Counting the Days

Newsletter 3 – Tuesday, March 20, 2012

You’ll love your garden … It’s our promise!

We’re counting the days

"Hello, is it okay…?"

We have received so many phone calls asking if it’s okay to either clear the perennial garden beds or to start planting.  We would like to be able to say ‘you bet’, but, alas, we are talking Wisconsin weather here.  It is very tempting to just dig in (get it? dig in), but do it with care. You can plant the cool season plants and seeds, but keep your eye on the weather and plan accordingly for that surprise dip in temperature and, yes, even snow.  After all, it is still March in Wisconsin!

In the Spring, I have counted 136 different kinds of weather inside of 24 hours.

Mark Twain

For starters

We have lots of colorful Pansies and Violas which are ready to be planted now. Many other cool season plants like Calendula, Snapdragons, and Dusty Miller can also be planted.

Patience required! As tempting as it may be, some of your other favorites – such as Geraniums, Petunias, Impatiens, New Guinea Impatiens, Fuchsia and Mandevilla – are not quite ready to be planted outside. Hang in there, it’ll be just a little bit longer!

Healthy eating – Vegetable & Herb plants

Onions sets, lettuce, and parsley are ready and can be planted outside. We do have tomato plants, basil, rosemary, and cilantro ready to go home and grow in a sunny window. All you’ll need is the salad dressing.

Spring has returned. The Earth is like a child that knows poems.

Rainer Maria Rilke

Dirty families are fun families

Gardening is a wonderful activity for the entire family.  We have garden tools for both the young gardener and the young-at-heart gardener.  Let the kids help you water the flower and vegetable gardens with their very own novelty watering cans.  What fun they’ll have with the frog, lady bug, duck or the snail (with a faux pearl necklace) watering can.  We also have the ‘Melissa and Doug’ line of sturdy garden tools.  Getting dirty together is going to be fun!

"There is only one pretty child in the world… and every mother has it."

Chinese Proverb.

Our Retail Manager, Marty, is chomping at the bit for opening day!  He has been busy creating, not only new displays for this season, but bringing in new and unique pottery and containers.  Do you have a whiskey barrel container that you need to replace after a couple of seasons?  Well, no more.

We have the Smart Barrelz.  This container is eco friendly, 1/3 the weight of a wood barrel.  It will not rot or mildew and is weatherproof.  Another bonus is that it has a twenty-year warranty.  This article comes with a warning…we have a limited supply of the Smart Barrelz.

So many questions this time of year

Do you have vegetable or flower gardening questions?  Let us be your go-to-greenhouse for answers.  Send your questions to Al Lunde at

Seeds are in and ready to grow!

Our collection of hundreds of different kinds of seeds ready to sell
Ready and raring to grow!
Click for Larger Image

Anxious to get your garden seeds and don’t want to wait for us to open on March 31st?  Stop on out Monday – Friday from 8:00 AM to 4 PM and pick up your seeds.  We just ask for your patience as we are still getting prepared for the official opening day and we are here and there and everywhere in the greenhouse.  

Just a reminder

It is too late to prune oak trees.

Accept that some days you are the pigeon, and some days you are the statue.

David Brent

Mark your calendar

America’s Best Flowers has a full season of events scheduled.  The date for our Community Egg Hunt is April 7, from 10-2 (rain or shine).  This season we are having 10 container workshops.  You make the mess and we clean it up!  We have herb and vegetable garden workshops on the schedule too.  Our hope is that we have a little something for everyone. 

Friendship isn’t a big thing – it’s a million little things.


Do we have your email address change?

Please let us know if your email address has changed and we will update our files.  We want you to continue receiving our weekly on-line newsletter.

Also, to give you more advance notice of our weekend events our weekly on-line newsletter will be sent on Tuesday rather than Thursday. 

A computer once beat me at chess, but it was no match for me at kickboxing.

Emo Philips

Fundraising Program

Do any of your school sports programs need new equipment or uniforms?  What about your school or church music programs?  Have you heard about America’s Best Flowers’ Fundraising Program?  We offer non-profit organizations the opportunity to keep 25% of the proceeds from the sale of our gift cards.  For example, if your organization sold $500 of our gift cards, which are available in any denomination, your organization would have raised $125.  It’s easy, it’s fun, it’s profitable, and we would be happy to come speak to your group and/or send you information.  There is still time.  If you are interested or have questions, please contact Shirley Cimino at

`til next week,
    ~ Shirley

Find us on Facebook

Our fan club is growing. Please become a fan on Facebook, and invite your friends.

Even if you are on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.

Will Rogers

A Message from Bev

The one constant we can be sure of in this world is there will be change, and this newsletter is no exception. 

