Groff's Plant Farm Images

August 30

Kids are back in school, and the last few days have been nice and cool.  Fall must be here.  The gentle rain yesterday made for  great weed pulling weather! Those of you that follow our facebook page know I'm on a mission to get flower beds weeded before they all go to seed.  Right now they are winning, but I'm not giving up!

We now have mums, ornamental cabbage and kale in stock for fall decorating.  Fall-blooming perennials like asters, plumbago and anemones are starting to show great color as well.  Our fresh crop of 4" perennials are ready for sale in greenhouse 5.  This size is so nice to get established in the fall, and will give you a head start next spring.

We are excited to offer two container classes this fall.  If you are looking for some inspiration to get your pots through the rest of the season, stop in Saturday, September 16 at 10am or October 14th at 10 for some hands-on help from Susan and Kris.  There is no cost for these workshops- just the plants you select. 

 

Happy gardening!


August 2nd

Last week's cool temps and rain was a nice respite, but summer is back.  This week we are planting about 20,000 4" perennials for fall and next year.  Over the next two we will be planting another 30,000.  These will be ready mid-September.  


We are also in the middle of our "home-improvement" season.  Jon and Lane have been re-doing the irrigation in the shrub production area.  We are also beta-testing a new shrub bench watering system, painting water tanks to improve water quality, and preparing to rebuild and improve our retail store shed.  

 

As a "thank you" to our staff we also take a field trip in the summer before our high school and college staff go back to school.  This year we are going to Hershey Gardens to see their new conservatory and butterfly atrium.  Stay tuned for a recap of our visit.  

 

On a personal note, Liam was very excited to see Monarch caterpillars on the tropical milkweed. (Above photo)  We gathered them and brought them in the house to keep them away from the beaks of the chickens, and are waiting anxiously for them to pupate. Between the butterfly bushes, the Joe Pye weeds, coneflowers and scabiosas we have been taking some great shots lately.  Below is one Karen, perennial grower, snapped of a Eastern tiger swallowtail on liatris.  


 


 

July 2nd

Summer has come.  School is out, humidity is high and we are preparing for our Customer Appreciation Day on Saturday July 8th from 9-5.  On this day beginning at 9am, each customer is welcome to one free flat of annuals.  A flat is defined as 1 hanging basket, 4 gallon annuals or mix and match a standard flat of smaller pots.  The 4" perennials will be reduced to $1.50 or $25/flat of 18.  The annuals giveaway lasts Saturday only, the 4" perennials generally lasts a week until they are gone.  

Newsletters also went out last week.  If you did not get one, click here

 

 I blinked and Spring came in like a whirlwind! Unseasonably warm temps in April were followed by an unseasonably cold May.  Plentiful rain has helped us keep our perennials lush and gave the 6000+ shrubs we planted the last few weeks a good boost.  We are bringing out new butterfly bushes and coral berries for sale now.  Our older shrubs are still in good supply.  The viburnums are looking especially good.  Please e-mail for specific availablity.

We are also in good shape as far as annuals go.  The Wave petunias and Sunpatiens lining our driveway fence are a bright pop of color and do well in sunny beds to fill a large area quickly.  We also have a ton of coleus, begonias, impatiens, and more unusual foliage plants and flowers for shady locations.  Our goal is to keep the 4 annual houses wellstocked through the next few months for those that either haven't gotten there yet, (ahem, me) or for those that need to fill in a few holes.  Heat lovers like lantana, pentas, vinca and angelonia are really coming into their glory, especially with a few more sunny days like today.

 

 

April 5th

We are now officially open and bringing more plants out of the production greenhouses everyday.  We expect to have everything out by April 15th or so, depending on the weather.  If there is something you are curious about, please call or email us at:  groffsplantfarm@epix.net

Driving around Southern Lancaster County the cherries are starting to blossom, daffodils  (that didn't get nipped by the snow) are in full bloom, and forsythia's cheerful yellow brightens the day.  Spring is truly here, the time we prepare all year for.  

 

Happy Spring!

 


March 10th

What a difference 2 weeks makes!  About 40,000 plants later our perennial greenhouses are full, and now we focus on planting annuals, herbs and veggies for spring.  

These up and down temperatures have been a bit of a challenge, but we roll with the punches and dress in layers here at Groff's.  We will begin filling the benches starting around March 20th (weather depending).  Pansies, violas, osteopsermums are beginning to bloom in greenhouse 5 and herbs are available now in greenhouse 3.    We will post as soon as we open officially, but in the meantime, you can find someone weekdays 9-3.  

This picture of greenhouse #16 cracks me up.   It looks like Kimpa is surveying her kingdom.  Luckily we got it full before the snow hit.  

Happy Spring!

 

February 23rd

This unseasonably warm weather is helping us fill up the greenhouses (and work on our tans!)  Planting several thousand gallon perennials over the next few weeks to be ready for all you happy gardeners come April!  

If there are specific plants that you are interested in, please feel free to email us at groffsplantfarm@epix.net for pricing and spring availability.  

Untl then, use these warm days to clean up leaves and sticks, and poke around in the garden to see what is coming up.  The kids are hoping for at least one big snowstorm, and honestly so am I,  if this warm weather sticks around, the bugs will be BAD this summer!

 

January 24th

Our winter hibernation is almost over.  There are about 120 flats of baby perennials in the propegation house ready to be transplanted into 4" pots in a few weeks.  Some new, some tried and true.  Pansies, fuchsias and osteospermums come in 2 weeks to chase away the winter blahs and our workers come back to the greenhouse. 

 

September 2,

We have said goodbye to our college and high school helpers and the big yellow bus again visits the end of the driveway.  Must mean fall is here.  

Believe it or not, mums, pansies, ornamental cabbage and kale are ready for fall decorating.  The fresh crop of 4" perennials are now in stock located in greenhouse #5 for those that like to try new plants without a big commitment. We will continue to keep most perennials and shrubs on the benches until we close for the season October 31st. If you have specific questions about availability, feel free to call or e-mail.

Newsletters went out this week.  You can find it online here. If you'd like to receive it, send us an e-mail to groffsplantfarm@epix.net 

The photo contest is still going on- drop off, email or mail up to 3 (original) photos of your gardens or specific flowers through October 1st.  Stop in and help us judge the entries during the month of October.  Winners receive Groff's gift certificates. We've gotten some great pics so far- but we still have some bare wall space!

 Back to work- I'm slowly winning the battle against weeds.  

Happy gardening!

 

June 25th

We are looking forward to the Customer Appreciation Day to be held July 9th this year begining at 9am. There is more information in the newsletter. If you did not receive one, you can read it here.

The last few weeks have slowed down, giving us opportunity to work on the flowerbeds around the farm.  Next time you are out, take a look at the hillside behind greenhouses 1-4 and below the retention pond.  The phlox, 'Northwind' Panicum, monarda and hostas have filled in well.  A bright yellow 'Sun King' Aralia lightens up the shade under the buttonwoods.  

A few things didn't do well, and were replaced with chocolate flower, penstemon and some new red hot pokers.  We are also conducting a mulch experiment.  

Many of the shrubs that we planted this spring are starting to get ready. Butterfly bushes, some red leaf redbuds and figs are for sale now.  Panicle and oak-leaf hydrangeas should be ready by early July. As plants root in and are big enough for planting we bring them out.  Best shrub selection is probably mid-August for fall planting.  

