2006 Newsletter Archive

Newsletter 33

Week 33 (11/9/2006)


“Promise yourself a smile today!”  from a Dove chocolate


America’s Best Flowers promises that you will smile with your whole heart when you walk through the door into our big greenhouse and see our ocean of poinsettias as they don their seasonal colors.  It is indeed a sight to behold.  Reds, pinks, whites and shades in between fill the benches.  The coloring process of poinsettias is just short of a miracle.  Small cuttings, planted in July, are watered, fertilized, and grown until they are moved to their final bench space in September.  During the shortening days of fall the plants continue to size up until, magically, one day their green brachts (leaves) start the amazing process of colorization.  Over a period of 4 – 6 weeks the process continues until the top brachts of the plants are fully colored and ready to brighten your holidays.  We invite you to come out often over the next few weeks and watch one of nature’s finest shows for yourself.


“My colleagues and I recently received this email from the facilities department: ‘Due to construction, your office may be either cooler or warmer than usual on Tuesday.  Please dress accordingly.’”




Submit your family’s favorite Thanksgiving recipe and you could win a FREE POINSETTIA (approx. $20.00 value) for the holidays!  Two winners will be chosen each week between now and Thanksgiving.  Winning recipes will be printed in the following week’s newsletter.  Deadlines for submission are:


            Tuesday, November 14 for Thursday, November 16 newsletter

            Monday,  November 20 for Tuesday,  November 21 newsletter


If you have a recipe you would like to enter in our contest, please e-mail it to ed@americasbestflowers.com  Please put ‘Recipe for Contest’ in the subject line to insure it reaches Bonnie’s desk.  NOTE:  We have been having problems receiving emails directly through this link.  In order to insure we receive your entry, please send as a separate e-mail. Alternately you may mail your recipe to ABF, 4311 Vilas Hope Road, Cottage Grove, WI 53527 Or Fax to 608-222-1234.  All submissions will remain in the running from week to week, so it is not necessary to enter the same recipe more than once.


“Don’t be irreplaceable.  If you can’t be replaced, you can’t be promoted.”






Come on out to our Holiday Porch Pot Workshops this weekend (see below).  Our staff has outdone themselves creating wonderful ideas for decorating your home this holiday season.  Let us help you make a crowd-stopping display.


UPCOMING EVENTS at America’s Best Flowers


Create a Holiday Porch Pot – Ongoing Saturday, November 11 & 18 from 10 – 3 and Sunday, November 12 & 19 from 1 – 4.  Winter Patio Pots (or Porch Pots) are a wonderful changeover from your summer and fall pots.  They’re made from the finest quality cut greens and bows. Colorful dogwood, branches, berries, dried and artificial floral items complete your creation. Join us rain or shine, and we will provide creative assistance. Make one of your own, and one for a special gift!


Holiday Open House – Saturday, November 18th and Sunday, November 19th from 9 – 6.  Our Winter Wonderland. containing over 6,000 ABF-grown Poinsettias, Christmas trees, hand-decorated wreaths, boughs, roping, Holiday Porch Pots, Amaryllis, Christmas Cactus and more, will fill you with the ‘Spirit of Christmas’.  Free family photos with Santa from Noon-2 PM with a food or monetary donation to the Second Harvest Food Pantry. Pets are welcome.  Complimentary cookies and hot beverages.


Christmas Tree “For The Birds” Workshop – Saturday, December 9 at 10:00 AM.  Make Christmas fun for the family by decorating a small tree with edible ornaments for the birds.  We’ll provide assistance and all materials.  Pre-registration required. Call 222-2269.  Class size limited. $25.00 fee includes the cost of a small living evergreen tree and all materials to make the ornaments.


Create a Holiday Centerpiece – Saturday, December 16 at 10 AM.    Create an elegant holiday centerpiece using fresh greens, candles, berries, and more, for your home.  We’ll provide assistance and all materials.  Registration required. $35 fee includes the cost of the centerpiece. Call 222-2269 for additional information.


“If you lend someone $20 and never see that person again, it was probably worth it!”


Fall Mulching – Benefits and Suggestions


Mulching is a fall chore that is often put off or overlooked because of our busy schedules this time of year.  But a few hours spent this fall will save you hours of weeding next spring.  It also helps your plants by maintaining the moisture level in the soil and preventing damage from alternate freezing and thawing over the winter months.


 Different plants benefit from different mulches.  The basic rule of thumb is to use 2 -3 inches. Below is a quick reference to help you decide what to use for your gardening needs


Perennials – Composted soil.


