2006 Newsletter Archive

Newsletter 13

Week 13 (6/22/2006)


“Why was the mushroom invited to lots of parties?   Because he was a fungi to be with!”


Summer is officially here.  It arrived a little after 8:30 yesterday morning.  Now’s the time for long, lazy days filled with friends, family and fun.  America’s Best Flowers will be hosting several fun-filled activities this summer for our friends.  Bring your spouse or children along and it becomes a family activity, too.


This Saturday, June 24th at 10AM, Pat Greathead will lead an Herb Workshop which will explore the many uses of herbs, including how to make herbal tea.  She’ll give pointers on how to design a garden with herbs and present the “Herb of the Year”, Rose Geranium, with its many uses.


On Thursday, June 29, at 6:30 PM, Jan Vergeer, of the Langeveld Company, will present a Container Water Gardening Workshop.  Jan was here in April for a Bulb-Planting Workshop. His entertaining and educational approach was delightful.  We look forward to listening to him again as he teaches us the basics of water gardening in containers.  If there is any way you can fit this into your schedule, we guarantee you a wonderful time.


Our container workshops we held in May were such a success, we are repeating them for summer containers.  You have two opportunities to join us for this Summer Container Workshop.  Thursday evening, July 6 from 5 – 8 and Saturday, July 8 from 10 am – 2 pm, we will have staff available to help you plant beautiful summer containers with heat-loving annuals.  You can purchase containers from our exciting collection or bring your own.  We will provide the soil.  Come join us and see what fun it is to create your planters when you have a greenhouse full of plants to choose from.


America’s Best Flowers is committed to helping you have the best possible experience with your gardening.  Part of this commitment is the offering of our workshops and seminars.  We invite everyone to take advantage of these opportunities to learn new and exciting ways to decorate your outdoor living spaces.  There is no fee to attend the above workshops.  If you have questions regarding, please call 222-2269.


“Why was the electrician so proud of his son?  He was a real live wire!”


 In continuation of our celebration of June as Perennial Gardening Month, America’s Best Flowers is featuring Shasta Daisy ‘Alaska’ as the Perennial of the Week. ‘Alaska’ has a clump-forming habit with dark green, toothed foliage.  It produces many solitary stems of large, frilly, double, white daisy flowers in July and August.  Grow shastas in average, well-drained soil in part to full sun.  They are wonderful in the border garden and make great cut flowers.  Many birds and butterflies are attracted to this Zone 4 flower.


“What happened when the bees got sick?  They broke out in hives.”


Tip of the Week – It’s time for summer mulching.


As we move into the warmer months of the year, it’s time to finalize summer mulching.  Mulching helps to reduce weeds, retain soil moisture, and control soil temperatures.  And it also looks great.  There are many types of mulches available, and in most cases what is used becomes a personal preference.  Softer mulches, such as cocoa beans or Father Dom’s Duck Doo, breakdown and add organic matter back to the soil more quickly than hardwood mulches.  But hardwood mulch, available in many colors and sizes, remains the favorite of homeowners. Whichever mulch you choose, keep the finished depth around three inches.  Deeper mulch can encourage the plants to grow roots into the mulch, making them susceptible to drought.  America’s Best carries a good selection of mulches.  Come on out today and let us help you decide which is best for you.


 “What did the tie say to the hat?  You go on ahead, I’ll just hang around.”


Garden Resolutions


“I will grow my own herbs!”


Every time I pay $3.00 for a package of herbs from the produce department, I promise myself I will plant herbs next year.  The good news is, it’s not too late for this year.  America’s Best still has a wide variety of herbs.  If you, too, want to grow your own herbs but don’t know where to start, join us this Saturday, June 24, at 10:00 for our Herb Workshop.  Bring your questions with you;  Pat Greathead, an expert on the growing and use of herbs, will be here to answer them. 


 “If a parsley farmer is sued, can they garnish his wages?”


Question Corner


“Are coffee grounds good fertilizer for my garden” Spent coffee grounds, if used properly (and in moderation) are an excellent way to ‘wake up’ the plants in your garden.  At coffee shops, at home, or at the coffee machine at work, spent coffee grounds are generated every day and are FREE for you to use in your garden.  They are a great source of organic matter for both your beds and pots; adding texture and moisture retention capabilities, as well as fertility, to your soils.   


To use, simply sprinkle around plants and water in.  Acid-loving plants, such as azaleas, hollies, hydrangeas, and evergreens will certainly appreciate a shot of coffee grounds.  Rose growers have been using coffee grounds around their roses for years.  Keep in mind that coffee grounds will lower the soil pH levels.  If you use coffee grounds regularly for plants other than those listed above, test the soil occasionally.


Used coffee grounds have been reported to act as a natural ‘soil’ insect repellent.  Some gardeners have seen a reduction in the number of fungus gnats in their indoor pots when they sprinkle a few grounds on the surface. 


“My apple tree is dropping some of its fruit.  Do you know why?”

Your tree is automatically dropping fruit to lower the weight on its branches.  Now is the time to take a good look at all your fruit trees.  If the branches are beginning to droop from the weight of excessive fruit, you may want to consider thinning to prevent branch damage, as well as help increase the size of the remaining fruit. 


“The tips of the blades of the grass in my lawn are yellowing.  Do I need to do something about this?”  Yes, sharpen your mower blade.  If you look closely, you’ll see that the blade is torn, not cut cleanly.  This can stress your lawn and set it up for insect and disease problems.  If you don’t know how to sharpen your own blade, check with your local hardware store.  For a small fee they will have ‘cutting’ again.


If you have gardening questions you would like addressed in this newsletter, please e-mail them to ed@americasbestflowers.com

Please put “Question for Newsletter” in the subject line.  Otherwise it may not

reach my desk.


“Taking garlic out of my kitchen would be like taking the sun out of my sky!”


Bonnie’s Kitchen


It’s the fresh herbs that REALLY set this off!




2/3 c regular or low fat mayonnaise

½ c buttermilk

2T chopped fresh basil

2T extra virgin olive oil

2T white wine vinegar

2T chopped fresh tarragon



24 spears asparagus

4 oranges

8 c mixed baby greens

1T chopped fresh basil

1T chopped fresh tarragon

½ c thinly sliced red onion


To make dressing, whisk all ingredients in medium bowl until blended. Chill in refrigerator.


Steam asparagus until just tender crisp—about 2 minutes. Transfer to bowl of ice water to cool. Drain.


Cut peel and white pith from the oranges.  Using a sharp knife, cut between the membranes to release segments.


Arrange asparagus in sunburst pattern on a large platter.  Place orange segments between asparagus spears. Mound greens in center of platter.  Sprinkle salad with basil and tarragon.  Top with red onion slices. Drizzle some dressing over the salad and pass remaining dressing separately.


Serves 8


Taken from the Junior League of Madison’s  Mad About Food.


 “It looks like we’re out of thyme,” said the Herb gingerly!

Carol and Ed Knapton, owners of Americas's Best Flowers You’ll Love Your Garden … It’s Our Promise! May the Holy Spirit Guide You! God Bless
Edward Knapton says Keep on Smiling!
Sec – Treasurer Berry Hill Farms, Inc.
DBA Americas Best Flowers Garden Center
4311 Vilas Hope Road
Cottage Grove, WI 53527
608-222-2269 Fax 608-222-1234 Cell 608-698-5627