Tuesday, December 31, 2013


I can't believe that it is time to welcome in 2014...just WHERE did the year go??  

As you settle in for your winter slumber, let us remind you that we have some great reasons to get out of the house this winter.  Join us for one of the fun classes listed below or just come in for a relaxing, warm stroll around our sunny greenhouses - a great way to cure the winter blues!

Let's dream of spring...shall we?

Soup & Bread Luncheon ~ Wednesday, January 8th 11am.  Enjoy a warm and tasty lunch featuring several different kinds of soups and breads, all made right here in our farm kitchen.  Dessert and drinks are included.  Recipes will be available.  Pre-registration required.  $15.00

Adult Suet Making Workshop ~ Monday, January 13th 1pm.  
In this hands-on class, each participant will make and mold their own suet to take along home for the birds.  Pre-registration required.  $10.00 

Mommy & Me Garden Craft Class ~ Feed The Birds!  Tuesday, January 14th 10am.  This class is for children 4 and under with a parent.  Each team will make a bird seed pine cone feeder to take along home.  Please wear old clothes.  Pre-registration required.  $5.00

Homeschool Garden Craft Class - Blooming Buttons ~ Wednesday, 
January 15th 1-2pm  We will start with a house plant, then decorate with button crafts.  Please wear old clothes.  Ages 5 and up.  Pre-registration required.  $8.00

Children’s Garden Craft Class - Suet Making ~ Saturday, January 18th 9-10am  Each child will mix and form a suet cake to take along home for the birds.  Please wear old clothes.  Ages 5 and up.  Pre-registration required.  $5.00

Soup & Salad Luncheon with Herbed Dressings ~ Thursday, January 22nd 11am.  Enjoy a delicious, hand made lunch featuring several different kinds of soups and a fresh green salad highlighting our home grown micro-greens.  All made right here in our farm kitchen.  Dessert and drinks are included.  Recipes will be available.  Pre-registration required.  $15.00

Adult Terrarium Workshop - Thursday, January 23rd 1pm.  Each participant 
will make a terrarium.  Bring your own container or purchase one here.  $5.00 plus plants 
and supplies.

Homeschool Garden Craft Class - Very Hairy Caterpillar ~ Wednesday, 
January 29th 1-2pm  Using nylons, soil, grass seed and some creative accents, we will make a cute caterpillar that will grow “hair” at home.  Ages 5 and up.  Pre-registration 
required.  $5.00

Monday, December 23, 2013

Christmas Specials

Visit us this week for some great last minute specials!  

• 50% OFF All Poinsettias

• 50% OFF Christmas Cards, Calendars, and Christmas Gift Wrap 

• 25% OFF All Christmas Ornaments

• 25% OFF Camille Beckman Body Products

• 25% OFF All Fresh Pine Wreaths & Roping

We're trying to get 3000 likes on Facebook so if you have a chance - please give us a like!

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Monday, December 9, 2013

Monday, December 2, 2013

Monday, November 25, 2013

Monday, November 18, 2013

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Pot Pie Dinners Every Wednesday at Ashcombe!

Are you hungry for some home cooking?

Every Wednesday through December 11th come enjoy our delicious 
Home Made Pot Pie Dinners
Serving from 3-6pm
Pot Pie, Applesauce and Roll $6.50
Eat in or Take Out

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Monday, September 30, 2013

It's Fall Harvest Time!


Monday, September 16, 2013


Bagworms are caterpillars that form a small bag or cocoon-like pouch that hangs down on the leaves and branches of shrubs and trees. The bags are made of silk, with bits of twigs and leaves interwoven to disguise and strengthen the bag. The larvae or caterpillar eats the foliage of the plant. Their feeding can cause extensive damage to several different ornamental trees and shrubs.
Twenty species in the United States.
128 plants. Mostly Arborvitae, Juniper, Cedar, Elm, White Pine, Honeylocust, Norway Maple, Hemlock & Spruce.
If your shrubs have a small infestation, pick the bags off the plant. Put them inside a jar or coffee can and dispose of them in a garbage can. Bags left hanging on the shrub or tree contain females that can produce 500 to 1000 eggs within the bag. They will overwinter and appear the following year.
Spray with one of the following: Sevin®, Diazinon, Thuricide (Dipel), Orthene®. Pesticides vary in strength. Always read and follow label directions when using pesticides.
Spray the entire shrub. It will take 2 to 3 sprayings, with a one-week interval between each. Treatment must be made when the bags are still small. Spray in late May and early June. Late June may still be effective. August or September is too late to spray.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

The Landscape

Whether you have on old home or a new one you will benefit from trees and shrubs. Deciduous trees such as maples shade your property in the summer from intense heat and in the winter allow the sun to warm your home. And evergreens planted as windbreaks allow you to use your heat more efficiently.

Landscaping and landscape design goes beyond just creating beautiful designs. And while most elements will remain what they are for years to come, the one thing that most do it yourselfers and some professionals overlook is the space that tiny little sprouts will occupy when they become mature plants and trees.

You need to keep in mind the mature size of trees in proportion to the size of your home and other landscaping elements. Large trees can dwarf a small home and small trees can look like shrubs placed around a very large home. Know the mature size of trees and keep them in perspective.

Here are some favorites we have available here in our Nursery:

Viburnums (5 kinds), Arborvitae (5 kinds), Beautyberry, Ninebark, Dogwoods, Weigela, Spirea, Junipers, Abelia, Japanese Barberry, False Holly, Hydrangeas (many varieties), Boxwood, Japanese Holly Dwarf Crepe Myrtle

Monday, August 19, 2013

Wednesday, August 7, 2013


Native plants are those that evolved naturally in North America. Native plants in a particular area are those that were growing naturally in the area before humans introduced plants from distant places.

Landscaping with native plants has several appealing factors.

Native Plants Save Energy - These plants have evolved and adapted to local conditions
over thousands of years. They are vigorous and hardy, so they can survive winter cold and
summer heat. Once established, they require no irrigation or fertilization. They are resistant to most pests and diseases.

Native Plants Stay Put - Each native plant species is a member of a community that includes other plants, animals and microorganisms. The natural balance keeps each species in check, allowing it to thrive in conditions where it is suited, but rarely become invasive.

Native Plants Are Interesting - The diversity of native plants includes interesting flowers and foliage. Native shrubs and trees provide a variety of heights, shapes and textures.


