2008 Newsletter Archive

Newsletter 21


Newsletter 21  August 7, 2008 Events Recipe  Divide/Swap Workshop

  Mums are Ready    Update on Japanese Beatles   Summer Watering


“Look deep into nature,

and then you will understand everything better.” Albert Einstein


Take Time for Yourself

For many of us, August is one of the busiest months of the year.  Between vacations, family reunions, sports tournaments, church activities, late-summer cookouts, shopping for school clothes, and various meetings; it’s difficult to find enough time to go to work and get our normal home duties completed.

The crazier our lives, the more important it is to have a special place to escape to part of every day.  For many of us, this place is our garden.  Time spent pondering the beauty of a flower or the life cycle of a lady bug, will slow things down a bit, bringing a sense of order into our hectic lives.  But you must guard this time.  The few minutes you spend enjoying your morning coffee with your plants will energize your day.  And the quietness of an evening garden stroll will prepare your mind and body for the night’s rest.

To insure the calming effects your garden can bring, we encourage you to view it as a ‘work in progress.’  It doesn’t have to be perfect to be enjoyed.  If your border perennial bed has a few weeds growing alongside the coneflowers and daylilies, don’t worry.  This precious quiet time is not the time to pull them.  They will still be there later.  If your hydrangeas or hibiscus need water, give them a pat and assure them it will be their turn as soon as your cup is empty.  A few minutes one way or the other won’t affect them, but those same minutes can make all the difference in the world to you.


I’m learning how to do spreadsheets in the office –

 you might say I’m excelling at work. joke 1


Let’s ‘Divide and Swap’

The fun begins at 1 pm this Sunday, August 10.  Iris lovers will bring a clump of iris that need divided and gather at America’s Best Flowers to learn proper division techniques and trade rhizomes with each other.  This is the third year we’ve done our Iris Divide and Swap, and this spring I was richly rewarded with beautiful blooms from my ‘swapped’ irises.

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.

We invite you to dig up a clump and come on out.  If you have a picture of your iris, bring it along.  If your iris aren’t in need of division yet, but you would like to learn how, come on out anyway.  We’ll be glad to share.  Be sure to wear old clothes and shoes and bring along a few plastic grocery sacks, a sharp garden knife, a sharpee and scissors, if you have them.


Tomorrow is today’s greatest labor savings device. joke 2


ABF Mums are Ready

Our gorgeous mums are ready to fill your patios, porches and beds with stunning fall color.  We just brought the earliest varieties in from the field, and are they beautiful!  We grow over 6000 mums in early, mid, and late season varieties to give you an extended bloom period.  By growing in deep pots, our mums have very strong root systems, resulting in plants that will flourish under a variety of home growing conditions.

Come on out today and pick up a few pots.  The color they provide will add pizzazz to your fall landscape. They also make wonderful gifts.


Update on Japanese Beetles/Grubs

Don’t let the fact that you are seeing fewer Japanese beetles fool you into believing they’re gone.  They’ve just burrowed into the ground to lay eggs in the roots of your beautiful grass.  Now is the time to battle the young grubs to insure fewer beetles in the future.  Left alone, these grubs can destroy your lawn by causing large areas of grass to turn brown.  The best defense to prevent this unsightly and costly problem, is the eradication of the grubs by using Bayer Season-Long Grub Killer, which will protect the future of your lawn. Another great option is St. Gabriel Organics’ Milky Spore powder, which is a naturally occurring host specific bacterium (Bacillus popillae-Dutky). Completely safe for use around children and pets, this product targets and discriminately works to fatally attack the white grubs of Japanese Beetles. We have just received another shipment of Milky Spore in an easy-to-use spreader mix.  Just put it in your lawn spreader to apply.  It is also available in canisters for use in areas not easily accessible with your spreader.  These canisters come with a free dispenser to make application easier.  Once the Milky Spore bacteria is established in your yard it will provide relief from the damage of Japanese beetles and white grubs for many years to come.  For more info visit  www.milkyspore.com.



Inflation can be defined as cutting money in half without damaging the paper. joke 3



One of the most common questions we get is how do I water my ___?  Below are basic guidelines.  If you have specific questions, please feel free to call us. Vegetables and Bedding Plants planted in the ground.  Young plants need daily watering to ensure a constant moisture supply.  Established plants need at least one inch of water per week – more when bearing fruit.  Check the soil around the plants and when it’s dry one inch down, it’s time to water.

Container Gardens and Hanging Baskets:  Check your containers every day for water.  Either test the soil by touch or lift the pot.  Most baskets and many containers will need to be watered once, or even twice a day, depending on the weather.  We suggest you fertilize every seventh watering.

Perennials:  Newly planted perennials need daily watering until established, at least one to two weeks, depending on the weather.  After they show signs of new growth, apply the one inch per week rule.

