Thursday, January 17, 2013

Upcoming Events At Ashcombe

I can't believe January is half over already!  Spring is just around the corner - it will be here before we know it!  Now is a great time to plan your summer garden.  Our seeds will begin arriving in a couple of weeks.  It's always fun to browse through the packs and dream about digging in the warm dirt!

We have been working hard to come up with seminars and workshops for 2013 that will help with some of your gardening questions and needs, as well as some great garden craft for kids.  You can check out the complete schedule for 2013 at
Please remember that we do require pre-registration for all classes and pre-payment for some.

Here is what's going on this winter:

Homeschool Garden Craft Class - Making Bird Feeders ~ Wednesday, 
January 23rd 1-2pm  Each child will make a couple of bird feeders to take along home to feed the birds.  Please wear old clothes.  Ages 5 and up.  $5.00

Adult Terrarium Workshop - Thursday, January 24th 1pm.  Each participant 
will make a terrarium.  Bring your own container or purchase one here.  $5.00 plus plants 
and supplies.

Adult Suet Making Workshop ~ Saturday, January 26th 11am.  Each participant will make and mold their own suet to take along home for the birds.  $10.00

Adult Fairy Garden Workshop ~ Tuesday, February 5th, 1pm  Each participant 
will make a fairy garden.  Bring your own container or purchase one here .  $5.00 plus plants 
and supplies.

Homeschool Garden Craft Class: Fairy Garden Workshop ~ Wednesday, 
February 6th, 10-11am  Each child will make their own fairy garden.  Please wear old clothes.  $15.00

Children’s Garden Craft Class - Pencil Crafts ~ Saturday, February 9th 9-10am   Each child will make a couple of adorable pencil creatures to take home and use.  Please wear old clothes.  Ages 5 and up.  $5.00
Learn How To Start Your Own Seeds ~ Saturday, February 9th, 10am-2pm  Stop by our Garden Supplies department between 10am and 2pm and get some great tips on starting your seeds indoors. 

Homeschool Garden Craft Class - Make Your Own Seed Tape ~ Wednesday, 
February 20th, 1-2pm  Each child will make seed tape to give as a gift or use in their own garden when the weather warms up.  Please wear old clothes.  Ages 5 and up.  $5.00

Soup & Bread Luncheon ~ Thursday, February 21st, 11am  Enjoy a warm and tasty lunch featuring several different kinds of soups and breads - all made right here in our kitchen.  Dessert and drinks are included.  Recipes will be available.  $12.00.

All About Orchids Seminar ~ Thursday, February 21st, 1pm  Learn everything you ever wanted to know about orchids in this informative seminar.  Each participant will 
receive a starter orchid.  Pre-registration and payment required.  Fee:  $15.00

Mommy & Me Garden Craft Class ~ Planting Seeds - Wednesday, February 27th, 10am  In this fun class, we will make newspaper containers, then plant them with vegetable and flower seeds.  This class is for children 4 years and under.  A parent or guardian must stay with the child.  Pre-registration required.  Fee:  $5.00

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Growing Healthy House Plants

Plants add color, life and humidity to our homes, especially during the dull days of winter. There are plants that will grow and flourish in almost all spots in your home. Here are some general guidelines for growing healthy indoor plants:

Location: Most of your success with house plants depends not on a magical green thumb, but on picking the right plant for a particular spot. The majority of house plants prefer bright indirect light, with perhaps a couple hours of direct sunlight especially in the morning. Flowering plants and those with brightly colored leaves often need 3-4 hours of direct sunlight daily. Ferns and those plants with soft, delicate leaves need protection from hot afternoon sun. Our trained staff in our Plant Shop can help you select the right plant to avoid disappointing results.

Watering: For most house plants, good drainage is essential to plant health. If you are transplanting into another container, those with drain holes work best. If your pot does not have drain holes, consider placing the plant in the decorative container without actually transplanting it. That way, if you over water, you can remove the plant and pour the water off. More plants die from over-watering than under-watering. When your first bring your plant home, check the soil each day to see how long it takes to dry out. Then you can establish a routine. Day length and temperatures will affect the amount of time between waterings. As a plant grows, it often needs watering more frequently because of lack of room in the pot for water to be stored. Most plants like to go moderately dry in between thorough waterings. There are exceptions though, so check the plant tag in your pot, or ask one of our staff for specific recommendations.

Temperatures: House plants usually enjoy temperatures between 70-75°F. daytime and 60-65°F. night. If your house temperatures drop below that, there are certain plants, like Gardenia and Camellia, that enjoy lower night temperatures. Some plants like ferns for example, will go into a rest period in lower temperatures. Slow down on the watering when the plant slows down on its growth.

Humidity: Humidity levels can vary quite a bit from one house to another. Insulation, heating systems and other factors can make house humidity levels desert-like. Plants with thick, waxy or hard leaves are usually not as susceptible to lowered humidity than delicate plants like ferns. If the humidity level is a problem in your home, select plants that do not require large humidity levels, like Ponytail Palm or Chinese Evergreen. If you want to grow more delicate plants, use pebble trays under them to help humidify the air.

Soil Mix: Most house plants need a soil mix that holds moisture but drains well, holds nutrients and provides enough support to hold the plant upright. A peat-based blend of soil or composted bark, peat moss and perlite for drainage will serve the needs of many plant types. There are groups of plants like orchids and cacti that have special requirements. Ashcombe potting soil works for most plants.

Fertilizers: There are many satisfactory fertilizers for house plants. For foliage plants, a fertilizer with a balanced formula of nitrogen, phosphorus and potash, like 20-20-20- is good. for blooming plants, go with a balanced fertilizer or one that has less nitrogen (the first number in the analysis) and more phosphorus and potash. You may prefer to mix a powdered fertilizer with your water when you water your plants, or use a slow release pellet or spike. The important thing is to fertilize consistently during periods of active growth and bloom, and to cut back when plants are slowing and resting. Most green foliage plants do not need fertilizer from late November until early March if they have been fed regularly throughout the growing time.

Insects: It seems that all plants inevitably get an insect infestation much the same way we get colds and flu. Often we wonder where they came from. Insects often come into the house on our clothes in the summer and although screens keep the flies out, small insects can get in and take up residence in your fig tree. Low humidity seems to attract spider mites. Check the undersides of your plant leaves often for an infestation. Our plant staff at the store can usually make a diagnosis over the phone if you spot something crawling and you aren’t sure what it is. For tougher problems like scale, there are many good insecticides formulated just for indoor house plants. The important thing is to stop the insects before they get firmly established. Then, they may need several treatments to get rid of them.

House plants can add a wonderful atmosphere to your home and office. If you have any questions, please feel free to call the store at 766-7611 for answers on specific plant queries.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Winter Blues? Get Some Green!

The holidays have come and gone and the coldest days of winter, no doubt, are still ahead of us.  Need a little comfort to see you through?  How about a lush, green foliage plant, reminiscent of the warm comforting days of summertime gardening?  They aren't just beautiful, they are healthy for the environment and actually clean the air we breathe in our own homes!
Check out this article for more interesting facts about house plants:  House Plants For Clean Air

Another favorite winter time treat at Ashcombe is our Farm Kitchen where we serve up daily lunch specials, hot and cold drinks and tantalizing desserts - all made right here on the premises.  Check out our January lunch specials here.

We also have a freezer full of home made quiches, soups, ham loaves and more delicious items that can make a fast, nutritious meal for the family always on the go.  Don't forget the finishing touch with our bakery items:  cookies, pies, cakes, muffins, breads, rolls, cupcakes, whoopie pies and so much more!