Autumn Enjoyment and Scarecrow Fun!

Newsletter 33 – Thursday, October 1, 2015


Cottage Grove

Mon-Fri 9-6
Sat and Sun 9-5


Mon-Fri 8:30-5:30
Sat 8:30-5:00
Sun 9-4

Bountiful Bulbs for Beautiful Spring Blooms!

Bountiful Bulbs
Click for Larger Image

Nothing is lovelier than seeing the first glimpses of color peak through the ground after a long, cold winter. Early spring bloomers are some of the most beautiful flowers and after seeing little more than white and brown for months, their color is truly a sight for sore eyes.

Don’t forget that fall is the only time you can plant wonderful spring-blooming bulbs. Plant them now, and you’ll surely be happy you did once spring rolls around. We have a stunning selection including tulips, daffodils, crocus, hyacinth, iris, and alliums.

The best time to feed bulbs is when you plant them, since it’s the only time you can get nutrients directly under the bulbs in the root zone. We recommend Espoma Bulb-tone, which is a natural, slow-release fertilizer that provides all the nutrients necessary for bulbs to produce their best flowers.

What happened when the cat ate a ball of wool?
She had mittens.

Scarecrow Workshop Fun

David & Kelsey show off their scarecrow to their grandparents!
Click for Larger Image

Scarecrow making is great family fun! Young and old can participate. There’s something for everyone to do and each person can choose to help out a little or a lot! You can all delight in seeing your efforts come together to make a completely unique, one-of-a-kind character.

Once home, it can take on a personality all its own and you can even give it a name. Whenever you pass it, you’ll be reminded of the fun time you had crafting it together and you can proudly say, “Hey, we made that!”

Why did the scarecrow win the Nobel Prize?
He was outstanding in his field.

Fall Decoration Bundles

Now that the weather is starting to feel more like fall, why not pick up a fall bundle to set the scene? Each bundle includes a corn shock, bale of straw, and either one or three mums of any colors you choose. This makes decorating so easy. You can also pick up some pumpkins, gourds, “Indian” corn, and scarecrows to really complete the scene. Embrace the change of season by making your front door or yard more festive!

50% Off Perennials, Trees, and Shrubs

This week all perennials, trees, and shrubs are now 50% off! This is part of our progressive sale, in which the percentage off increases by 10% each week. Take advantage of this sale now to allow plants more time to become established before winter.

This offer excludes mums and asters and is not valid on previous purchases or custom orders. There is no warranty on perennials, trees, and shrubs purchased through the remainder of the season.

What is a tree’s favorite drink?
Root beer.

America’s Best Flowers Fundraising Program

Did you know that America’s Best Flowers has a fundraising program for non-profit organizations?  It is such an easy, straight forward and profitable fundraiser, that many non-profit organizations participate year after year.

Most fundraisers sell products that people don’t really want or need, and in order to realize a profit, the cost of the item is usually inflated. This one is different! Click here to see how!

What’s round and bad-tempered?
A vicious circle.

Vote for us in Best of Madison!

We’ve been nominated for a chance to be the Best of Madison!

This annual poll conducted by Madison Magazine allows voters to choose their favorites in a variety of categories. Last year, we got 2nd place in the Lawn, Garden, and Landscape category and we hope to get your vote this year as the best garden center around.

We strive to live up to our name, so if you like (or love!) what we do, please vote for us! You can vote once a day, every day through October 17, so please vote often! Click here to vote!

Father: I see from your report that you’re not doing so well in history. Why is that?
Son: I can’t help it. The teacher keeps asking me about things that happened before I was born.

Indoor Flea Market Vendor Info

Our final flea market for the season is October 17th 9-3, and this time, it’s indoors! Protected from wind and cold, you can to turn your garage and basement clutter into cold hard cash! Flea markets are fun and easy to participate in! Just bring your treasures out to the greenhouse, display them like you would for a garage sale, sit back and sell.  That’s all it takes!

And, for the first time at our flea market, the lovely people from School Grounds Café will be selling their fine coffee and assorted pastries!

If interested in participating, click here for more information.

When everything is coming your way… you’re in the wrong lane.

Feedback on our New Website

Our new website is almost done! We would still like your feedback as we continue to tweak it, so please let us know the good and the bad, by emailing Ed at Please specify in your email if you are viewing it on a computer or smartphone. Thanks!

What do bees do with their honey?
They cell it.

Ask Irene: Bird of Paradise

Q: My bird of paradise is looking terrible; it is covered with white webs. It’s actually at my husband’s office so I haven’t seen it in awhile. I wonder if there’s any saving it?

A: The bird of paradise has spider mites. They like hot and dry conditions and are common houseplant pests. I would wipe the leaves down with a damp cloth or paper towels, removing as much of the webbing as possible. If it were possible, a shower or strong spray of water in a utility sink would do the job. Occasional spraying with a strong stream of water is quite effective mite control, so if there is any way to do that routinely at the office, go for it.

