2006 Newsletter Archive

Newsletter 36

Week 36 (11/30/2006)


“If something “goes without saying”, why do people still say it?”         


When you walk through the door leading into our big greenhouse, prepare to be “Wowed!!!”  I’m at a loss for words to accurately describe our poinsettias this year.  It ‘goes without saying’ that we’re ‘button-popping’ proud of our plants, but I’m saying it anyway!  The colors are the brightest, the blooms the biggest, the stems the straightest.  What a crop!!


Even standing in front of them, it’s hard to believe the vibrancy of color in Enduring Pink, the shape of Jester Red, the contrast in Marble Star and the high voltage hue of Electric Fire.  We have whites, deep burgundy, and several shades of red.  America’s Best Flowers also has blue, purple, rose, yellow and orange available in our painted poinsettias.  We paint, glitter and ting to create one-of-a-kind floral expressions to match any décor.


I’ve been telling you for weeks about our poinsettias…encouraging you to come out and watch as they change from green to their brilliant colors… telling you that they will brighten your home for the holidays…suggesting that they would make excellent gifts.  And many of you have listened.  So many in fact, that this week I’m telling the rest of you to hurry on out before they’re gone. 


“Never let your cleverness overpower your wisdom!”




America’s Best Flowers has the answer.  Colorful tinsel trees, in shades of silver, purple, red, chartreuse and teal, will bring excitement to your Holiday decorating this year.  These pre-lit 6 ft. Jackson Spruce trees, with their 450 lights and 879 tips, create a striking appearance, especially after dark. Combine with a 2 foot version, and a sparkly cone-shaped tree or two in the same or contrasting colors, and you will have a bright, whimsical display.  Come on out today, and let us show you how to add excitement to your holiday décor.


“Generation Gap”


I’ve got 3 TV’s, cable & a satellite dish.  I have 3 phone lines in the house, a cell phone and one in the car, plus a pager.


I use 2 computers, 3 ISPs and a fax.  I subscribe to two daily papers and one weekly one.  I watch both the local and the network news every evening.


And my kids have the nerve to tell me I’m out of touch.


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 is limited. Call today! $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.  Pre-registration required. $35 fee includes the cost of the centerpiece. Call 222-2269 for additional information.


“What kind of coffee did they serve on the Titanic?   Sanka!”




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


Cate submitted this recipe for using leftover turkey.  It was our top pick for leftover recipes.  Just typing it makes my mouth water.


Wild Rice Turkey Casserole


2 pkgs Uncle Ben’s Long Grain & Wild Rice AS IS

1 lb. turkey breakfast sausage

1 4 oz. can sliced mushrooms

2 10½ oz. cans cream of mushroom soup, undiluted

½ tsp. Worcestershire sauce

2 c. turkey, diced

1½ c dry bread crumbs

¼ c. butter


Cook rice according to package directions.  While rice is cooking, sauté sausage in skillet until browned, breaking it up; drain.  Add mushrooms, soup, and Worchestershire sauce.  Toss mixture lightly with rice and turkey.  Spoon into greased 2-qt. casserole.  Cover with buttered bread crumbs.  Bake 30 minutes at 375.


The following cheesecake recipe was submitted by Kari.  We’re entering this in the leftover category because we’re certain there never would be any.


Pumpkin Cheese Cake.




¾ cup graham cracker crumbs                          ½ teaspoon ground ginger

½ cup ground pecans                                        ¼ teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons white sugar                                 3 (8 oz) pkgs cream cheese

2 tablespoons brown sugar                               3/8 cup white sugar

¼ cup butter or margarine, melted                    1 egg

¾ cup white sugar                                              1 egg yolk

¾ cup canned pumpkin                                      2 tablespoons whipping cream

3 egg yolk                                                           1 tablespoon cornstarch

1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon                      ½ teaspoon vanilla extract

1/8 teaspoon nutmeg                                         ½ teaspoon lemon extract




1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2.  Combine the graham cracker crumbs, ground pecans, 2 tablespoons white sugar, 2 tablespoons brown sugar, and the melted butter or margarine and mix well. Firmly press mixture into one 9-inch spring form pan.

3.  Combine ¾ cup of the white sugar, the pumpkin, 3 egg yolks, ground cinnamon, ground ginger and salt in a medium bowl.  Mix well, and set aside.

4.  Beat cream cheese with an electric mixer until light and fluffy; gradually add ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons white sugar and mix well.  Add the whole egg, remaining egg yolk and the whipping cream, beating well.  Add cornstarch and vanilla and lemon flavorings, beat batter until smooth.  Add pumpkin mixture and mix well.  Pour batter into the prepared pan.

5.  Bake at 350 degrees for 50 to 55 minutes.  Do not over bake. Center may be soft but it will firm up when chilled.  Let cheesecake cool on a wire rack, then refrigerate.

