Celebrate the Spring!

Newsletter 8 – Thursday, April 4, 2013

Current Hours

Monday – Friday


Flavorful herbs coming to your neighborhood!

Besides the fact that it’s so easy to grow your own herbs, it’s just way cool to walk out your back door and snip a little rosemary, thyme, oregano or basil (and the list goes on) for your fabulous recipes.    Don’t forget about the parsley and the chive to toss in a tasty green salad.

Come on out this weekend, Saturday and Sunday, April 6-7, from 10am-4pm for our herb container garden workshop.  We’ll show you how easy it is to do-it-yourself!  You are welcome to bring your own containers from home (minus any potting soil or dirt of any kind).  Or you can choose from our wide variety of colors, shapes and sizes of containers to plant your herb garden in.



You’ve never been to one of our workshops?  Hey, don’t let the ‘work’ word scare you.  In fact, we have so much fun with our customers that we should name them container fun-shops!  We have several types of container workshops throughout the year, but this coming weekend is for your flavorful herb garden.

This is how you do it.  Come out to our beautiful greenhouse and pick out the flowers, herbs or plants that you want in your container.  Take your medley of colors and textures, along with your container to our designated container workshop area, and let the fun and mess begin.  We fill your pots with FREE potting soil and then you do the planting.  Our FREE potting soil is the same high quality potting soil that America’s Best Flowers uses in all our plants. Did we mention that, just like mom used to do, we’ll clean up your mess?

The hardest part is deciding what herb, plant or flower you want to plant in your container, so if that is considered work, well, you can probably handle that, right?

Strange Wisconsin Laws

State law made it illegal to serve apple pie in public restaurants without cheese.
Car dealers cannot sell cars on Sunday.

For all of you sun coleus lovers!

Hort Couture's Under the Sea (Sun) Coleus
Hort Couture’s Under the Sea (Sun) Coleus
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Our Hort Couture, Under the Sea Sun Coleus is here and looking good.  Sea for yourself!

Did you know that coleus can grow inside during the cold season?  Just put it in a bright window area and watch it grow.

In La Crosse, it is illegal to “worry a squirrel.”

America’s Best Flowers
2013 Shade Tree Program

We get it!  It’s tough to imagine sitting under a shade tree when there is still snow on the ground.  That is exactly why we’ve extended the deadline for ordering a shade tree to April 8!

Early spring is the perfect time to plant larger shade trees. We are offering 4 popular varieties this year at a special price that includes free delivery and planting (price good within a 10 mile radius of Cottage Grove or Edgerton). Trees must be pre-ordered and prepaid by April 8. To take advantage of this offer, call America’s Best Flowers in Cottage Grove at 608-222-2269.

River Birch (clump form) 1½” diameter trunk– 12-14’ tall – $229.99

A native birch with very attractive, exfoliating bark varying from cinnamon brown to parchment. Interesting effect in the winter. Resistant to bronze birch borer. Golden-yellow fall color. Tolerates a wide range of soil conditions but prefers a slightly acidic soil. 40’ tall by 30’ wide at maturity.

Autumn Blaze Maple
Autumn Blaze Maple
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Autumn Blaze Maple1½” trunk diameter – 12’ tall – $229.99

A hybrid cross of red and silver maple, with a more refined shape and incredible fall color. Summer green leaves turn ruby red in fall, but the interesting thing is the underside of the leaves is pink. This plant tolerates dry areas or areas that can be wet. Very adaptable and fast growing. Super fall color. 45’ tall by 35’ wide at maturity.

Skyline Honey Locust
Skyline Honey Locust
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Skyline Honey Locust1½” trunk diameter – 12’ tall – $229.99

The most popular honey locust. It’s upright, spreading branch angles give it a distinctive pyramidal form. Has a strong, sturdy trunk. Provides excellent filtered shade. Yellow foliage in the fall – seedless. 45’ tall by 30’ wide at maturity.

Autumn Brilliance Serviceberry
Autumn Brilliance Serviceberry
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Autumn Brilliance Serviceberry1½” trunk diameter – 10’ tall – $229.99

An excellent, smaller tree with all-season interest. Showy white flowers in spring followed by purple edible fruit in June. Glossy blue-green leaves turn brilliant red-orange in the fall. Smooth gray stems. 20’ tall by 15’ wide at maturity.

Potato Salad Anyone?

Pick up your onion sets and seed potatoes at America’s Best Flowers this weekend.

In Racine, it is illegal to wake a fireman when he is asleep.

Can you dig it?

Or are your gardening tools too dull and rusty?  Don, from Universal Saw & Tool Sharpening, will be here both Saturday and Sunday, April 13 -14, from 10am-4pm and will, for a nominal fee (collected by Don) sharpen those dull garden tools, lawn mower blades, tin snips, and more.  Look for our signs in the parking lot directing you to the drop off area. 