1. Protect native plant communities and minimize habitat destruction.
It is very important to conserve existing areas of native vegetation as a whole, functioning unit. If disturbance is necessary, strive for minimum habitat destruction.

2. Landscape with native plants.
When new areas need to be planted, use native plants. These hardy and adaptable plants
do well in a wide variety of conditions and have a much better chance of success in gardens.

3. Learn more about native plants.
Research and learn what plants are native to your area.

4. Buy nursery-propagated native plants.
Cultivars should be predictable in attributes like height, color, blooming period or absence of seed, pods, thorns -- qualities many gardeners want. If your goal is genetic diversity -- ask for straight species grown from local seed sources (and not cultivars). Plants grown from
seed have much more variety than cloned cultivars.

5. Do not remove native plants from the wild.
Taking native plants from the wild depletes native populations.

6. Practice responsible landscaping techniques.
The first rule of responsible landscaping is to plant the right plants in the right environment. Never introduce invasive plants to your landscape that will aggressively spread off your
property and invade native plant communities.

It’s up to all of us to keep our waterways clean and healthy. Native plants bring benefits to land and water resources, wildlife and people and you can have them in your own yard!

Well-established native plants control erosion by holding the soil with their roots. They reduce flooding by slowing runoff. Trees, shrubs and groundcovers clean water by filtering out sediment and pollutants before they reach lakes and streams. Fish and wildlife depend on native plants for food, shelter and cover.

A naturally cared for native landscape is healthy for kids, pets and our environment. Your yard makes a difference!

Ten Reasons To Use Native Plants
1. They do not need pesticides or fertilizers and that is better for kids and pets.
2. They need less water and that saves money and resources.
3. Use them instead of grass and spend less time moving, raking and watering.
4. Attract wildlife, birds and butterflies.
5. Great for creating drought-tolerant yards.
6. Less expensive than non-native plants.
7. Help control erosion and reduce runoff, keeping pollutants out of our waterways.
8. Survive better than many ornamental plants.
9. Reduce problems with weed species.
10. Make your yard a true, natural habitat.

Broadleaf Evergreens
Ilex glabra (Inkberry Holly) ‘Gold Mine’ ‘Shamrock’
Kalmia latifolia (Mountain Laurel) ‘Elf’ ‘Little Linda’ ‘Minuet’ ‘Peppermint’
Leucothoe fontanesiana (Drooping Leucothoe) ‘Rainbow’ ‘Scarletta’
Mahonia aquifolium (Oregon Grape Holly) ‘Compacta’
Prunus laurocerasus (Cherry Laurel) ‘Otto Luken’

Needled Evergreens
Chamaecyparis nootka (Alaska Cedar) ‘Glauca Pendula’ ‘Green Arrow’ ‘Pendula’
Cupressus arizona (Arizona Cypress) ‘Blue Ice’
Juniperus communis (Common Juniper) ‘Compresa’ ‘Gold Cone’ ‘Golden Totem Pole’
Juniperus horizontalis (Creeping Juniper) ‘Bue Rug’ ‘Limeglow’ ‘Mother Lode’
Juniperus scopulorum (Rock Mt. Juniper) ‘Sky Rocket’ ‘Wichita Blue’
Picea glauca (White Spruce) ‘Conica’ ‘Jeans Dilly’ ‘Rainbows End’
Picea pungens (Colorado Spruce) ‘Globe’ ‘R.H. Montgomery’
Pinus strobes (White Pine) ‘Blue Shag’ ‘Soft Touch’
Thuja occientalis (Eastern Aborative) ‘Degroots Spire’ ‘Emerald Green’ ‘Golden Globe’
‘Hetz Midget’ ‘Holmstrup’ ‘Little Giant’ ‘Mr. Bowling Ball’ ‘Rheingold’ ‘Rockwood Gold’
‘Teddy’ ‘Umbraculifera’
Thuja plicata (Giant Aborative) ‘Greenn Giant’
Tsuga canadensis (Canadian Hemlock) ‘Jeddeloh’ ‘Pendula’ ‘Stockman’s Dwarf’

Deciduous Shrubs
Acer parviflora (Bottlebrush Buckeye)
Amelachier alnifolia (Saskatoon Serviceberry0) ‘Regent’
Aronia arbutifolia (Red Chokeberry) ‘Brilliantissima’
Aronia melanocarpa (Black Chokeberry) ‘Autumn Magic’ ‘iroquois Beauty’
Calycanthus floridus (Sweetshrub) ‘Athens’
Carpinus betulus (Common hornbean) ‘Fastigiata’
Ceanothus x pallidus (New Jersey Tea) ‘Marie Simon’
Clethra alnifolia (Summersweet) ‘Hummingbird’ ‘Ruby Spice’ ‘Sixteen Candles’
Cornus sericea (Redosier Dogwood) ‘Arctic Fire’ ‘Baileyi’ ‘Cardinal’
Fothergilla gardenii (Dwarf fothergilla) ‘Blue Mist’ ‘Blue Shadow’
Fothergilla major (Large Fothergilla) ‘Mt. Airy’
Hamamelis vernalis (Vernal Witchhazel)
Hamamelis virginiana (Common Witchhazel)
Hydrangea aborescens (Smooth Hydrangea) ‘Annabelle’
Hydrangea quercifolia (Oakleaf Hydrangea) ‘Alice’ ‘Amethyst’ ‘Little Honey’ ‘Pee Wee’
‘Sikes Dwarf’ ‘Snow Queen’ ‘Snowflake’
Hypericum frondosum (Golden St. Johnswort) ‘Sunburst’
Hypericum kalmianum (Kalm’s St. Johnswort) ‘Ames’ ‘Blue Velvet’
Ilex verticillata (Winterberry) ‘Berry Heavy’ ‘Berry Nice’ ‘Jim Dandy’ ‘Red Sprite’ ‘Southern
Gentleman’ ‘Winter Red’ ‘Winter Red/Jim Dandy Combo’
Itea virginica (Virginia Sweetspire) ‘Henry’s Garnet’ ‘Little Henry’
Lindera benzoin (Spicebush)
Myrica penslyanica (Northern Bayberry)
Philadelphus (Snow Dwarf Mock Orange) ‘Snow Dwarf’
Physocarpus opulifolius (Common Ninebark) ‘Diablo’ ‘Summer Wine’
Potentilla fruticosa (Bush Cinquifoil) ‘Abbotswood’ ‘Goldfinger’ ;Mango Tango’ ‘Pink Beauty’
‘Primrose Beauty’
Prunus pumila var. depressa (Dwarf Sand Cherry) ‘Gus Mehiquist’
Rhus typhina (Staghorn Sumac) ‘Tiger Eyes’
Viburnum dentatum (Arrowhead viburnum) ‘Blue Muffin’ ‘Chicago Lustre’
Viburnum nudum (Smooth Witherod) ‘Brandywine’ ‘Winterthur’
Viburnum trilobum (American Cranberry Viburnum) ‘Alfredo’ ‘Redwing’

