2008 Newsletter Archive

Newsletter 7


Newsletter 7 – April 30, 2008 Container Workshop Salsa Day Recipe


“We are cups, constantly and quietly being filled.

The trick is in knowing how to tip ourselves over

And let the beautiful stuff out.”-Ray Bradbury


Despite the brief return to winter we had last weekend, many of you turned out at our annual Spring Open House and dined on the famous ABF hotdogs and popcorn. Add to that our Black Hills Spruce give-away, and the Earth Day activities with the kids, and it was a very good time to be at America’s Best Flowers.  But if you missed it, do not despair.  This weekend may possibly turn out to be even better.

Your all-time favorite event, the Container Workshop, kicks off this Saturday and Sunday, May 3 and 4, from 10-4 each day. If you’ve never attended, you might want to consider that we provide FREE SOIL AND ASSISTANCE and clean up the mess!  All you do is choose a variety of plants from our large inventory of annuals and perennials, pick out a pot (or bring in your own) and create a beautiful, mind-boggling creation for your porch, deck or patio.  Many people use these workshops to plant all the containers they will need for the season.  No registration is required, but if you will need a lot of assistance, you might want to come in the morning, before it gets too busy.  Sharon, Cyndi, Chris and Lisa will give you unique ideas to personalize your containers.  This is truly an event you won’t want to miss!

Also on Saturday, May 3, at 10AM in our new meeting room, we will have another FREE Quick Class in our “Ask-the-Expert” series.  “Water, Water Everywhere” will teach you how to properly water your plants.  Howard Zimmerman, of the Dramm Corp, will be here to explain the do’s and don’ts of watering, as well as to introduce you to the latest in watering products.  Over and underwatering are the biggest reasons gardeners fail with many plant varieties.  Take this great opportunity to learn from someone really ‘in the know’.  Your plants will be glad you did!


Some people never seem motivated to participate,

but are content to watch others.

They are called ‘Speck Tators’.joke 1


Salsa Sunday at ABF

Come on out this Sunday, May 4, and celebrate Cinco de Mayo with us.  Shop to a Latin beat, and enjoy FREE salsa and chips in our new meeting room from 11-2.  We’ll be handing out FREE recipes from our 2008 Salsa Recipe Contest winners.  While you’re here, plan to attend our Container Workshop, which will be ongoing from 10-4.  Let the great salsa spirit overtake you, and plant a Salsa Container with tomatoes, jalapenos, cilantro and whatever else tickles your fancy!  We promise you’ll have a great time.


We are open from 9 am to 8 pm Mon – Fri and 9-6 on Sat & Sun.  Hope to see you soon!!

Some are always looking to cause problems,

And really get under your skin…

They are called ‘Aggie Tators.’.joke 2



You’ll read or hear about star athletes that have an especially great game as being ‘in the zone’.  In some corner of every plant catalog, you’ll find what’s called a Hardiness Zone map (usually in small print).  The continental United States has 8 zones, based on average low winter-time temperatures.  Low numbers designate the more northern states, higher ones as you travel south.  The more you learn about your zone, the greater your garden will be.

Wisconsin includes 3 hardiness zones.  Zone 3 in the Northwest, Zone 5 in the Southeast, with everywhere in between being considered Zone 4.  The average minimum low temps for Zone 3 are -40 to -30 degrees F, Zone 4 are -30 to -20 degrees F, and Zone 5 are -20 to -10 degrees F.  The Madison area is right on the edge of zones 4 and 5, with variations in winter conditions happening from year to year.  Our recent winters have been more like zone 5, and certainly this past winter, with fewer bitterly cold nights and heavy snow cover, was kind to Zone 5 plants.

Zone hardiness matters as you select perennial plants, trees and shrubs.  The bottom line is to look for plants hardy in Zones 3 to 5 for the best results.  With special protection, especially for gardeners in urban areas, you can have success here with Zone 6 plants.  Plant them near house foundations on the south or east side, mulch heavily, fertilize well and hope for heavy snow cover – though 100 inches is not necessary.

Most perennials and many shrubs have varieties with greater winter hardiness; check the plant labels or ask our staff.  With careful planning, you and your garden can be ‘in the Zone’.


There are those who are always saying they will,

But somehow they never get around to it

We call them ‘Hezzie Tators.’.joke 3




For a super-early fresh tomatoes, check these plants out!  Planted in February and preconditioned in a cooler greenhouse, these stocky, dark green plants are about two feet tall and just starting to bloom.  There are several varieties available:

Our favorite, Celebrity, is an all-purpose 76 day determinate tomato with outstanding disease resistance.  This 1984 AAS winner proves itself year after year as a great producer of delicious fresh tomatoes.  Hard to beat for the home garden

Viva Italia is a 76 day compact, determinate tomato with good disease resistance.  This firm, juicy Italian tomato is great tasting for fresh use and great for making sauces and canning.  Viva Italia is the perfect tomato for all you salsa makers out there.

Big Beef Tomato ripens extra large fruit (up to 1 pound each) in just 73 days.  This 1994 AAS winner has better disease resistance and produces greater yields than other ‘beefsteak’ varieties.