You can also use a horticultural oil like neem oil or insecticidal soap — something listed for treating spider mites. The oil can be messy inside, so I recommend putting some on a towel & wiping the leaves front & back, rather than spraying. However, you may need to spray a bit to get down into the folds where new leaves unfurl at the base of the plant. Be prepared to do a few treatments every few weeks to knock back the population. Follow label directions. It’s definitely worth saving, in my opinion. I love birds of paradise! Has it ever bloomed for you?

Good luck,

We want you to be successful in your gardening efforts. Please send any questions you have to Irene, at She’ll give you solid advice from years of gardening experience.

Upcoming Events

Sat, Sep 19 – Sun, Oct 18
Scarecrow Days

Mon-Fri 10am-4pm
Sat-Sun 10am-4pm
Bring family and friends out to build one-of-a-kind scarecrow(s).

Sat, Oct 17
Flea Market

9am-3pm – Rain or Shine

Sat, Oct 17 – Sun, Nov 15
Miniature Garden Container Workshop

10am-3pm Every Weekend – FREE soil and assistance. Create a beautiful miniature garden in our greenhouse. Customers may bring in their own EMPTY containers, but all accessories must be purchased from America’s Best Flowers.

Sat, Nov 21 – Sun, Nov 22
Holiday Porch Pot Workshop

9am-3pm Create a festive porch pot for the holiday season. Customers may bring in their own EMPTY containers, but all accessories must be purchased from America’s Best Flowers. Pre-Registration Appreciated.

Sat, Dec 5
Wreath Workshop

9am-3pm Design and create a holiday wreath that will cheerfully welcome all holiday guests. All accessories must be purchased from America’s Best Flowers. Pre-Registration Appreciated.

Sun, Dec 6
Holiday Centerpiece Workshop

9am-3pm Add that finishing touch to your holiday table with a festive holiday centerpiece! All accessories must be purchased from America’s Best Flowers. Pre-Registration Appreciated.

Good Sleep & Worry-free Pills

Tom had this problem of getting up late in the morning and was always late for work.
His boss was mad at him and threatened to fire him if he didn’t do something about it.
So Tom went to his doctor who gave him a pill and told him to take it before he went to bed.
Tom slept well and in fact beat the alarm in the morning.
He had a leisurely breakfast and drove cheerfully to work.
“Boss”, he said, “The pill actually worked!”
“That’s all fine” said the boss, “But where were you yesterday?”

Our Kitchen

Last week I shared a recipe for Sauce Soubise (Onion Sauce) with you.  A few weeks ago I used it, with a few changes, as a base for a carrot casserole.  I first tasted this recipe on Jim’s and my trip to Canada in August to visit friends.  It was so yummy I asked for the recipe.  The first week we were back there was one of our legendary neighborhood potlucks, so I decided to make it and see what everyone thought.  Four people asked me for the recipe, including Jeff, who many consider one of the best cooks present.  So I decided perhaps you would enjoy having the recipe, too.  Enjoy!

Carrot Casserole

Recipe as it was given to me – see below for how I actually made it
a happy carrot
  • 6 C sliced raw carrots, I used a mandolin slicer
  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 T butter
  • ½ t salt
  • ¼ t pepper
  • ½ C shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 box chicken flavored Stove Top stuffing, unprepared
  • ½ C butter, melted

Boil carrots in salted water until almost cooked.  Drain.

Sauté onion in butter until tender.  Do not brown.

Add onion, soup, salt, pepper and shredded cheese to carrots.  Mix well.

Pour into greased baking dish.  Top with Stove Top. Spread evenly. Drizzle melted butter evenly over top.

Bake uncovered 30-40 min at 325 (glass) or 350 (metal)

Carrot Casserole (as Bev made it)

  • 6 C sliced raw carrots, I used a mandolin slicer
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 4 T butter
  • 2 T flour
  • ½ t salt
  • 1 t dill weed, dried; 1 T fresh
  • ¼ – ½ t black pepper
  • 1 C whole milk
  • ¼ – ½ C Half n Half
  • 1 C shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 box chicken flavored Stove Top stuffing, unprepared
  • 4 T butter, melted

Boil carrots in salted water until almost cooked.  Drain.

Cook onions in 2 T butter until soft.  Do Not Brown.  About 12 – 15 minutes.

Melt 2 T butter in a heavy 3 qt saucepan.  Add flour and seasonings.  Cook over low heat 3-4 minutes.

Gradually whisk in milk.  Cook over medium heat until mixture thickens.  Cook an additional 2 minutes, stirring constantly.  Stir in ¼ C Half n Half and cheese.  Stir well until melted.  Mixture should resemble medium thick gravy.  Add additional Half n Half if too thick.  Stir in cooked onions. Mix. Add cooked carrots.  Toss to mix.  Pour into 9 x 13 baking dish.  Top with Stove Top.  Drizzle with 4 T melted butter.

Bake at 325 (glass) or 350 (metal) for 30-40 min – until brown and crunchy.