June 11th

The  spring rush is now behind us.  Despite some challenging weather, we had  a good spring.  We had a lot of fun seeing how some new varieties performed in the greenhouses, and visiting with veteran customers.  We love to see you all back again and hear what is doing well in your gardens, and what, ahem,  is not.  That feedback is so invaluable, as it we don't always have the chance to see every variety in the ground. So please don't hesitate to tell us if you loved something that we dropped that you want to see again, or if  something is a dog that we shouldn't grow.  

Over the last two weeks we have spent some time in the flower beds around the farm.  Of particular pride is the long hillside that runs behind greenhouse 4 extending down to my house.  3 years ago it was anover grown mess where we dumped clippings and weeds.  Over the last 2 seasons, we've cleaned it up and planted a variety of blooming perennials. The catmint is doing a bang-up job stabilizing a particularly steep slope, 'Northwind' panicum, kalimeris, bee balm and phlox are doing great in a sunny spot, perennial geraniums, hostas and lamium have filled in a part shade location and three 'Sun King'Aralias are a bright spot below the retention pond.  We had to replace some lychnis that didn't come back with a variety of torch lilies, penstemon and a new rudbeckia/coneflower hybrid that I am a little afraid of.  We'll see.

Nile had fun planting the bed below the container shed with a palatte of gray and purple annuals; setcresea, euphorbia, flowering vinca, Mexican bush sage, and some new poppies that I'm anxious to see their garden performance.  What a joy it is to work with talented people who love their jobs.   

Warm weather,  vacation, grilling out- summer is here.  Take some time to stop and smell the flowers.

May 7th

Mother's Day weeknd is upon us and we have lots of beautiful hanging baskets and other colorful flowers.  Customers always express concern that we will be wiped out after Mother's Day- we plant through the season so we have good supplies of annuals through the end of June and perennials through the fall.  Trust me- we won't run out!

 

There are some overwintered shrubs with limited quanties. But there are more coming- we planted about 7500 in the last 2 weeks.  The rain is definitely making my garden grow- or at least the weeds.  I'm going to try to pull some before we open.  Happy Gardening!

 

April 15,

Happy Spring!  

Newsletters went out this week.  If you did not receive one, you can read an electronic copy here.  

After last week's snow, I am hoping the weather will be a little more forgiving.  We are bring more and more new plants out each day, and hope to have the benches fully stocked by next weekend. 

As always, we are so thankful to you, our loyal customers. We love to hear what you are having sucess with, what didn't make it through the winter, and what you are looking for.  We base many of our growing decisions on feedback from you.  

As always, Happy Gardening!

March 21, 

Yesterday was the first day of Spring and though I didn't make it to Ritas for Italian Ice, we are now officially open.   We have several blooming shrubs and lovely perennials out on the benches.  Annuals are small but growing, feel free to pop in those houses to see the babies.  We are hoping to have the benches fully stocked by mid-April as long as the weather cooperates.

Herbs and early veggies are in their places in houses 3 and 4.  The 4" perennials will be stocked by the end of the week.  The Meditterarean favorite- Rosemary- is even blooming!

This is Easter week- and we will be open on Good Friday.  While we do not have tulips and daffodils, Susan planted some cute baskets with spring bloomers in them that will make a nice Easter gift.  

Cheers,

Kris

 

March 2,

After a long winter hibernation, we are busy planting in the greenhouses preparing for spring.  March came in like a lamb yesterday- let's hope it doesn't go out like a lion!

This is a big week for us- we are planting around 30,000 perennials .  Next week we will plant hanging baskets and start the gallon tomatoes. It always does my soul good to see the babies growing in the prop house.  

We have several new plants we are excited about- several nicotianas (flowering tobacco) and some garden poppies we've never tried.  

Of course there are new hostas and echinaceas (of course), but we've beefed up our numbers of some tried and trues as well.  One of our favorite heucheras is 'Obsidian'.  We should not run out this year.   

This winter has been unseasonably warm, if the weather continues, we will open before our official April 1 start date.  Stay tuned. 

Cheers,

Kris

 

 

September 26,

Cooler temperatures seem to finally be arriving and rain is forcast for this weekend.  Our newsletters went out a few weeks ago, here is a digital copy if you did not receive one.  

We are working on flower beds around the farm. Trying to get weeds under control and try a few new plants we have our eye on in the ground. Sometimes plants look great in a pot but not so great in the ground, or great in the ground and are a beast to keep in the pot.  Its fun to experiment!  

Above is a picture of the 'King Tut' cyprus.  It is an annual grass we always recommend for large containers or ponds.  On a whim, we put some in the ground in a relatively dry flower bed (we never water our beds) and it did very well.  The tall flower stalks did not break on this windy hill either.  Sucess! 

September 4th

Wow, it's been a while since I updated this section.  Kids are back in school and we are on the brink of fall.  

The new crop of 4" are coming in as they fully root in our production greenhouses and the mums are starting to bloom.  

It is harvest season and my neighbors are frantically filling silos with silage and harvesting tobacco.  

I was gratified to count over 15 monarch caterpillars on our common milkweed plants in our flower beds.  Hummingbirds are dive-bombing the 'Black and Blue' Salvia and a few goldfinches are feasting on the echinacea seedheads.  What are you finding in your yard?

 

July 3rd

Customer Appreciation Day is net Saturday July 11th.  We have been getting some calls- the annual giveaway will last only Saturday- but the small pots of perennials will remain half price through the week to make room for a fresh crop in September.  If you did not receive a newsletter click HERE.  

 

June 25th

Wow the summer has really been flying!  School is out and kids have their first swim meet tonight.  My class at Longwood is now half-over and our Customer Appreciation Day is in two weeks, July 11th!  Where did the time go?

We are thankful for the rain.  After a VERY dry April and May, June has been playing catch-up with one to two inches most weeks.  My weeds appreciate it- I think I will be playing catch-up weeding my beds for the next few days.  Luckily the soft ground makes them easy to pull.  

Turn your hoses off.  Although hanging baskets and patio containers will thank you for a shot of blue water.  Excessive rain leaches nutrients from the soil- and pots and baskets are especially liable to need a fertilzer boost.

If you have a few holes in your beds, the perennial benches are looking especially lovely right now.  Coreopsis, daisies, astilbes,  agastache and phlox are in full bloom.  Liatris are starting and we are bringing out many new hostas we planted earlier this spring.  

Of the 7,000 shrubs we planted in April about 1/3 are now ready to find homes.  We are out of vegetables, but still have a good supply of herbs.  The fall veggies like broccoli, and the like are growing and will be ready for planting in July.

If you don't see something you are looking for- please ask- we start our planning for next spring soon- and we love to hear from you!

Happy Gardening!

 

 

May 18th

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The whirlwind that was this spring has slowed a bit now that Mother's Day is behind us.  We have planted over 7000 shrubs for fall, and countless perennials and annuals have found good homes.  We have excellent supplies of perennials and are planting more for the rest of the summer everyday.  Summer annuals are still well stocked, but if you have a question of availability, please email us at groffsplantfarm@epix.net

Memorial Day is coming next week and the Prince of Orange poppies should be in full bloom for the holiday. 

Thanks for your patronage, many of you told friends about us, because we've added many new customers to our mailing list.  Word of mouth is definitely the best advertising.  For that we thank you.

Happy Gardening!



 

April 15th

We have been open now for 2 weeks and it is so nice to see you all again.  I know the dogs we forlorn without customers  to pet them all winter!  Our benches are filling up as the weather warms and it is finally starting to feel like spring around here.  Newsletters went out last week.  If you didn't receive a paper copy or an electronic copy to your e-mail, click here.

We do not post an availability on our website- so if there is something specific you are looking for, please don't hesitate to call 717-529-3001 or email us at groffsplantfarm@epix.net .  

