2008 Newsletter Archive

Newsletter 8


Newsletter 8 – May 8, 2008    Recipe    Salsa Winner   Events


“My mom is a never ending song in my heart of comfort, happiness and being.

I may sometimes forget the words, but I always remember the tune.”-Gracie Harmon



For many we are known for our Mother’s Day Weekends more than anything else. It’s their first visit of the year to the greenhouse. And they bring Mom along to choose her own Mother’s Day gift from our tremendous selection of flowering hanging baskets and containers.  The greenhouses are overflowing with colorful plants, and our redesigned retail area and speedier checkout will make your shopping experience better than ever.  Whether you bring mom, or come yourself to choose something for her, we know you’ll find a gift she will love.  Keep in mind that we have gift certificates available in any denomination.  And don’t forget Mom’s FREE geranium with any purchase.  Mother’s Day and America’s Best Flowers are rather like ice cream and apple pie or baseball and hotdogs.  What would one be without the other?

This weekend, May 10 and 11, we will be open from 8 am to 8 pm on Saturday and from 9 am to 6 PM on Sunday – Mon – Fri we are here from 9 am to 8 pm.  We suggest you shop early in the day before we get busy.  We’ll have more time to spend with you.  Hope to see you soon!


You know you’re a Mom when you hear a baby crying in the grocery store

and you start to gently sway back and forth and back and forth.joke 1


Make a Mother’s Day Basket

You’ve dined on hot dogs, popcorn, and salsa and chips here at ABF these past few weeks.  Sorry to say, there will be no more fine dining until you sample our herb breads and herb-infused dipping oils on Saturday, May 17.  But tonight, Thursday, May 8, at 6:30, you can come out and make a Mother’s Day Basket.  Bring your kids or grandkids and help them create a one-of-a kind gift for mom or a favorite relative or friend.  The cost of this “Make and Take” event is $25 for each basket you make. Please call to pre-register at 222-2269.


My Mother taught me humor-

“When the lawn mower cuts off your toes,

don’t come running to me.”Joke 2



Container workshops, Salsa Sunday and long overdue sunshine brought many of you out here last Sunday.  Over and over again we heard about your frustration with not being able to plant, due to wet soil and cold temperatures.  Let’s face it, if you’re reading this newsletter every week, you are an Addicted Gardener.  But what a great addiction! Don’t be discouraged if you feel you are getting a late start. Here are some ways to get around Mother Nature and to enjoy your addiction now.

Go ahead and buy your hanging baskets and potted plants.   Enjoy them inside for now, and then move them out in the good weather that is right around the corner!

Use this waiting time to plant your containers!  It’s great to wander through the greenhouse, while we still have a great selection, and pick out what you want.  Our plants have never looked better and will really take off for you once they’re planted.  Plan to attend our next container workshop, May 17 and 18, where we give you FREE soil and assistance.

Work on improvements and landscape projects. Bring in pictures of the area you wish to work on, and let us help you visualize what it can look like when it is completed.

But most importantly, don’t worry about the delay in planting outdoors.  You can still have a beautiful early garden by starting with larger plants and fertilizing regularly.


My Mother taught me how to become an adult-

“If you don’t eat your vegetables,

you’ll never grow up!”joke 3


Salsa Winners

The 2008 ABF Salsa Recipe Contest winners were announced Friday, May 2. First place, and the winner of a $50 gift certificate to America’s Best, was Elaine Meier for her Venezuelan Salsa.  Julie Bennett’s Mango Salsa and Sandy F. Smith’s Harvest Salsa won honorable mentions.  They will each receive a $25.00 gift certificate.  See Bonnie’s Kitchen below for recipes.


My Mother taught me ESP –

“Put your sweater on;

don’t you think I know when you’re cold?”joke 4


Seven Great Easy Annuals

You may not have tried these under-appreciated annuals yet, but check this list and add one or two to your gardening shopping list.  All seven add high color return for little work

Wax Begonias – These short, 6-12 inches high & wide plants come in a variety of colors.  They perform well in part sun to full shade.  We sell many varieties in 4 paks, so they make great and inexpensive plants for mass plantings and borders.

Nicotiana (flowering tobacco) – In colors from deep purple to white this plant attracts butterflies and hummingbirds with its deep perfume.  You can plant nicotiana in part shade to full sun and it will bloom all summer til frost.  Most of our varieties are 10-18 inches high and make great bedding plants.  Also check out Nicotiana Sylvestris for the back of sunny borders.  It will grow up to five feet and features large white flowers with incredible fragrance.

Alyssum – From spring to frost this short, 4-6 inch plant smells like honey. It works great for ground cover as well as in containers and baskets.  We grow white, purple and a mixed lavender in our popular 4 paks.  Alyssum prefers well-drained soil and part to full sun.  In late summer you can cut it back and enjoy new blossoms in the fall.

Melampodium – These are the perfect plant for tough conditions. Each melampodium will produce hundreds of small, bright yellow blossoms from late spring to frost.  Deer don’t like them, but gardeners love them.  Plant melampodium in any sunny location and enjoy.

Cosmos – Available in many colors, cosmos will flower all summer.  Butterflies flock to them.  Check out the Sonata Cosmos that has compact, bushy 2 ft tall plants, with lacy foliage and 2-3 inch blooms in unbelievable numbers.  Cosmos require full sun and are an excellent cut flower.

Ornamental Millet – This corn-like plant features great colored leaves in purple and green when grown in full sun; the cat-tail like flower spikes are a nice feature, too.  Millet is a great accent plant in the garden or containers.  The Purple Majesty variety grows to 5 feet; Jester to about 3 feet.