Acer rubrum (Red Maple) ‘Burgundy Bell’ ‘Red Sunset’ ‘Sun Valley’
Acer saccharum (Sugar Maple) ‘Green Mountain’
Amelanchier x grandiflora (Serviceberry, Juneberry) ‘Autumn Brilliance’
Betula nigra (River Birch) ‘Fox Valley’ ‘Heritage’
Carpinus betulus (Common hornbean) ‘Fastigiata’
Cercis canadensis (Eastern Redbud) ‘Ace of Hearts’ ‘Alba’ ‘Appalachian Red’ ‘Flame’ ‘Forest
Pansy’ ‘Lavender Twist’ ‘Little Woody’
Cornus florida (Flowering Dogwood) ‘Cherokee Brave’ ‘Cherokee Princess’
Crataegus viridis *Green Hawthorn) ‘Winter King’
Gledistia triacanthos (Honeylocust) ‘Skyline’ ‘Sunburst’
Liquidambar styraciflua (Sweet Gum) ‘Burgundy Blush’
Magnolia grandiflora (Southern Magnolia) ‘Edith Bogue’ ‘Little Gem
Magnolia virginiana (Sweetbay Magnolia) ‘Henry Hicks’
Malus (Crabapple) ‘Adirondack’ ‘Camelot’ ‘Candie Apple’ ‘Donald Syman’ ‘Louisa’ ‘Prairie Fire’
Nyssa sylvanica (Black gum tree or Tupelo) ‘Wildfire’
Populus tremuloides (Quaking Aspen)
Oxydendrum arboretum (Sourwood)
Quercus palustris (Pin Oak)
Quercus phellos (Willow Oak)
Quercus rubra (Red Oak)

Aristolochia durior (Dutchman’s Pipe)
Campus radicans (Trumpet Vine) ‘Flamenco’ ‘Flava’ ‘Summer Snowfall’
Celastrus scandens (American Bittersweet(
Gelsemium sempervirens (Jasamine) ‘Margarita’
Wisteria frutescens (American wisteria) ‘Amethyst Falls’

