouses in Shermans Dale, Perry County.
   Events also became an important part of the business, especially the store's popular Fall Harvest Festival and its lineup of children's classes.
   "We've always been interested in trying new things," says Gross, adding, "If you don't change, you won't be in business long."
   All of the growth didn't come without setbacks, though.
   The business lost several greenhouses in 1974 when a portable heater caught on fire.
   Then a devastating fire destroyed the entire retail operation on May 22, 1989. People setting off fireworks nearby shot one onto a greenhouse roof. It burned through and ignited dried flowers, causing more than $1 million in damage.
ashcombe.glenn.gross.deb.shearer3.JPGGlenn Gross and Deb Shearer in Ashcombe's annual-flower greenhouse.
   "My wife and I stood there at 2 in the morning, looking at 30 years of our lives, gone," remembers Gross. "Deb (Shearer) was there, too, and she said, 'Don't worry. We'll keep it going.'"
   The business closed for just one day and operated the rest of that season under five tents in the parking lot -- despite, go figure, one of the worst years for summer storms.
   Fires and much other ill-timed bad weather aside (a garden-center "occupational hazard"), Gross says he's enjoyed every minute.
   "It's been a fascinating business," he says. "There's so much beauty in plants. We could use more beauty in the world these days. God has permitted us to have so many things, and I think it goes a lot deeper than just smelling the roses. Gardening does something to your soul."
   He says he and Mary Ellen "never did this mainly to make money. We just liked people and plants. The people who worked for us were like our children, and our customers were our friends.
   "This has been more than a business. It's been our life."