Newsletter 9 – Thursday, May 12, 2011

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

Decorate Your Doorstep!

Does your home’s entrance look uninviting or lacking in curb appeal?  Decorate your doorstep with America’s Best Flowers and be the envy of your neighborhood.  Our experience design staff will be happy to provide you with assistance in planning the perfect show stopper.

America’s Best Flowers has a large selection of containers in all sizes that will enhance your entryway.  Looking for something unusual in pottery?  We’ve got it.  Looking for a “green alternative”?  Check out our PSW Collection, eco friendly, lightweight, weather-resistant and made from recycled materials.  Maybe terra cotta is more to your liking.  We have that in all sizes, too.

Are you always looking for time-saving techniques when watering?  Be sure to check out our complete line of Easy Care Planters that provide moisture directly to the root system for up to one week.  Wishing for some whimsy in your garden?  Our selection of bird baths, stepping stones, ceramic garden accents and spheres are sure to catch the eye of your family and friends.  

Be sure to take advantage of our Container Workshop this weekend.  Bring in your empty containers, or purchase some of ours, and we will assist you in creating your own masterpieces, as well as provide free soil.  See below.

Another Fun-Filled Weekend at America’s Best Flowers

Container Workshop

The Dirt’s On Us!
Saturday & Sunday, May 14 & 15, 10-4

Our greenhouses are bursting with beautiful flowers, just waiting to brighten up your deck and patio. Bring in your own pots or select some of ours. We’ll provide the soil, you pick out the plants. And, if you’re not sure about what will grow best on your deck or patio, or how to pot up your plants, our container gardening experts will be on deck to help you, and answer any gardening questions you may have.

Cooking with Herbs Workshop

Saturday, May 14, 9:30-10:30 am

Fresh Pesto, Herb Butter and a savory White Bean dip are just a few of the tasty treats our resident Foodie, Deb Meyer, will be preparing and serving up, in the Cooking with Herbs workshop on Saturday. Deb will chop, stir and answer questions on both growing as well as harvesting fresh herbs. If you love to cook, or just want to learn more about incorporating herbs into your cooking, be sure to take in this workshop.

Vegetable Gardening Workshop

Sunday, May 15 at 1 pm

Join Brian Emerson, from the UW Extension Agricultural Station, for this informative vegetable gardening workshop. Bring your ideas and questions, and learn from Brian’s expertise. He’ll help you get the most from your garden.

SALSA SATURDAY – May 14, 10-2 pm

Free Chips & Salsa!
Shop & Snack! Seriously, what could be better?

Come join us for complimentary salsa and chips from 11-2 while you shop to a Latin Beat!  Take home free copies of our Mexican/Latin recipes, including this year’s winning recipe from the America’s Best Flowers Mexican/Latin Recipe Contest.

Whether you’re looking for annuals, perennials, herbs, hanging baskets or veggies, you’ll find an abundance of them at America’s Best.  And, if your thumb isn’t quite as green as you’d like it, our resident gardening experts are always on deck to answer questions, and work with you to create the garden of your dreams.

A man got some vinegar in his ear, now he suffers from pickled hearing.

Upcoming Events

Sat, May 14
Salsa Saturday

11AM-2PM. Sample a variety of FREE salsas and chips while you shop to a Latin beat!

Sat, May 14 – Sun, May 15
Container Workshop

10AM – 4PM. Free soil and assistance. Create a beautiful container in our potting shed and we’ll clean up the mess. Bring in your own pot, or buy one of ours.

Sat, May 14
Class – Cooking with Herbs

9:30AM Join herbal expert Bonnie Kulke for a class designed to share the joys of growing and cooking with fresh herbs.

Sun, May 15
Class – Vegetable Gardening

1PM Join Brian Emerson from UW Extension Agricultural Station and let him help you to get the most from your garden.

Sat, May 21
Herbal Bread Sampling

11AM-2PM Sample complimentary herbal breads and herbal dipping sauces. FREE recipes.

Sat, May 21 – Sun, May 22
Container Workshop

10AM – 4PM. Free soil and assistance. Create a beautiful container in our potting shed and we’ll clean up the mess. Bring your own pots or buy one of ours.

Find us on Facebook

Our fan club is growing. Please become a fan on Facebook, and invite your friends.

Spring Salads Are Just Around The Corner

Whether you start by sowing seeds or planting seedlings, now’s the time to get those delicate, tasty spring greens growing.  Most varieties of both lettuce and spinach grow best in cool spring weather.  The ideal temperature for starting lettuce and spinach is between 45 and 65 degrees.  And, fortunately for us, here in the fickle Midwest, they’ll tolerate a light frost.  They are super easy to grow, and packed full of healthy nutrients.

Both seeds and seedlings can be planted in successive plantings, about 2-3 weeks apart, starting in early spring when the ground is workable.  They will easily grow in a wide range of soil types, but for best results you’ll want to create a loose, fertile loam, amended with plenty of organic matter. Seeds should be sown in shallow rows, and covered lightly with soil. Plants can be spaced 6-8 inches apart.  Leave about 16-18 inches between the rows and be sure to add mulch to suppress weeds and keep the soil temperatures even.

America’s Best has a great selection of both seeds and plants, including: Arugula, Ruby Red, and Buttercrunch, as well as a Gourmet & Mesclin lettuce mixes.  Be sure to plant plenty so you can make the following recipe often.

"Life expectancy would grow by leaps and bounds
if green vegetables smelled as good as bacon."

Doug Larson

– In this recipe they do –

Our Kitchen

Growing up on a farm in Iowa, I remember huge bowls of wilted lettuce on the summertime dinner table. This easy to make staple was one of my dad’s favorites, so we had it often. For quick harvest of the lettuce, my mom would take a butcher knife out to the garden and cut the entire plants off about two inches above the soil. (Don’t worry – they will grow back) She would move right down the row (which, like all rows in our farm garden were at least 50 feet long) cutting until she had filled her biggest mixing bowl. She would cover the lettuce with cool water, let it sit for 30 minutes or so and then it was my turn. Mom would pull a chair for me to stand on up to the sink and then I would rinse each leaf in a fresh bowl of water and put it on a clean dishcloth on the counter. This took a while since I was little and the bowl was big. But it was worth it when I saw Daddy’s smile with the first bite!

Wilted Lettuce

Wilted Lettuce

Wash and dry lettuce and put in to a large glass or metal bowl.  Diagonally cut 4–6 green onions into ¼ inch slices, including at least 2 inches of green tops. Add to lettuce.  

Fry 4–8 slices of bacon until very crisp.  Be careful not to burn it because you will be using the drippings in the dressing.  Drain on paper towels and crumble.  Set aside. If you have your kids help you with this step, you might consider frying a couple extra slices for tasting.  

For each 2 quarts of mixed lettuce leaves, you will need 3 tablespoons of bacon drippings (this can be a guesstimate  Mom always used a cast iron skillet to brown the bacon – she would pour off part of the fat, leaving about 3 spoonfuls.  Add 3-4 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar and 2-4 tablespoons of sugar, depending on your taste, to the skillet.  Stir well to loosen all the bacon tidbits. Heat just to the boiling point and slowly pour over lettuce.  Toss lettuce as you pour to evenly coat.  Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper and bacon crumbles. Top with sliced boiled eggs (2 or 3). Serve immediately.

My little boy came home from school this week and told me this one:
A faucet, lettuce and a tomato were in a race…
What happened?
The faucet was running, the lettuce was ahead,
and the tomato was trying to ketchup!

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