2006 Newsletter Archive

Newsletter 7

Week 7 (5/11/2006)


‘Oh, to be only half as wonderful as my child thought I was when he was small.’


I’ve had young women tell me that they don’t think they want to have children.  They are in their early twenties, very bright, career-oriented women.  One I work with, one is my daughter.  Because I believe this is an individual decision, I hesitated both times before I spoke.  But I feel strongly about my own experience in motherhood and told them the same thing.  “Being a mother is the greatest joy there is in life.  Nothing comes close.”  This Mother’s Day, as you are trying to decide what to do for Mom remember you have always been and will always be your mother’s greatest joy.  All she really wants is to spend some time with you.  Of course, a beautiful basket of flowers would be a good thing, too.


‘A child outgrows your lap, but never outgrows your heart.’


Tip of the Week – Know Your Zone


When you talk with a lot of people about gardening, it soon becomes apparent that there are two approaches to the ‘zone’ issue.  First we have the group that demands every perennial, shrub or tree they purchase is hardy to one zone colder than necessary in an attempt to insure 100% survivorship of all their plants.  Then we have the others who make all gardening decisions based purely on what looks good because they haven’t a clue what a ‘zone’ is.


Simply put, the United States is divided into zones based on the average coldest temperatures reached in any given year.   The farther north you go, the smaller your number is.  Florida is an 8 or 9, Northern Minnesota a 2 or 3.  Here in southern Wisconsin we are a 4 or 5, depending on exactly where you live.  Several years back, the USDA further complicated zones by introducing the concept of ‘A’ and ‘B’ Zones.  Their logic being that the original zones were far enough apart to be about 10 degrees different in temps, but areas existed within the zones that weren’t as cold as other areas.  For example – a yard in Cottage Grove, Wisconsin can be classified as either a 5A or 4B (4B being about 5 degrees colder than 5A) depending on the amount of protection provided by its immediate surroundings.  A windbreak of trees or buildings can significantly change the winter conditions a tree would experience compared to being planted in the middle of an open field with a northern slope.


If this isn’t confusing enough, the fact that we have very different winters complicates it even more.  It is possible for a Zone 4B area to have a Zone 6A winter, or for a Zone 5A area to have a Zone 3B winter.  All of these variables make it very difficult for growers to decide how to rate any given plant.  Be assured the best possible attempt at accuracy has been made when a plant has been declared hardy to Zone 5.  (This would be the middle of zone 5 in an average year.)  Are you confused yet??  For more information visit. What this means


“To be in your children’s memories tomorrow, you have to be in their lives today.”


Garden Resolutions


“I will not buy any more plants until the ones I have at home are planted!”  Sound familiar?


This concept can carry into many areas of our lives.  Years ago I worked at a fabric store.  I finally quit the job when I needed to buy another storage chest to hold all the fabric I wasn’t going to buy until what I had at home had been used.  I was forty years old before I stopped buying enough paint for several rooms whenever it was on sale.  My new approach is to have the woodwork taped and the drop cloths down before I buy the first gallon.


But somehow plants are different.  They are, after all, living things.  They need us.  When we walk by pots of geraniums just breaking into bloom, or bowls of pansies with their smiling faces turned toward the sun, they beckon us to allow them to share our lives, to increase the beauty that surrounds us, to make life better. 


How can we refuse?  Would we deny a child a hug, or a puppy a smile?  So we will continue to carry more plants home to join the crowd already awaiting their spot in the ground.  Maybe we just need to learn to plant faster.


“The right temperature in a home is maintained by warm hearts, not by hot heads.”


Question Corner


“We are building a deck on the house.  Can I move the ferns that are in the way now?”   Yes, spring is the preferred time to move ferns.  The easiest way is to prepare the area where you will be moving them to first.  Keep in mind that ferns need shade and prefer a moist, slightly acidic soil.   Then carefully dig clumps of soil around each fern and move directly to the prepared area.  If you don’t have another area available, the ferns can be placed in pots as a temporary measure.  Just set them in a shady area and keep them moist until you are ready to return them to the shady side of your deck.


“I know it’s raining and the soil is wet, but my schedule only allows me to garden this weekend.  Is that okay?” No, when soils are extremely wet it’s important to stay off.  Gardening in excessively wet soils only results in compaction.  Plants put into this environment will do poorly all year because this compaction allows no room around their roots for air.  With the cold, wet weather we are expecting, your plants would not get a good start in their new home anyway.  A better alternative for this weekend is visiting America’s Best Flowers.  We have two acres of greenhouses for you to enjoy. 


“When can I move my houseplants outside?”

In this area we need to wait until the last week of May before moving our indoor plants outside.  Even then, be sure to watch the long-range weather forecast before doing it.  When you first take houseplants outside, set them in a shady spot for a week or so before putting them into the sun.  They need some time to adjust to outdoor conditions.


“The best way to keep kids at home is to make the home a pleasant atmosphere.”


Bonnie’s ‘Salsa Saturday’ Prize Winning Recipe


By Charles and Ellen Eggen.


Tomatillo Salsa

2 lb. tomatoes

4 oz. tomatillos

1 c chopped onion

½ c chopped green onions

½ c canned green chiles

½ c jalapeno chiles (remove some seeds)

½ c minced cilantro

3 T. white wine vinegar

1 T minced garlic

1 T lime juice

2 t ground red chile

½ t ground cumin

½ t salt

Soak tomatillos in warm water and remove dry husks.

Dip tomatoes in boiling water for 30 seconds or hold over a gas flame and char.  Remove skins and squeeze out seeds.

Puree all ingredients roughly.

Simmer in an open 2 qt pan for 5 minutes.


We loved seeing you last Saturday and had a ball helping you create your potted salsa gardens.  Roma tomatoes coupled with cilantro and jalapeno pepper plants were a fairly universal choice with parsley, oregano and habenero peppers running as close contenders.  What a super tasty addition to your deck or patio!”


“Kids really brighten a household, they never turn off any lights.”


Plant of the Week


When I asked my nursery manager for suggestions for this week’s plant, his immediate response was, “Crabapples.”  What a sight they have been this year.  Brilliant reds, pinks and whites everywhere.  America’s Best Flowers carries a good variety of crabapples.  Two of the most popular, ‘Tina’ and ‘Firebird,’ are grafted varieties which will be compact growers that can be used as a hedge or specimen plant.  These varieties will grow to around 8 feet, and are perfect for the smaller yard.  There are many taller varieties that are just right for larger areas.  If you want glorious spring colors to fill your yard in the years to come, visit our Vilas Hope Road location and ask our expert staff to help you choose the perfect crabapple tree for you.

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