2009 Newsletter Archive

Newsletter 3

Newsletter 3 – March 19, 2009

Events             Recipe        Seeds for Spring


May the best day of your past, be the worst day of your future.

Spring, Sprang, Sprung

The calendar, along with the warm temperatures of the past few days, has created quite a buzz around the greenhouse.  Many of you have called to chat, or stopped out to browse.  We are so delighted to hear from you.  The long months of winter, without the camaraderie of our gardening friends, are at last gone.  And with their departure, we can celebrate the good days to come.  And I truly believe that there will be many, many good days to come.

In preparation for all the fun ahead, everyone at America’s Best is busy planting and tending the small plants that will soon fill your landscapes.  Even though our official opening day is April 1, we are always happy to see you.  If you have Spring Fever, there is no better cure than to see absolute proof that spring is here.  Come on out today and see with your own eyes the thousands of growing plants that fill our greenhouses.

While you’re here, we will be glad to help you in any way we can.  Even though we aren’t completely organized, we are always happy to answer questions, or help you find something you might need right now.  Come on out today.  You’ll be glad you did.

When I see a mud puddle I step around it.  I see muddy shoes and dirty carpets.

My kids sit in it.  They see dams to build, rivers to cross and worms to play with! Joke 1


Nothing says optimism like the lowly garden seed.  Who would think that a tiny dried up piece of organic matter, when placed in moist soil, could possibly become anything more than a wet piece of organic matter?  Even though gardeners witness this miracle every year, it remains one of the most amazing wonders in nature.  If you, too, want to be amazed, we invite you to stop out – drive right by the closed sign – and pick up a few packages of seeds and the supplies you need to get started.  Growing plants from seed has got to be one of the most rewarding experiences in gardening, and now is the time to begin.

A smile is a curve that can set a lot of things straight.jjoke 2

Before you Tread in your Garden

As reported in the March 18, 2009 issue of the Wisconsin State Journal, the soils of southern Wisconsin are saturated.  Twenty inches below the surface there is a 4 to 6 inch layer of frozen ground which prevents surface water from draining.  In this situation, water fills the air spaces in the soil, preventing it from breathing.  The problem is compounded when pressure is applied to the surface.  You’ve all witnessed this when a vehicle was driven over a lawn in the early spring and left ruts.  When we walk in the garden, a similar thing happens.  Our weight compacts the soggy soil around the roots of our plants, leaving less space for air after the soil dries up.  So, even though it’s sunny and warm, and there’s nothing you would rather do than spend a day outside in your gardens, our advice is to wait a bit.  A few more warm days will do a lot to improve the situation.  For tips from Ilene, our perennial manager, on what you can do outside right now, see below.

An optimist is a person who starts taking a bath if he accidentally falls into a river.joke 3


By Ilene Isenberg, Perennial, Tree & Shrub Manager

If you’ve left tall grasses or flower stalks standing for winter interest, you’ll want to trim them before the new growth begins.  Prune away dead or broken branches from trees and shrubs.  Wait to prune flowering shrubs until after they bloom or you’ll cut off this year’s flowers.  Pull up or dig out those dandelions and other perennial weeds that have already made an appearance, if you can reach them from the edges of your beds.  If you take an extra moment to make sure you get most of the root, you won’t be fighting the same weeds later.

The sooner you fall behind, the more time you’ll have to catch up .joke 4


April 1            Opening Day

April 4 -5        Sneak Peek Weekend – Take a look at the new season’s offerings and pickup a lovely blooming plant for your Easter table.

April 11           Community Egg Hunt 10 AM Join the Easter Bunny and our staff for this ‘Sweet’ event!’ Rain or Shine! –  Children 6 and under, please

April 18-19      Open House – FREE hot dogs and popcorn 11-3 for our Loyalty Members.

April 25            Earth Day Celebration – FREE CHILDREN’S ACTIVITIES 10-2 PM. Bring a white T-shirt to paint, make seed balls and more!

April 24-26      Arbor Day – Receive a FREE Black Hills Spruce with purchase.  While supplies last.  Limit 1 per family.

Watch for days of other spring events, including Container Workshops.

