About Allen Road Gardens

These Master Gardener demonstration gardens are located at the Cumberland County Service Center on Allen Road in Carlisle, which houses Penn State Extension in Cumberland County. The gardens are “works in progress” as we continue to expand and refine them to meet programming needs and our educational mission; informational brochures and other finishing touches remain to be installed, along with additional planting as the gardens expand. Two of them, the Back Entrance Garden and the Alcove Garden, were started as projects of the Class of 2010 Master Gardeners. The Youth Garden is the location for the Master Gardeners’ Youth Summer Garden Camp; and the Winter Garden, located along the east wall next to the back entrance, is designed to provide year-round seasonal interest for visitors. In 2013 the current Master Gardener class designed and built a demonstration Herb Garden.

*** Entrance Gardens ***
This garden is located at the back entrance to the building, along the concrete path leading to the Extension office entrance.
A paver patio was installed right next to the concrete walkway to the door, to improve and enhance the entry into the building. The pavers extend out into the garden as a path that bends to return to the concrete walk. In this garden, low maintenance native plants have been planted to demonstrate to visitors that native plants can be used to create a beautiful landscape. Shrubs include fringe tree, Carolina allspice, summersweet, New Jersey tea, inkberry, and smooth hydrangea; perennials include gaura, blue-eyed grass, agastache, perennial sunflower, ostrich fern, Culver’s root, goldenrod, and prairie dropseed, an ornamental grass.

*** Alcove Gardens ***
This garden is next to the Youth Garden, in between the wings of the building on the north side.
Tired old evergreen plantings were removed to allow the Master Gardeners to create a garden of showy native plants to attract pollinators. The Master Gardeners installed the flagstone path leading from the building door to the opposite corner of the garden where visitors can enter from the lawn. A small berm was created to demarcate the Alcove Garden from the Youth Garden, and on this berm is planted little bluestem, an ornamental grass, to form a visual barrier. Plants in the garden include a serviceberry tree and two pawpaw trees; spicebush, inkberry, black chokeberry, and Tiger’s Eye sumac shrubs; and a variety of native perennials such as coneflower, milkweed, hyssop, ironweed, Culver’s root, amsonia, turtlehead, and asters.

*** Pollinator Gardens ***
New in 2013, the Master Gardeners added several pollinator beds to attact bee and butterflies.

*** Youth Garden ***
This garden is located at the north side of the building, extending out into the lawn for as much sunlight as possible; we have discovered it’s also windy.
For the Youth Summer Garden Camp, each of the 16 campers has an individual garden plot, in which he or she plants flowers and vegetables of his or her choice. Around the outside edge of the garden, communal crops, including sunflowers, corn, okra, peas, and cabbages, are grown. A trellis to support birdhouse gourds was added in 2013. At each camp session, the campers perform garden tasks such as weeding, watering, harvesting, and scouting for insects. A weather station which provides much of the weather data on this website was installed in 2013 near the northwest corner of the Youth Garden.

*** Herb Garden ***
This garden is located at the back entrance side of the building, was added in late spring of 2013 by Master Gardener Class of 2012 as their class project without the labor intensive step of removing the sod.
The garden was first measured out and marked with landscape spray paint. Pavers were laid next. Then a layer of cardboard and newspapers were laid down to cover the grass where the garden would be. Top soil, manure and compost were brought in and mounded up ot make the raised beds. The grass under the cardboard and newspapers will eventually decompose. Finally, the herbs were planed and mulched. This method of establishing a garden is good to use where drainage is poor or where it may be too rocky to work the soil easily.

The garden has five sections. The middle, which now has a classical armillary sundial as its focal point, is surrounded by Thyme and Lavender. The oval is divided into 4 sections. HOUSEHOLD HERBS chosen for use in and around the home include, Marigold, Feverfew, Comfrey and Sweet Annie. FRAGRANCE HERBS were selected for their fragrance and their use in dried poppourri and include Pineapple Mint, Rose, Ornamental Oregano and Orris Root. CULINARY HERBS are great to have on hand for flavorful additions to your cooking. They can be dried, frozen, or infused into vinegars and oils for later use and include Sweet Basil, French Tarragon and Greek Oregano. And the forth section are our Herbal Tea plants. In this section there is chocolate mint, orange mint and spearmint. Each has a different flavor and the leaves can be used to brew teas. Also in that section are Stevia, Bee Balm, and German Chamomile.

*** Winter Garden ***
This garden was first started in 2010, after the Horticulture Extension Educator got tired of a garden with nothing to look at in the winter, and is designed with plants that provide seasonal interest throughout the year. It is located along the long east wall of the building, where it gets morning sun and then afternoon shade, and includes both native and non-native plants.

The five main shrubs are oakleaf hydrangeas, a native plant with white flowers, beautiful foliage that shades to maroon in fall, and exfoliating bark that is interesting in winter. Two white crapemyrtles will eventually grow tall enough to provide some additional morning shade to the hydrangeas. Evergreen shrubs include nandina and evergreen hollies, some with berries. There is also a hardy orange, which has striking thorny green branches in winter as well as beautiful white flowers in spring and small oranges in the fall (edible, but very tart). Ornamental grasses include feather reed grass, pink muhly grass, and big sacaton, all of which retain their form and beauty well into winter.

Other gardens included at the Allen Road Gardens include two rain gardens and a green roof garden atop the storage shed.
Thank you to all of the Penn State Master Gardeners who have contributed to the creation, development, and maintenance of these new demonstration gardens.
Thank you to Carlisle Cement Products, Inc. for the donation of the paver block materials.