Adiantum pedatum (Northern maiden fern) ‘Imbricatum’
Agastache (Hyssop, Licorice Mint) ‘Apricot Sunrise’ ‘Pink Panther’
Agastache rupestris (Rock Annie Hyssop)
Agastache pallida x A. mexicana (Agastache hybrid) ‘Tutti Fruitti’
Amsonia hubrichtii (Narrow leaf blue star flower)
Amsonia tabernaemontana (Eastern blue star flower) ‘Blue Ice’ ‘Blue Star’
Aquilegia caerula (Rocky Mountain columbine) ‘Red Hobbit’
Aquilegia canadesis (Canadian columbine) ‘Canyon Vista’ ‘Corbett’ ‘Little Lanterns’
Aquilegia chysantha (Texan columbine) ‘Yellow Queen’
Arisaema dracontium (Green dragon)
Arisaema triphyllum (Common Jack or Indian Turnip)
Asarum canadense (Canadian Wild Ginger)
Asarum shuttleworthii (Shuttleworth’s Ginger) ‘Fallowway’
Asclepia incarnata (Samp Milkweed) ‘Ice Ballet’
Asclepias tuberosa (Butterflyweed) ‘Gay Butterflies’ ‘Hello Yellow’
Aster divaricatus (White wood aster)
Aster lateriflorus (Calico aster) ‘Lady in Black’
Aster novae-angliae (New England Aster) ‘Alma Potschke’ ‘Fanny’s Aster’ ‘Hella Lacy’
‘Purple Dome’
Aster novae-belgii (New York Aster) ‘Sapphire’ ‘Snow Flurry’ ‘Winston Churchill’
Aster oblongifolius (aromatic Aster) ‘Raydon’s Favorite’
Athyrium felix femina (Lady Fern) ‘Veronia Cristata’ ‘Victoriae’
Baptisia ‘Carolina Monlight’ ‘Purple Smoke’
Baptisia alba (White Indigo)
Baptisia australis (False Indigo)
Baptisia leucantha (Prairie False Indigo)
Baptisia sphaerocarpa (Yellow Indogo)
Boltonia asteroides (Bolton’s Aster) ‘Jim Crockett’ ‘Pink Beauty’ ‘Snow Bank’
Boltonia asteroides var. latisquam ‘Nana’
Callirhoe involucrate (Common wine cup)
Campanula rotundifolia (Common Harebell) ‘Olympia’ ‘Thumbell’
Centaurea (Bachelor’s Button)
Chelone glabra (Turtlehead)
Chelone lyonii (Pink Turtlehead) ‘Hot Lips’
Chrysogonum virginianum (Golden Star) ‘Allen Bush’ ‘Pierre’
Coreopsis auriculata (Mouse-ear Tickseed) ‘Nana’ ‘Zampfir’
Coreopsis grandiflora (Common Tickseed) ‘Baby Sun’ ‘Domino’ ‘Early Sunrise’ ‘Heliot’
‘Santa Fe’ ‘Sundancer’ ‘Sunburst’ ‘Sunray’ ‘Goldfink’
Coreopsis rosea (Rose Tickseed) ‘American Dream’ ‘Limerock Passion’ ‘Limerock Ruby’
‘Sweet Dreams’
Coreopsis tinctoria (Tall Tickseed)
Coreopsis verticillata (Thread Leaf Coreopsis) ‘Creme Brulee’ ‘Golden Gain’ ‘Golden Showers’ ‘Moonbean’ ‘Zagreb’
Corydalis sempervirens (Rock Harlequin)
Dicentra cucullaria (Dutchman’s Breeches)
Dicentra eximia (Fringed Bleeding Heart) ‘Adrian Bloom’ ‘Aurora’ ‘Candy Hearts’ ‘ Dragon
Heart’ ‘Ivory Hearts’ ‘King of Hearts’ ‘Luxuriant’ ‘Snowdrift’ ‘Snowflake’ ‘Zestful’
Dodecatheon meadia (Shooting Star(
Dryopteris felix-mas (Male Fern) ‘Barnesii’ ‘Cristata Martindale’ ‘Linearis Polydactylon’
Dryopteris goldiana (Goldie’s Fern)
Echinacea pallida (Pale Coneflower)
Echinacea paradoxa (Yellow Coneflower)
Echinacea purpurea (Purple Conelfower) ‘Coconut Lime’ ‘ Fragrant Angel’ ‘Indiaca’ ‘Kim’s
Knee High’ ‘Kim’s Mop Head’ ‘Magnus’ ‘Pink Double Delight’ ‘Pink Shuttles’
‘Razzamatazz’ ‘Rubin’s Glow’ ‘Ruby Giant’ ‘Sparkler’ ‘White Swan’
Eupatorium fistulosum (Hollow Joe-Pye Weed) ‘Bartered Bride’ ‘Little Joe’
Eupatorium perfoliatum (Boneset(
Eupatorium rugosum (White Snakeroot) ‘Chocolate’
Filipendula rubra (Queen of the Prairie) ‘Venusta Magnifica’
Gaillardia grandiflora (Blanket Flower) ‘Arizona Sun’ ‘Baby Cone’ ‘Burgundy’ ‘Goblin’
‘Golden Goblin’ ‘Mandarin’ ‘Summer’s Kiss’ ‘Torchlight’
Geranium maculatum (Cranesbill) ‘Elizabeth Ann’
Helenium autumnale (Dog Tooth Daisy) ‘Coppelia’ ‘Feursiegel’ ‘Morheim Beauty’
‘Red-Gold Hybrids’ ‘Wyndley’
Helianthus angustifolius (Swamp Sunflower) ‘Gold Lace’
Heliopsis helianthoides (False Sunflower) ‘Asahi’ ‘Ballerina’ ‘Prairie Sunset’ ‘Summer Nights’
‘Summer Sun’ ‘Tuscan Sun’
Hepatica acutiloba (Liver Leaf)
Heuchera americana (Coral Bells) ‘Green Spice’ ‘Petite Pearl Fairy’
Heuchera villosa (Hairy Alumroot) ‘Autumn Bride’ ‘Bronze Wave’ ‘Brownies’ ‘Caramel’
‘Citronelle’ ‘Mocha’
Iris cristata (Crested Iris) ‘Alba’ ‘Eco Bluebird’ ‘Powder Blue Giant’
Iris louisiana (Louisana Iris) ‘Ann Chowning’ ‘Black Gamecock’ ‘Clorific’ ‘Full Eclipse’
‘Pegalletta’ ‘Sea Wisp’
Lobelia cardinals (Cardinal Flowers) ‘Queen Victoria’
Lobelia siphilitica (Giant Blue Lobelia)
Mertensia virginica (Virginia Blue Bells)
Monarda didyma (Common Bee Balm) ‘Aquarius’ ‘Blue Stocking’ ‘Clare Grace’ ‘Colrain Red’
‘Dark Ponticum’ ‘Fire Ball’ ‘Grand Marshall’ and many more
Oenothera fruticosa (Common Sundrops)
Osmunda cinnamomea (Cinnamon Fern)
Osmunda regalis (Royal Fern)
Panisum virgatum (Switch Grass)
Penstemon digitalis (Smooth White Penstemon) ‘Husker Red’
Phlox divaricata (Woodland Phlox) ‘Blue Elf’ ‘Charles Ricardo’ ‘Loamphamii’ ‘London Grove
Blue’ ‘Clouds of Perfume’ ‘ May Breeze’ ‘Montrose Bicolor’ and many more
Phlox manculata (Spotted Phlox) ‘Flower Power’ ‘Natasha’
Phlox paniculata (Summer Phlox) ‘Baby Face’ ‘Becky Towe’ ‘Blue Boy’ ‘Blue Paradise’
and many more
Phlox stolonifera (Creeping Phlox) ‘Blue Ridge’ ‘Bruce’s White’ ‘Home Fires’ ‘Pink Ridge’
‘Sherwood Purple’
Phlox subulata (Moss Phlox) ‘Autropupurea’ ‘Candy Stripe’ ‘Coral Eyes’ ‘Crimson Beauty’
‘Emerald Blue’ ‘Foot Hill’ ‘Snow Flake’ ‘White Delight’ and more
Physostegia virginiana (Obedient Plant) ‘Miss Manners’ ‘Olympic Gold’ ‘Vivid’ ‘Variegata’
Podophyllum peltatum (May Apple)
Polygonatum biflorum (Small Solomen’s Seal)
Ratibida columnifera (Prairie Cornflower) ‘Red’ ‘Yellow’
Rudbeckia fulgida (Orange Coneflower) ‘Goldstrum’ ‘Viette’s Little Suzy’
Rudbeckia subtomentosa (Sweet Coneflower) ‘Henry Eilers’
Rudbeckia maxima (Great Coneflower)
Sisyrinchium angusfolium (Common Blue-Eyed Grass) ‘Lucerne’
Smilacina racemosa (False Solomen’s Seal)
Solidago rugosa (Showy Goldenrod) Fireworks’
Solidage sphacelata (Autumn Goldenrod) ‘Golden Fleece’
Spigelia marilandica (Indian Pink)
Spiranthes odorata (Nodding Lady’s Tresses)
Stokesia laevis (Stokes Aster) ‘Blue Danube’ ‘Mary Gregory’ ‘Omega Sky Rocket’ ‘Peaches
Pink’ ‘Silver Moon’
Termopsis caroliniana (Carolina Lupine)
Tiarella cordifolia (Allegheny foamflower) ‘Black Snow Flake’ ‘Collina’ ‘Dark Star’ ‘Neon Lights’
‘Oak Leaf’ and many more
Tradescentia virginiana (Virginia Spiderwort) ‘Caerulea Plena’
Trillium erectum (Stinking Benjamin)
Trillium grandiflorum (Great White Trillium)
Trillium luteum (Yellow Trillium)
Verbena Canadensis (Rose Verbena) ‘Homestead Purple’ ‘Sissinghurst’ ‘Taylortown Red’
Veronicastrum virginicum (Culver’s Root) ‘Alba’ ‘Apollo’ ‘Lavender Towers’ ‘Pink Glow’
Viola labradorica (Violet)
Viola pedata (Birds Foot Violet) ‘Eco Artist Palette’
Yucca filamentosa (Adam’s Needle) ‘Bright Edge’ ‘Color Guard’ ‘Golden Sword’

