2006 Newsletter Archive

Newsletter 21

Week 21 (8/17/2006)


“Success consists of getting up once oftener than you fall down.” Anonymous


America’s Best Flowers has experienced incredible growth in the sixteen years since Ed and Carol Knapton built the first greenhouse at the Vilas Hope Road location.  The ‘Green Industry’ in the North Country is not for the faint of heart.  Between short growing seasons (which often don’t start until well into May), and cold winters (which stop customer flow and burn huge amounts of propane), greenhouse growing is one of the riskiest forms of farming there is.  Due to their perseverance, Ed and Carol have succeeded where many have not. 


Keeping abreast of the latest trends in gardening; introducing new varieties of plants; building a strong knowledgeable staff; and using programs, like our Customer Loyalty Program, to keep customers informed, have been important elements in the success of America’s Best Flowers. 


While our calendar of events has always offered something for everyone, we are constantly striving to introduce new and different opportunities for our customers.  It is our customers, after all, who are the backbone of our success.  This weekend we are celebrating our customers with “Customer Appreciation Days.” 


“Many people will walk in and out of your life, but only true friends will leave footprints in your heart.”  anonymous




As part of Customer Appreciation Weekend, Saturday, August 19 at 10 AM, we will be hosting the first in a series of free hands-on workshops designed to show how to do plant division.  This Saturday morning we will be discussing Iris.


To provide a better learning experience and a lot more fun, we encourage you to bring along a clump of your own iris that need to be divided.  We will demonstrate how it’s done, help you do your own, and provide facilities where you can trade divisions, if you choose to, with other gardeners who come to the workshop.


Equipment we will be working with include: Sharpie Markers, butcher knives, and garden scissors.  If you have any of these, bring them along.  When you dig your iris clump try to keep it together as much as you can and place in a box or on a large plastic bag. This will let us see the different ways iris can grow.   If you don’t have an iris clump that needs to be divided, come to the free workshop anyway.  I’m sure there will be plenty of opportunity for you to help someone else with theirs. 


Don’t miss this first of what we hope will be many opportunities to share knowledge and plants with each other.  I’ve even given some thought to calling it the “Divide and Swap” Club.  Come this Saturday and declare your interest in becoming a charter member!




That same day, Saturday, August 19, as well as Sunday, August 20, we are also offering our Autumn Container Workshop from 10 until 3.  This workshop is an unstructured opportunity for you to work first-hand with some of our most creative people to design and create fabulous, one-of-a-kind planters for your outside entry and patio.  Sharon Stickford and Karen Sackman will be on hand to share ideas, as well as a helping hand.


We will be serving free sweet corn both days from 11 – 2 PM.  So plan to come on out to the Vilas Hope location of America’s Best Flowers this weekend.  It promises to hold lots of fun for everyone.


“Light travels faster than sound.  That’s why some people appear bright until you hear them speak.”




ABF DOLLAR DAYS Saturday, September 9th through Sunday, September 17th.  This is your chance to cash in the orange dollars you’ve been saving all year.  During that time, you can pay for up to 50% of your purchase with ABF dollars.  It’s a wonderful opportunity to buy trees, shrubs, perennials, bulbs and houseplants for half price.  This is our best attended event of the year, so plan to shop early for the best selection.


DIVIDE AND SWAP How to divide your Daylilies – Saturday, September 9th at 10AM.Workshop by our own, Bev Wilson, Master Gardener. Bring in an overgrown clump of daylilies and Bev will show you how to divide them, then you can trade with others to get more varieties for your garden!


MAKE A SCARECROW WORKSHOP Two weekends September 23rd and 24th and September 30th and October 1st.  Last year we introduced this workshop as a spur-of-the moment fall activity.  Even with only two weeks preparation and notice, it was a great success.  For a small fee, we provide the basic structure of the scarecrow; frame, straw, burlap and face.  You bring your own clothes, or purchase from our selection, at garage sale prices.  It’s such great fun!!!  Your scarecrow(s) will provide unique decoration for your front entry for the entire fall.  So mark your calendar and watch the newsletter for more details.


“SCARECROWS IN THE GARDEN CONTEST” for elementary schools. Entries will be on display from September 21 – October 22.  Our customers will vote for their choice of winner with a canned food donation, which will go to the Atwood Community Food Pantry. The winning entry will receive a gift certificate from America’s Best Flowers for beautification of their school.  Watch for more details.


How to Winterize Roses – Quick Class by our own, Sharon Stickford.  Sunday, September 17th 1PM and Saturday, October 21st 10AM.


Holiday Open House Saturday, November 18th and Sunday, November 19th.  Get a free picture with Santa with a donation to the Second Harvest Food Pantry.




