Art in the Garden this Saturday

Newsletter 31 – Thursday, September 12, 2013

Monday – Friday

Saturday – Sunday

Note:  Beginning 9/16 we will be open daily from 9am-6pm

Featured Plant of the Week – Spirea

Spirea 'Neon Flash'
Spirea ‘Neon Flash’
Click for Larger Image

The spirea is a small to medium sized shrub that is easy to grow, low maintenance and produces cascades of flowers in spring and summer.  How perfect is that?  They are used often as hedges and in perennial gardens.  Any variety of a spirea is just an all around wonderful shrub. 

We are featuring the Renaissance, Gold Flame, Magic Carpet and Neon Flash in 3-gallon size containers this week.  Please check out those links to see the flower and foliage colors of each variety.

As always the featured plant of the week is 20% off while supplies last!

Art in the Garden

By Jesse Steinke

Arts and Crafts!

Imagine being a visitor to your home.  A rainbow of colorful mums greets you as you start up the sidewalk.  Halfway to the door a friendly scarecrow shouts a welcome from its perch atop a straw bale.  Jack-O-Lanterns smile from their sentry positions by the door.  And then so do you as you step inside onto a bright homespun welcome mat and see the wonderful display of seasonal decorations filling nooks and crannies everywhere.   What a delightful world you’ve entered. A world apart from the hectic one you’ve left behind.  A world of beauty, color and whimsy.

This doesn’t have to be a dream.  America’s Best Flowers can help you make it a reality.  Our fourth annual Art in the Garden will allow you the opportunity to meet local artisans and crafters as they offer handmade items in a beautiful garden setting.  From 9 to 3 this Saturday, September 14, we will provide a one-of-a-kind shopping experience where you can choose from a selection of unique products created by members of your own community. 

At last count we had more than 30 vendors, providing a wide range of products, including seasonal decorations, jewelry, glasswork, photography, paper crafts, textiles, alpaca wool, gourd art, and much, much more.  What a perfect opportunity to personalize your home décor while you support your local economy.

And if you get hungry…

The Cottage Grove Boy Scout Troop 210 will be here bright and early on Saturday serving an assortment of tasty breakfast and lunch items along with hot and cold beverages for their troop fundraiser. 

Your Fall Bulbs have arrived!

September is the time to plant bulbs for next spring’s bloom. Our fall bulbs have arrived. Tulips, daffodils, crocus, hyacinth, allium, iris and more are just waiting for you to take them home.  Remember, bulbs are an investment in the future.

When you plant your bulbs is the perfect opportunity to dig in a generous amount of plant food. It’s your only chance to get the nutrients the bulbs need for maximum flowering directly under the bulbs in the root zone of your plants.  This year we are featuring Espoma Bulb Tone and Bone Meal.

Q: How does a scarecrow drink from a cup?
A: With a straw.

Are you ready for Scarecrow Days?

This scarecrow has gleefully abandoned his namesake and made peace with the crows
Scarecrows are terrifying. Just ask the crow.

Scarecrow time is creeping up on us at America’s Best Flowers (Cottage Grove location).  We will be stuffing straw from 10am to 5pm from Monday – Friday and 10am – 4pm on Saturday & Sunday, beginning Saturday, Sept. 21 and running through Saturday Oct. 12.  There is a nominal fee for the scarecrow kit and garage sale prices on the clothing (or bring clothes from home). 

Set your lovely or scary creation on a straw bale, use a few corn stalks for background and surround the whole scene with brilliant mums, fountain grass and pumpkins, and you’ll have a fabulous fall display.

If you live in the Edgerton area stop at our Edgerton location at, 1101 N. Main St, from 10am-2pm on Saturday, September 28 or October 12 to build your one-of-a-kind scarecrow.

For groups of 5 or more, please call ahead 608-222-2269 (or 608-884-8120 for Edgerton).  This will allow us to plan ahead and have enough staff available for your group. 

Come on out and have yourself a hay-day! 


One spring afternoon, I came home to find two little girls on the steps of my building. Both were crying hard, shedding big tears.
Thinking they might be hurt, I dropped my briefcase and quickly went over to them. "Are you all right?" I asked.
Still sobbing, one held up her doll. "My baby’s arm came off," she said.
I took the doll and its disjointed arm.
After a little effort and luck, the doll was again whole.
"Thank you." Came a whisper.
Next looking into the tearful eyes of her friend, I asked, "and what’s the matter with you, young lady?"
She wiped her cheeks. "I was helping her cry," she said.

Hey kids, want to make a bird feeder?

Come on out to our Make and Take Bird Feeder Workshop on Saturday, September 28, from 10am – 12pm.  We’ll have pine cones, sticks, cheerios, pipe cleaners and birdseed for you to use to create your very own bird feeder.  There is a nominal fee for this workshop. Prices range from $2.00 – $4.00 per feeder.

Not only will you have fun, but you’ll make the birds very, very happy!

P.S. We will not be using peanut butter.

Send Al your gardening questions!

America’s Best Flowers wants to help you succeed in your gardening efforts. If you have gardening questions send an email to Al Lunde, at Al will get back to you promptly.

