2007 Newsletter Archive

Newsletter 20

Newsletter 20– August 9, 2007  Bonnies Kitchen   Events


How much rain could a rain cloud rain if a rain cloud could rain rain?


My personal motto has always been, “All things in moderation.”  If only the weather came in moderation, too!  First we have hot, hot days with no rain.  Then we get hotter and hotter days with downpours.  These extremes are very hard on our plants.  If your annual flowers don’t look good, get rid of them and put in some new ones.  Life is too short to try and nurse them back.  Move on.  Remember you still have three months of color ahead.  America’s Best has beautiful blooming plants that can transform your garden from bedraggled to luxuriant.  Right now our cannas are a knockout.  Their brilliant blossoms atop stately stems add grandeur to your landscape.  Don’t waste another minute trying to revive the dead and dying.  Treat your eyes to the bright colors and lush foliage new plants will bring.


Chances are that some of your perennials don’t look too good either.  We suggest that you cut them back and wait for new growth.  Some may even bloom again once the temperatures level out.  Now is a good time to add a few new perennials to areas that are sparse.  Our perennial and nursery staff have spent many long hours taking superb care of our stock, and we have beautiful plants to show for it.  Come on out today and check it out for yourself. 


What is the Mexican weather report?  Chili today and Hot tamale.


ATTENTION ALL HOSTA LOVERS:  Today, we discovered that hostas right outside our door have developed Hosta Crown Rot.  The effects of crown rot starts to show when the lower leaves turn yellow and wilt from the margins back toward the base.  For more information scroll down below Bonnie’s kitchen.


If the professor on Gilligan’s Island could make a radio out of a coconut, why couldn’t he patch a hole in a boat.


Sometimes the obvious is just too simple, like a gardening tip that crossed my desk this week.  If you are going away on vacation, try putting all your containers in a cheap kiddie pool. along with a couple inches of water.  As the plants plants dry out, they will wick water up through the bottom.  If you will be gone for an extended time, you may have to ask a neighbor to add more water if there isn’t enough rain to replenish it.  This tip also works for houseplants.  Just use the bathtub.  To give them light, be sure to open the bathroom curtain, or leave a light on. 


If you see a heat wave, should you wave back?


IRIS DIVIDE AND SWAP, this Sunday, August 12 at 1:00 PM

If you love iris, you can never have too many.  Except of course if you have several large bunches of the same variety.  America’s Best Flowers can help you with that.  This Sunday plan to attend our Divide and Swap Iris Workshop. Bring in a clump of iris that need divided, we’ll show you how, and then you will have a chance to trade for other varieties.  If you can, please bring along a Sharpee, a garden knife and scissors and a few grocery sacks.

In Wisconsin, late July to mid August is the perfect time to divide iris.  This allows them the necessary six to eight weeks of rest after their bloom period, but still gives them plenty of time to develop a root system before the ground freezes.  Last year we had customers bring in huge clumps which provided many divisions to share, so even if you don’t have iris that need to be divided, come on out anyway.  We’ll show you how it’s done and share the bounty.  


What’s the difference between weather and climate?  You can’t weather a tree, but you can climb it!




Iris Divide & Swap – Sunday, August 12, 1:00 PM Bring in a clump of iris and learn how to divide them.  Trade divisions with others to expand your collection. 


Make a Fall Wreath – Tuesday, August 14th and Thursday, August 16th, 6:30 PM.  Design a beautiful silk and grapevine wreath for indoor or outdoor use. This is another of our “Make and Take” events. Cost of Workshop $40.  Pre-register by calling 222-2269.


Customer Appreciation Days  Saturday, August 18 and Sunday August 19 FREE SWEET CORN! 11-3PM


Fall Container Workshops FREE SOIL AND ASSISTANCE and we clean up the mess! Design a beautiful autumn container using your choice of mums, ornamental kale and cabbages, grasses, heucheras – whatever tickles your fancy!

Tuesday, August 21           4-7PM

Thursday, August 23          4-7PM

Thursday, September 6     4-7PM

Saturday, September 15  10-4PM

Tuesday, September 18     4-7PM


Dividing Perennials Saturday, September 22at 10AM  ANOTHER FREE ASK-THE-EXPERT CLASS  Let our knowledgeable staff show you how to divide different types of perennials.


How to Winterize Roses – Sunday, September 30, 1PM.  Join rose experts Sharon Stickford and Jean Schultz as they share their knowledge on everything you need to know to ensure having healthy roses following even the harshest of winters FREE EVENT


Make a Scarecrow  September 29 thru October 14th One of our favorites, and tons of fun.  Create a scarecrow while sipping cider and munching on popcorn. Pumpkin painting and fun fall activities.


During a heat wave, a weatherman walked into a bar and asked for a cold draft.