Trees and Shrubs:  Newly planted trees and shrubs should be watered every 4-5 days for their entire first year, unless rainfall is abundant.  Place the end of your hose next to the base of the plant and let the water trickle very slowly for about two hours.  This will allow the root zone to become thoroughly saturated.

Established Lawns: Your lawn should be watered when the grass blades don’t bounce back up after being walked on.  One inch of water per week, applied in no more than two applications, should keep your lawn green and healthy.  It is best to water early in the morning, before the heat of the day.  This keeps evaporation to a minimum, and allows plenty of time for the grass to dry before nightfall, which will help prevent fungus problems..

Newly Seeded or Sodded Lawns:  For better germination, we suggest you mulch grass seed with straw as soon as it’s planted. Once seed has germinated or sod has been laid, they must not be allowed to dry out.  Water daily with a sprinkler until there is good growth.  Early morning is again the best time. Once established, we are back to the one inch per week rule.

Ponds also require an occasional addition of water.  Check your pond weekly and add water as needed.  Water plants have variable depth requirements, so you need to keep the water levels consistent.



Acupuncture is a jab well done. 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!


The butcher backed up into the meat grinder and got a little behind in his work.joke 5




To help you keep your outdoor living space beautiful, we will be having two Fall Container Workshops in September.  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.

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

Add a special touch to this year.  Attend one of our Make-A-Scarecrow Workshops, September 15-28, and create a one-of-a-kind scarecrow.  We provide a kit, which contains your scarecrow’s head, frame and stuffing, for $12.99.  Then we provide assistance and ideas to help you create your unique scarecrow.  You can either bring old clothes to dress it in, or buy some from us at garage sale prices.


My daughter’s 5th-grade class had been studying astronomy.  One morning at breakfast she announced, “On Friday we’re having a quiz on the moon.”

That’s when her little brother piped up, saying, “Are you gonna let her go, Mom?”. joke 6




Beef Fiesta Shells

This is from the Lean and Healthy section of the Wisconsin Beef Council’s Recipes.  It’s an easy family meal that everyone seems to enjoy.   6 servings

1 pound ground round beef

1 small white onion, chopped

1 small can chopped green chilies

1 cup grated reduced fat cheddar cheese

1 jar (12 oz.) picante sauce (mild or medium)

1 small can tomato sauce

1 small can french fried onion rings, divided

18 large pasta shells (stuffable kind)

Cook shells according to directions. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a bowl, combine tomato sauce, picante sauce, and one cup of water. Set aside.

Brown meat with onions, salt and pepper. Drain. Add can of green chilies, ½ cup of cheese, half a can of onion rings and ½ cup of prepared sauce.

Stuff shells with meat mixture. Pour remaining sauce over shells. Bake uncovered for 30 minutes.

Sprinkle remaining onion rings and cheese over the top. Bake for 5 more minutes or until cheese is bubbly. Makes 6 servings.

This recipe can be converted to a casserole by omitting the large pasta shells and replacing with 1 12 oz. bag of medium-small pasta shells. Instead of stuffing shells, mix meat mixture with cooked small shells. Follow the rest of the original recipe.


When my sister Andrea got married, she asked to wear mother’s wedding dress.

The day she tried it on for the first time I was sitting with Mother in the living room as Andrea descended the stairs.  The gown was a perfect fit on her petite frame.  Mother’s eyes welled with tears.  I put my arm around her.

“You’re not losing a daughter,” I reminded her in time-honored fashion.

“You’re gaining a son.”

“Oh, forget about that!”  she said with a sob.  “I used to fit into that dress!”joke 7


If after last week you still haven’t had enough dog jokes:


Golden Retriever:  ‘The sun in shining.  The day is young, we’ve got our whole lives ahead of us, and you’re worrying about a burned out light bulb?” Joke 8

Border Collie: “Just one? I can do it. Do you want me to replace the wiring too?” Joke 9

Doberman Pinscher:  “While it’s dark, I’m going to sleep on the couch.” Joke 10

Toy Poodle:  “I’ll just blow in the Border collie’s ear and he’ll do it.  By the time he’s done with the rewiring, my nails will be dry.” Joke 11

Rottweiler:  “Go Ahead!! Make Me!!” Joke 12

Shi-tzu:  “Puh-leeze, dah-ling.  What are servants for?” Joke 13

Lab:  “Oh, me, me!!!  Pleeeeeeze let me change the bulb! Can I? Can I? Huh? Huh? Please! Can I?” Joke 14

Dachshund:  “I can’t even reach the lamp.” Joke 15

Mastiff:  “Why?  Mastiffs are NOT afraid of the dark.” Joke 16

And last but not least

Pointer:  “I see it, there it is.  Right there.” 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