Hope to see you soon, and happy gardening!

March 31st

What a difference a month makes!  After the snow March 5th we kicked it into high gear to be ready for your planting needs this season.  We open tomorrow, April 1st, and while we won't have all the benches full until later this month, we have quite a few beautiful overwintered plants and flowers to convince you that spring is here.

Susan planted lots of colorful Easter baskets if you are looking for a gift,  and vegetable starts are ready if you have a cold frame or live somewhere warmer than me.

Hope to see you soon!


March 2nd

Yaaaaaawwwwwnnnn.  We have all emerged from winter's hibernation and have been busy in the greehouse.  Pansies, violas and osteospermums are growing happily.  Susan and the veg and herb crew will plant 2000 gallon tomatoes this week, as well as propagate early cabbages, kales and chard.  

The perennial growers have planted about 10,000 pots so far with another 40,000 to go in the next four weeks as we get ready for our April 1st opening date.  

The growers in the Annual department stays nice and warm in the 70 degree greenhouses planting geraniums and hanging baskets.  I'm waiting for Nile to break out her shorts soon.  

There's something wonderful about seeing green inside when the word is white outside.

 

January 5th

Happy New Year!  We just got back from an extended vacation in Iowa to visit Jon's family for the holidays.  Kids played with grandparents and cousins, and we all ate WAY too much.  I know the spring is coming and all those extra calories will be burned off in the greenhouse/garden...right?

 This week we jump back into it, firing up the propegation house, and get started seeding thousands of baby perennials for the spring.  We have some new things to try, and a lot of old favorites.  We continue to enjoy our backyard chickens, worms in the kitchen and of course our furry family members Zeke and Kimpa.

We are always looking to add something new, or better information for your, our customers.   So this spring look for new stickers on our signage to help identify pollinator-friendly plants, and deer unfriendly (?) (deer proof?) offerings.  Disclaimer*  If the deer are hungry enough they will eat anything, these at least would be a place to start.

If you like plants and are looking for work, we are also looking for a few more hands around here- must like working outside and plan on working weekends in the spring.  Call 717-529-3001 for more info.

That's if for me today, I have seed packets to find...


November 1st-

Thanks for a great year.  We are now closed for the season.  This is the time we make repairs, plan for next year and recharge our batteries. If you would like gift certificates for  the holidays, please call ahead or email us to make arrangements.  See you in the spring!

October 4th

The gardening season is winding down- we are harvesting cauliflower and broccoli for dinner most nights, and the bright orange pumpkins the kids planted with pop-pop are now sitting proudly on the front step.  Perennials are slowing down getting ready for winter- fall bloomers like Helianthus salicifolius  and grasses are in their full glory.  I love this time of year!

We got a lot of great entries for our photo contest- please stop in and vote for your favorites through the end of the month. Winners receive Groff's gift certificates.

Fall color on shrubs is also starting to show up- I was pleasantly suprised by the color on some new shrubs.  Pictured above is dwarf forsythia 'Sugar Baby' and below is  compact buttonbush 'Sugar Shack'.  The original species don't usually color up this nicely.  Their more compact habit also make them small-garden friendly.   Buttonbush is a native great for damp spaces, the white flowers in spring are unusual and the fall fruits are a food source for wildlife.  

 

We still have mums and ornamental cabbage and kale available for your fall decorating needs- as well as a good supply of shrubs and perennials.  We are open until the end of the month for your fall planting needs.  Then it takes us about 6 weeks to put everything to bed for the winter.  Then we hibernate ;-)

 

Happy Fall!

 

September 18th

It's Fair Week!  If you live anywhere in the vicinity of Solanco school district the third week of September is basically "Old Home" week.  A great place to catch up with friends, watch the marching bands and every shiny truck in Southern Lancaster Co in the parade, eat chicken corn soup, funnel cake and French fries, check out the vegetables, flowers and baked goods, sewing and art projects, visit local vendors, watch the baby ducks at Powls Feed booth, cheer the local boys haul milk jugs in the Strong Man competitions and  admire the 4H kids showing their livestock.  I love the fair, can you tell?  Lots of booths are decorated with our plants this year; lovely fall mums and cabbages, Black eyed Susans and grasses.  If you live within 50 mile, come visit a slice of Small Town USA and check out the Solanco Fair.  Next week is Lampeter!

August 30

It is Labor Day weekend, the kids have been back in school for a week and I guess it is getting to be the end of summer around here.  Many fall bloomers are a little early this year- the mums and asters are blooming about 2 weeks ahead of schedule.  In a normal year they experience "heat delay" which prevents the buds from setting.  Some years the mums haven't started until after fair week- September 15th!  

We are also noticing some of the hostas are starting to yellow up- no longer making more chlorophyll to create sugars, but rather transporting their nutrients to the roots for winter storage in preparation of dormancy. 

Will it be an early winter?  Too soon to tell, but we still have several weeks of planting weather this fall.  If you want to try some new things with out making a big commitment, the fresh crop of 4" is now available in greenhouse 6. Ornamental cabbage and kale is available in 2 sizes for containers or beds, and pansies and violas are also blooming now.  

Newsletters went out last week, if you didn't get one a digital copy is available here.  If you'd like to sign up to receive one, just send us an e-mail to groffsplantfarm@epix.net.  Our photo contest is still going on through the end of September.  Please send us your garden pics for a chance to win a Groff's gift certificate.  We've gotten some great entries so far, have a look next time you're in the store.

Happy Fall!

 

August 1st

The end of July was quiet around here.  After Customer Appreciation Day, we cleaned out all but one greenhouse of annuals, and our 4" perennials.  We re-arranged some plants in the sun area to feature ornamental grasses and some fall bloomers like asters, helianthus, sedum and their friends.  

We dug two long ditches (which my kids loved) to run irrigation and electrical service to our shrub growing area along the driveway.  This will enable us to grow three times as many shrubs for your planting needs.  Look for new varieties coming daily.  We are especially excited about new deutiza, 'Yuki Cherry Blossom' (pictured at left) and 'Berry Poppins' winterberry holly.  A cute dwarf with a catchy name.

Over the next two weeks we will plant over 100,000 4" perennials.  These will be available for sale begining in September, and next spring.  

We are still accepting pics for the photo contest.  Drop them off in the store, e-mail or snail-mail for a chance to win a Groff's Plant Farm gift certificate.  

July 15

 Thanks to the 500 odd people who turned out for our Customer Appreciation Day.  We had a lot of fun, and many plants found good homes.  

We keep greenhouse #5 full of blooming annuals, and herbs for the rest of the season.  Nile and Dawn have it looking like a garden- it's beautiful in there!  The 4" perennials are on sale for the rest of the week.  Then we start planting for next year.  A fresh crop of 4" should be ready by early September.  

My greenbeans are coming on like gangbusters. Fall veggies are doing well too.  If you are planning a fall garden, get your broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts and cauliflower in the ground soon!

Keep your pictures coming for the photo contest.  Submit either via e-mail to groffsplantfarm@epix.net, snail mail or on our facebook page through the 1st of October.  Winners will be judged and annouced the end of October.  

 

June 28th

Hosta Survey and Sale!  For the next two weeks we will be offering several varieties of hostas at a reduced price to make room for new varieites we've been planting.  From June 28- July 11th stop in, take a survey and pick up some great varieties at a great price.

 

Newsletters went out this week.  Lots of articles on hostas, mulching, what survived the winter, and info about our photo contest and Customer Appreciation Day.  If you didn't get a paper copy, see the pdf here.