Rudbeckias (Black-eyed Susans) – Our annual varieties bloom all summer through fall.  Rudbeckias tolerate drought, have strong stems that don’t need staking, and butterflies love them.  Indian Summer grows 3 – 3½ feet tall with 6-9 inch golden-yellow flowers.  Becky Yellow and Becky Cinnamon are dwarf 8-10 inch plants with 2-3 inch blooms.  These are beautiful additions to any sunny garden, and make great cut flowers.


My Mother taught me about the ‘Wisdom of Age’-

“When you get to be my age, you will understand.’joke 5



Mother’s Day Roses

‘Nothing says love like roses.’  We have heard this for years at Valentine’s Day, but it is just as true on Mother’s Day.  The biggest difference is that the rose bushes you plant for her will bloom all summer, providing your mom with a reminder of your love.  Plant several this year, either for mom or in memory of her.  Our truck just arrived filled with hybrid teas, floribundas and grandifloras in a rainbow of colors and varieties.  These budded and blooming roses are only $21.99 in large 2.3 gallon pots.  Buy 2 or more and save $2.00 each. 


“Death leaves a heartache no one can heal,

love leaves a memory no one can steal.” Irish headstone


What is Mother’s Day?

100 years ago, when Anna Jarvis of Philadelphia lost her mother, she began a campaign to set aside a special day of observance for all mothers.  Her efforts succeeded, and in 1914 President Woodrow Wilson signed the decree that made Mother’s Day a national holiday.  Interestingly enough, nine years later Anna filed a lawsuit to stop the commercialization of the day.  She lost this fight.  Today cards, flowers, gifts and dining out mark Mother’s Day for most families.


My Mother taught me Logic

“If you fall off that swing and break your neck,,

you can’t go to the store with me.”joke 6




TONIGHT – May 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 with purchase

May 16 – 18, Tomato Days

May 17, Saturday at 10 am “Vegetable Gardening, Tomatoes and More” a FREE ‘Ask-the-Expert’ class led by Brian Emerson of the Agricultural Research Station.  Join Brian and learn how to get the most out of your garden.

May 17, Saturday 10 – 2, Herb Fest, with FREE herbal bread samples, recipes and herb-infused dipping oils.

May 17 & 18, Is our next Container Workshop from 10 – 4.  Remember that you get FREE soil and assistance, and we clean up the mess!  You turned out in droves for our first one and we remind you to come early to beat the rush.

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.


A mother is a person, who seeing there are only four pieces of pie and five people, promptly announces she never did care for pie.”-Tenneva Jordan



Our salsa recipe contest was so much fun.  Several ABF associates, who happen to be excellent cooks made up the recipes and our staff judged them the next day. This year, different from the past two years, the more non-traditional recipes were the winners. 1st place went to Elaine Meier for her Venezuelan Salsa.  It was outstanding!  Before you turn up your nose at the hard boiled egg, please try it. We were won over after just one taste.  Honorable mention went to Julie Bennett for her Mango Salsa and Sandy F. Smith for Harvest Salsa. We’re sharing the recipes with you in case you didn’t make it out for Salsa Sunday to get them.

1st Place 2008 ABF Salsa Contest

Venezuelan Salsa

Elaine Meier

1 small ripe tomato

1 large ripe avocado

2 garlic cloves

¼ cup virgin olive oil

2 T red vinegar

1 small fresh hot pepper, finely chopped w/seeds removed

1 t salt

½ t black pepper

1 cold hard boiled egg, finely chopped

3 sprigs finely chopped parsley

3 sprigs finely chopped fresh cilantro

Cut out the stem of the tomato, then slice it in half. Gently squeeze each half so that the seeds and juices run out. Discard the seeds and juices. Chop the tomato into little pieces.

Cut the avocado in half. With the tip of a small spoon, loosen the pit and lift it out.  Gently strip off the skin with your fingers. Chop the avocado into little chunks. Mince the garlic also.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the oil, vinegar, chili powder (or fresh chili pepper), salt, black pepper, chopped egg, garlic, parsley and cilantro. Mix all ingredients gently and thoroughly.

Serve fresh with chips. Enjoy!

Honorable Mention

Mango Salsa

Julie Bennett

2 medium mangos, peeled, seeded, and diced

1 cup seedless grapes, halved

1 red or green bell pepper, seeded and diced

½ red onion, diced

2 jalapeno chilies, finely diced (more for additional heat)

Juice of 1 lime (about 2 T if not using fresh)

2 T sugar, or to taste

1 T honey

¼ t salt, or to taste

¼ cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped


In medium bowl, mix mango, grapes, bell and jalapeno peppers, and onion.

Blend lime juice, sugar, honey, and salt. Pour over fruit mixture.

Add cilantro and mix well.

Let stand 1 hour before serving for best flavor.

Serve with blue corn tortilla chips as a snack, or with grilled salmon, chicken, or pork as a condiment.

Honorable Mention

Harvest Salsa

Sandy F. Smith

3 Roma tomatoes, halved, seeded, and chopped

½ small red onion, cut up

¼ small cantaloupe, seeded, peeled and cut up

1 Pink Lady apple, cored and cut up

½ medium green pepper, seeded and cut up

1or 2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and cut up

1 T sugar

1 T lime juice

¼ t salt

¼ t ground cumin

Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Cover and chill for 1-6 hours before serving. Stir well before serving. Serve with tortilla chips. Makes 3 cups.


Concerned about fitness in my middle 40s, I enrolled in an aerobics class.

To my dismay, I walked into a room filled with much younger women.

In an effort to combat my nervousness with humor, I said,

“I’m here to do my postnatal exercises!”

The instructor gave me an appraising look.  “How old is your baby?”

“Twenty six,” I replied. 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