2009 Newsletter Archive

Newsletter 25

Newsletter 25 – August 20, 2009

 Divide and Swap Event

 Tomato Troubles

 Plant of the Week – Ornamental Peppers

 Recipe – Salmon with Chili Mango Salsa and a few Jokes


Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day.

Teach him to use the Internet, and he won’t bother you for weeks!


Where’s the Passion?

Expectations are funny things.  Last week I expected to come back from our annual garden center convention, bubbling over with ideas to share with you.  I had planned to write about the latest in plant breeding, the newest in garden gadgets, or the greatest gardening idea of the decade.  But the best laid plan in writing is often circumvented by this little niggling intrusion that just won’t let you go there.


Instead, my mind is thinking about Tuesday evening.  The Grand Ballroom of the Navy Pier in Chicago overflowed with hundreds of garden center people, eating pizza, talking about convention events, and calmly awaiting the evening’s entertainment.  Then Charlie Daniels’ music erupted on stage.  Soon members of the audience started trickling forward, to an area at the base of the stage left open for dancing.  It was great to see ultra-conservative businessmen and women, arms in the air, swaying, clapping, letting go.  Music didn’t just fill the ballroom, it permeated every nook and cranny, oozing its way into our souls.


Later, when sleep would not come, I tried to put a name to the force that had driven me to my feet, to clap so hard my hands hurt.  Excerpts of the stories Charlie told us drifted in and out:  “51 years in professional entertainment;” “Best band I’ve ever stood in front of;” “Just back from seeing the troops;” “They are the best men and women in the world;” “Been all over the world;” “This is the greatest country on earth.”  Each comment was followed by an eruption of applause.


On the way home, it finally struck me – the force is passion.  Charlie Daniels and his band have a tremendous passion for what they do.  A passion strong enough to carry us along, temporarily replacing the cares of our world.  Tuesday night I felt their passion.  But what about ours?  Sometimes we hear passion in your voices when you talk about gardening.  About how you use this passion to add beauty and serenity to your personal world.  Just think how life would be if we could learn to store passion deep in our souls, and pull it out on demand and use it to change our world.


The following jokes are from Kids Are Funny – by Rosie ‘Donnell


Why is the Jolly Green Giant a good gardener?

He has two green thumbs.


Divide and Swap

If you are an Iris lover, you’ll not want to miss our Iris Divide and Swap Workshop this Sunday, August 23, at 1 pm. Simply bring in a clump of iris that needs dividing, we’ll show you how, and then you will have a chance to trade for other varieties.  If you can, please bring along a Sharpie, a garden knife and scissors and a few plastic grocery sacks.


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.  Last year we had customers bring in huge clumps which provided many divisions to share, so even if you don’t have iris that need to be divided, come on out anyway.  We’ll show you how it’s done and share the bounty.


While you’re here, check out what our design department came up with this week.  Stunning Fishnet Stocking coleus are paired with various colorful annuals in our 8” pots that make some fresh, visually appealing containers sure to please you.  If you’re a bit bored with your summer plantings, pick one of these beauties up to add some zing to your home.


“What does an invisible cat drink?

Evaporated milk.


The winner of our Autumn container contest was Kathy H.  She received a beautiful stoneware pot filled with foliage and blooming plants.  Remember that August 29 and 30, from 10 to 4 both days, is our first Make an Autumn Container Workshop of the season.  You get FREE SOIL AND ASSISTANCE, and you can’t beat that!  Are weekends busy for you?  Come out for our second workshop, which is scheduled for Thursday, September 24 from 4 to 8 pm.


Start thinking about the design and color scheme you’d like for your fall planters.  Some especially nice plants to use that will take the cooler temps, are pansies, petunias, Goldilocks Creeping Jenny, certain herbs, like sage (the tricolor is gorgeous), mums, asters, kale and cabbages, and our lovely Snow Princess Alyssum.  Your containers will last into the fall and enhance your fall decorating.  Paired with our straw bales, corn shocks and mums, they will make your home the talk of the neighborhood.


Why don’t seagulls hang out at the bay?

Then they’d be bagels.