Happy Gardening!

 

June 9th

Well, the kids get out of school on Wednesday.  It seems like a long time in coming, but summer is finally here.  They are looking forward to swimming in the creek, playing with their friends, and sleeping in a bit. Oh, to be a kid again.  Little do they know, pulling weeds and canning tomatoes are also on the agenda.  Ha ha!

We had a fantastic spring here at Groff's.  We got off to a late start, but the cooler weather held on through May and the plants are looking great.  We are sold out of several shrubs, but our new plantings are growing by leaps and bounds.  We have the new 'Summer Shandy' hops (pictured at left) just released by Proven Winners now available, as well as many new butterfly bushes.  More female winterberry hollies, clethra and barberries will be ready soon.  Many perennials are now in full bloom.  The delphiniums are looking spectacular, and the gaillardia, coreopsis and dianthus are all full of color.  

The newsletter went to the printers today.  Look for it in about 2 weeks.  

We will be doing the photo contest again.  If you'd like to participate,  submit up to 3 photos in person, through the mail, or email them to us at groffsplantfarm@epix.net.  

Enjoy the beginning of summer vacation, and Happy Gardening! 


May 19th

What beautiful weather we have been having!  Our supply of plants is still holding strong- for those of you that waited until threat of frost had passed.  There are some shrubs and a few annuals that we are out of , so please call for availability if there is something you are specifially interested in.  

We have been fielding many calls about shrubs that are late to leaf out- specifically crape myrtles, butterfly bushes and hydrangeas.  If you see growth from the bottom, but not the stems, it is still alive.   All three are notoriously late-leafers, and it may have died back to the ground. You may cut down the stems if you wish,  but I haven't given up hope yet.  I'm giving my crape myrtles at leat until June 1st.  It has been such a cold, wet spring I don't blame them for taking their time.

Happy Gardening!

May 9th

Mother's Day is almost upon us.  We stil have many beautiful hanging baskets which make great gifts for mom. We have a good supply of tomatoes and peppers and all of our annuals and perennials.  Though we got 7" rain last week, we didn't suffer much damage, just were a little soggy for a few days.  

Take a look at our rain garden article for thoughts on how to reduce rain's damage.

Happy Gardening!

 

 

April 26th

Finally it is beginning to feel like spring around here! We are now open Sundays from 12-5.  Most of the perennials and shrubs are out and we are almost in the clear to plant most annuals.  Check you weather to see overnight lows- danger of frost- cover new transplants or tender vegetables.  Call for availability if you are interested in something specific. Happy Spring!

April 1st

Thanks to all the intrepid souls who braved the rain and came out Saturday for our opening day. We are now officially open!

Newsletters will go out in a few days, for those of you that receive it electronically, look for it in the next day or so.  My appologies to those of you that signed up for the e-news and didn't see it last fall; a strong spam filter can be a good or bad thing.

For last year's newsletters click on the link below:

summer_13_ecopy.pdf ,  fall_13_ecopy.pdf , Spring_ecopy.pdf

Happy Spring!


March 27th

We have been gearing up for weeks for this weekend...Opening Day!  However, Mother Nature has been thwarting us at most turns.  (Snow this week!  Are you kidding me?!)  We will have pansies, violas, primroses, our herbs and vegetable starts in.  We have begun filling our perennial benches and annual houses.  Look for fully stocked tables by the middle of the month.  If you brave the cold this weekend, we'd love to see you, and hear how your garden fared this winter!

March 11th

If you are like me, you are itching to get your hands dirty.  Just a little bit longer, and spring will be upon us.  We have been busy transplanting between the snowflakes this winter, trying to think spring even when it is chilly!  We are doing our best to be ready to open March 29th...  though not everything will be out until at least mid-April.  

This week we plant our hanging baskets- over 900 10", 12" or 14" baskets to decorate your porches and patios.  This is always my favorite week- we plant over 45,000 annuals and our staff is now fully back.   Spring is coming whether we are ready for it or not!

 

This has been a challenging winter for many trees and shrubs, see our recent article on storm damage here.  

If you's like recent pics of what is blooming, current articles and updates on our Plant of the Week features, like us on facebook. 

See you soon!


November 2nd

We are now closed for the season.  It will take us several days to remove everything from the benches and several more weeks to cut back all the perennials and prepare for the winter.  If you would like get any last minute shrubs or perennials in this fall, please call and leave a message and we'll try to accomodate you.  If you are looking for a gift  for gardeners on you Christmas list, certificates are available in any ammount.

Thanks for a great season!

October 26th

Today is our last weekend open for the season.  The hard frosts we've been having are a real portend that winter is on the way.  Those prognosticators of winter, the wooly bear caterpillar, are prevalent all over and some may say their stripes indicate a cold one forthcoming.  I for one am ready to curl up with a good book and cup of tea.  

In the coming weeks we will be clearing the benches and putting the shrubs and perennials away for the winter, repairing benches and houses, and catching our breath for the coming spring.  While Thursday is our official closing date, if you need something for a late planting project, or a gift certificate for the holidays, we will be around.  Call and leave a message and we will try to accomodate your needs.

Thanks to all for a great season, see you in the spring!


 

September 13th

Fall is here despite summer's last gasp these past few days.  Mums are in, pansies are blooming and the fresh crop of 4" perennials are ready for planting.

I really like ornamental cabbages and kale for fall decorating- they last well into the winter.  One customer told me she plants purple and white cabbages and kale around her house and then decorates for Christmas with purples, almost a Victorian theme.  The cabagges and kale lasts well into the new year.  

Don't forget aster, soldago, sedums and anemones if you want a perennial splash of color.

We are excited for our Fall Container class tomorrow.  Susan Boldt, our artist that designs our hanging baskets, will be on hand to help you put together some stunning fall containers.  Bring your own pots and we'll help you fill them, or we will have empty container availabe for sale.  Saturday Sept 14th 10-12.

The Solanco fair is next week; Wednesday through Friday night.  This is a real old fashioned fair- no rides.  Visit dad in the Lions Club tent making French Fries, or mom in the kitchen dishing up chicken corn soup.  The kids will enter pumpkins they grew in our garden, and several of our staff enter vegetables or flower arrangements. I also enjoy the sewing/craft tent, and the baby duckling going down the slide at Powells are a perennial favorite.  Liam will ride on the Boy Scout float Wednesday in the parade, and we'll all enjoy seeing the annimals their classmates are showing.  It is my favorite three days of the year.  If you are in the area, its worth a visit to the Solance Fairgrounds.

Until next time, Happy Gardening!

 

August 3rd

What a beautiful summer we are having!  One week in the nineties was enough for me- My cucumbers have been producing like crazy and I've already put up 40 jars of pickles.  Guess what everyone on my Christmas list is getting this year :)  My tomatoes, not so much- the wetter weather seems to be spreading blight and lack of hot sunny days means the green ones are not ripening as quickly.  


It does make for good gardening weather- usually by July the grass is brown and the soil is too dry to plant- A lot of you are getting a jump on fall planting and putting in sedums and ornamental grasses for fall interest.  I was excited to learn my favorite grass, the native switchgrass Panicum 'Northwind', was chosen as Perennial Plant of the Year for 2014.  It's blue foliage color, red cloudy seed heads and very erect habit which resists flopping make it a standout among grasses.

We started planting 4" perennials last week.  This crop will be ready for sale in September and we'll winter the majority of them over for next spring.we'll plant a total of 52,000 or so by the end of next week.  Who said summer was our down time?  