Roses – Soil/composted soil – Mound 10 – 12 inches around crown.


Evergreens, Azaleas, Rhododendrons, Hosta and Astilbe– Pine needles (for proper soil ph)


Deciduous Shrubs and Trees – Cypress Bark (long-lasting and less fungal growth)


Strawberries – Straw or Marsh Hay


Grapes & Blueberries – Pile snow on top


Raspberries, Gooseberries & Currants – No protection needed


Question Corner


If you have gardening questions you would like answered in this newsletter, please e-mail them to ed@americasbestflowers.com  To make sure it reaches my desk, please put “Question for Newsletter” in the subject line.  NOTE:  We have been having problems receiving emails directly through this link.  In order to insure we receive your question, please send as a separate e-mail. Alternately you may mail your question to America’s Best Flowers, 4311 Vilas Hope Road, Cottage Grove, WI 53527 Or Fax to 608-222-1234. Attention Bev.


“Is it too early to buy my poinsettias?”


Just a little.  They need a couple more weeks to finish their colorization. During this time they cannot be exposed to any artificial light, and the day and night temperatures need to be regulated carefully.  Beginning the week before Thanksgiving, some varieties of poinsettias are far enough along in their maturity to leave the greenhouse and brighten your home.  America’s Best Flowers’ Open House is November 18 and 19 this year, and we expect several varieties to be ready.   


“I hear from my neighbor that you can paint poinsettias.  What type of paint should I use?”


Poinsettia paint is a very special formulation that was developed in Europe. It is only available to growers of poinsettias.  America’s Best Flowers does indeed paint poinsettias.  We can create almost any color you would like by using different colors of paint on different colors of plants.  We will have painted poinsettias available beginning at our Open House on November 18 and 19.  Come on out and see the rainbow of colors available.


 “If you always tell the truth, you never have to remember anything.”


Bonnie’s Kitchen


For some reason, even the children think veggies taste GREAT at the Thanksgiving table.  They’re one of my favorite parts of that holiday’s meal and I don’t think you can ever have too many vegetable casseroles or dishes on this day that celebrates the harvest.  Here are two of my favorites.



                                                                                                                        Serves 12

Planning tip: Can be prepared through step 3 up to one day ahead. Bag buttered crumbs: store at room temperature. Refrigerate casserole in covered baking dish.  Bring to room temperature before baking (step 4).

2 T stick butter

12 saltine crackers, finely crushed

1 pkg. (1.8 oz) leek soup and dip mix

2 t dry mustard

½ t ground nutmeg

1 c heavy whipping cream

2 lg. eggs, plus yolks from 2 lg. eggs

2 cans (15 ¼ oz)   whole kernel corn, drained

2 cans (14 ¾ oz) cream style corn

1 jar (12 oz) roasted red peppers, drained, patted dry and chopped


1. Heat oven to 350’. Lightly grease a shallow 3 qt. baking dish.

2. Melt butter; toss with cracker crumbs to moisten evenly.

3. Whisk soup mix, dry mustard and nutmeg in a large bowl to blend.  Whisk in cream, eggs and egg yolks until very well blended.  Stir in remaining ingredients and pour into prepared baking dish.

4. Sprinkle cracker crumbs on pudding near edges of dish.  Bake 35-40 minutes until a knife inserted in center comes out clean and temperature at center just registers 160’ on an instant-read thermometer (center will jiggle when dish is moved).


Twice Baked Maple Pecan Sweet Potatoes 

                                                        Serves 12

Planning tip; Pecans can be toasted and chopped up to 1 week ahead. Bag; store at room temperature. Prepare potatoes through step 2 up to 2 days ahead.  Refrigerate covered.  Bring to room temperature before reheating (step 3).

6 medium sweet potatoes (4 lb), scrubbed

3 T butter

2 t pure maple syrup or pancake syrup

½ t salt

¼ t pepper

2 slices bacon, cooked crisp, crumbled

3 T pecans, toasted and chopped

Garnish: snipped chives or sliced scallions

1. Heat oven to 400’. Prick each potato once with a fork.  Bake on a rimmed baking sheet 45-55 minutes until soft.

2. When cool enough to handle, cut potatoes in half lengthwise.  Scoop insides into a medium bowl.  Mash with next 4 ingredients until smooth.  Spoon back into skins.

3. To serve: Heat oven to 350’.  Line baking sheet with foil; coat foil with spray.  Place stuffed potatoes on sheet; sprinkle with bacon and pecans.  Bake uncovered 15 minutes or until hot. Garnish.


“Always remember that you are unique.  Just like everyone else!”



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