Monday, July 29, 2013

Migratory Behavior 

Of The 

Monarch Butterfly

The awesome sight of hundreds of monarch butterflies flying by inspires a feeling of wonder in all who are lucky enough to see such a beautiful sight.  Many do not know the ordeal that these creatures must undergo during their life span.  The migration cycle of the monarch presents numerous obstacles in 
which many lose their lives.  No one truly understands why these creatures make such a dangerous 
journey, but there are many hypotheses as to the reason why.

Life/Reproduction Cycle
A monarch butterfly goes through a complete metamorphosis involving four sages:  egg, larva (or 
caterpillar), pupa and adult.  In addition, each individual monarch contributes to a larger population life cycle, involving many generations.  The fall migrants are usually 3 or more generations removed from 
the monarchs that overwintered in Mexico during the previous winter.  In other words, each fall the last generation of the monarchs must navigate to a location up to 2000 miles away, which they’ve never 

As they migrate north in the spring, monarchs lay eggs on milkweed along the way.  These larvae appear in the southern return path in March and early April.  This generation will also migrate North following their parents.  The reproductive cycle continues and by August to early September, three to four generations will have evolved. 

It would be nearly impossible for an individual monarch butterfly to complete this entire migratory cycle.  Because of this, their rapid system of reproduction is of great importance to the survival of the species and the completion of the migratory cycle from year to year.

Migrational Pattern/Behavior:
The migration of the monarch butterfly begins in Canada and the northernmost parts of the United States.  the fall migration begins in late August ending in the months of November and December.  The destination of the butterflies lies in Central Mexico, in the Oyamel forests.  Traveling in a southwesterly direction, the monarchs fly east of the Great Lakes and south-southwest in areas west of the Great Lakes.  Those that reach the Gulf of Mexico follow the coastline in a continuous stream.  They continue in a southwest direction eventually reaching the overwintering site in the Transvolcanic Plateau of Mexico.  As many as 300 million spend the winter there.

During the migration, monarchs encounter many dangers.  These dangers include storms, predators, humans, cars and simple fatigue.  This migration takes up to three generations to complete!  The exact migratory path is still being plotted today by scientists.

The monarchs travel approximately 50 miles per day and feed on flowers to gain carbohydrates 
from nectars.  Monarch speed flights have been measured at 12 miles per hour.  They roost in large clusters in the branches and trunks of the oyamel trees.    In mid-February, the monarch’s mating behavior begins.  By the end of February, some of the monarchs begin moving northward, by mid-March the roosts are empty.  40-60 percent of the monarchs die during their stay in Mexico.  During the spring migration, the monarch butterflies return to their homes in Canada and the northern most parts of the United States.  

“No other animal is more typical of a healthy environment, nor more susceptible to change, than a butterfly” (Feltwell 1986).  Monarchs have no control over what happens to their environment, they can only respond to what changes occur, which usually means either surviving or dying.  Humans are the ones who have the most control over what will happen to the monarch butterfly population and the biggest problem that the monarchs face is the loss of habitat.

There are only about a dozen known wintering sites in Mexico.  Each site is approximately 7.5 acres and contains millions of butterflies.  Damage to even one site would be catastrophic to the monarch population.  Only two of these sights are well protected from logging.  If the roost sites are destroyed, monarch populations are likely to decline.  Protection of the roost sites will be difficult since 
preservation of these sites and the monarch will conflict with the increasing needs and changing priorities of a growing Mexican population.

Milkweed, the host plant of the monarch, is also a concern.  In Canada, milkweed has been declared a noxious weed.  This means that the plant is considered illegal and cannot be allowed to grow on private or public lands in Canada.  Although not labeled noxious in the states, farmers consider the plant a nuisance to crops and often use herbicides to control it along with other weeds.  More and more roadsides are being planted in grass instead of being allowed to overgrow with wildflowers and weeds.  The result is that the butterflies have fewer places in the wild to find nectar and lay eggs.

So what can be done to help preserve the monarch population?  The most important issue is to stop the destruction of the monarch’s habitat.  One thing that we can do on our own properties is to plant Milkweed and Butterfly Weed.  Make your backyard a monarch preserve and cater to these amazing creatures before it’s too late.  

Monarch butterflies are incredibly fascinating creatures.  Only recently have their life and migratory cycles been studied and recorded.  We hope that this glimpse into the life of the monarch butterfly has helped you to appreciate more than just their breathtaking appearance.  

(check out http://butterflywebsite.com/Articles/uminn/monarchs.html for more information)

Monday, July 22, 2013

Butterfly Day This Saturday!



Saturday, August 3rd, 

2013 9am-3pm


•  PA Butterflies & Caterpillars
•  Host Plants
•  Plants for Attracting Butterflies
•  Migratory Cycle of the Monarch
•  Differences Between Moths & 
•  Anatomy of a Butterfly
•  Living Butterfly House
•  Natural Pest Repellents


•  11am - FREE Tour of our
      Butterfly Garden
•  1pm - Caring for your
      Butterfly Bush - FREE



•  Butterfly & Caterpillar Crafts
•  Make Your Own Antennae
•  Vegetable Tasting
•  Face Painting 

  1. Butterfly merchandise, 
  2. products, info and more!

Monroe Fire Company will have their delicious chicken barbecue meal for sale today!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Blossom End Rot In Tomatoes

A water-soaked spot at the blossom end of tomato fruits is the classic symptom of blossom-end rot.  This relatively common garden problem is not a disease, but rather a physiological disorder caused by a calcium imbalance within the plant.  It can occur in pepper, squash, cucumber, and melon fruits as well as tomatoes.

