2006 Newsletter Archive

Newsletter 34

Week 34 (11/16/2006)


“The repetition of small efforts will accomplish more than the occasional use of great talents!” Charles H. Spurgeon




Santa Claus is coming!! 


Christmas Trees, Wreaths & Poinsettias are ready to go!!





Holiday Open House – This Saturday and Sunday, November 18 &19 from 9 – 6.  Our Winter Wonderland, containing over 6,000 poinsettias grown right here at America’s Best Flowers, Wisconsin 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.


“Everyone has a photographic memory.  Some just don’t have film.”


Discover Your Creativity!!  While you’re at America’s Best Flowers for our Open House, plan to attend our Holiday Porch Pot Workshops.  We are continually amazed at the beautiful porch pots created by our customers.


Create a Holiday Porch Pot – Ongoing this Saturday, November 18 from 10 – 3 and Sunday, November 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, colorful dogwood, branches, and berries.  Dried and artificial floral items and bows 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!  This is great workshop to bring a friend to.  You can work side by side to create special arrangements for both your homes.


If you think you don’t have the talent to make your own arrangement, think again.  We had a customer and her husband come in last Sunday morning wanting to make a porch pot, but not knowing where to start.  Having had negative comments from people in the past regarding her creativity, she was hesitate to begin. But with a little encouragement from our understanding and patient associate, she began to arrange greens and accents in her pot.  While offering suggestions, our associate encouraged her to make up her own mind about what to put where. Always reminding her to stand back, take a look, and remember that she could move it if she wanted to. It wasn’t long before her husband got into the act, too. They surprised themselves and each other with both their creativity and the enjoyment they had in creating a truly lovely arrangement that will sit on their porch to welcome their guests throughout the upcoming holiday season


Join us this weekend and surprise yourself with how talented you really are.


FOOD DRIVE at America’s Best Flowers


America’s Best Flowers is proud to be involved with the Share Your Holidays to Eliminate Hunger Food Drive for the Second Harvest Food BankAll donations go to feed the hungry in Dane County.  For a list of needed items go to www.secondharvestmadison.org   It’s so easy to forget that not everyone will be sitting down to a wonderful meal with all the trimmings this Thanksgiving.  So while you’re picking up the ingredients for your family’s dinner,  pick up a few extra items and drop them off at America’s Best Flowers.  We’ll make sure they reach those in need.  Keep in mind the tremendous buying power of the food bank allows them to provide seven meals to the needy for every $1.00 in cash/check donated.  We have both barrels and donation jars ready to accept your offerings through the end of the month.  As a special treat from America’s Best Flowers to you, this weekend we are offering free photos with Santa with your food donation. Thank You so much for sharing!


UPCOMING EVENTS at America’s Best Flowers


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.


"Don’t criticize the coffee.  You may be old and weak yourself some day."




There is only one week left for YOU to win a FREE POINSETTIA (approx. $20.00 value) for the holidays. Submit your family’s favorite Thanksgiving recipe!  Two winners will be chosen each week between now and Thanksgiving.  Winning recipes will be printed in the following week’s newsletter.  Because of the Holiday, the deadline for this week’s submission is Monday, November 20 for next week’s newsletter, which will go out Tuesday, November 21.


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.  Please include your name, phone number and address.  All submissions will remain in the running from week to week, so it is not necessary to enter the same recipe more than once.




The following entries were chosen from recipes submitted during the last week.  Each winner will receive a coupon for a free Santa-size poinsettia


Roxanne submitted this apple salad that has a dressing made from thickened pineapple juice with a tad of butter for richness.  The dressing can be made a day before serving.  Resist the impulse to add marshmallows.




     1 20 oz. can pineapple chunks

2 qts chopped red-skinned tart apples,

     such as Jonathan or MacIntosh,  skins left on

2  cups green seedless grapes, halved

1¼   cups toasted pecans

     1 cup chopped celery

    ½ cup chopped fresh parsley



     ¼ cup butter

     ¼ cup sugar

     1 T. lemon juice

     2 T. cornstarch

     1 cup mayonnaise


Drain the pineapple, reserving the juice, and set chunks aside.  Prepare the dressing.  In a small saucepan, combine the pineapple juice, butter, sugar and lemon juice and bring to a boil over medium heat.  In a small bowl, combine the cornstarch and enough water to make a smooth mixture; add to the bubbling juice.  Reduce heat and cook until mixture is thick and smooth.  Chill.  Whisk in the mayonnaise (This can be done a day in advance.)