The first Saturday in May is our annual “SALSA SATURDAY when we celebrate Cinco de Mayo with Latin music, free samples of chips and salsa, and you can even plant a salsa container that weekend at our workshop. We will give away a $50 gift certificate for the best salsa in our Salsa Recipe Contest.

Special Mother’s Day activities and free classes on vegetable and perennial gardening will continue throughout the season, along with our Make and Take Workshops.  We also promise many exciting surprises. Our goal is to hold events that are interesting and helpful to our customers. Remember to give us your input. We’re listening!


Experience is something you don’t get until just after you need it. joke 5

Bonnie’s Kitchen

Now that spring has sprung, it’s time to enjoy springtime favorites, and what better way than a delicious gourmet meal prepared on the grill. Slice up some potato wedges, throw in a plastic Ziploc bag with a bit of olive oil, salt and pepper to coat, and grill with the lamb chops and asparagus. It doesn’t get better than this!

Grilled Lamb Chops

Recipe form Gloria De Laurentis   Serves 6

2 large garlic cloves, crushed

1 T fresh rosemary leaves

1 T fresh thyme leaves

pinch cayenne pepper

Coarse sea salt

2 T extra-virgin olive oil

6 lamb chops, about ¾” thick

In a food processor fitted with a metal blade, add the garlic, rosemary, thyme, cayenne and salt. Pour in olive oil and pulse into a paste. Rub the paste on both sides of the chops and let them marinate at least 1 hr in the refrigerator. Remove from fridge and allow chops to come to room temperature, about 20 minutes.

*Heat the grill to high and sear 2 minutes on first side, 3 on the next. For medium rare and 3 ½ minutes for medium.

This recipe originally called for the chops to be grilled on an indoor grill pan, but I do mine on my gas grill.

Grilled Asparagus with Tangerine Mayonnaise

Food TV 2007

2 cups freshly squeezed tangerine juice

2 tangerines

1 T coarsely chopped fresh tarragon leaves

1 egg yolk

salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 c extra virgin olive oil, plus more for tossing and brushing on asparagus

2 large bunches asparagus, about 2 pounds total, trimmed and cooked 2 minutes in boiling salted water, then cooled

Long curls of tangerine zest

Coarsely chopped toasted hazelnuts or pine nuts, optional (I use pecans)

Put the tangerine juice in a small non-reactive saucepan and bring to a boil. Cook until reduced to ½ cup.  Cool to room temperature.

Peel the 2 tangerines, removing all the white pith and segment, over a bowl, to catch both the segments and the juices.  Cover and refrigerate until cold.

Combine the reduced juice, tarragon, egg yolk, salt and pepper to taste. Blend in blender until well mixed. With the machine running, add the 1 cup olive oil, at first by drops and then, as mixture emulsifies, in a thin steady stream until all the oil is incorporated. Taste for seasoning, Scrape into a jar, cover, and refrigerate until needed. You should have about 1 2/3 c mayonnaise.  Keeps 2-3 days, refrigerated.

Prepare the grill to medium. Toss the cooled asparagus with about 1 T olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill, turning the spears as needed, until they take on a little color and are just tender.

Arrange the asparagus on a platter with the reserved tangerine segments. Dot with the mayonnaise, and drizzle with any tangerine juice left in the bowl. Garnish with the zest and optional nuts.

Cooks note: Every cook has insecurities. One of mine is mayonnaise. I get anxious until I see it coming together in the blender. If the mayonnaise is too thick, thin it, with the machine running, by pulsing in a little cool water. If you are concerned about raw eggs, use a pasteurized egg product or egg substitute like Egg Beaters.

Bonnie’s note: This mayo is delicious, but can take some time. I have also mixed a little tangerine juice into Hellmann’s mayonnaise, added the tarragon, and a touch of cayenne, and garnished with the zest and nuts. It’s still pretty good. Or simply make the day ahead and refrigerate to save time on the day of your lamb dinner.

Four high school boys, afflicted with spring fever, skipped morning classes.

After lunch they reported to their teacher that they had had a flat tire.

Much to their relief, she smiled and said,

‘Well, you missed a test today, so take seats apart from one another

and take out a piece of paper.

Still smiling, they found their seats.

Then the teacher said, “First question.

‘Which tire was flat?’I joke 6



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