Blossom-end rot is most common when the growing season starts out wet and then becomes dry when fruit is setting.  Damage first appears when fruits are approximately half their full size.  The water-soaked areas enlarge and turn dark brown and leathery.  These areas will eventually begin to rot, so the fruit should be picked and discarded.

Several factors can limit a plant’s ability to absorb enough calcium for proper development.  These include:  fluctuations in soil moisture (too wet or too dry), an excess of nitrogen in the soil, root damage due to cultivation, soil pH that’s either too high or too low, cold soil and soil high in salts.

In cold climates, allow soil to warm before planting ; cold soils limit nutrient uptake.
Maintain soil pH at or near 6.5
Use fertilizers that are low in nitrogen and high in phosphorus.  Perhaps a 9-15-30.
Maintain consistent levels of moisture in the soil throughout the growing season.  when the weather is dry, water thoroughly once or twice each week to moisten the soil to a depth of at least 6 inches.
Use watering cones to get water down into the root zone.
Apply mulch to minimize evaporation and help maintain consistent soil moisture.
Keep garden records:  You may discover that some crop varieties are more susceptible to blossom-end rot that others.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

It's Almost Time For Butterfly Day!

Our Butterfly Day this year will be held on Saturday, August 3rd and boasts everything "BUTTERFLY!"  Displays on:

•  PA Butterflies & Caterpillars
•  Host Plants
•  Plants for Attracting Butterflies
•  Migratory Cycle of the Monarch
•  Differences Between Moths & 
•  Anatomy of a Butterfly
•  Living Butterfly House
  Natural Pest Repellents

2 Programs:

•  11am - FREE Tour of our Butterfly Garden
•  1pm - Caring for your Butterfly Bush - FREE

Children's Activities:

•  Butterfly and Caterpillar Crafts
•  Make Your Own Antennae
•  Vegetable Tasting
•  Face Painting 

And the long awaited BUTTERFLY RELEASE at 12 noon!

Release Your Own Butterfly!
Saturday, August 3rd is Ashcombe’s annual 
“Beauty of Butterflies,” featuring all things related 
to butterflies.  Our butterfly release is so popular that many participants like to sponsor their own butterfly to release on that day.  We are offering 
our customers the opportunity to purchase a 
butterfly for $10.00 per Monarch Butterfly.  These butterflies will be shipped directly to Ashcombe 
and will be reserved in the names of all paid sponsors.  On August 3rd, you may pick up your butterfly and release it here or take it home to enjoy its beauty in your own backyard.  
Deadline for reserving your butterfly is July 15th.

See Kerri in the greenhouse to order your butterfly!

Monday, June 24, 2013

The Basics Of Composting

Compost is organic matter that has broken down.  Composting enriches the soil in your garden; protects plants from disease; reduces waste; is good for the environment and is a great project for the whole family.

Compost consists of two main ingredients.  ‘Dry Browns’ and ‘Wet Greens’.  Some materials are better to use than others.  Here are some suggestions:

Dry Browns are high in carbon and can include:
- dried leaves - saw dust
- shredded branches and twigs        - pine needles
- straw - shredded paper

Wet Greens are naturally high in nitrogen and include:
- grass clippings - coffee grinds
- kitchen scraps - tea bags
- manure - egg shells
- cut flowers

What to avoid putting your compost?
- weeds that have flowered
- dog/cat waste (their worming meds can kill composting worms)
- deseased plants
- meat, bones
- citrus peels (too acidic for worms)

Any ratio of Dry Browns to Wet Greens will work over time, however, to get things going faster, a higher Dry Browns content will work better.

Where to compost?
Bins, piles, holes, self-container tumblers all work well.

How can you speed up the process?
- Keep materials small, they will decompose faster.
- Avoid clumped grass.
- Turn the pile with a pitchfork regularly to circulate air
- Keep pile moist, but not soaked
- Cover with a tarp to keep our excess rain, animals and add heat.

When compost ir rich, loose and dark...it’s ready!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Attract Hummingbirds To Your Garden!

Here in Central Pennsylvania, bird-watchers await anxiously the return of the Ruby-Throat Hummingbirds each year.  These little jewels are the smallest of birds, and are fascinating to watch as they busily feed from flowers or a feeder provided for that purpose.  Hummingbirds also eat tiny insects and small spiders.

Contrary to popular myth, hummingbirds enjoy perching on a small bare branch or sturdy weed that is high enough for the bird to survey his territory.  Hummingbirds have little fear of man or anything else; their speed makes them inaccessible to cats and other would be predators.  Hummingbirds have a feisty disposition, and are known to drive off much larger birds.  The males often fight for territory and stage ‘dogfights’ displaying their tremendous agility and acrobatic prowess.

Hummingbirds breed in our area, with each female typically laying two eggs no bigger than a pea.  Their nests are about the size of a half dollar.  They like to nest above a creek or stream, on a 
down-sloping branch anywhere from five to twenty feet above the water.  They locate their nests on the saddle of a horizontal twig or branch.  The nests are built of plant down, spider webbing, lichen, and young oak leaves typically.

Hummingbirds migrate from Costa Rica and Mexico in the winter to our area as spring flowers start to open.  They are particularly fond of columbine in the early spring.  The males precede the females.  Females will return to their nesting spots each year.

Hummers are fond of red flowers, as well as a host of wildflowers.  Some plants, like Cardinal-Flower (Lobelia cardinalis) depend on hummingbirds for pollination since their flowers have such an elongated tube that other pollinators cannot reach their nectar.  Here are a list of other flowers that attract hummingbirds.

Impatiens Nicotiana
Trumpet-Vine Salpiglossis
Salvia (Scarlet Sage) Hollyhocks
Red Honeysuckle Gladiolus
Bee Balm (Monarda) Balcon Geraniums
Jewelweed Fuchsia
Phlox Wild Honeysuckle
Petunias Penstemon
Lilies Mimosa Trees
Nasturtiums Yucca

In addition, hummingbirds will also feed on fresh sap from a hole made by a wood-boring bird.

There are a variety of hummingbird feeders available to supplement flower feeding. Most are constructed of plastic and have red tops or plates to help the hummingbirds zero in on the nectar.  You may buy hummingbird nectar, or make your own.  To make your own, use a ration of one part white sugar to four parts water.  Boil the water, add the sugar and let it cool.  Store unused portion in the refrigerator.  It is important to clean your feeder at least once a week to keep mold from forming.  Clean them with hot water and a little vinegar.  Rinse thoroughly before refilling.  Do NOT use honey to feed hummingbirds - it grows a fungus that can infect the tongues of hummingbirds.