School starts around here in 3 weeks- my kids are ready for school- (or maybe they are just tired of pickles).  Enjoy the last of the summer- and as always,

Happy Gardening!

 

July 16th

What a great time we had on Saturday at the Customer Appreciation Giveaway! Over 560 of you made it out for your free flat of annuals and 1/2 price 4" perennials. A lot of beautiful flowers found good homes over the weekend.

This doesn't mean we are closed for the season- we are just making way for the new crops coming on. Next week we start planting the new 4" perennials- over 52,000 by the end of the month.  They should be ready for sale in September for fall planting. 

We continue to bring out new shrubs as they become ready- a new dwarf winterberry holly 'Berry Poppins' and it corresponding pollinator 'Mr Poppins' look  great.  A dwarf lilac 'Scents and Sensibility' also looks promising.  

June 29th

We sure are getting our fair share of rain this month!  Some customers also reported hail in Chester County last week. If you have been out recently, you may have noticed we are getting a new roof on the dome house.  Those poor men scramble with a tarp every afternoon it seems!  

While the water is great for some things (hostas, astilbe, ligularia, Joe Pye-and unfortunately, WEEDS!) it may be wreaking havoc with others- particularly mixed containers that don't drain well, or with those moisture holding crystals in them.  Sadly, it is always easier to put more water on, than to take it off. About the only thing to do is make sure the pots are in full sun as much of the day as possible to dry out, then drag  them under cover if it starts to rain.  If there is a saucer underneath, remove it- if they have those water holding resevoirs in the bottom of the pot, tip it sideways and remove the plugs.  

Newsletters went out this week- if you didn't get an e-mail or snail mail copy here is a link to the pdf.

Some of our spring planted shrubs are now ready for sale.  I am excited about the new series of butterfly bush from Proven Winners that is STERILE!  The InSpired series are as tall as regular buddleas, but they are seedless and won't prove to be invasive.  Also coming on are new purple nine-barks, hibiscus and Rose of Sharons. For those interested in edible, a new crop of blueberry bushes, figs and goji berries are ready. 

 


June 3rd

I humbly appologize to all those who made the drive out yesterday not realizing we are no longer open on Sunday.  I updated the answering machine and the facebook page, but forgot to update the website and truly appologize for any inconvenience.  

This is the time of year I love- the spring rush has died down, and we are able to spend more time with you if you have any questions.  This week the weather forcast is beautiful- 70s and some rain- I may even get to my own flower beds.  We still have many beautiful annuals, as well as peppers and tomatoes for your gardens.  Don't worry- you are not too late.  

In the perennial section the gaillardias and penstemons are going strong, coreopsis are starting to bloom.  For those of you that lost some coreopsis over the winter you are not alone- check out this update from Mt Cuba's trialing program.  They are trialing heuchera and coreopsis in the ground for several years.  I am looking forward to learning their results.  Often plants labeled as zone 6-hardy seem to wimp out over the winter.  The reasons aren't always temperature- often it is moisture or lack of drainage.  

Enjoy this break from last weeks heat and happy gardening!

May 25th

Looking back on this crazy spring with 80 degree days in April and a frost the day after Mother's Day to the fact that I wore my winter coat yesterday- I applaud you tenacious gardeners that faithfully covered your plants or brought them indoors but my heart goes out to the poor man that had to plant his tomatoes three times.  Who know what the summer will bring, but I was thankful for the rain the last few days.  

We have had a great response for our Plant of the Week program, and hopefully introduced some interesting plants to you.  

This week we are featuring penstemons, one of my favorite groups of plants.  I first became aquainted with them 18 years ago when I worked at the  Chicago Botanic Garden and the trialing priogram there was looking at a few species.  Mostly Rocky Mountain varieties not hardy here- or there.  But there were a few standouts back then.  'Huskers Red' bred at the University of Nebraska was fantastic and won Perennial Plant of the Year in 1996.  A few of the P. mexicalli hybrids had some nice colors but looked a little weedy.  To read the full article click here.  Penstemons have come a long way since then in terns of hardiness and gardenworthiness (is that a word?) but they are worth trying.

Happy Gardening!

 

May 2

We have survived one of the coolest springs in recent memory and April showers have definitely brought May flowers.  Groff's is in full bloom with lots of color to catch your eye.  We are safe to plant tomatoes, though I'd still wait on peppers and cucumbers.  Hanging baskets are going out the door, and the perennial sections are filled to overflowing.  

Lots of folks have asked about Mom and Dad.  They are very much still around- mom can be found in the store Saturdays and some evenings.  Dad helped plant about 8,000 shrubs for fall sales the last two weeks and is a permanent fixture parking cars on weekends.  As they ruefully have observed, no one is retired in April and May around here.  

Happy Planting!

March 28

Groff's will be OPEN Friday March 29th and Monday April 1st.  Please be advised, that if you are planning a trip to other Amish greenhouses in the area- Good Friday and Easter Monday are holidays for them and they will be closed.  

Susan, our resident artist, made up some cute Easter baskets filled with early spring annuals, that would make a nice gift.  Keep them inside a bit longer, Jack Frost is still active many evenings.

We wish you and your family a Blessed Easter


March 22

We open tomorrow, for all you eager beavers out there itching to get your fingers dirty.  It is still very cold here in Southern PA, so please forgive us if are benches are looking a little sparse.  We try to only have out plants that will take a freezing.  Expect our full selection of perennials and shrubs by mid-April.  

We are happy to offer garden seeds and onion sets this year for those who want to get their peas and onions in.  We're only a few days after the leprechaun.  Cool season veggies like broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, chard and kale are also ready for sale, for those of you a bit warmer than us.  All I can say is the groundhog lied.  

The pansies and violas are looking beautiful and we are especially excited about the Cool Wave pansies- a vigourous spreading pansy that does well in baskets and fills in beds quickly.

For those of you still wanting to hibernate- grab a cup of tea and a good book- spring will be here before you know it!

Happy Gardening!

 

February 28th

We have been busy beavers the last several weeks.  The bulk of our perennials come in in February and we start planting annuals the first week of March.  Pansies are starting to bulk up and all our our fingers are itching.  

These first warm days of spring are so tempting to get out- but don't get in a big hurry to plant; there are a lot of garden tasks that are still satisfying.  Now is a great time of year to finish that garden cleanup- clear away debris at the base of your perennials and look for emerging foliage.  My daffodils are starting to poke up their heads, and so are the peonies.  

Prune summer flowering shrubs like butterfly bushes, Knock Out Roses, beauty berries etc to 8" or so.  Thinning spring bloomers will cut off the flowers- wait until they are done blooming.  

Those of you who like to start seeds on the windowsill, get your tomatoes,  peppers, and annuals  ready.  Our propegation house is bursting at the seams with seedlings- nothing thrills me like that first hint of green!

We will open for business Saturday March 23rd weather permitting- But if you need potting soil you can usually find someone between 9 and 4 most days.

Happy Spring from the folks at Groffs!

 

November 19th

Many people on facebook have been doing 30 days of thankfullness- posting each day something they are thankful for.  Topping most lists are family, laughter, health, even funny things like chocolate, or rainy days.  

I was driving in our small town yesterday thinking how thankful I was for simple pleasures like the sun shining on the red leaves of a maple- the glint of frost on ornamental grasses, the first crocus or daffodil in the spring, the buzz of a tiny ruby-throat hummingbird, the sheen of a beetles wings. Isn't it amazing how much joy our gardens and landscapes can give us if we take the time to stop and appreciate them.  

In this season of thankfulness before the hustle and bustle of the holidays, lets take a minute to look at the world around us and be quietly thankful for all the beauty there is to be found.