6.  (Optional) Just prior to serving take the rest of the whipping cream, beat until peaks form, add ½ teaspoon of vanilla extract and 2 tablespoons of confectioner’s sugar and beat until soft peaks form.  Transfer to a bag with a 1E tip and pipe stars to cover the entire top of the cheesecake.


Cheesecakes always have a lot of steps, but the result is Oh So Worth It!!


“Spending time is a greater gift than spending money.”


Question Corner


If you have gardening questions you would like answered in this newsletter, please e-mail them by separate e-mail to ed@americasbestflowers.com    NOTE:  We have been having problems receiving emails directly through this link.  If you have wondered why I didn’t answer questions previously sent, there is a good chance it didn’t reach us.  Please accept our apologies and try again as a separate email. To be sure your question reaches my desk, please put “Question for Newsletter” in the subject line. We are searching for answers regarding why our link doesn’t work.  Any ideas would be greatly appreciated.  Again, please write to us through a separate e-mail. Alternately, you may mail your questions to America’s Best Flowers, 4311 Vilas Hope Road, Cottage Grove, WI 53527.  Attention: Bev. Or fax to 608-222-1234.  Our phone number is 222-2269.


“I read that if your Christmas tree goes dry you should take it down and re-cut the bottom. My tree is completely decorated, isn’t there some other way?”


I’ve read that, too.  The reason we always suggest a new cut on your tree before you set it up, is because once the cut of the tree dries out, it heals over, preventing further absorption of water.  That’s why it’s important to keep water in the tree holder after you set it up, so your tree stays hydrated.  If you forget to water for a day, and the cut edge of your trunk is still slightly moist, you will probably be fine just filling the tree holder with warm water, and allowing your tree to drink all it wants.  This may require refilling the holder a time or two.  Then be sure to keep water in the holder.  If your tree has been dry for two or more days and is dropping needles, the best method to insure your tree lasts until Christmas is to take it down and cut a couple inches off.  Stand your tree, in a bucket of warm water for several hours, and then set it back up.  An alternative method is to deeply score the bottom two inches of the tree’s bark with a very sharp blade to allow water to penetrate into the trunk.  We haven’t tested this method, so would appreciate feedback regarding its success.


“If there still time to mulch my strawberry bed?”

Now is the perfect time for this.  The reason we mulch strawberries isn’t so much to keep the cold off the plants, as it is to keep the temperature of the soil stable throughout the winter.  This helps prevent the heaving of the soil, which can actually uproot shallow-rooted strawberries.  The best time to apply your covering is after the ground has frozen.  America’s Best Flowers suggests you use marsh hay for mulching strawberries, because it contains fewer weed seeds and stays in place better.


“What do Eskimos get from sitting on the ice too long?  Polaroids.”


Bonnie’s Kitchen


“Don’t EVER throw out a turkey carcass”, I think, was one of the first things my co-worker Bev said to me. She makes some outstanding turkey soup that is true comfort food. Here’s her recipe, and as with most soups, feel free to improvise.

Bev’s Turkey Vegetable Soup


1 recipe turkey stock (recipe follows) + 4 c water + 2 chicken bouillon cubes

2 lg. cloves garlic, minced

2 lg. onions, chopped

3 lg. carrots, chopped

2 c chopped leaves and stalks of celery

1 rutabaga, medium, cut in ½” cubes

2 potatoes, large, cut in ½” cubes

½ c frozen corn, or more to taste

1 lg. can (28 oz.) diced tomatoes

1 can cannelloni beans, drained and rinsed

freshly ground pepper to taste

1 t oregano, dried

2 t basil, dried

celery salt and salt to taste

2 cups leftover turkey, diced


Bring stock to boil, add garlic, onions, carrots and celery.  Return to boil. Reduce heat to medium.  Cook 10 minutes.  Add rutabaga and potatoes.  Cook 15 minutes.  Add corn, tomatoes, beans and seasonings.  Simmer 15 minutes.  Stir in turkey. Heat through.  Serve with fresh bread.   YUM!!


Freeze leftovers in individual containers for a quick lunch, or to share with your co-workers.

Turkey Stock


In a large stock pot, cover your turkey carcass with water (I break the carcass up a bit so it fits).  Include all skin, and turkey neck, if you have it.  Add 2 cloves garlic, 2 stalks celery, 2 carrots and 2 onions (all chopped).  Throw in 2 bay leaves, 20 peppercorns and 2 teaspoons leaf thyme.  Bring to a boil.  Lower heat and simmer for 2 hours.  Allow to cool a bit and then strain through a fine mesh strainer into another big pot.  Discard bones. Put in refrigerator overnight to chill.  Remove fat from surface and proceed with above recipe. 


 “What lies at the bottom of the ocean and twitches?   A nervous wreck.”


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