Bonnie’s Kitchen

Here’s an elegant and super simple salad that uses your beautiful garden fresh tomatoes. Even simpler – halve super sweet cherry tomatoes, sprinkle them with salt and freshly ground pepper, and top them with tiny chunks of fresh mozzarella and sweet basil. I throw a container of this in my lunchbox almost every day while my tomatoes are producing! It’s so yummy, and you don’t need olive oil or a dressing!


Fresh Garden Tomato Salad with Arugula and Herbs


2 T fresh lemon juice

2 T minced shallots

1 t minced garlic

½ c Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 T each: chopped oregano, tarragon, Italian parsley and chives

3 T finely chopped sweet basil

2-3 c (1/2 inch dice) chopped tomatoes

salt and freshly ground pepper

Combine lemon juice, shallots and garlic. Slowly whisk in olive oil. Add the herbs, then the tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper.

10 large thinly sliced tomatoes

salt and freshly ground pepper

4 ounces (6 cups) fresh baby arugula

2 oz. freshly grated parmesan cheese

Arrange sliced tomatoes in concentric circles on large platter. Season with salt and pepper. Spoon the tomatoes from the vinaigrette over the sliced tomatoes, leaving some of the vinaigrette in the bowl. Toss the arugula in the bowl with the remaining vinaigrette.  Season with the salt and pepper.  Arrange the arugula in the middle of the platter. Sprinkle with the parmesan and serve at room temperature.


What happens when it rains cats and dogs?  You have to be careful not to step in a poodle!


Hosta Crown Rot first made its appearance in the Midwest in the 1990’s.  Up until then it was restricted to the warm, humid states in the south.  Caused by a fungus, Sclerotium rolfsii, crown rot can severely damage established hostas within a week.  This year we have had perfect weather for the spread of hosta crown rot.  First we had hot humid days with no rain, which stressed the plants, many showing signs of dried brown leaves and wilted foliage.  Now, with the addition of rain and even higher humidity, the fungus has an opportunity to grow.  These wilted leaves can be easily pulled from the crown, because they have been attacked at the base of the petiole.  The bases of these leaves show a brown discoloration and mushy texture.  Fluffy white threads (mycelium) of the crown rot fungus typically are present on the rotted tissue and surrounding soil.  A closer look shows small spheres, about the size of mustard seeds, sprinkled on the soil and attached to the stem.  The fungus overwinters in these tiny spheres, called sclerotia.  As the sclerotia mature, their color changes from white to a light tan or reddish brown.


The crown rot life cycle begins with the germination of the sclerotia.  Mycelium fans out in all directions, slowly growing across the surface of the soil in warm, moist weather.  When reaching a host plant, the fungus exudes droplets containing oxalic acid and tissue-destroying enzymes, which poison the plant, causing their cell walls to break down. 


Effective management of crown rot requires combining several strategies, including careful inspection of leaves and soil before planting, sanitation to control spread, and choosing plants believed to be less susceptible. These include, but are not limited to, maidenhair fern, lady’s mantle, goatsbeard, astilbe, cimicifuga, corydalis, filipendula, cranesbill geranium, ivy, coral bells, lamium, bluebells, poppy, Jacob’s ladder, Solomon’s seal, primrose, pulmonaria, lamb’s ear, tiarella, spiderwort, trillium, and globeflower.  While these methods will not cure infected hostas, they can slow or stop the spread of the disease.


If you discover crown rot in your landscape, the contaminated area should be quarantined, and care should be used to avoid spreading any soil or plant material outside this zone.  Do not transplant from the contaminated area, and be sure to wash all tool and implements thoroughly after working in it.  Take care that you do not track soil from this area on your shoes.  Planting hosta with their crowns as high as possible will also help prevent the formation of this fungus in the crown.  Also try keeping mulch a few inches away from the crown of hostas, which will allow more air circulation. 


If you would like more info, go to the web, use your favorite search engine and type in Hosta Crown Rot.  You’ll find many options to choose from.


And for those of you who are still with me:


This August it’s been so hot in Madison that –


·        you can make instant sun tea

·        birds have to use potholders to pull worms out of the ground

·        trees are whistling for the dogs

·        you eat hot chilies to cool your mouth off

·        hot water comes out of both taps

·        you realize that asphalt has a liquid state.


May the Holy Spirit Guide You!  God Bless
Edward Knapton says Keep on Smiling!
President 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

Also President of The Commercial Flower Growers of Wisconsin  http://www.cfgw.org/ an Organization that is a division of the six group Wisconsin Green Industry Federation (WGIF) a 3 Billion dollar industry with over 4700 businesses and over 43,000 employees in Wisconsin
Senator Representing Wisconsin members of the American Nursery and Landscape Association – ANLA
Also Board member of Garden’s Beautiful Garden Centers
Also member of legislative of Committee of WGIF

Also Board Member of (WGIF) Wisconsin Green Industry Federation

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