We are now closed for the season, but if you still need a few last minute shrubs or would like to purchase a gift certificate for your favorite gardner, please call 717-808-3906 or drop me an e-mail to groffsplantfarm@epix.net

Blessing this holiday season, and see you in the Spring!

 

September 11th

Newsletters went out last week- if you have not received one, and would like a paper copy, please e-mail me at groffsplantfarm@epix.net.  If you would prefer an electronic copy one is available here.

Fall is my favorite time of year- the air is clear and crisp- the kids are back in school- I'n not as busy and can enjoy a leisurely walk with my dogs, the Solanco Fair is next week, and I finally get to those fall planting projects.  Mom and dad have moved, and are in the process of re-landscaping their new 2 acre wooded lot in Drumore.  I might just help a little.

Fall mums are now ready, we have a new series called "Mammoth" which are perennial and fill in a large area.  Also looking great for your fall decorating needs are the ornamental cabbage and kale.  These bold beauties hold up well through snow and make a big impact.  They do well in containers or in beds.  Ornamental grasses and sedums are also looking spectacular now.  A new favorite sedum is 'Chocolate Drop'.  Large deep red foliage and a pink flower are reall standouts on this one.

Enjoy this weather, and maybe I'll see you at the Fair!

August 7th

We are definitely in the dog days of summer.  It has been hot- in the 80s-90s most days, the kind of weather where you want to be at the pool or the mountains, not thinking of planting.  But that is just what we are doing now. We are half done planting 4" perennials for next spring, and just planted the fall pansies and ornamental cabbage and kale. We'll bring out the mums and other fall annuals by the end of the month.

My in-laws live in Iowa, and the farmers around them have just been devastated by the drought hitting the midwest.  Their corn and beans are stunted or dead.  Yet here in Lancaster County the corn is green and tall.  I've been mowing yard twice a week.  Every time it rains (feels like every other day) and we have to sweep the extra water out of the greenhouse, I wish we could share the wealth just a little.  But I am reminded to be thankful for the weather we get.  And again, to be thankful to be living here, in Lancaster County, the most beautiful place in the world.

 

July 20th

Thanks to the 420 customers who braved the rain to attend the Customer Appreciation Day on Saturday.  The 4" perennial sale is still going on- $1.25 a pot or $40/flat.  

For those of you that wonder what we do in the sumer...This week and the following 4 weeks, we are planting 50,000 new perennial seedlings. The new crop will be available in September.  We sell a few in the fall, overwinter them, then pot up about half of them in March for spring sales and sell the remainder as 4" in the spring.   We just planted another 300 daylilies, soon will plant iris, and then peonies in October for spring sales.  Enjoy the present, but keep an eye to the future....

 

July 2nd

Sheesh it's hot!  If you were fortunate enough to escape the crazy storm over the weekend, then you are probably a bit dry.  Best time to water is first thing in the morning or after 5pm.  Watering in the afternoon will not necessarily  harm your plants, but  a lot of water is lost to evaporation. 

There are some exciting things blooming now- the 'Hot Papaya' coneflower in our flowerbed has been garnering a lot of buzz, as have the new Proven Winner dwarf butterfly bushes.  This is also a great time for summer phlox and agastache.  Two of the best summer bloomers for pollinators.  

We also are enjoying the unusual red and blue blossoms of the passionflowers.  While not hardy in our zone, they are a perennial further south and can be brought in over the winter.  A new vine for us is the snail vine - or vigna.  It's intricate curled blossom always prompts the questions- "What is THAT?" 

Our vegetable garden is overflowing with green beans, the last of the spring peas, and potatoes.  The lettuce, and broccoli are about over, and the tomatoes are coming on.  Tried a new recipe for cucumber salad courtesy of one of my favorite magazines 'Cooks Country' with red onion, red wine vinegar, fresh dill and sour cream that tastes great on these hot summer days.  Try to stay cool this week, it looks another scorcher!

 

June 13th

School is out, kids are home, and enjoying swimming lessons. The dogs are hot, and enjoying cooling off down at the creek or in the digging in the flowerbeds (!).    But we are still busy here at Groff's Plant Farm.

 

We plant all summer to have fresh stock, and new varieites for your gardening pleasure.  Last week we planted over 1200 rhododendrons, Mt Laurel, pieris and their cousins in raised beds.  They will grow there for 2 years and will be ready for sale in spring 2015. 

Today we planted 950 mums for fall, and 125 more flats of annuals for the summer.  I'm particulary excited about the Puebla salvia, a  gregii types (pictured at left).  Though not hardy in this area, their lipstick bright flowers are a great hummingbird attractor.  I am also looking forward to growing  the Mammoth mums.  They were bred at the University of Minnesota (so you KNOW they are hardy).  The second year they are 4' across! 

Tomorrow we are planting  1100 more shrubs for sale this fall and next spring. 

The Proven Winners team has added a purple sister to the extremely dwarf butterfly bush LO AND BEHOLD 'Blue Chip'.  'Purple Haze' stays under 2 feet with more of a spreading habit. 

The hardy hibiscus also have some new improvements in the SUMMERIFIC series.  'Cranberry Crush' (pictured at left) and 'Berrylicious' both have larger than normal flowers over maple-leaf shaped foliage.

Hardy hibiscus have an extremely long bloom period- often from late June though September.  The large flowers attract butterflies.  The foliage is rather late to emmerge in the spring, so don't give up on them prematurely.  

 

If you have a few more holes in your garden to fill, come check out what we've got growing. 

Happy Gardening!

May 14th

We had a wonderful, sunny Mother's Day weekend.  We visited with over 620 customers!  Believe it or not, we still have flowers left, and will have a good supply though the summer.

For those of you that plant a vegetable garden:  Did you kow that you can plant tomatoes through the beginning of June to have succesive crops of delicious, garden-ripe tomatoes until frost?  We have a variety of tomatoes just right for your BLTs or salads.

Again, a bridge update- the 472 bridge across the Octorara reservoir will be closed from Friday evening May 17th until Monday morning the 20th.  Detour directions are available in the "Directions" section.

Hope you enjoy a few days of rain to water your new plants in.

 

May 1st

Well, the weatherman and the calendar finally agree, it's about safe now to plant annuals and warm season veggies.  After two frosts last week, some tender plants on our benches and gardens got nipped.  Several phone calls inquiring whether we would have more tomatoes later indicate some things in your gardens got hit too.


We do have several plantings of most annuals and veggies so there should be plenty to choose from through the mid-June. 

BRIDGE CONSTRUCTION- The 472 bridge over the resevoir will be CLOSED this weekend Friday May 4th through Monday May 7th.  Alternate directions will be posted tomorrow, as soon as Dad has a chance to drive all the routes :)


 

April 22nd 

What a blessing last night's rain was!  It was sure getting dry aroung here, even the fisherman were starting to complain.  

We have all the annuals in now, and most of the perennials and shrubs.  We just brought out the ferns, for those of you that have been asking...they were overwintered under cover, and are still a bit frost tender, though, so cover them if we are to get a freeze.  The weatherman is calling for more low temps Mon and Tues of this week, so please check your local weather before planting tender things.

We are having a rollicking spring, thanks to all of you for your patronage, and friendship!

 

April 12th

Another bright sun-shiny morning April morning.  Frost on the windows and low spots last night.  One more night of this, then the 10 day forecast looks much better.  I know a lot of you have been itching to plant, and we've been happy to see so many perennials and shrubs find good homes.  Just be careful with the tender annuals and warm season veggies.  It's not only air temps that can get you in trouble...cold soil on young peppers is also not good for growth.  I never thought I'd be in the business of NOT selling plants...

