Newsletter 3 – Thursday, March 31, 2011

You’ll love your garden … It’s our promise!

Open Wide!

A Sneak Peek of our New Style

April 1st is opening day for America’s Best Flowers and we can’t wait to throw our doors wide open and welcome you in.  We have so much to show you.  A facelift of the main house is underway to make shopping easier than ever.  Here’s a peek at what we are doing.

If a makeover’s not enough, our 2011 list of new plant offerings are sure to impress.  Imagine the flowers and foliage of plants with names like: Blackberry Punch Calibrachoa, Patriot Violet Geranium, Strawberry Punch Coreopsis, Pow Wow Wild Berry Echinacea, Fruit Punch Nemesia and Rusty Red Sweet Potato Vine, just to name a few.  We are so excited to share these wonderful plants with you.

The warmer weather expected over the next few days make it the perfect time to come out, check out all the changes and enjoy the sights and smells of spring.  We guarantee it’ll put you in the mood to garden.

The research assistant couldn’t experiment with plants
Because he hadn’t botany.

Let’s Get Together

Help us kick off the season by attending Al’s Veggie and Fruit Gardening workshop from 10 am to 2 pm this Saturday, April 2.  What a great opportunity for gardeners of all experience levels to get a jump on the season!  Along with answering your questions, we will provide free soil for your seed flats and a work space for you to plant the seeds of your choice.  All you do is buy the flats and seed packets here.  Imagine how much fun you’ll have watching your plants grow at home.  This year we have dedicated a large section of our new slat wall to seed racks, providing you with the greatest selection ever.

Our schedule has never been so packed with fun-filled activities for you and your family.  Please mark your calendars for our April events.  The very popular Herb Class with Mary Lynn Haugh will be Saturday morning, April 9 at 10 am.  Stop out the weekend of April 16 and 17 for our Open House featuring free hot dogs and popcorn.  And be sure to bring the children in your life to our annual Free Community Egg Hunt on Saturday, April 23.  Watch future newsletters for more information.

Gardeners like to plant their feet firmly.

Naturally Grown for You

A planting of delicious vegetable seedlings

Come visit our new ‘nursery’ area where Barb is hard at work growing our vegetable and herb seedlings. Last weekend thousands of tiny plants emerged from nutrient-rich beds of our custom-made soil and began the process which will end with healthy produce for your table.  From A-Z, Anise to Zucchini, we anxiously await the next seedlings to pop out of the soil.

This year we have returned to the most basic principles of natural plant production.  We are growing most of our herb and vegetable transplants from seed in our own customized soil mix (which is available for purchase).  Whenever possible we are starting with non-GMO seed.  Our herbs and vegetables are being fertilized with compost tea made here in our greenhouse.  And the first line of defense for pest control involves the use of beneficial insects (good bugs).

My wife works over-thyme in her herb garden
Before she decides it is time to cumin.

Beauty with the Help of a Bug or Two

Using biological control is not just a new fad sweeping through the greenhouse industry.  Growers and scientists have used natural predators, parasites, and pathogens to combat pest insects since the early 1900s.  Many of the first research trials date back to the 1920s, such as the first recorded use of the tiny parasitic wasp Aphidius colmani.  The use of biological control agents gained in popularity over the next two decades and by the 1940s was in wide use across the globe.

With the introduction of chemical pesticides beginning in the 1940s there was a drastic drop in the use of beneficial organisms as pesticides were easier to use. It was only in the 1980s that data showing the widespread collateral damage caused by pesticides started to raise alarms. The government responded with legislation that limited the types and amount of pesticides that growers could use on their crops. Growers in the horticultural industry started to realize that pesticides had a direct impact on their own families and property. These concerns led some growers to begin using more sustainable practices, such as biological pest control.

Now with the development of a large organic food market and wide acceptance among consumers, the use of natural methods of controlling crop pests has again increased in popularity and availability. Biological control throughout the last century has come full circle and is now in use by forward thinking greenhouse growers. 

-Tim Norman

Grower/Biocontrol Specialist America’s Best Flowers

Old gardeners never die, they just vegetate.

Join Our Team

America’s Best Flowers has a few select openings on our team for the 2011 gardening season.  We have one seasonal retail position open.  The position is 40 hours per week, and includes working Saturdays and Sundays.  We also have one watering position open, which includes working Saturdays.  You may occasionally be lifting up to 40 pounds. 

Our friendly staff is a diverse group of interesting, knowledgeable and fun-loving individuals. If you have a background that includes basic plant knowledge, customer service, and retail sales, we would love to hear from you.  An ideal candidate would be interested in returning on a seasonal basis for years to come.  We offer a beautiful, smoke-free work environment and a generous employee discount.  If you would like to be part of our special family, please call us at 222-2269 for a short telephone interview and to set up a time to come out and apply.  We look forward to hearing from you.

I will cut the grass only when I get Mowtivated.

Upcoming Events

Fri, Apr 1
Opening Day
Sat, Apr 2
Workshop – Get a Jump on Spring

10-2PM Ongoing workshop. Buy your seed packets and seeding trays and we provide the soil.

Sat, Apr 9
Class – Herb Gardens

10AM Mari Lynn Haugh, of the Madison Herb Society walks you through planning and designing your herb garden.

Sat, Apr 16 – Sun, Apr 17
Open House

FREE hot dogs and popcorn. 11-3PM

Sat, Apr 23
Community Egg Hunt

Ongoing from 10am-2pm Rain or Shine! FREE candy. Children 6 and under. Bring your camera to take pictures with the Easter Bunny.

Don’t expect a bonsai tree to grow the miniature planting it.

Bonnie’s Kitchen

This recipe is from my Mom’s best friend’s church cookbook. Whenever I make it my kids just flip. This works well as a make-ahead breakfast dish.

Cheddar Apple Breakfast Lasagna

Cheddar Apple Breakfast Lasagna
  • 1 c sour cream
  • 1/3 c brown sugar
  • 1 (9 oz) pkg french toast (12 slices)
  • ½ lb sliced boiled ham
  • 2 ½ c (10 oz) shredded cheddar cheese, divided
  • 1 can (20 oz) apple pie filing
  • 1 c granola with raisins

In small bowl, blend sour cream and brown sugar; chill.  Place 6 french toast slices in bottom of greased 9 x 13 pan.  Layer ham, 2 cups of the cheese and remaining 6 slices of French toast.  Spread apple pie filling over top.  Sprinkle with granola.  Bake in preheated 350 oven for 25 minutes.  Top with remaining ½ c cheddar cheese and bake about 5 minutes more until cheese is melted and casserole is hot.  Serve with sour cream mixture.  Makes 6 servings.

Whether the weather be cold
Or whether the weather be hot
Whatever the weather
We’ll weather the weather
Whether we like it or not.

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