“Every garden is unique with a multitude of choices of soils, plants and themes.  Finding your garden theme is as easy as seeing what brings a smile to your face.”  Teresa Watkins


Perennial of the Week – Veronica


Blue is perhaps the most sought after color for the landscape, and sure to bring a smile to all who see it.  Don’t miss the opportunity to have dense, branched spikes of violet-blue flowers for most of June and July by planting Veronica.  This week we are featuring two varieties of this ‘must-have’ perennial.  ‘Royal Candles’ is known for its deep green foliage and ‘Sunny Blue Border’ for winning PPA Plant of the Year for 1993.  Both zone 4 varieties are excellent choices for your sunny bed.  They do best in rich, well-drained soil.  A bit of compost dug in at planting time will encourage vigorous plants.  Use veronica in the border garden, as a cut flower, and to attract butterflies.


 “If you’re a vegetarian, can you still eat animal cookies?”


Question Corner


“Last week you said that you have garden mums available now.  Isn’t it too early?”


The cooler evenings of August signal the perfect time for planting mums.  Chrysanthemums have long been the backbone of the fall garden.  The mums we have in bloom now are early varieties.  These are great for filling in areas where the summer annuals you planted have faded.  One of the best features of mums is that by buying several different varieties, you can have color beginning now and lasting well through the first frost.  Our mums are the best you can buy.  America’s Best Flowers grows them in big deep pots, which are watered daily by our drip-line system, resulting in strong, healthy plants.  Come on out today and pick up several while the selection is good.  Your yard will be the envy of the neighborhood.


“I have spider webs all over my plants and shrubs.  How do I get rid of them?”


Don’t.  Although I don’t like spiders any better than you do, they do help reduce insect populations in the garden.  As summer progresses, insect population soars, providing lots of food for the spiders, whose numbers, in turn, grow rapidly.  If you have spider webs in an area that is particularly bothersome, try hosing it off in an attempt to encourage them to move elsewhere.  While there are garden insecticides available to kill spiders, we don’t recommend it.  You can never totally eliminate spiders, and the more you kill, the less there will be to eat the really pesky insects you have.


“Arachnoleptic fit – The frantic dance performed just after you’ve accidentally walked through a spider web.)


“Why are my tomatoes cracking on the top? Are they still okay to eat?”


The amount of cracks on your tomatoes will vary by variety, but it is almost always the result of irregular watering.  If the soil around your tomatoes is dry, and then suddenly gets a lot of water, the inside of the tomato grows faster than the skin.  This results in cracks on the tops of regular tomatoes.  Cherry tomatoes will crack from top to bottom.  The tomatoes are still edible if caught quickly.  If you see any spoilage along the crack, cut it out deeply, and do not use those fruit for preserving.  Just eat them fresh.  To avoid this problem, keep your tomato patch moist.  A mulch of straw around the base of your plants will help with this.


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.


“Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit;

Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.”


Bonnie’s Kitchen


Can you EVER have enough recipes for peaches when they’re in season??


Fresh Peach and Oat Muffins


1 1/3 c rolled oats

1 1/3 c buttermilk

1 lg egg, slightly beaten

1/3 c melted butter or vegetable oil

1/2 c plus 1T light brown sugar

1 1/2 c all purpose flour

1 t baking powder

1/2 t baking soda

1/2 t salt

1/2 t cinnamon

1/4 t nutmeg

12 oz. almost ripe peaches, rinsed, peeled, pitted, and diced (about 4)


Deep 12 c muffin pan, well greased. Makes 12 muffins.


Preheat oven to 425′

Put oats and buttermilk into lg. bowl and let soak for 10 minutes.  Add egg, butter, sugar and mix well.


Sift flour, baking powder and soda, and spices onto the soaked oat mixture and stir briefly. Quickly fold in chopped peaches. Do not beat or over mix, the batter should look slightly streaky. Spoon mixture into prepared muffin pans, filling about 2/3 full.


Bake for about 18-20 minutes until golden brown and firm to the touch. Let cool in the pan for about a minute, then turn onto a wire rack.  Serve warm or cover and use within 24 hours. When properly cooled, muffins can be wrapped, and then frozen for up to 1 month.


Two older ladies were sitting on a park bench outside the local town hall where a flower show was in progress.


One leaned over and said, “Life is so boring.  We never have any fun anymore.  For $5.00, I’d take my clothes off right now and streak through that stupid flower show!”


“You’re on!” said the other old lady, holding up a $5.00 bill.


As fast as she could, the first little old lady fumbled her way out of her clothes and, completely naked, streaked through the front door of the flower show.


Waiting outside, her friend soon heard a huge commotion inside the hall, followed by loud applause.  The naked lady burst out through the door surrounded by a cheering crowd.


“What happened?” asked her waiting friend.


“Why, I won first prize for Best Dried Arrangement!”

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