These jumbo plants are available for only $9.99 each, $8.99 if you buy 6 or more.  Combine them with our jumbo green pepper plants, and you will be enjoying fresh produce in just a few weeks.


Some folks spend a lot of time sitting and peering into their gardens.

We call them ‘Medi Tators.’joke 4


Mark Your Calendars

Mother’s Day weekend is always a busy time here at America’s Best Flowers.  Be sure to join the fun.  Treat your mom to a trip to the greenhouse and let her choose her own Mother’s Day gift from our tremendous selection of flowering hanging baskets and containers.  Our plants have never looked better, and you can feel doubly good about your day with Mom knowing that our plants are locally planted and grown.

And then we have those who try to maximize their crop yields,

While at the same time reduce their expenses.

They are known as ‘Compu Tators.’ .joke 5



Now is the perfect time to plant some.  Whether you put them in rows in your vegetable garden, clumps in your raised bed garden or containers, potatoes are really fun to grow.  Always start with certified seed potatoes.  We have select varieties available including my favorite, Red Norland.  For detailed information on how to plant potatoes, go to www.thegardenhelper.com/potato.html

For a great kids’ project, try growing potatoes in a bushel basket. For instructions visit our 2006 Week 2 newsletter by clicking here.


Attention all Joke Lovers out there: Help!!!

I need funny, clean one-liners

Email to ed@americasbestflowers.com




May 3 & 4 from 10 to 4.  Our first Container Workshop of the year.  Buy a pot, or bring your own, select plants from our wide selection and receive FREE soil and assistance.  We’ll clean up the mess.

May 3, Saturday at 10 am, FREE ‘Ask-the-Expert’ workshop, ‘Water, Water, Everywhere!”, learn how to properly water your plants with Howard Zimmerman, our representative from the Dramm Corporation.

May 4 is “SALSA SUNDAY,” celebrate Cinco de Mayo with Latin music.  Plant a ‘salsa container’ at our container workshop. We’ll have FREE salsa recipes, including the winning entry from our salsa recipe contest, for you to take home.  FREE samples of chips and salsa from 11-2

May 6 & 8 at 6:30 pm, Make a Mother’s Day Basket.  A ‘Make and Take’ Event, call to preregister at 222-2269.

May 9 – 12 – Celebrating Mother’s Day, Mom gets a FREE geranium.

May 16 – 18, Tomato Days

May 17, Saturday at 10 am FREE ‘Ask-the-Expert’ class on vegetable gardening, led by Brian Emerson of the Agricultural Research Station.

May 17, Saturday 10 – 2, Herb Fest, with FREE samples of herb breads and dipping oil.

May 17 & 18, 10-4 Container Workshop

May 20 at 6:30 pm, FREE ‘Ask-the-Expert’ How to Select & Care For Your Roses with Sharon Stickford.

May 22 at 6 pm, FREE ‘Ask-the-Expert’ Pond and Container Water Gardening seminar by Jan Vergeer.  Check out many new varieties.

As the year progresses we promise you many more exciting surprises, including our July 4th Celebration, when we have 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.


What do you call a deer with no eyes?

I’ve no ideerIjoke 6



.To get you in the mood for Salsa Sunday, here are the recipes for the 2006 and 2007 Salsa Recipe Contest Winners.


2007 First Place

Zingy Tomato-Garlic Salsa

By Pat Greathead

Use organic products if possible, for a healthier product.

4 c peeled, cored and chopped fresh tomatoes. Using different colored tomatoes makes it visually more appealing.

12 cloves fresh minced garlic (or to taste)4

1 c seeded and chopped jalapeno peppers (wear gloves or use food processor)

1 c chopped red or white onion

½ -1 c fresh chopped cilantro (to taste)

3 oz. cider vinegar

½-1T sea salt

½ T fresh black ground pepper

2 oz. fresh lime juice (use peels as decoration, or add scraped green portion of peel to the recipe)

If using salsa fresh, the following additions are optional:

1 T dried or 3 T fresh chopped basil

4 oz. or more of chopped firm tofu (for protein-this will absorb the flavors overnight)

For fresh use: combine everything into large bowl and mix. Let sit overnight for best results.

Recipe can be multiplied if you want to put some up for later. Mix ingredients in a large pot, bring to a boil over medium heat and let simmer 8-10 minutes.  Carefully pour hot mixture into heated pint or larger canning jars, leaving ¼ “ space, sealing jar with two-piece caps. Process for 15 minutes.  A tripled recipe will make 6-8 pints of salsa.

2006 First Place

Tomatillo Salsa

By Charles and Ellen Eggen

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.

Mahatma Ganhi was a peculiar person.  He walked barefoot everywhere,

to the point that his feet became quite thick and hard.

 He often went on hunger strikes,

and even when he wasn’t on a hunger strike, he did not eat much

and became quite thin and frail.  He also was a very spiritual person.

 Finally, because he didn’t eat much and when he did his diet was peculiar,

he developed very bad breath.  He became known as a

super-calloused fragilemystic hexed by halitosis. joke 7


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