Come make a Mini Garden with us!

Newsletter 17 – Thursday, June 6, 2013

Current Hours

Monday – Friday

Saturday – Sunday

Perennial of the Week – Salvia Rosenwein

Rosenwein Salvia
Rosenwein Salvia
Click for Larger Image

If you are looking for an easy growing, low maintenance sun perennial, look no further!  America’s Best Flowers has the perfect flower for you!  Our Rosenwein Salvia grows in average, dry to medium, well-drained soil in full sun and it also tolerates drought. This is a clump-forming perennial salvia that typically grows 15-18” tall and features erect, rose-pink to rose-red flower spikes that appear in a lengthy summer bloom.  To encourage repeating blooms throughout the summer, it needs regular moisture. Remove spent flower spikes to help extend the bloom period.  This rose-pink perfect perennial attracts butterflies too!

Need another reason to come out to America’s Best Flowers?  Our beautiful Salvias are twenty percent off this week.  While you are here check out our blue and purple salvias that are also featured this week!

Money talks.
Chocolate sings!

It’s The Little Things in Life!

Come on out, Saturday, June 8, from 10am-4pm for our Make & Take Miniature Garden workshop.  We’ll show you how easy it is to create a charming miniature garden.  We have a wide selection of miniature plants and itsy-bitsy furniture and tiny lawn accessories to choose from. 

Bring in your own containers from home (minus any potting soil or dirt of any kind) or choose from our large variety of pottery.  Don’t forget your gardening gloves because YOU do the planting! Our staff, when available, will assist with plant/flower and design questions, but they do not do the actual planting of your containers. 

Please keep in mind that if you would like us to do custom container planting for you there will be a separate charge for that service. 

And remember, America’s Best Flowers provides FREE potting soil at all our container workshops.

Employment Opportunity

Our wonderful and exceptional Deb M., who has been our get-the-word-out-tech-savvy person, is retiring.  Deb has been responsible for putting America’s Best Flowers information out on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.  Video work, marketing, design, and photography … our talented Deb, did it all! 

If you have similar qualifications, are a friendly, upbeat individual and would like to become part of America’s Best Flowers, please be so kind and give Ed Knapton a call.  His cell phone number is 608-698-5627.  This job would probably take 15 hours or so a week and part of the work could be done from home.

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.

Chocolate is nature’s way of making up for Mondays!

Music in our Garden!

Decorative Musical Notes

This summer America’s Best Flowers would like to offer a venue for the young and talented in the area!  The dates for this event are Saturday, June 29 and Saturday, July 27.  

We do not provide instruments or a microphone.  The ‘performers’ would need to bring their own equipment.  Electricity will be available.

There are still time slots available, so if you know of any groups or solo artists in the area that sing and/or play musical instruments and would like to perform at our greenhouse please contact Shirley at

I’d give up chocolate, but I’m no quitter!

Lucy’s Story – Chapter 9

Lucy laying on the lawn
Lucy in the Jungle
Click for Larger Image

Morning after morning Lucy and I would run into Diane and Casey at the park.  These morning meetings slowly turned into morning walks.  During our winter walks it would still be dark out.  Lucy and Casey with little dog lights attached to their collars would run ahead of us sniffing and marking their territories, as all dogs do.  Diane and I with our oversized to-go cups of coffee would be bringing up the rear with our flashlights.  And no sniffing and marking territories was going on at our end!   What a foursome.  Funny, I wonder what it looked like from a distance, four uneven lights floating through the darkness, morning after morning. 

Unbeknownst to Casey, he taught Lucy how to fetch.   After watching Casey chase down a ball and bring it back to Diane time after time (Casey never, ever wanted to stop playing!)  It didn’t take Lucy long to figure out that this kind of looked like fun.  And fun she had!  Watching the blonde Casey and the black Lucy run side by side each chasing a ball was a sight to see.  Casey with his long legs was always faster than Lucy.  But, even though she was low to the ground (another term for being short) Lucy had a few good maneuvers of her own.  One of them being she could turn on a dime! 

