2009 Newsletter Archive

Newsletter 23

Newsletter 23 – August 6, 2009


Joy of Gardening

Trees, Shrubs and Perennials 20% Off

     Winning Zucchini Recipe   

Pick of the Week: Brugmansia

Win an Autumn Container or a $25 gift card





“The Constitution only guarantees the American people the right to pursue happiness.  You have to catch it yourself.”

Benjamin Franklin


Joy of Gardening

Yesterday a friend and I were talking about what triggered our joy of gardening.  Both of us had to go back decades, to a time of impressionable youth.  To rural Midwestern settings filled with family, food and fun.  To grandmothers with stained fingers and overflowing tables.  To a time when plants shared our homes and properties so naturally that life without them was unimaginable.  Every sunny spot was used to produce food or beauty.  Grass grew only in areas needed for Sunday picnics, under the huge shade trees of old.


My grandmothers were quite different.  My mother’s mom had ten children and a small property.  Every inch of space was devoted to producing food for her family, as well as the cow and chickens that shared the land.  Even the shade trees were huge mulberries that produced many gallons of fruit each year for her hungry brood.  The most important thing for her was that every plant she put in the ground would produce as much food as possible.


Space was not quite so precious for my dad’s mom. She had four sons but they had an entire farm to produce food on.  So Grandma Wilson had room to plant beautiful flowers, too.  She would plant zinnia seeds around the mailbox, row out gladiola and dahlia bulbs in the vegetable garden and add at least one new rose bush to her perennial garden each year.  It was from her I learned that a peony or an iris is just as important as any tomato ever could be.


Some days, especially when aphids invade the greenhouses, or the pump for the well stops working, or the roof refuses to close during a thunderstorm, I ask myself what I’m doing here.  But the answer is simple.  Here I am surrounded by reminders of those days; by co-workers with stained fingers who share the extra vegetables from their gardens and bring in vases of beautiful flowers to brighten the office; by bosses who call me away from my desk to look at the wonderful color of the sky; and by so many wonderful people who truly understand why I have tears dripping from my chin as I write about the joy of gardening I learned as a child.


Tech support:  “What kind of computer do you have?”

Customer: “A white one”


Trees, Shrubs & Perennials 20% Off

We get calls almost every day asking if it’s a good time to plant this or that perennial, or a shrub, or a tree.  I think planting is like eating chocolate.  It’s always a good time to do it.  Different months of the year, we do tend to plant different things, like tomato plants in late May or early June, so they have enough time to develop their fruit before fall; or spring-blooming bulbs in September so they will get their full period of cold temperatures for a terrific spring show.  But many things can be planted all season long.  Perennials, shrubs and trees fall into this group


Summer is the perfect time to add a flowering crab to your landscape so you will have beautiful blooms next spring, or a grouping of shrubs to provide depth or an assortment of perennial flowers for color, or all three.  Today is always a better day than next week, next month, or next year for getting your plantings established.  During the warmest days of summer, special care must be given to watering, but other than that, nothing has changed.  Come out today, choose your favorite plant, dig a hole, add a little compost, put in the plant, cover with soil, water well and, voila, you’re done.  Next year you’ll be so glad you did.


As added incentive, all of our trees, shrubs and perennials are now 20% off.  What a great time to plant!  This offer does not include our fall asters and mums. 


Tech support: “Click on the ‘My Computer’ icon on  the left of the screen.”

Customer: “Your left or my left?”

Al’s Pick of the Week – Brugmansia

Brugmansia are tropical plants with very large, trumpet-shaped flowers.  There are several varieties available that vary in color and growth habit, but they all have a wonderful exotic fragrance that is strongest in the evening. The other day I walked by one of our brugmansia and was amazed when I saw two different color blossoms on the same plant.  When I asked Al about it, he explained that as the bloom matures it changes from yellow to pink.  What a great thing!  Especially when you consider the blossoms are almost 8 inches long.

For info and pictures visit http://ezonlineads.com/MaranathaNursery/brugmansias.htm


Brugmansia is a fast grower that, if given lots of water and fertilizer, will provide you with bloom from midsummer until frost.  In cold climates, it is best to grow it in a container and move it inside during the winter. You can put it in a south window and maintain it as a houseplant, watering once a week.  Or you can cut it back and store it dormant in a cool dark place like a basement or garage.  During this winter storage it is important to water once a month to prevent the soil from totally drying out. The plant will defoliate completely during dormancy.  Next spring, after the weather settles, you can take it outside, trim to desired shape and resume regular watering and feeding.  It will leaf out and start blooming all over again.

Customer: “Hi, good afternoon, this is Martha. I can’t print.  Every time I try, it says ‘Can’t find printer’.  I’ve even lifted the printer and placed it in front of the monitor, but the computer still says he can’t find it.”