We will bring out the ornamental grasses this weekend- although a lot of them are warm season (grow better when it's warm) and unless you are in zone 7, you should still wait a bit to plant the pennisetums, panicums, miscanthus etc.

Newsletters went out on Saturday, if you are on our mailing list, you should have received yours by now.  If you signed up for an e-newsletter and haven't received it, please e-mail me at groffsplantfarm@epix.net and I will remedy that. 

Happy Planting!

 

April 3rd

Construction started on the 472 bridge today- it will remain open to one lane at a time, but may back up a bit during rush hour.

If you'd like to avoid the construction and have a more scenic drive through Amish Country, and you are coming from Route 1 east of 896, take the 896 exit North towards Russelville. Contine 1.9 miles to the red blinker and cross route 10. Continue 2.7 miles to the stop sign in Homeville. Turn left, then the immediate right to stay on 896N. Go 1.5 miles and turn left onto Maple Shade. Follow Maple Shade 3.6 miles to stop sign in Kirkwood. Continue straight 1 mile to Street Rd. We are on the left.

Net result, you missed the lake, but had a more scenic route and traveled 3 less miles.

 

March 24

Opening Day!  We have been very busy filling the benches this last week in preparation to open for the season.  We have brought in all the perennials and shrubs that were overwintered and are safe to plant now.  About 30% of our varieties, the ones newly planted this spring will be brought out in slowly over the next 3-4 weeks as they become big enough for your gardens. 

It is still too early to plant most annuals except pansies, violas and maybe osteospermums.  Here in Southern Lancaster County they weatherman is calling for 35 degree nights on Monday and Tuesday.  But our annual houses are starting to fill up if you want to walk through for ideas.

Early vegetables like lettuce, cabbage, broccoli, chard, kale, etc are ready for planting.  I would cover them if it gets in the low 30s overnight.  Cauliflower I would also be cautious of planting this early.  The edges of the leaves turn white and unsightly if it gets too cold.  Someone asked me if he could plant tomatoes yet.  And I replied "Only if you live in Florida".  We have a good stock of some fun varieties this year but I would wait a bit yet- Usually I check the weather about April 25th and then plant my tomatoes in the garden.

Newsletters will go out next week.  We will now be sending an electronic copy if you prefer that.  Please send an e-mail to groffsplantfarm@epix.net and put "newsletter" in the subject line, and give your name and address as it appears on your newsletter if you prefer an e-copy to paper.

Thanks to all who have been calling, and stopping by early.  We are blessed to have such fun and loyal customers.  All of  us here at Groff's are excited for spring and we are glad you are too!

 

March 8th

Another day in the 60s.  We have been really blessed with a mild winter this year.  Plants in the greenhouses are really popping ahead of schedule.  We planted 52,000 annuals this week and all of our hanging baskets.  The first round of herbs are all growing nicely in greenhouse 3 and it smells wonderful in there.  We are planting so we will be ready for your gardening needs but WE ARE NOT OPEN YET. We will be opening up March 24th for those of you with itchy fingers. 

February 28th

Happy 89th birthday to my grandmother!  She was reflecting on her life last weeks, and said, "89 years is a long time.  But I still feel pretty feisty".  Feisty she is.  She still mows her own grass, coordinates the volunteers for Meal-On-Wheels, and remembers every birthday and anniversary in our family.  Happy birthday Grandma.

I don't know about you, but I have daffodils and crocus blooming ahead of schedule in my yard. A walk around the garden this afternoon revealed lilac buds swelling, even daylily and peony foliage starting to emerge. I didn't even need a coat. 

The picture at left shows etiolated daffodil foliage.  Because they started to emerge under a pile of leaves they are yellow.  Never fear, they won't stay that way.  Once they are exposed to sunlight for a few days, they'll start to make chlorophyll and green up. 

These mild days at the end of February and early March are great for cutting back perennials, thinning deciduous shrubs before they leaf out, and cleaning up the leaves and detritus of the winter, and pruning fruit trees. It is NOT a great time to start planting.

All of us have spring fever, but we still have potentially many more cold nights ahead of us. Wait until the soil has warmed up a little before thinking about new additions. For now I'm enjoying these mild days. I think I'll go push the kids on the swing.

 

 

February 7th

Octorara Orphie did not see his shadow, and confirmed what we herwe at the greenhouse already knew...Spring is just around the corner! 

We have been seeding like mad in the propegation house to bring you new selections of perennials in the 4" size.  We have also started transplanting a bit earlier than in previous years.  Due to the mild winter, a lot of our perennials under cover have already broken dormancy. My gardening friends may be raring to go, but our challenge now is to hold back the plants a bit so they don't all bloom in March!

I was interested to see botanic gardens in England were also concerned about this year's spring season after an unseasonably dry spring, then cool, wet fall induced a lot of spring bloomers to flower prematurely.  You can't second guess Mother Nature, I supose, just roll with the punches, and enjoy forsythias in October, snow drops in January, and digitalis in March!

 

December 3rd

We are now closed for the season, but there are several projects we are workng on that I'm very excited about. 

After a trip to the Tyler Arboretum, this summer, we were inspired to build a butterfly house across from greenhouse 8.  Look for in-ground beds, and your favorite butterflies next spring and summer. 

We also finished a whimsical green roof dog house for resident canines Zeke and Kimpa.  So far the kids play in it  more than the dogs, but oh well.  Filled with sedums, sempervivums and ice plants, it fits nicely into the landscape across from the store.

This time of year holds for us a chance to rest, repair things around the farm, and reconnect with friends and family.  We wil you all a blessed Christmas season, and see you in the Spring!

 

October 10th

Leaves are starting to change colors, asters are blooming, the oranges of pumkins dot the landscape and front porches, ornamental grasses are in their glory:  fall is in full swing!  We will be open until November 1st for your fall planting projects, or if you are looking for some mums for fall decorating.


There is a great  "birdwatching for beginners" trip this Saturday October 15th at the Lancaster County Park.  Contact Roger Stoner at 717-393-9030 to sign up and for more info. 

Longwood Gardens annual pumkin display is amazing as ever, many of the other local gardens have fall programing as well.  Get outside and enjoy the fall,  winter will be here before you know it!

 

August 31st

School starts this week.  Liam, our newly minted kindergartener, is so excited for the big yellow bus to pull up each morning.  We just brought the fall mums in, and the newsletters went out today.  Fall must truly be here.

 

Last week we dug over 1000 azaleas and rhododendrons for fall and next spring.  Some lovely deciduous azaleas and small leaf rhododendrons will round out our list.  Our new crop of 4" perennials are also now ready.  We started planting them the last few weeks of July, amazing how fast they grow this time of year!   They will either sell this fall,  vernalize over the winter in a 25F greenhouse for potting into gallon containers for spring sales, or be sold in 4" next spring. 

We are also painting the store this week, so don't be disturbed if you see all the shelving in the driveway!

Happy Fall!

 

August 1st

We had a nice gentle rain tonight, and I'm hoping the hottest days of summer are behind us.  Are your flowers looking  little peaked?  Don't be suprised if some of your annuals are not flowering heavily right now.  Many plants such as bacopa, verbena, osteospermums, linaria, and nemesia to name a few, take a break when the mercury heads above 95.  A little fertilizer and temps back in the 70-80 will bring them back.  Don't give up.  Try some heat lovers like pentas, or lantana if you have a hole that needs color for a special event.