So, take that all you tall long legged beings out there!  Us low to the ground beings can hold our own!  Whoa, was that too revealing?

Mama skunk story coming next week! 

`til next time,
    ~ Shirley

If any of you other dog people want to share a dog story send it to

Put “eat chocolate” at the top of your list of things to do today.
That way, at least you’ll get one thing done.

Upcoming Events

Sat, Jun 8
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, Jun 15
Father’s Day – Make & Take Workshop

10am – 4pm – Bring in Dad’s shoe to plant!

Sun, Jun 16
Father’s Day

FREE Schoepps ice cream for Dad and the family!

Sat, Jun 22
Contest for Kids

10am – 2pm – Bring your colored chalk & color our parking lot! A prize winner for each age group (2-5) (6-10) (11-15) A PAPA JIMMY’S $20.00 GIFT CARD for the Grand Prize winner.

Sat, Jun 22
Succulent Workshop

10am – 2pm – FREE soil and assistance. Bring in your own container or buy one of ours.

Sat, Jun 29
Music in the Garden

High School talent featured at the greenhouse!

Our Kitchen

Last weekend a memory from my childhood burst through 50 years of brain clutter so clearly that I was once again sitting at our big kitchen table in our farm house in Iowa enjoying a special Sunday night treat.  The trigger was my friend Beth offering me a round dinner plate of homemade fudge.  I picked a piece, took a bite off the corner, and was immediately transported back to that innocent time in my life when fudge and popcorn was a perfectly acceptable supper.  I have written about our Sunday dinners and the huge meals Mom always made.  Following that big dinner, we often had a lighter meal for supper, maybe soup and grilled cheese sandwiches, omelets or milk toast.  But best of all, were the times when it was fudge and popcorn. 

My sister always made the fudge using our Grandma Wilson’s recipe while Mom popped pan after pan of popcorn, dumping them into the big blue roaster and putting it in the oven to keep warm.  When everything was ready, we would sit around the table and eat our fill. The fudge was unpredictable.  Sometimes it was a bit hard and crumbly, sometimes so runny we ate it with spoons, but once in a while it was perfect, having the same creamy melt-on-your-tongue qualities that Beth’s had.

Our Grandmother’s recipe was lost years ago, but Beth has generously shared her Grandma Ellen’s ‘Finnish’ recipe.  Like she said, “It’s a simple recipe that’s extremely fussy to make.”  I would add, “but definitely worth the effort.”  Even when it doesn’t turn out perfectly, it’s still so delicious.

Grandma Ellen’s Fudge

  • 2½ C sugar
  • 1½ C whole milk (must be whole)
  • 4 T cocoa
  • 1 T Karo syrup (light)
  • 1 T butter (the real thing)
  • 1 t vanilla

Before you begin, generously butter a round dinner plate and set aside.

In a heavy 3-quart pan, mix sugar and cocoa thoroughly.  Add milk and corn syrup. Stir well with a wooden spoon.  Bring to a boil over medium-low heat [Beth uses 3½ setting on her gas stove which goes from 0(lo) to 10].  Heat slowly to a soft boil (234 degrees on a candy thermometer) or until a teaspoonful dropped into very cold water forms a soft ball that flattens when removed from the water with your fingers.  Add butter and vanilla to pan. Do not stir.  Immerse pan in a few inches of cold water in the sink for 7 to 10 minutes, until the pan feels cool enough to leave your hand on the bottom of it (around 110 degrees on the candy thermometer). Do not stir while cooling. Remove from water.  Using your wooden spoon, stir and stir and stir (nice and steady, don’t beat it) until the fudge changes from shiny and dark to a lighter, duller shade. (This may take a while) Immediately pour onto buttered plate.  Allow to cool a bit before cutting into pieces.

If you want the homemade effect without the challenge, there are more predictable fudge recipes made with marshmallow cream that are also quite good:

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