How to Tell the Weather

Go to your back door and look for the dog.
If the dog is at the door and he is wet, it’s probably raining. But if the dog is standing there really soaking wet, it is probably raining really hard.
If the dog’s fur looks like it’s been rubbed the wrong way, it’s probably windy.
If the dog has snow on his back, it’s probably snowing.
Of course, to be able to tell the weather like this, you have to leave the dog outside all the time, especially if you expect bad weather.

Lucy’s Story – Chapter 22

Warm Lucy
Lucy engaged in valiant battle with the heat
Click for Larger Image

Lucy doesn’t like hot weather!  She is a black (and beautiful) dog that absorbs just too much heat.   Hubby and I watch her very closely in this hot, awful, miserable, muggy weather.

Gosh, Lucy will go outside for just a few minutes and she is dragging both her tongue and her tail in no time flat.  Then it’s back into the house for a drink of ice water.  (Yes, in this weather Lucy has ice cubes in her water bowl.)

We have ceiling fans and floor fans that usually do the trick.  Hubby and I can tolerate the warmer weather, so having the fans blow warm air around, well, we’re okay with that.  But the minute we see signs that it’s getting too warm for Lucy, well, on goes the A/C.

Yes, we are a bit overprotective, but please don’t judge us!  If you knew Lucy like we know Lucy you’d do the same!

`til next time,
    ~ Shirley

Raisin cookies that look like chocolate chip cookies are the main reason I have trust issues.

Upcoming Events

Sat, Sep 14
Art in the Garden

9am – 3pm – Talented artists display and sell their unique items.

Sat, Sep 21 – Sun, Oct 13
Scarecrow Days

M-F 10-5PM / Sat – Sun 10-4PM

Sat, Sep 28
Make & Take Bird Feeders

10am – 12pm – Kids come out & build a bird feeder for your feathered friends.

Sat, Oct 19
Flea Market

8am – 3pm – Rain or Shine

Sat, Oct 19 – Sun, Nov 17
Miniature Garden Workshops

10am – 3pm Every weekend (Saturday and Sunday) – Make a mini garden in a terrarium or planter of your choice.

Sat, Nov 23 – Sun, Nov 24
Holiday Porch Pot Workshop

9am – 3pm – Pre-Registration Appreciated (Not Required)

Our Kitchen

This recipe appeared on my Facebook page a few days before a co-worker’s birthday.  Because it was very different from the other birthday cakes I’ve made this year, I decided to give it a try.  It was a very big hit.  Big enough, in fact, that I made another one last Friday and took it up to our grandkids.  It was a home football game.  Our twin senior boys are both starters on a winning team, so I baked in advance of the celebration I knew was coming.  (Final score 63 – 7, one grandson scored two touchdowns, the other too many tackles to count). 

The best recommendation for this cake, though, came from the wonderful girlfriend Jim and I had the chance to meet that day.  After her lips closed around the first forkful, her eyes went shut, there was a slight moan and then, “that is soooo good!” Hope you enjoy this as much as she did!

Peanut Butter Cake With Peanut Butter Frosting

  • 2¼ cups flour
  • 1 t baking powder
  • ½ t baking soda
  • 2 cups light brown sugar (packed)
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • ½ cup butter (room temperature)
  • 2 t vanilla
  • 3 eggs
  • 1¼ cup milk

Preheat your oven to 350 and grease and flour a 10 x 15 cake pan. In a small mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder and soda, set aside. In large mixing bowl mix brown sugar, peanut butter and butter. Add eggs and vanilla. Mix well. Alternate dry ingredients and milk, mixing well after each addition.  Beat at medium speed for 3 minutes.

Pour into prepared pan and bake, in the middle of your oven, for 35-40 minutes or until the toothpick test comes out clean.

Let the cake cool (in the pan) for 10 minutes, then spread the frosting on the hot cake (recipe follows) and sprinkle one cup of mini-chocolate chips over the frosting.

Peanut Butter-Honey Frosting

  • ½ c peanut butter
  • 2 T honey
  • 1 t vanilla
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 4-5 T milk

Warm the peanut butter and honey in the microwave just until it gets soft and easy to stir, then add everything else and beat until smooth. Spread over hot cake and sprinkle with one cup of mini-chocolate chips.

NOTE: You might like to double the frosting — but still only use one cup of mini-chocolate chips.

I did not make the above frosting. I think the pour-over-the-cake-while-it’s-still-hot-type of recipes are best served warm.  I used a basic peanut butter cream frosting from the cook book, Cake Doctor by Anne Byrn.  I highly recommend this cookbook.  She starts with a cake mix, but ends up with delicious baked-from-scratch flavor every time.

Peanut Butter Frosting

By Anne Byrn

Peanut Butter Frosting

  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, at room temperature
  • 2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons milk
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Place the peanut butter and butter in a large mixing bowl. Blend with an electric mixer on low speed until fluffy, 30 seconds. Stop the machine. Add the confectioners’ sugar, 3 tablespoons milk, and the vanilla. Blend with the mixer on low speed until the sugar is well combined, 1 minute. Increase the speed to medium and beat until the frosting lightens and is fluffy, 1 minute more. Blend in up to 1 tablespoon milk if the frosting seems too stiff.

Use at once to frost a cake of choice.

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