 

We need your help!  Both this Saturday August 6th, and the next, August 13th from 9-5 we will hold a tomato taste testing at the store to determine which of the 25 varieties of tomatoes we grew this year are keepers and which are better off on the compost pile.  Want to try a 'Mortgage Lifter', or a 'Box Car Wille'?  Is 'Evergreen' just a little too wierd?  Are heirlooms really tastier?  Come help us find out!

 

 

June 29th

News letters went out on Friday, if you haven't received one yet and would like to, please send us an e-mail at groffsplantfarm@epix.net

We are cleaning up and preparing for our open house Saturday July 23rd.  We've already sold several tickets and are looking forward to a fun day of production tours, tomato taste testing, and a a tour of Carol and Carl's geodesic dome home.  Mom joked that it was just the thing to get dad to finish some projects around the house.

Butterflies are out in full force in the flower beds, they seem to really like the Mexican Sunflowers and Heliopsis, and yesterday  I saw a whole nesting of monarch eggs hatching on the Asclepias.  What a fun sight.  A school tour was over yesterday and we saw red aphids lining the stems of summer sunflowers with an army of lady bugs ready for lunch.  It's great what you can find when you take the time to look.

 

May 24th

What a funny Spring!  After a cool start we are having a great season.  Mother's Day Saturday we broke our attendance record.  Things are calming down here, though we are still planting annuals, perennials and shrubs to be well stoked with your favorites through the year. The Perennial Plant of the Year bench has gotten quite a few postitve comments.  Those selected winners are a great place to start gardening with perennials.

We have been working in our flower beds, and so many beautiful plants are blooming now, the baptisias, poppies, geum, geraniums, iris and amsonias are bright spots of color. 

So many of you have asked what our favorite tomatoes are we decided to do a taste test this year.  We planted one of each of the 25 kinds we grew this year.  We'll have an open house and taste test this summer.  Look for more details coming soon. 

April 9th

The sun seems to be peeking out again after more rain last week.  The weather man seems cautiously optimistic, and we're filling our benches as fast as we can.  Expect to see most everthing out by next weekend.  Our production houses are full to bursting, to ensure we never run low of what you are looking for, but please feel free to call with specific plant questions.  We are still updating  our plant directory, so look for new signs coming over the next few weeks.

 

Our vegetables are looking great for early season gardeners.  Radicchio and the lettuce mixes have been popular.  We are looking forward to our Vegetable gardening Q&A next Saturday from 10-12.  Seasoned gardeners, and newbies alike are welcome.  Let's learn from each other. 

 

March 27th

We are so excited for the season to begin! March may be going  out like a lion, but tomorrow we begin filling the perennial and the shrub benches.  This year the 4" shade perennials are in their regular spot, but you will find the sun 4" perennials on newly constructed benches in the sun perennial section. Greenhouse #3 is now totally devoted to an expanded herb selection.

The pansies are fully hardened off and blooming away in front of the annual area.  Spring veggies like lettuce, cabbage, brocolli, cauliflower will be out in the next few days.  I'm anxious to try a new orange cauliflower called 'Cheddar'.

My husband, the dog lover, also has a new puppy, Kimpa.  Don't forget to give her a few pats on your next visit.

Happy Spring!

 

January 15th

There are still a few inches of snow on the ground, but my mind is on spring.  I seeded over 120 flats of perennials last week and was excited to see the first ones germinating yesterday.  I am always so happy to see those first bits of green!

This morning, the Atglen Garden Club invited me to speak with them.  I had such a good time sharing some new plants with fellow gardening enthusiasts.  If your garden club is ever in need of a speaker, or would like to come for a behind-the-scenes tour, please let us know. 

Spring is still a ways away, though my mind is drifting there, I'm going to hunker down with a good book and enjoy the last few weeks of winter.

 

 December 20th

We are very excited about our new website.  There are a few major changes.  The articles are now searchable and we have posted our perennial and shrub sign database.  We also have ben working on a facebook page, so feel free to check that out as well.  If you have any questions please to contact us.  Hope you all  have a blessed holiday with your families and we'll see you in the spring!

 

 

November 8th

We have now been officially closed for a week. Many of you have inquired what we do with all the perennials and shrubs we have left at the end of the season. This is actually a busy time for us, as we take everything off the benches, and take it back to the production areas, cut back the perennials and trim the shrubs, and put them in covered greenhouses with minimal heat. These plants stay dormant until the spring.

This is also the time when most of the building projects occur. Look for increased bench space in the sun perennials next spring. We will also be working on our watering systems to be better stewards of our resources and our time.

We have also had several questions about gift certificates. We offer gift certificates in any amount for the gardeners on your list. You can either mail us a check with instructions and we'll mail you back a gift certificate, or if you are in the area, stop by. You can generally find someone until about 3 most days. Or call ahead with when to expect you. 717-529-3001.

Have a great winter, and see you in the spring!

September 1st, 2010

Fall must be here. My son started school today, mums are getting ready, and the Solanco Fair is only 2 weeks away.

I know you've heard it a million times, but fall really is the best time of year to plant shrubs, and perennials with the soil temperatures still warm and the air temps cooling off. Usually the fall is when it starts to rain again. After this dry summer, some cooling autumn rains will be a blessing.

Many of our new shrubs are now available for planting. We have three varieties of highbush blueberries we're particularly excited about, new rhododendrons, and of course, the lovely purple-berried beauty berry.

This is also the time of year to get the weeds in your garden under control. Perennial weeds like Canada thistle will be knocked back with some good treatment, and annual weeds should be pulled or sprayed before they set seeds and become a major problem next year. See Dad's 8-23 article on weeds for more info.

For those of you still toiling away in the vegetable garden, there is still time to plant some lettuces or spinach for a fall crop. After putting up over 60 jars of pickles and I-don't-want-to count how many tomatoes, I'm about tired of the vegetables, but I am enjoying my flower beds.

The fall sedums and asters are just starting to bloom, and the butterflies are having a field day on my lantana, agastache and heliopsis. After a hot summer, sit back and enjoy the fruits of your labor.

Happy Gardening!

July 10th, 2010

Thank God for the rain! We've been very dry the last few weeks and this will certainly help. However, we still have quite a few annuals left. Therefore the sale will continue until Tuesday, July 13th. You get 1 free flat of annuals, any additional flats $5. Selected daylilies $5, 4" perennials are half price. We have reserved one greenhouse of fresh, beautiful annuals to fill any late season needs.

We start growing a fresh crop of 4" perennials this week, which will be ready for sale in late August. Our shrubs which we propagated this spring are becoming ready for sale. This week we brought out oak leaf hydrangeas, mountain laurels, crape myrtles, and some other interesting new plants.

Happy Gardening!

Thanks,

Kris Barry

June 18th, 2010

Please excuse our website. We’ve been having technical difficulties, and as I’d rather be in my garden than slaving over the website. It isn’t perfect. I appreciate your patience.

June 12th, 2010

I picked my first tomato yesterday and I have peas coming out my ears!! Strawberries are about over, and daylilies and coneflowers are starting. Soon the blueberries will be here. If you ever get bored in the garden, wait a few days, and it'll all be different.

My son loves to find hoppy-toads, as he call them, in the garden and so do I. I need all the help I can get battling the slugs, grubs and other insect pests toads like to eat. To encourage toads in the garden, leave some medium stones, or old upturned clay flower pots in your garden beds. to give them a bit of shade from the sun, and hold moisture. If you like, many decorative toad houses can be found on the internet. Either way, place these toad refuges in a shady spot near a source of moisture (natural or man-made) and enjoy new garden allies.