Starting Monday, August 10th, you can register to win a beautiful ceramic fall planter, designed by our own Sharon Stickford and valued at $169.99. This beauty was planted with a gorgeous selection of plants that will withstand the cooler fall temperatures. Winner’s name will be chosen Monday, August 17th following Customer Appreciation Days, August 15-16, when we will be serving complimentary ice cream and popcorn. Make sure to come on out and register to win! And if you don’t win, we will be having our first “Make a Fall Container” Workshop August 29-30 from 10-4 each day. FREE soil and assistance, as always!

Customer: “I have a huge problem. A friend placed a screen saver on my computer, but every time I move the mouse, it disappears.”

Calendar of Events

August 15 & 16   Customer Appreciation Days  FREE Ice Cream and Popcorn

August 23               Iris Divide and Swap at 1 PM  Bring in a clump of iris to divide and swap. Also bring  a knife, a Sharpie and plastic bags.

August 29 – 30       Make a Fall Container Workshop 10-4 – FREE Soil and assistance – Design a mixed container using plants that will withstand cool fall temperatures.


A woman called the help desk with a printer problem.

Tech Support: “Are you running it under Windows?”

Customer: “No, my desk is next to the door, but that is a good point.

The man sitting in the cubicle next to me is under a window,

and his printer is working fine.”

Win a $25 Gift Card in Our Recipe Contest

Our final week of the contest is for your favorite tomato recipe. I just picked my first crop of tomatoes and now I feel the summer has truly begun!  We’re looking for that special recipe you can’t wait to make every year.  To enter the Week 3 contest, email your favorite tomato recipe to ed@americasbestflowers.com with subject line of RECIPE CONTEST.  This week’s entries are due by Sunday, August 9.  We’ll announce the winner and publish the winning recipe in the next week’s newsletter. 


Customer: “I can’t get on the Internet.”

Tech Support: “Are you sure you used the right password?”

Customer: “Yes, I’m sure.  I saw my colleague do it.”

Tech Support: “Can you tell me what the password is?”

Customer: “Five dots.”

Zucchini Winning Recipe

We had so many wonderful zucchini recipes submitted this week. It was truly very hard to choose a winner. Fran H. sent us this one. It is soooooo good and I know you will love it.  I tried it as a veggie dish, and didn’t add meat, but I’ll bet that is very good as well.

Fran will receive a $25 gift card to ABF, and we thank her for this terrific recipe.




1 cup uncooked long grain rice

3 medium zucchini, cut into 1/8 inch slices

1 can (4 ounces) chopped green chilies

4 cups (16 ounces) shredded Monterey Jack cheese, divided

2 cups (16 ounces) sour cream

2 tablespoons chopped green pepper

2 tablespoons chopped onion

1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 large tomato, sliced


Cook rice according to package directions. In a saucepan, cook zucchini in 1 inch of water until crisp-tender; drain and set aside. Place rice in a greased shallow 3-qt. baking dish. Layer chilies and 1-1/2 cups cheese.


In a bowl, combine the sour cream, green pepper, onion, parsley, salt and oregano. Spread over cheese. Layer with zucchini and tomato. Sprinkle with remaining cheese.  Cover and bake at 350 for 30 minutes. Uncover; bake 5-10 minutes longer or until heated through and cheese is melted. Yield 12 servings.


This recipe is always a hit at potluck dinners. An option is to add browned hamburger to the chilies/cheese layer of the vegetable casserole to make a tasty meat dish.


Submitted by Fran H.


Tech Support: “What’s on your monitor now, ma’am?”

Customer : “A teddy bear my boyfriend gave me for my birthday..”


Click below for tomato facts and recipes:



Tech Support: “How may I help you?”

Customer: “I’m writing my first email.”

Tech Support: “OK, and what seems to be the problem?”

Customer: “Well, I have the letter ‘a’ in the address,

but how do I get the little circle around it?”



This week’s recipe is another that was submitted for our contest, and is super yummy. I made it and brought it in for the people at work and they loved it too. Our thanks to Lisa M. who is getting a $10 gift card as an honorable mention for her recipe.


Lemony Zucchini Bread

4 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 package (3.4 ounces) instant lemon pudding mix

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

4 eggs

1 1/4 cups milk

1 cup vegetable oil

3 tablespoons lemon juice

1 teaspoon lemon extract

2 cups shredded zucchini

1/4 cup poppy seeds

2 teaspoons grated lemon peel

In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, pudding mix, baking soda, baking powder and salt.  In another bowl, whisk the eggs, milk, oil, lemon juice and extract.  Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened.  Fold in the zucchini, poppy seeds and lemon peel.


Pour into two greased 9-in. x 5-in. x 3-in. loaf pans.  Bake at 350 degrees for 50-55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.  Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely.  Yield: 2 loaves.



The Old Days: 45s

A few years back I had my old 45 RPM records out to look through and my daughter asked what they were.  I explained that back in the 60’s, before CDs were invented, this was how we listened to music.  I told her how all the bands issued singles on these ‘45s’ and radio stations would rate the top 40 songs every week.

She was quite impressed as I continued describing how we used a phonograph to play them.  I burst out laughing when she asked – perfectly straight faced – ‘Daddy, how many megs of RAM does one of these hold?”


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