Colorful Weekend at the Greenhouse

Newsletter 8 – Thursday, April 10, 2014

Open Hours

Our Cottage Grove location will be open from 9-6 Monday through Saturday and 9-5 on Sundays.  We will be closed for Easter to allow our associates to spend time with family.

Lucy’s Story – Chapter 44

Lucy laying on the bed
Lucy the Submarine
Click for Larger Image

I got busted!  After I tell you what happened I’m sure you will agree I made the right decision.   

When my mom goes to bed I go to bed.  When my mom gets up I get up. You see where I’m going here?

When I go to bed I first sleep with my mom and dad for a while.  Then I go to the hard wood floor and sleep there for a while.  Then I go to my bed, which is located on the floor right next to my mom’s side of the bed, and sleep there for a while.  Or sometimes, I go to my bed first and then to the hard wood floor.  The only consistency to my nighttime sleep habits is that I always end up in my bed in the early hours of the morning.  Why?  Well, in the morning my mom always reaches down and pets me ever so gently and talks very quietly to me.  I wouldn’t miss this for the biggest pig’s ear in the world!

So last Saturday night I overheard my mom ask my dad if he would make me breakfast in the morning so that my mom could sleep in for a while cause she was really tired.  Of course, my dad said, ‘Absolutely!’

Knowing that my mom wanted to sleep in, the next morning I went around to my dad’s side of the bed and quietly let him know that it was time to get up.  So, like a good dad up he got and went into the kitchen to make me breakfast.

Well, I started to follow my dad out of the bedroom. Then I turned and looked at my mom all by herself in bed and, well, I did what every good, sweet, and adoring dog would do.  I got back up into bed with her.  (I kinda took over my dad’s recently deserted spot.)

All of a sudden I heard my dad in the bedroom doorway say, ‘Lucy, you are so busted!’

But what was I to do…leave her all alone?  I think not!


Spring Flower Show

Put the tax forms and the calculator down and take a break! Come on out to America’s Best Flowers Spring Flower Show (AKA Open House). Join us for a hot dog and popcorn from 11 – 3 PM on Saturday and Sunday, April 12-13.

Relax and take a stroll through our twenty greenhouses full of nature’s beauty.  We have pansys, snapdragons, geraniums, coleus, gerbera daisies, verbena, begonias, asparagus ferns, giant maiden grass, fuchsia, mandevilla, and so much more.

And, yes, we have lots and lots of vegetables and herbs.

Join us for our Herb, Terrarium, and Miniature Garden workshop weekend!

Would you like to learn how to make a terrarium, a miniature garden or how to plant an herb garden? Join us this weekend and we’ll show you how.

Come out, this Saturday and Sunday, April 12-13, from 10am-4pm for our Make and Take Terrarium workshop, our Make & Take Miniature Garden workshop and our Herb Container Garden workshop. 

We’ll show you how easy it is to create a lovely terrarium or a charming miniature garden that you’ll enjoy for years to come. We have a wide selection of miniature plants and itsy-bitsy furniture and tiny lawn accessories to choose from. 

Bring in your own terrarium and/or containers from home (minus any potting soil or dirt of any kind) or choose from our large variety of pottery.  We also have a limited selection available of gallon-sized open top glass bowls and covered glass containers. 

We’ll show you how you can plant and grow your very own fresh herb garden.  Can’t you see it?  You need some basil for a favorite recipe, you go to your herb container garden and pull a few leaves, cut them and add them to your recipe.

And don’t stop with basil.  We have rosemary, oregano, thyme, and tarragon to name just a few. Before you know it, you’ll be snipping all kinds of herbs and adding them to your favorite recipe.

Remember America’s Best Flowers provides FREE potting soil at all our container workshops.

Get your tools sharpened this weekend!

Come in and sharpen your garden tools

Don, from Universal Saw & Tool Sharpening, will be here both Saturday and Sunday, April 12-13, 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 in Greenhouse #7.

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.