Tomato Troubles

August is the month we receive the most questions about insects and diseases.  It’s finally time to eat the bounty of your labor, only to find that something has beaten you to it.  Sometimes it’s warm-blooded creatures, sometimes it’s insects, and sometimes disease.  I found the following website explaining tomato diseases and thought it might be of interest.



Many of you have been asking specifically about the late tomato blight that has been on the news.  Generally more of a problem in the northeast, this blight has damaged thousands of tomato plants.  For more info visit: 




What do you call a skunk in court?

Odor in the court.

Al’s Pick of the Week – Ornamental Peppers

This year we are growing three gorgeous ornamental peppers to provide color and excitement to your garden:  Black Pearl, Chili Chili, and Sangria, a new introduction.  Bright upturned peppers in shades of red, purple, orange and black will fill the garden and your best containers for the entire fall season when you add ornamental peppers to your plantings.


Sangria is considered the best ornamental pepper, due to its profuse fruiting and bold party colors.  Growing about a foot tall and wide, this ornamental pepper gives you everything you could ask for.  Fast growing, trouble-free, and well-branched, the plants set heavy crops that last and last, keeping the display fresh and attractive long into autumn!


For more information on ornamental peppers check out the following sites.




What happens when a frog is parked illegally?

It’s toad away.

Calendar of Events

August 23               Iris Divide and Swap at 1 PM  Bring in a clump of iris, a knife, scissors, 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.

September 21 – October 4 – Scarecrow Days – Make your own scarecrow and we’ll clean up the mess.  Real family fun! Refreshments on weekends.

September 20        Dividing Perennials at 1 PM

September 24        Make a Fall Container Workshop from 4-8 pm

September 27        How to Winterize Roses at 1 PM


America’s Best Flowers gift certificates make the perfect gift for your favorite gardener.  Remember, they never expire and may be used on everything we sell.


Why is a cake like a baseball team?

They both need a good batter.

Plan Ahead for Scarecrow Days

And there’s no better way to decorate for fall than with a unique scarecrow of your own creation. Mark your calendars for our Build-Your-Own Scarecrow event, which starts September 21 and runs through October 4.  We will be building scarecrows every day, so you can stop out anytime and our staff will be glad to assist you.  Refreshments will be served on weekends.  When you come out, we will start you off with a kit that contains everything you need to begin.  Add a great outfit (bring your own or buy from us at garage sale prices), and you have a scarecrow that will be the envy of the neighborhood.  If you set your creation on a straw bale, use a few corn stalks for background and surround the whole scene with brilliant mums, fountain grass and pumpkins, you will have a fabulous fall display.


What did the grape say when he got squished.

Nothing, he just let out a little wine.

Click here a fun quiz. Great for people of all ages. Hope you enjoy this.




Salmon with Chili Mango Salsa

From Mad About Food, Junior League of Madison – Serves 6


Salmon is such a popular fish, but I like to mix it up a bit when I make it. This recipe gets its kick from the unusual salsa.


3 T fresh lime juice

¾ t white vinegar

4 t seeded, coarsely chopped Serrano or jalapeno chili

2 t grated lime zest

2 garlic cloves

4 T olive oil

2 mangos, diced

½ cup red onion, diced

½ cup fresh cilantro, chopped

4 (6 ounce) salmon fillets


Prepare grill; medium high heat


In a food processor combine lime juice, vinegar, chili, lime zest, garlic and 3 T of the olive oil. Process to desired consistency.


Chop mangoes, onion and cilantro by hand, or process lightly so ingredients are not pulverized. Combine processed and chopped ingredients in a small bowl, and adjust seasoning to taste with salt and pepper.


Brush salmon with remaining 1 T olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Grill salmon until just opaque in center, about 5 minutes per side.


Serve with salsa.


Do I Look That Shady?


I just got a GPS for my car, and my first trip was to the drugstore.

Since the manual said not to leave it in the car unattended,

I brought it with me into the store.

While there, the GPS came alive

and a voice stated, “Lost satellite contact.”

I wasn’t embarrassed until a woman turned to me and said,

“Your ankle bracelet monitor is talking to you.”


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