Al’s Favorite Annuals for 2010

Newsletter 24 – Thursday, August 26, 2010

"There can be no other occupation like gardening in which,
if you were to creep up behind someone at their work,
you would find them smiling."

Mirabel Osler

Almost every morning I stop at a convenience store that’s between home and work to get a cup of coffee.  But yesterday I had to go to the post office first, so I went to a different one.  After I filled my cup, took it to the counter, and paid, the clerk looked at me and said, “See you tomorrow.”  It actually stopped me in my tracks.  I told him I didn’t usually stop there, but even though I’ve stopped for coffee hundreds of time other places, it was the first time anyone had said that to me.  He grinned and said, “But now you want to come here tomorrow, right?”  And he was.

As I drove on to work, I realized what a perfect story this was for the newsletter.  At America’s Best Flowers we pride ourselves on building personal relationships with our customers, and we try very hard to always invite you to come back.  But often the last thing we say might be, “Have a nice day,” or just simply “Thank you.”  And while we truly mean these things, they’re just not the same as a personal invitation.  You are always welcome here.  The greenhouses are open throughout the season for you to enjoy.  So for all the times we didn’t say it, “See you tomorrow!”

Medical Definitions:

‘Ultrasound’ – radical noise

Mums Galore

Imagine brilliant mums and asters filling your patios, porches and beds with stunning fall color.  Our fields are overflowing with thousands of early, mid and late blooming mums in more than 30 shades of white, yellow, gold, bronze, red, burgundy, pink and purple.  We grow our mums in deep pots resulting in very large plants.  You have to see them to believe how full of bloom these beauties are!  Once you do, we know you’ll agree we grow the most beautiful mums in town.

‘Cat Scan’ – Searching for a lost kitten.

Double Dollars

Beautiful plants at tremendous savings await you at America’s Best Flowers.  Trees, shrubs and perennials are 40% off.  Annuals and hanging baskets are Buy 1 Get 1 Free.  Shop now and get DOUBLE ABF DOLLARS on all purchases through the end of the month. These dollars can be redeemed during Dollar Days, September 11 thru 19, for up to half your purchase on anything we sell, including our fabulous mums.

‘Tumor’ – extra pair

Al’s Favorites from 2010

As much as time and space allow I grow several of our annuals in my own yard to check on how they perform.  My favorites this year are:


#1a – Impatiens ‘Sunpatiens’ – looks like a New Guinea impatiens but grows in full sun – These are vigorous, flower non-stop and require no special care.


Geranium - Calliope Dark Red

#1b – Geranium ‘Calliope Dark Red’ – Great bloom, super color and disease-free foliage.  The best container plant I used in 2010.

Heliotrope - Scentropia Blue

#3 – Heliotrope ‘Scentropia Blue’ – No annual has a better scent.  This variety bloomed well, the foliage stayed disease free, and the blue color is excellent.


#4 – Bracteanthia (Straw Flower) ‘Strawburst Yellow’ –Clean foliage and season long bloom with large, bright yellow flowers.  The only straw flower I’ve ever been impressed by.

Honeydew Melon 'Lambkin'

#5 – Melon Honeydew ‘Lambkin’ – I liked it last year in a cool July and it is just as good this year in the heat.  Good yield, even better flavor.

We are very fortunate to have the West Madison Agricultural Research Station right here in Verona.  This station is open to the public, and we encourage you to take advantage of all they have to offer. This UW Demonstration Garden allows us to see how hundreds of plant varieties are doing on a regular basis. 

In addition, every year we visit trial gardens throughout the country to see how thousands more are performing.  This information, combined with our experiences, help us decide what America’s best flowers really are and which ones we will grow for you in the future.  You can help by letting us know your favorites (and/or disappointments) from your own yard and garden.  Email me at  Thanks for your help – Al Lunde

‘False Labor’ – pretending to work

Green Giant Arborvitae

The Living Fence

If you are looking for a fast growing natural screen for your yard we have the answer.  Green Giant Arborvitae easily grows into a thick, compact privacy screen. Once established, this drought tolerant evergreen can grow 2-3 feet per year, quickly screening out neighbors or unsightly areas without taking much yard space.  And do we have a deal for you – Buy One Get One FREE or better yet, Buy Two Get Three FREE, and best of all Buy Four Get Six FREE.  Ten will make a screen about 50 feet long. Offer good while supplies last.

‘Genes’ – blue denim pants

FREE Russian Sage

The Latin name Perovskia atriplicifolia is such a mouthful for this 1995 Perennial Plant of the Year.  Large sprays of small light blue flowers atop the signature upright gray-green foliage of this plant bloom in August and September.  This hardy garden standby requires little attention, growing well in hot dry locations.  It’s great in the border garden and attracts butterflies.  Now is the perfect time to give this plant a try.  We are giving one Russian Sage free with a $20 purchase while supplies last.