Out bicycling one day with my eight-year-old granddaughter, Carolyn, I got a little wistful. “In ten years,” I said, “you’ll want to be with your friends and you won’t go walking, biking, and swimming with me like you do now.”
Carolyn shrugged. “In ten years you’ll be too old to do all those things anyway.”

Coming soon…Eggs at the Greenhouse!

Mrs. Bunny wants to remind you of the Easter Egg Hunt at America’s Best Flowers Saturday, April 19, from 10 – 2pm! Rain or Shine (it’s an indoor egg hunt!)

If you would be so kind…we are accepting donations for the Cottage Grove Food Pantry.

You CAN Plant NOW?

By Bev Wilson

If Spring Fever has you down, we have the perfect cure. Even though the ground is still cold and wet, you don’t have to wait to get your hands dirty. Jumpstart your season by planting potatoes in a pot.  Even if you live in an apartment, or don’t have a garden at all, you can still grow a nice crop.  Here’s what you’ll need:

1.) A container – we’ve come a long way since Grandma planted potatoes in her bushel basket.  Today we have potato bags and pots that are specially designed to give you a great potato crop.  These new and improved versions breathe well, allow for drainage, and look good!  But any plastic, wooden or clay container will work as long as it has good drainage and is at least 14 inches across and 10 inches deep.

2.) Potting mix – we suggest you use the good stuff for best results.  Start with our Fafard blend and mix in a few handfuls of compost.

3.) A slow-release fertilizer, such as Osmocote.*

4.) Seed potatoes – these aren’t the ones from the grocery store, which are treated with a growth inhibitor.  Seed potatoes, which are grown especially for planting, are found at garden centers starting in late March.  This year we have Russet Burbank, Red Norland, White Kennebec and Yukon Gold.  Can’t decide which one to grow, why not try a pot of each?

Prepare your potatoes by cutting the medium and large ones into 2-inch chunks making sure each contains a couple of eyes. Put 3 inches of your potting soil mixture in the bottom of your pot. Evenly space 6-8 potato chunks on top of the soil. Cover with 3-4 inches of soil, water thoroughly, and place in the sun. Once your potatoes start to grow, water as needed, allowing the soil to partially dry out in between.  Take care not to over water, which can cause the tubers to rot.   

As your potatoes grow, add more soil to the container, keeping about 4 inches of foliage showing. Continue this process every few days until the container is filled to within one inch of the top.  Let your potatoes grow all summer; feeding and watering as needed, when the foliage starts to yellow in late summer or fall, cut it off, dump out your soil, and you’ll have a pot full of taters! It’s that easy. Good Luck!

If you love those early new potatoes, dig carefully around the stems with your fingers after the potatoes have set bloom, to harvest a few.  But keep in mind that each one you harvest young is one less big potato you’ll have later.

 *Feeding your containers can be done either by mixing a general garden food in with your soil mix or by using Osmocote for a slow release season-long feeding. Either method should be supplemented with a Miracle Gro-type fertilizer applied when watering every 2-3 weeks early in the season, then monthly through the summer.

Stop on out and pick some up.

Brown Evergreens

By Al Lunde


The past winter was tougher than usual for evergreens, especially yews.  Brown needles will not recover and there is a good chance affected plants are dead.  It appears heavily pruned yews will be especially unlikely to recover as buds that may re-grow are those closest to the tips.

Why so much damage this year?  As the air warmed this late winter the ground was still too frozen for the evergreen plants to replace lost moisture.  We also had a colder than normal winter with heavy winds that dehydrated the evergreen foliage.  Another cause of browning is salt spray.  If your shrubs are mostly affected on the side facing a street or driveway, this is a likely cause.

Partially affected evergreens can be pruned back although regrowth will be slow.  Most yews will produce new growth in May and you may want to wait until late May or early June to decide on replacing them.

Cranbunny, Bluebunny, Honeybunny … Anybunny??