For the past six years, I’ve been responsible for getting the newsletter to you, but I’ve had much help along the way.  Until Bonnie’s sudden death last spring, she was my biggest helper.  Always there to provide information on our events, to run ideas by, and to roll her eyes at my jokes.  And, of course, she wrote Bonnie’s Kitchen.  I am stepping back a bit from the newsletter production responsibilities. Shirley, with her quick wit and wonderful sense-of-humor, is stepping forward.  

A new responsibility for me will be the Our Kitchen column. Just like my size 10 feet could never fit into Bonnie’s size 5½ shoes, my cooking style will not fit hers. Bonnie was truly a gourmet cook and her recipes reflected it.  I know little of gourmet cooking, but I do know how to feed a hungry family when there is little time for the task. 

My plan is to focus on good tasting, easy-to-fix meals.  I hope to provide the busy moms and dads out there a way to get a meal on the table in less than an hour, with an occasional bit of prep time in the morning.  I hope you enjoy my approach. 

If you have a meal plan you would like to share, please email it to my attention at

Thank you,

  ~ Bev Wilson

Upcoming Events

Sat, Mar 31
Opening Day
Sat, Apr 7
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. Enter the Name the Bunny and Name the Chicken contests.

Sat, Apr 14 – Sun, Apr 15
Herb Container Workshop

10am – 4pm Free soil. Let us show you how to plant and design an herb garden.

Sat, Apr 14 – Sun, Apr 15
Vegetable Seed Starting Workshop

10am – 4pm Free soil. Buy your seed packets and seeding trays and we provide the soil. Get a jump on spring!

Sat, Apr 14 – Sun, Apr 15
How to Plant a Veggie Garden Ongoing Class

10am – 4pm Drop in and ask your questions!

Sat, Apr 21 – Sun, Apr 22
Open House

Free hot dogs and popcorn from 11am to 3pm. Come see all of our new beautiful plants.

Our Kitchen

By Bev Wilson

Celebrate spring’s arrival with this easy oven meal. This is a great opportunity for your family to help the cook. By working together, you can easily be eating in about an hour. Start your meal with cut up fresh fruit. Add crescent rolls or biscuits from a tube and a brownie, fresh baked from your favorite mix and voila – a delicious start to the season. To prepare this meal, start by getting the brownie into the oven first, it will need about 30 minutes. While it bakes, cut up fresh fruit for your appetizer. Then prepare the salmon. When brownies are done, increase oven heat to 400 and put salmon in oven. Prepare asparagus. After the salmon has been in 15 minutes, slide asparagus onto oven shelf beside it. 10 minutes later remove salmon to top of stove and insert pan with crescent rolls or biscuits. Watch both pans closely, and when done remove to top of stove to keep warm. Turn oven to broil. Finish salmon (about 3-5 minutes). Serve. Don’t have an hour? Bake the brownie in the morning or the night before, or let the bakery do the work for you. Recipes below.

Glazed Salmon

Based on a recipe I found in The Curves Member Guide by Gary Heavin
Glazed Salmon

  • 4 salmon fillets (4-6 oz each), fresh or thawed
  • ¼ – ½ t lemon pepper, to taste
  • 4 t olive oil
  • 2 T soy sauce
  • 4 t granular Splenda

Preheat oven to 400. Line a 9 x 13 shallow baking dish with heavy duty aluminum foil, leave long enough to wrap salmon.  Spray foil with non-stick vegetable spray.  Place salmon in dish, skin side down, leaving space between fillets.  Season with lemon pepper.  Bring edges of foil together and seal tightly.  Bake 20 to 25 minutes, depending on thickness of fillets, just until flaky.  Combine remaining ingredients for basting sauce.  Feel free to substitute low sodium soy sauce and/or sugar, if desired. Unwrap salmon, rolling foil down to top of dish and brush sauce on.  Place under broiler until browned, basting once.  Serves 4.

Jeff’s Roasted Asparagus

This recipe was given to me by a friend and neighbor. He has a big patch of asparagus in his garden, and every spring he brings this delicious dish to one of our neighborhood potlucks. As you might expect, there is never any left for him to take home.
  • 1 bunch asparagus spears, trimmed
  • 3 T olive oil
  • 1 lg. clove garlic, minced
  • 3 T grated parmesan cheese
  • ½ t sea salt
  • ¼ – ½ t freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 400.  Pour oil into an oblong dish or pan that is long enough to hold asparagus.  Stir in minced garlic. Let stand a few minutes while you trim, wash and dry asparagus.  Add asparagus to oil. Toss to thoroughly coat the spears, then sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, salt, and pepper. Arrange spears in a single layer on a foil-covered and sprayed baking sheet.  Drizzle any remaining oil from dish over spears.

Bake 12 – 15 minutes, depending on thickness of spears, until just tender. 

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