Place the pineapple chunks and the rest of the salad ingredients in a large bowl.  Toss well, then mix in the chilled dressing.



Sandra sent in this recipe for an unusual side dish.  To save time, make them up the night before.  Then just bring them to room temperature and bake.  NO FUSS NO MUSS ON THANKSGIVING




3 medium zucchini

2 T. chopped onion

1 T. butter

1 cup shredded provolone cheese

1 4 oz. can chopped mushrooms, well drained

2 T. flour

2 T. grated parmesan cheese

2 T. dairy sour cream

½ t. salt

½ t. dried basil, crushed


Cut off ends of zucchini; halve lengthwise.  In covered skillet cook zucchini in a small amount of boiling salted water for 5-10 minutes or till tender-crisp.  Drain.  Scoop out pulp leaving ¼ inch shell.  Chop enough pulp to make ¾ cup; set aside.  In a small skillet cook onion in butter until tender.  Combine provolone cheese, mushrooms, flour, parmesan cheese, sour cream, salt, basil, and the reserved zucchini pulp.  Add cooked onion; mix lightly.  Fill zucchini shells with mixture; arrange in 10×6 baking dish.  Bake uncovered, in 350 degree oven for 20-25 minutes or until heated through.   Serves 6


“Despite the cost of living, have you noticed how it remains so popular?”


Cyclamen – The Coolest  Plant


America’s Best Flowers has just received a gorgeous shipment of locally-grown cyclamen.   Cyclamen, available in shades of red, white and pink, are great houseplants for winter.  Blooming from December until spring, these easy-to-grow plants love cool temperatures and bright indirect light. 


Cyclamen make wonderful gifts that provide long-lasting bloom.  Come on out today and check out our great selection.


"If at first you don’t succeed, skydiving is not for you."


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.


“I’ve heard that America’s Best Flowers’ Santa Claus really is from the North Pole.   Is that true?”


You have our word on this – A more real Santa Claus does not exist.  We feel so privileged to have Santa visit us every year during our Open House.  But because he is a very busy man this time of year, he can only be here for two hours each day.  Stop out this Saturday or Sunday between noon and two to check him out for yourself.  While you are here, we will be glad to take a picture of you and/or yours with Santa to prove that you have met the “Real” Santa.  We do ask that you bring a canned food donation for the Second Harvest Food Drive with you to help provide meals for the less fortunate during this holiday season.  


“And what about those elves?  Are they from up north, too?”


Our current contract with Santa requires we furnish our own elves to help him.  But better elves you won’t find south of the Arctic Circle.  Santa has said so himself.  So come on out and let our elves spark your holiday spirit.  You’ll be glad you did!!!  Bring your friends and family, too.


 “There’s a sign above the scale in my doctor’s office that says.  “Pretend it’s your IQ.”


Bonnie’s Kitchen


Personally, I think the ONLY white potatoes that should be served on Thanksgiving are plain old everyday mashed potatoes, with nice thick gravy.  I’ve had some people say they’d appreciate a good potato casserole, so here goes.  This is a super recipe and LOADED with calories, but hey, “It’s Turkey Day”!


Drive ‘em Wild Potatoes


6 lg. russets (4 lbs.)

1 c. sour cream

¼ c. butter

8 slices bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled

3 T fresh chives, divided

3 c. (12 oz.) shredded mozzarella

½ c. shredded swiss or cheddar


Peel and quarter potatoes, boil 25 minutes or until fork tender.  Drain well.  Return to pan.  Add sour cream and butter.  Mash well (or use mixer).  Stir in bacon and 2 T. chives.  Add mozzarella, and mix well, spoon into greased 3 qt. casserole.  Sprinkle cheddar evenly over the top.  Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes until cheese is lightly browned and potatoes are heated through.  Sprinkle with remaining chives.   12 servings.


“Before I could enroll in my company’s medical insurance plan, I needed to fill out a questionnaire.  As expected, the form was very thorough, leaving nothing to chance.  One question asked, “Do you plan on going to the emergency room within the next three months!”


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