Other insects are also attracted to hummingbird feeders, and hummers have been known to fight bumblebees for food.  To keep competition at a minimum, spray your feeder daily with water.  It discourages insects, and hummingbirds love to dive in and out of water drops.  In fact, spritzing water fascinates these little birds, and they enjoy taking baths regularly.  If you are fortunate enough to have a fountain, it can make a nice centerpiece for a hummingbird garden.

Even those that live in town can enjoy hummingbirds by planting containers and window boxes full of their favorite flowers.  A bird bath can provide water and a large tree can be used for cover.  On suburban lots, a grassy expanse ringed by medium-sized trees that is under-planted with shrubs provides the type of cover hummingbirds seem to enjoy.

Hummingbirds make a chatter that sounds like a squeak, followed by a ‘tsk’ sound.  Most often, their approach is hear as the flutter of rapidly beating wings.  They are very curious, and will often hover around a person with a bright red shirt or red hair ribbon.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Square Foot Gardening

A square foot garden generally is a raised bed filled with good earth and compost mix so that packing and erosion from rain don’t affect your vegetables or small fruits. It can measure three feet wide or four feet if you prefer and as long as you want, since you can reach in from either side to plant, tend and harvest your crops. The height can vary from 6 inches to 12 inches depending on how deep you want your roots to grow.

A plant or seeds can be sown in each square foot depending on the habit of the plant you want to grow. For example lots of carrot seeds will fit into a square foot, but it may take several feet if you decide to grow a squash or pumpkin in it. The nice thing about this type of garden is that is easily tilled and watered and is accessible even for the handicapped.

In 2009 here at Ashcombe we had our first square foot garden made with 2 by 12 inch boards. A special corner piece holds the boards together. These can be purchased here or at a home improvement store.

We were amazed at the amount of fresh vegetables we were able to harvest all season long from our square foot garden and as early crops came out later ones were put in. The carrots lasted well into November and were very tasty.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013


Sure, you can attract a couple of butterflies just by planting a few of the right flowers in a window box or a corner of your vegetable patch, but to observe a true diversity (as many as 40 different species) and watch their transformation from egg to caterpillar to chrysalis and finally adult, you’ll want to create a haven specifically for them - A SEPARATE BUTTERFLY GARDEN!

Your butterfly garden should offer plenty of sun and protection from strong winds - the south or southeast side of a stone wall, building, hedge or slope are excellent.  If you don’t have such a sheltered site, you can arrange the plants in the garden in a bowl shape, with the taller ones on the outside creating a sheltering effect.

Your butterfly garden doesn’t have to be large, but the more naturalized the better.  Chemical pesticides are, of course, deadly to butterflies and their offspring.  But if you’re an organic gardener, you don’t have to worry about accidentally killing what you’re trying to attract.

Good butterfly plants HAVE three traits:  shape, color and fragrance.  Butterflies sip nectar through their tongue (proboscis) so plants that allow them the easiest access to that nectar are preferred.  Many butterfly flowers are purple, lavender or pink, but because butterflies see differently than we do, their response to flower colors is not entirely predictable.

A heavy perfume appeals to butterflies, so stick to the old-fashioned or heirloom varieties in place of the faint-scented modern forms of the same flowers.  Butterflies have an acute sense of smell.  They can detect the most fragrant flowers from afar and will delight on them rather than on modern hybrids that have little or no fragrance.

The average adult butterfly lives only two weeks, and much of that time is devoted to reproduction and egg-laying.  To lay those eggs, females search for a proper host plant on which to deposit their eggs.  When those eggs hatch, the larva (caterpillars) emerge and begin feeding, usually on the leaves of that host plant.  These host plants are often different than the plants that adult butterflies use as nectar sources.

You don’t absolutely need host plants in your butterfly garden, but by having a few of them around - either in your main planting or somewhere nearby - you will help to increase the local butterfly population and increase your opportunity for observation of the next generation’s adult form.  Most butterflies travel only a few hundred yards from where they grow up as caterpillars.

You can raise your own butterflies indoors - even after summer has passed.  No matter what your age, it’s fun to watch the metamorphosis from egg to butterfly.  By releasing the adults, you may even help to increase the butterfly populations in your outdoor garden and neighborhood.  If you have just one square foot of space, you can easily raise 50 to 100 butterflies.  It’s relaxing and rewarding.  When you release a new butterfly that you’ve raised, you can make a wish or simply watch your cares fly away with it.

The first step is making an aviary - or butterfly house.  To begin, identify the proper host plant for the kind of butterflies that you wish to raise, and pot one up so that you can bring it indoors.  Then use two long pieces of wire to construct a teepee-like frame work over the plant.  Cover the framework with mosquito netting or an old sheer curtain and fasten the bottom of the net to the pot with string or a rubber band.

Now find a female butterfly - the right species for your host plant - and catch her.  What’s that?  How do you tell a male from a female?  The best way is to consult a good field guide to butterflies:  Males and females of the same species often have distinguishing marks or flight patterns that will be illustrated or described in the guide.  For example, the male monarch’s scent pouch on its hind wing looks like a large black dot.  (Hold the butterfly upside down by its wings, and look at the tip of its abdomen.  You’ll see claspers on a male, but not on a female.

Butterflies are most active, and therefore easiest to spot on sunny days.  Late morning is prime time.  Late afternoon is also good for seeing and catching butterflies, but they often hide during the hottest part of the day.  To catch your butterfly, wear subdued colors and approach very slowly.
Almost any female that you catch in your garden will already be fertilized.  After you put her in the cage, add a small melon cube for food (sugar), or provide a few nectar flowers, such as cosmos or zinnias.  A brand new, never used orange pot scrubber in a shallow dish filled with sugar water also works.  At first you may need to coax her to eat by opening her proboscis with a tooth pick (Yes, you can do this!  It’s easy!)  and she’ll soon catch on.

Cover the entire cage with a brown paper bag to keep the butterfly calm; strong light will cause her to become active and she may hurt herself in the enclosed space.  After 24 hours, begin checking the leaves of your host plant for eggs - a female will generally begin laying in one to seven days.  (After she’s laid a few eggs, you can release her.)


