2008 Newsletter Archive

Newsletter 20


Newsletter 20 – July 31, 2008             Events                 Kitchen

       Lotus Water Plants               Preserving Hydrangea Blossoms


 “The voyage of discovery is not in seeking new landscapes,

but in having new eyes.”  Marcel Proust


Make Your Own Paradise

The word vacation often brings to mind images of blue seas, sandy beaches, palm trees, and free time.  Unfortunately the current economy is causing many of us to take ‘staycations’ this year.  Defined by the online Urban Dictionary as, “A vacation that is spent at one’s home enjoying all that home and one’s home environs have to offer.,” a staycation may be just the answer for your overstretched budget.  I did a little online research, and found that there even seems to be a right and wrong way to stay home.  One of the best suggestions I found is to get your home environment ready before you take the first day off work.  Clean the house, do the laundry, pay all the bills, and wash the car – just like you would if you were going somewhere else for vacation.  Then when Saturday morning of the first weekend comes, you begin nine days (if you’re taking a week off) of doing only those things you truly enjoy.

You can go a step further and turn your backyard into its own paradise.  A small investment of time and money can repay you many times over in enjoyment.  To create a tropical feel, add colorful hanging baskets and lush containers to sunny areas.  Give your shady patio a new look with different types of foliage.  And don’t forget to include an assortment of herb plants close to your sitting area for fragrance.  If you have a water feature in your yard, add a dramatic touch with a banana plant, a canna or a lotus.

You will find that you won’t need to travel to tropical islands when you make your home environment its own paradise.


The following one-liners are from an email entitled ‘Dog’s Notes to Self’ –

Things I must remember in order to keep my present living arrangements:

The garbage collector is not stealing our stuff.joke 1


Let Us Observe the Lotus by Jesse Steinke


The Lotus plant is an aquatic perennial most commonly cultivated in water gardens.  This relative of the water lily has large leaves and flowers.  Lotus flowers enjoy warm sunlight. The blooms last 2-5 days and darken as they age.  The Lotus is one of a few plants that can regulate their own temperature.  Just like humans, it is warm-blooded.  Researchers have found Lotus maintain a temperature of 86-95 degrees while the temperature around them has dropped to 50 degrees.  This is beneficial to the cold-blooded insects needed for its pollination.

The strong scent of the lotus has been described as sweet, innocent and wholesome.  Throughout history, the plant has been known for having rejuvenation and healing powers.  From ancient times the Lotus has been a divine symbol in Hindu tradition.  Its unfolding petals suggest the expansion of the soul; the growth of its pure beauty from the mud of its origin.

For Buddhists, the Lotus represents purity of body, speech and mind, floating above the muddy waters of attachment and desire.  According to legend, Buddha was born with the ability to walk and everywhere he stepped, Lotus flowers bloomed.

The Chinese also revere the sacred Lotus as a symbol of purity and elegance.  A famous quote about the Lotus’ symbolism in Chinese culture is made by Confucian scholar Zhou Dunyi, “I love the Lotus because, while growing from mud, it is unstained.”  And it’s true, leaf and petal surfaces have a waxy coating that allows dirt and water to roll off

Come on out and explore this mystical, beautiful, sweet smelling plant today!  And maybe even take one of these “wonders of the world” home with you!



I will not chew my peoples’ toothbrushes. joke 2


“Stop the Traffic” Gorgeous

That’s what our incredible fall containers will do.  We are fortunate to have extremely talented floral designers on staff, who have created gorgeous fall containers from a mix of annuals and perennials, selected specifically to tolerate the cooler temperatures of fall.

Begin your fall decorating a bit early by replacing your tired summer containers with these beauties.  They are available in a variety of sizes and colors to suit all your needs.  If you prefer, we can custom plant whatever combination you would like.  Stop out today to place your special order.


I will not eat the cats’ food, before they eat it OR after they throw it up. joke 3


Preserving Your Perfect Hydrangea

Huge white, green, blue and pink blossoms of hydrangeas add beauty to our landscapes from mid-summer until frost.  While summer heat is taking its toll on our lovely annuals and perennials, these faithful blossoms continue their incredible show week after week.  If only they could last forever.  While maybe not forever, with just a little work you can enjoy dried hydrangea blossoms all winter.

The process is simple.  Cut the flowers when they are beginning to turn a little brown in early fall.  Be sure to cut the stem 18-24 inches long.  Tie a few blossoms together and hang upside down in a dark room.  Allow to dry thoroughly.  Spray well with an inexpensive aerosol hair spray, such as Aqua Net.  If you prefer colorful blossoms, use aerosol floral paint, which is available at Ben Franklin or craft stores.  Alternatively, you can use Rit fabric dye, which is available at the grocery store.  For more information on drying/dyeing, visit Directions for Preserving Hydrangea Blossoms



I do not need to suddenly stand straight up when I’m lying under the coffee table.Joke 4



August 10    –    Divide and Swap Iris at 1PM  Learn how to divide iris, and swap to get more varieties for your garden.