‘Microbes’ – small dressing gowns

Find us on Facebook

Our fan club is growing. Please become a fan on Facebook, and invite your friends. Help us get one thousand fans and surprises will await you when you visit our page.

‘Lactose’ – a person without digits on the foot

Art in the Garden

We invite everyone to America’s Best Flowers “Art in the Garden Event” on Saturday, September, 18, 2010  from 9 to 4.  Join us for a one-of-a-kind shopping experience that features local artisans and crafters displaying and selling their merchandise in an indoor garden setting. This is a perfect opportunity to shop local and get a jump on holiday shopping with these unique items.  We are accepting applications for vendors for this free event. If you or someone you know is interested, please contact us at 608-222-2269 or email Jesse at

‘Benign’ – what you be after you be eight

Mark Your Calendars

Scarecrow Days

Fall is fast approaching, and with it September Dollar Days, Art in the Garden and Scarecrow Days.  We know the next few weeks can get busy, so mark your calendars today so you don’t miss these great activities.

Upcoming Events

Sat, Sep 18
Art in the Garden

9 AM – 4 PM Local artisans and crafters will be displaying and selling their merchandise

‘Cortisone’ – area around local courthouse.


For all you salsa makers out there, our new cilantro crop is ready to go.

Bonnie’s Kitchen

Zucchini time is here once again! It’s healthy and low calorie. 1 cup of zucchini, chopped with skin has 17 calories, 1.4 g protein, total fat of 0.17 g and 1.5 g of fiber. It’s also a good source of Vitamin C.

Zucchini, Corn, Black-Bean, and Jack-Cheese Quesadillas

The grated zucchini and defrosted corn that fill these quesadillas contain a lot of moisture. Drain them on paper towels for a few minutes before using; otherwise, you’ll end up with soggy tortillas. Serve the quesadillas with spicy salsa. Serves 4 Quesadillas
  • 1 small zucchini, grated and drained (about 1 cup)
  • 1 cup defrosted frozen corn, drained
  • 1 small red onion, chopped
  • 2 jalapeno peppers, seeds and ribs removed, chopped
  • 1 can (15 oz.) black beans, drained and rinsed
  • ½ t salt
  • ¼ t freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 t chili powder
  • ¾ lb. Monterey Jack, grated
  • 8 large (burrito-size) flour tortillas
  • 2 T cooking oil

In a large bowl, combine the zucchini, corn, onion, jalapeños, beans, salt, pepper, and chili powder. Toss gently to distribute the seasonings and then stir in the cheese.

Heat the oven to 200°. Set the tortillas on a work surface. Put about 1/3 cup of the filling on one half of each tortilla. Spread the filling to the edge and then fold the tortilla over the filling.

In a large nonstick frying pan, heat 1/2 tablespoon of the oil over moderate heat. Add two of the quesadillas to the pan and cook, turning once, until the cheese melts, about 1 1/2 minutes per side. Remove from the pan and keep warm on a baking sheet in the oven. Repeat in batches with the remaining oil and quesadillas. Cut the quesadillas in wedges and serve.

Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread

This is a recipe I tried from Paula Deen of Food TV. It’s a good twist on zucchini bread. Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ t baking powder
  • 1 t salt
  • ½ t ground cinnamon
  • ½ t ground nutmeg
  • 1 t baking soda
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 t vanilla extract
  • 2 cups grated zucchini
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 T orange zest
  • Whipped cream for serving
  • Zucchini ribbons for serving

Preheat oven to 350°. Grease two 9X5” loaf pans. Sift together flour, baking powder, salt, spices and baking soda.  In a large bowl, beat eggs until light and fluffy.  Add sugar, and continue beating until well blended.  Stir in oil, vanilla, zucchini, pecans, chocolate ships and orange zest.  Stir in sifted ingredients.  Pour into prepared loaf pans.


Bake for 50 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. Remove loaves from pans and cool. Chill before slicing. Serve with whipped cream and ribbons of zucchini.

Hearing Problems

A man told his doctor,
“I don’t think my wife’s hearing is as good as it used to be.
What should I do?”
The doctor replied, “Try this test.
When your wife is at the sink doing dishes,
stand fifteen feet behind her and ask a question.
If she doesn’t respond, keep moving closer,
asking the same question until she hears you.

The man went home and saw his wife preparing dinner.
Standing fifteen feet behind her,
He said “What’s for dinner, honey?”
Hearing no reply, he moved up to ten feet behind her
And repeated the question.
Still no reply, so he moved to five feet.
Still no reply.
Finally he stood directly behind her and said
“Honey, what’s for dinner tonight?”

You’d better get your hearing checked.”

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