2008 Newsletter Archive

Newsletter 11


Newsletter 11 – May 29, 2008    Events    Recipe   Basket Sale


“And as to me, I know nothing else but miracles.” Walt Whitman




Everyone reading this newsletter has planted a seed – whether by design, row after row of carrots and beans; or by accident, tossing an apple core by the side of the road.  Working in the green industry, we grow so accustomed to the fact that seed + soil + water = plant, that we sometimes forget how miraculous the process really is.

It starts with the mother plant, which by some inherent behavior, sets seed for the purpose of procreation.  The amount of seed produced is directly related to environmental conditions.  I’m sure you’ve noticed that maple trees drop more seeds some years than others.  Due to the threat to their survival, really cold winters and times of flooding or drought will cause plants to produce much larger quantities of seed than normal.

Those seeds drop, or are blown away, hopefully to a spot where they will find the necessary conditions for germination.  Coconuts float across the sea, mulberries are carried in the droppings of birds, and dandelions blow in the wind, all in the attempt to become the next generation.

Garden seeds are a bit different in that we, the gardeners, choose the seeds we want and then provide what we hope are the conditions necessary for the growth of the plant.  In most instances, we benefit from the plants insistence on producing seed.  Tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, zinnias and geraniums are a few examples of plants that will continue to produce fruit and flower in an attempt to carry on the species.  What a great thing for us.  The more we pick, the more we will have. 

This week we have had people asking if it’s too late to plant seed.  While it’s been fine to plant radish, lettuce, spinach, carrots and peas for the past few weeks; corn, beans, squash, cucumbers, melons, marigolds, and zinnias like warmer soil than we’ve had so far.  This coming weekend may be the perfect time to begin planting these in your garden.  Come on out and pick up several packets of your favorites, later this summer you’ll be SO glad you did.


What did the lettuce say to the celery?

Quit stalking me! Joke 1



HOSTA – MIRACLE for the Shade

There is no doubt that gardening in the shade has its own set of problems.  If your garden, like mine, is more shade than sun, you’ve undoubtedly longed for a more beautiful garden. At 1 PM this Sunday, June 1, Ed Schultz, the president of the Madison Hosta Society, will be with us to help you overcome these problems.  Once Ed gives you a few simple tips, you’ll be amazed how easy it is to have a beautiful and trouble-free garden in even the shadiest of areas.  Several of us have had the opportunity to visit Ed’s home to see the more than 1000 different hosta varieties he grows.  He came by his interest honestly, his father has even more.  We are honored to have Ed with us, his willingness to share his love of gardening is truly admirable.  Please help us thank him by attending this FREE event.


With fronds like you, who needs anemones?.joke 2



Tuesday night, June 3 at 6:30, you can join Sharon in our beautiful new potting area to make a gorgeous silk and grapevine wreath.  This is always a fun event.  If your entryway is lack-luster, we can help!  Simply hang this lovely creation on your front door, place mixed containers filled with our colorful annual and perennial blooms on the surrounding deck or porch, and voila!  You’ve made an impact that will impress your friends and neighbors.  They never knew you were so talented!  At our workshop you will have your choice of two lovely styles while supplies last.  Pre-register at 222-2269, or sign up at our checkout.  If you prefer, you may purchase a pre-made wreath for $59.99 at our Cottage Grove location, or come to the workshop and make your own for only $39, which covers the cost of the materials.


No matter what happens, someone will find a way to take it seriously. joke 3



Everyday we have numerous inquiries about the beautiful patch of bachelor buttons, Centaurea Montana, we have growing in front of the greenhouse.  This gorgeous perennial is really making a show this season.  This plant received its common name from the use of the blossom as a lapel flower in the early part of the 20th century.  Easily grown, Centaurea will flourish in average garden soil with at least 4-6 hours of sun each day.  If you have never grown this plant, give it a try.  You’ll be glad you did for years to come.


Seen on a bumper sticker

‘He who hesitates not only is lost, but miles from the next exit’.Joke 4



June is often referred to as the perennial month because so many perennials are putting on their show.  It’s a great time to plant, both for the plants and the gardener.  America’s Best will feature two Ask-the-Expert classes this June.  “Made in the Shade Gardening” will be Tuesday evening, June 10 at 6:30.  The following Thursday, June 12 at 6:30 we will have “Good Day Sunshine Gardening.”  These classes are designed to help gardeners select perennials that will do well in their yards.  It is our hope that you can set aside a little time to come on out and share your gardening experiences with each other.  If your schedule doesn’t permit you to attend both evenings, choose the one that best matches your landscape conditions.