August 16 & 17 –  Customer Appreciation Days – FREE treats from 11-3pm

September 6    –    How to Divide Perennials 10AM

September 6 & 7 – Fall Container Workshop FREE soil & assistance 10-4pm

September 6-14 – ABF Dollar Days Use your ABF orange bucks.

September 13-14 -Fall Container Workshop FREE soil & assistance 10-4pm

September 15-28 – Scarecrow Days Make your own scarecrow. Free popcorn on the weekends. Fun for the entire family. $12.99 includes scarecrow kit. Bring your own clothes, or purchase ours. An ABF favorite!


I should stop trying to find the few remaining pieces of clean carpet in the house when I am about to get sick.joke 5


Time to Start PLANNING for FALL


We hope you take time to check out the changes to our fall Event Schedule. We’ve added two Fall Container Workshops. We provide FREE soil and assistance at all of our container workshops.  Mark your calendars for the first two weekends in September and plan to attend.  They’ll be going on during our fall Dollar Days, giving you even greater value!

Our Make-A-Scarecrow Workshops, scheduled September 15-28 are especially fun for families and groups of friends.  And it’s so easy!  You purchase a kit for $12.99, which includes your scarecrow’s head, frame and stuffing.  Then we help you create a truly unique scarecrow. Feel free to bring old clothes to dress it in, or we’ll have some for you to purchase at bargain prices.

We will again have a great selection of fall decorating items for you this year, including fall mixed containers, straw bales, corn shocks, pumpkins, gourds, Indian corn, and, of course, our fabulous mums.  Mark your calendars, and make America’s Best Flowers your one-stop fall decorating outlet.


The diaper pail is NOT a cookie jar. joke 6




Santa Fe Chicken Wrap

This spicy wrap has a smoky flavor that comes from grilling the chicken and the vegetables and is reinforced with the flavor of chipotle peppers (which are smoked jalapenos that can be found in the Latin section of the supermarket).

¾ cup plain low-fat yogurt

3 canned chipotle chilies, minced

1 T fresh lime juice

½ t salt

2 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, each sliced into 4 long strips

1 cup uncooked rice or 2 cups heated leftover cooked rice

1 poblano pepper, cored, seeded, and cut into 8 strips

4 scallions, trimmed

4 large burrito-size flour tortillas

1 large plum tomato, cut into thin wedges

4 t adobo sauce from the canned chipotle chilies

Lime wedges

Thoroughly combine ½ c of the yogurt, the chipotle chilies, lime juice, and salt in a small bowl.  Add the chicken and stir to coat. Marinate at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Cook rice according to package directions, or use leftover rice.

Preheat grill to medium-high heat. Grill chicken breast, pepper strips, and scallions, turning once, just until the chicken is cooked through, about 3 minutes on each side (you can make this easier by using a grill topper basket).

To assemble: Heat the tortillas. Distribute ½ c rice, 2 strips of chicken, a quarter of the vegetables and tomato, 1 T of the remaining yogurt, and 1 t adobo sauce in a thick horizontal strip across the bottom third of the tortillas, making sure that the ingredients don’t quite touch the edges. Fold in the two sides and roll the wrap away from you. Cut in half on the bias. Serve with lime wedges.

Recipe from Wrap It Up by Amy Colter

A husband was in big trouble when he forgot his wife’s birthday.

His wife told him, “Tomorrow there better be something in the driveway

That goes from zero to 200 in 10 seconds or less.

The next morning the wife found a small package in the driveway.

She opened it and found a brand new bathroom scale.”joke 7


If you haven’t had enough dog jokes yet:

The sofa is not a face towel. Joke 8

I will not insist on having the car windows rolled down when it’s raining. Joke 9

I will not bark every time I hear a doorbell ring on television. Joke 10

I will not roll around in the dirt right after my bath. Joke 11

I will not chew crayons or pens, especially the red ones, or my people will think I am hemorrhaging. Joke 12

I must shake the rainwater out of my fur before entering the house. Joke 13

I will not roll my toys behind the fridge, behind the sofa or under the bed. Joke 14

My head does not belong in the refrigerator. Joke 15

I will not munch on leftovers in the kitty litter box. Joke 16

And last but not least

The toilet bowl is not a never-ending water supply. Joke 17


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