By Bev Wilson

Cranberry Hip Hop Violas
Cranberry Hip Hop Violas
Click for Larger Image

Just in time for Easter our new Hip Hop violas are in bloom.   The elongated upper flower petals give the appearance of bunny ears, thus the cutesy names.  We have these planted up in eight inch containers, ready for you to take home.   What a delightful addition to your holiday decorations.  Stop out today and check them out.  

Curious when I found two black-and-white negatives in a drawer, I had them made into prints. I was pleasantly surprised to see they were of a younger, slimmer me taken on one of my first dates with my husband.
When I showed him the photographs, his face lit up. “Wow! It’s my old Plymouth.”

Melissa & Doug are back!

Being the dedicated professional he is, our Retail Manager, Marty, has made it a point to test many of the new Melissa and Doug products while setting up the displays.  There’s nothing like the sound of a grown man giggling!  So, it’s our opinion that if Marty has fun with them your kids will too! 

We have, not only the Melissa and Doug garden tools and accessories, but also the Bella Butterfly Bug Houses, butterfly nets, worm water sprinklers, and flower water sprinklers, and so many more cute fun items.  What fun Easter gifts these would make!

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 our Operations Manager, Al Lunde, at Al will get back to you promptly. Let America’s Best Flowers be your go-to greenhouse for answers.

My three sisters and I have weight problems and are always sharing diet tips. One day my oldest sister was showing us a low-fat cookbook and pointed out a chicken dish she had tried the night before.

Reading the ingredients, I commented,
“It looks like it would taste really bland.”

“It did,” she replied, “until I added cheese and sour cream.”

Upcoming Events

Sat, Apr 12 – Sun, Apr 13
Spring Flower Show

We have your all-time favorite plants plus a few new ones for the season. We also have a HUGE selection of new pottery.

Sat, Apr 12 – Sun, Apr 13
Herb, Terrarium & Miniature Garden Container Workshop

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

Sat, Apr 12 – Sun, Apr 13
Universal Saw & Tool Sharpening

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

Sat, Apr 19
Community Egg Hunt

10am-2pm – Rain or Shine! FREE candy! Children 6 and under. Bring your camera and have your picture taken with the Easter Bunny. Accepting items for the Cottage Grove Food Pantry.

Sat, Apr 26
Earth Day Celebration

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

Sat, Apr 26 – Sun, Apr 27
Arbor Day Celebration

Receive a FREE Black Hills Spruce with purchase, while supplies last. Limit 1 per family.

Our Kitchen

Holiday meals are such special times.  And for most of us, they mean special food.  The following recipes are favorites of my co-worker Judy’s family.  We hope you enjoy them.  She has used the ham recipe for an uncut ham with good results, too.  She recommends the shank cut because it has a smaller bone in it and it is easier to carve.

Glazed Spiral-Cut Holiday Ham w/ Cola-Dijon-Brown sugar glaze

  • 8-9 lb fully cooked, bone-in spiral-cut ham half
  • 1 ½ c firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • ½ c cola soft drink
  • ½ c Dijon mustard
  • ½ t salt

Mix glaze ingredients together until smooth.

Place ham, cut side down in a heavy-duty aluminum foil lined jelly-roll pan; let stand at room temperature 30 minutes.  Brush ½ cup glaze over ham.  Bake, uncovered, on lowest oven rack 2 ½ to 3 hours or until a meat thermometer inserted into thickest portion registers 140, basting every 30 minutes with ½ c glaze.  Remove from oven, and spoon pan drippings over ham.  Let stand 10 minutes.

Carrots Almondine

  • 1 lb carrots, thinly sliced
  • ¼ c golden raisins
  • ¼ c butter or margarine
  • 3 T honey
  • 1 T lemon juice
  • ¼ t ground ginger
  • ¼ c sliced or slivered almonds, toasted

Cook carrots, covered in ½ inch boiling water for 8 minutes; drain.  Put carrots in 1 quart baking dish.  Stir in all ingredients except almonds.  Bake uncovered at 375 for 35 minutes.  Stir occasionally.  Sprinkle with almonds to serve.  Serves 6

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