By just doing a little every day,

you can gradually let the task completely overwhelm you joke 5



Gorgeous Annual Baskets

America’s Best has always been known for the beautiful hanging baskets we grow.  Every year we plant close to 20,000 baskets which ultimately help to beautify thousands of homes.  Our large #10 baskets fill the sky of our big greenhouse with vibrant color.  We also have bigger #12 baskets planted with combinations of annuals to provide beauty to your outdoor living area all summer long.  Whichever size you prefer, we encourage you to come on out today and select yours while the supply is still good.  Watch our signs for special savings on these beautiful baskets.  They make great end-of-year teacher thank you gifts.  Buy several and save.


Gardman’s Tomato Spirals are a new product for us this year.  These sturdy plant supports are designed for all climbing plants, including tomatoes, beans, cucumbers, clematis, mandevillas and morning glories.  The area of my yard that has sun is so small, that I’ve never been able to have more than a few tomato plants.  But this year hopefully will be different.  I can’t wait to harvest fresh beans and cucumbers from my spirals.  A mini-miracle for my yard.


Monterey’s Sluggo is a terrific line of products for the home gardener to use to fight leaf-eating snails and slugs. This granular formulation is easy to use and remains effective after rain and watering.  Just apply Sluggo around your plants and watch slimy slugs miraculously disappear.


Despite inflation, a penny for the thoughts of many people is still a fair price.joke 6




June 1 at 1 pm (Note change of time) ‘Ask-the-Expert’ Hosta Workshop with Ed Schulz, President of the Madison Hosta Society. Learn what makes hostas different, and tips for growing in the shade.

June 3 at 6:30 pm “Make a Summer Wreath” Create an outdoor/indoor masterpiece for your home.  Pre-register at 222-2269.  Fee $39.00.

Saturday, June 7 from 10-4 Container Workshop with FREE soil and assistance.  Note: This workshop is on Saturday only.

Tuesday, June 10 at 6:30 pm  “Made in the Shade Gardening.” We’ll help you with your shade gardening; suggest plants; and give you tips on design.

Thursday, June 12 at 6:30 PM  “Good Day Sunshine Gardening”  Learn how to design a great garden for those sunny locations.

Saturday and Sunday, June 28 and 29 Independence Day Celebration with FREE ice cream for everyone.

Our goal is to hold events that are interesting and helpful to our customers. If you have ideas for events, please let us know.  You can email us at ed@americasbestflowers.com or call 608-222-2269.


An old farmer was once asked what the difference was

between a watermelon and a sweet pea.

 He thought about it for a moment and replied,

 “Well, I think about 20 minutes.” joke 7



Its rhubarb time again! This is an old family recipe from my co-worker, Al. I made it last night, and brought it in to work. It is so simple and good.

Great Grandma Andersen’s Rhubarb Cake

Preheat oven to 350

½ c oil

1 ½ c sugar

1 egg

1 c buttermilk

1 t vanilla

2 c flour

1 t soda

2 c finely chopped rhubarb


1/3 c sugar

1 t cinnamon

Mix first 7 ingredients together, fold in rhubarb. Pour in 9X12 pan. Mix together sugar and cinnamon, and sprinkle over top of cake. Bake 45 minutes.

Here’s another rhubarb treat that is quite good from Pillsbury Recipes.


Rhubarb Custard Tart


1 refrigerated pie crust


½ c all purpose flour

½ c packed brown sugar

¼ c quick cooking oats

¼ c butter or margarine, softened


¾ c granulated sugar

3 T all-purpose flour

½ c whipping cream

2 T apricot preserves

1 egg yolk

3 c sliced fresh rhubarb, or if frozen, thawed, drained

Place pie crust in 9” tart pan with removable bottom or 9” glass pie pan. Trim edge if necessary.

Place cookie sheet on middle oven rack in oven to preheat; heat oven to 375 degrees. In small bowl, mix ½ c flour, the brown sugar and oats. With fork or pastry blender, cut in butter until mixture is crumbly; set aside.

In large bowl, mix granulated sugar and 3 T flour. Stir in whipping cream, apricot preserves and egg yolk until well blended. Stir in rhubarb. Pour filling into crust-lined pan. Sprinkle topping evenly over filling.

Place tart on preheated cookie sheet in oven; bake 40 to 50 minutes or until filling bubbles around edge and topping is deep golden brown. Let stand 30 minutes before serving.

Serve with a dollop of whipped cream, or strawberry or vanilla ice cream.

One spring day I was taking the roll

in my secretarial class at our local technical college.

One of the sun worshipers was absent.

“Cindy won’t be here this afternoon?” I asked.

“She went home to lay in the sun,”

a young woman in the front row answered.

Trying to correct her grammar

without embarrassing her before the class,

I whispered, “Lie.”

“Okay,” she replied in astonishment.

“Cindy got sick and went home.””joke 8


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
https://www.americasbestflowers.com/home.htmlAlso 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