Don will be able to sharpen most items while you are enjoying your time at the greenhouse.  For more difficult sharpening Don may need to take your items back to his shop.  They may then be picked up at America’s Best Flowers the following week.

We’re still looking for young and talented kids!

This summer we would like to offer a venue for the young and musically talented!  Our Music in the Garden event will be a great opportunity for kids to perform in a casual outdoor setting.  The dates for this event are Saturday, June 29 and Saturday, July 27.

If you know of a group or a solo artist that would like to perform at our greenhouse please contact Shirley at abfscimino@yahoo.com.

Lucy’s story – chapter 3

I made the call to Angel’s Wish and set up an appointment to meet her.  I arrived at her foster home on a beautiful day in June and met her fabulous foster mom, Marge.  Inside the huge airy garage area was a fenced in area where Lucy’s remaining eight puppies were frolicking.  I didn’t stand there very long because we all know how puppies make you go ‘awww’ and then you want to hold one and then you get the puppy breath lick and then you want to take that one home with you.  Nope, I stayed strong! 

Marge took me out to her large and active back yard.  There were a few other dogs and puppies romping around.  Slowly around the corner she came walking toward us with a rather hesitant wagging of her tail.  She looked so much better than her original picture.  She had put on weight and her fur had grown back.  We walked toward each other…

`til next time,
    ~ Shirley

Strange Laws in Milwaukee, Wisconsin

An old ordinance forbids parking for over two hours unless a horse is tied to the car.
It is also against the law to play a flute and drums on the streets to attract attention.

Upcoming Events

Sat, Apr 6 – Sun, Apr 7
Herb Container Workshop

10am – 4pm – FREE soil and assistance. Create an herb container garden. Bring in your own containers or buy some of ours.

Sat, Apr 13
Make & Take Terrarium Workshop

10am – 4pm – FREE soil and assistance. Create your own terrarium. Bring in your own terrarium container or buy one of ours.

Sat, Apr 13 – Sun, Apr 14
Universal Saw & Tool Sharpening

10am -4pm – Get those tools ready for easier gardening.

Sun, Apr 14
Make & Take Miniature Garden Workshop

10am – 4pm – FREE soil and assistance. Create your own miniature garden. Bring in your own containers or buy some of ours.

Sat, Apr 20 – Sun, Apr 21
Open House & New Plants

We have your all-time favorite plants plus our new line of Hort Couture plants!

Sat, Apr 27
Earth Day Celebration

10am – 2pm FREE children’s activities . Bring a white T-shirt to paint, make seed balls, plant cat grass, and more.

Our Kitchen

By Bev Wilson

Our monthly potlucks are off and running.  Seems the cooks keep getting better and better.  One of our younger associates surprised us all with the following delicious recipe.  A great vegetarian take on an American favorite.  Hope you enjoy!! 

Lauren’s Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie

  • 2 lbs. Russet or Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled
  • 1 whole garlic clove, peeled
  • 1 cup (1/2 lb.) dry brown lentils
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 cup diced carrots*
  • 1 cup diced celery*
  • 1 cup frozen peas*
  • 1 cup frozen corn*
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • ¼ cup fresh chopped parsley, divided
  • ½ can cream of mushroom soup
  • ¾ tsp dried oregano
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • ½ cup milk
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • Salt and pepper
  • Nonstick cooking oil spray
  • Grated cheddar cheese for topping

*20 oz bag (approx 4 cups) of frozen mixed vegetables can be substituted for carrots, celery, peas and corn.

Place peeled potatoes in a pot along with one whole garlic clove. Cover with plenty of water. Bring to a boil on the stovetop, then reduce heat to medium so the potatoes continue to simmer. Let the potatoes cook for 25-30 minutes till fork tender.

Meanwhile, rinse lentils and put into a pot with bay leaf. Cover with 3 cups of water and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to a simmer and let the lentils cook about 30 minutes till just tender.  Remove from heat. Drain any excess water.

While potatoes and lentils are cooking, heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add diced onion to the skillet and sauté for 5-6 minutes until softened.    Add the diced carrots and celery (or frozen veggies if using). Continue to sauté for 5-6 more minutes till the vegetables are tender-crisp.    Add peas, corn, crushed garlic, 3 T chopped parsley, cream of mushroom soup, oregano, and cayenne pepper to the skillet. Stir and sauté for 3-4 minutes more till the vegetables are tender and fragrant.  Add to cooked, drained lentils. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Drain the cooked potatoes, mash with milk and butter till smooth and creamy. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Lightly spray a 2 quart baking dish with Pam. Spread the lentil mixture in an even layer on the bottom of the dish.  Spread mashed potatoes on top of the mixture, forming peaks with spoon or fork. Top with cheddar cheese.  Bake for about 30 minutes until the tips of the potatoes turn golden brown. Sprinkle the remaining 1 tbsp of chopped parsley on top of the pie for garnish. Serves 9.

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