ANNUALS BLOOM TIME1. Alyssum summer to mid fall
2. Cosmos late summer to fall
3. Heliotrope late spring to summer
4. Marigold summer into fall
5. Nasturtium* late summer
6. Salvia summer through fall
7. Zinnia mid-summer to fall
BIENNIALS8. Red Clover * summer
9. Queen Anne’s Lace late spring through fall
10. Sweet William spring through early summer

PERENNIALS BLOOM TIME11. Asters late summer to fall
12. Bergamot summer through fall
13. Butterfly Bush mid-summer to fall
14. Butterfly Weed summer through fall
15. White Clover* summer
16. Coreopsis all summer
17. Purple Coneflower late summer into fall
18. Hollyhock* summer
19. Lavender summer
20. Lupine* late spring to early summer
21. Phlox (paniculata) all summer
22. Black-eyed Susan mid-summer to early fall
23. Salvia summer into fall
24. Shasta Daisy summer
25. Thistles* late spring through fall
6. Violet* spring
27. Yarrow mid to late summer
* also serves as a caterpillar host plant

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Growing Tomatoes


Tomatoes rank among the easiest and richest food.  Pot or tub grown patio and cherry tomatoes provide fresh salad making.  A half dozen plants in the garden will do for a small family.  Using plastic cover sheets, the bearing season can be extended 6-weeks in the open garden to early November.

BEST LOCATION - All day sun, good air circulation and soil drainage are a must; use a fast warming sandy loam soil if possible.  All soils are suitable when enriched with organic matter.  To help offset disease, plant in different part of the garden each year and destroy plants when finished.  Do not use these in compost or allow to remain on the ground to decay.  For pot use only fresh soil mix.

SPACING - Allow 18 to 36 inches between plants in the row, with rows from 3 to 5 feet apart.  If plants are to be trained to stakes, set stakes first; these must be firm in soil and stand 6 feet.  Gardeners with limited space can use tomato towers.  Least work is by allowing plants to bush or sprawl out at will.

PLANTING TIME - Planting can usually begin by mid-May, after the last frost.  If plants get too tall or leggy from early started seedlings, lay on side in a shallow trench and cover all but the top 3 or 4 inches with soil.  Roots form readily all along the stem.  Water with a starter solution such as “upstart” by Ortho.  Shade plants for a few days.  Plastic covers are not usually needed after June first.

SUMMER CARE - Avoid high nitrogen fertilizers which cause excessive foliage growth.  Tomatoes need some pruning anyway, whether staked or not.  Usually the first 2 or 3 branches from the base are retained, all others nipped off as they appear (except for determinate types).  In stake training, it may be best to keep only one stem; tie to stake at ten-in.  Intervals using 2-inch wide strips of cloth.  When first blossoms appear, fertilizers and mulches can be applied.  Tomato plant food is used at intervals to September 1st; mulches of black plastic can be laid, or 8 to 10 inches of clean straw to blanket walks.  Mulches help conserve and level off moisture supply and control weeds.  Under no circumstances cultivate no more than an inch deep as roots sprawl just below surface.  For larger, cleaner fruit, support your tomato plants.

CUTWORMS - At time of planting, place a collar around plant to fend off cutworms which feed at night (common on sandy soils).  Half a milk carton, pushed firmly into soil, works well;  don’t allow leaves to touch the ground outside, as worms climb.

WEED KILLERS - Such as used on lawns in the neighborhood; drift causes abnormal distorted foliage and stunting.

HORN WORMS - With warmer weather, green worms to 4 inches long feed  on leaves and fruit, one or two only per plant.  Pick off and destroy; if it is out of sight, shade bush and listen for ticking.  If by chance you find a worm covered with tiny cocoons (white), leave it; these are helpful parasites at work and your worm is dying!  Or use organic pesticide.

FRUIT WORMS - Large hole in fruit, many worms inside.  Pick fruit and burn, or bury.  Apply spray or dust with Sevin or Tomato vegetable dust by Ortho.

BLOSSOM END ROT - Black bottoms, enlarging.  Often on first fruit only; some varieties more susceptible.  Not a disease.  Thought to be caused by irregular moisture conditions, lack of lime.  Maintain even soil moisture.  
SUNBURN - Fruit top or shoulders yellowed or hardened.  Very light foliage cover needed, constant moisture.  Most notable on staked and rigidly pruned plants lacking sufficient foliage.  

BLOSSOM DROP - and no developing fruit:  night temperatures below 55°F, too much rain, prolonged humid conditions.

GROWTH - Indeterminate means that the blossoms and fruit develop progressively and the harvest lasts several months.  Determinate means that the blossoms and fruit develop on the vine at the same time.

BEEFMASTER VFNASt  80 days, fruit is tolerant of cracking
WHOPPER VFFNT  70 days, outstanding
SUPERSTEAK VFN  80 days, indeterminate, beefsteak type
BIG BOY VF  78 days, 12-16 oz. fruits, indeterminate, vigorous plant
BETTER BOY VFN  72 days, smooth, high yields, indeterminate
CHAMPION VFNT  10 oz. fruit, resistant, excellent, 62 days, 
CELEBRITY VFNTASt determinate, 72 days, large, glossy fruits
EARLY GIRL 65 days, indeterminate, earliest, good for slicing
PATIO VASt, 70 days, determinate, good for containers, 
3-4 oz. fruits
SWEET 100 VF  65 days, 1” cherry fruits
LEMON BOY VFNASt, indeterminate, 7 oz. fruits, lemon yellow
LA ROMA VF1 & 2N, 70 days, determinate, plum shaped fruits
RUTGERS VFASt, 7-9 oz. fruits, indeterminate
HEARTLAND 68 days; dwarf compact plants; good for limited spaces
SUPERSONIC 80 days; mid season; hearty yield, crack resistant
GERMAN JOHNSON 80 days; indeterminate, low acid, slicing

For a complete listing, see our 2011vegetable list.

***Letters preceding plant names indicate they are resistant to the following diseases: 
VF-Verticillium and Fusarium Wilt
N - Nematodes
T - Tobacco Mosaic
A - Alternaria Alternate
ST- Stemphylum

Days given indicate time from setting out plants to first fruit harvest.