Dollar Days Begin July 9!

Newsletter 16 – Thursday, July 7, 2011

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



July 9 – 17, 2011

Orange Dollars

The time has come to use your ORANGE DOLLAR$ at America’s Best Flowers. July 9-17 they can be used for up to 50% off your total purchase on anything we sell. We still have a terrific selection of annuals, perennials, trees and shrubs. And don’t forget that drop-dead beautiful piece of pottery that you’ve been looking at all season. THIS IS THE TIME TO GET IT!

We know how you wait for this week.  It’s so fun to see you coming through the door holding orange buck$ in your hands and waving them around with frenzied, wide-eyed excitement.  We love this time of year, and can’t wait to welcome you.

Farewell to a Friend

Don Riddle

A good man and a friend of the flower industry, Don Riddle, died June 30. He was from the Annapolis, Maryland area.  I have known Don for over 20 years.  He always had time for a few words and friendly advice for Carol and I. 

Bonnie, a loyal associate who sat next to me for 7 years, died this spring.  Another associate is in the battle of her life with cancer.  My dear Uncle Bert had a stroke.  Many others that I know have died this year or are hurting.  It seems as we grow older this happens much too often.  Our faith deepens and our compassion for our friends and fellow humans increases.  Tell a friend you love them, hug a person today, spread your love and joy.  You may never know how important those words of encouragement and love are.

When someone you love becomes a memory, the memory becomes a treasure.


Great Expectations


What gardener doesn’t dream of that first sweet juicy vine-ripened tomato? After all this is Wisconsin, where winters can be long and brutal and summers way too short. So we plant with great expectations, and then watch and water and wait for those beautiful red jewels.  Sometimes along the way we discover there’s more to growing them than just digging a hole and dropping them in the ground.So we’ve put together some gardening tips to help you grow sweet delicious tomatoes.

Maintain soil moisture by watering tomato plants deeply at least twice a week.  Be sure to apply enough water to soak the soil six to eight inches deep.  Keeping soil moisture levels will also help prevent blossom-end rot, the dreaded small black spot on the bottom of the tomato which spreads throughout the fruit. It is believed to be caused by a calcium deficiency in the cell walls of the tomato.  If a plant is growing and water is moving nutrients along through the cells, the fruit keeps growing.  If water becomes limited, the fruit can’t stop making new cells fast enough so some don’t get enough calcium and later on you get decay.  Bonide’s Rot-Stop helps correct this problem.

To conserve soil moisture during the hot, dry days of July and August, apply a 3 inch layer of mulch around your tomato plants. We suggest straw, although you can use grass clippings if your lawn is chemical free. 

Tomatoes are "heavy feeders."  Be sure to get on a regular fertilization schedule.  We suggest Tomato Tone by Espoma for organic gardens or Miracle Gro’s Tomato Plant Food.

Watch the leaves of your tomato plants for signs of leaf spot diseases. They appear first on lower leaves and can be effectively controlled if leaves are removed as soon as leaf spots are seen.  Practice good garden hygiene here – don’t touch the good leaves, or any other plants, after you handle the diseased leaves until you wash your hands well.  Chemical control is also possible with a fungicide containing copper.  Bonide’s multi-purpose fungicide can be used on your tomatoes as well as other garden plants.  They also have a good insecticide to prevent damage from a variety of insects.

Our spring was cold and wet, and so far summer has been windy and humid, far from ideal tomato growing conditions.  But if you keep your plants watered, mulched, and fertilized; and a close eye out for disease, you’ll soon be enjoying BLT’s and fresh Caprese salads.

“It’s difficult to think anything but pleasant thoughts
while eating a homegrown tomato.”

Succulent Workshop

Saturday, July 23 from 10 to 4

Succulents in a Terra Cotta Low Bowl
Breathtaking and Easy to Care For
Click for Larger Image

Select from our wide variety of succulents and create your own unique container.  Succulents are easy to care for inside or out.  We’ll have a variety of planters for you to choose from, or bring your own.  As always soil and design help are free of charge.  Mark your calendar and join our design team on July 23 from 10 to 4.

Upcoming Events

Sat, Jul 9 – Sun, Jul 17
Summer Dollar Days

Redeem your collected orange ABF dollars for up to 50% off your total purchase.

Sat, Jul 23
Plant your Own Succulents Workshop

10AM – 4PM Select from our wide variety of easy to care for succulents and create your own indoor container. Free soil and design assistance.

Sat, Aug 6
Customer Appreciation Day

11am – 3pm Free Pizza for our loyalty customers

Sat, Aug 20 – Sat, Aug 27
Dog Days of Summer

Kicks off with a dog wash on the 20th, then continues with dog-themed giveaways the rest of the week. Donations go to Dane County Humane Society

Sat, Aug 27
Autumn Container Workshop

10am – 4pm Free soil and assistance. Create a beautiful container in our potting shed and we’ll clean up the mess. Bring your own pots or buy one of ours.

Sat, Sep 10 – Sun, Sep 18
Fall Dollar Days

Redeem your collected orange ABF dollars for up to 50% off your total purchase.

Find us on Facebook

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

Knowledge is knowing the tomato is a fruit.
Wisdom is not putting it in the fruit salad.

Our Kitchen

Here’s a link to the Food Network recipe for a fresh Caprese salad. A beautiful, healthy way to enjoy fresh tomatoes and basil.

Caprese Salad

Caprese Salad

  • 1-1/2 pounds vine-ripened tomatoes, cored*
  • 1 pound fresh mozzarella**
  • 3/4 to 1 teaspoon fine salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup packed basil leaves, torn or cut into thin strips
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Slice the tomatoes and cheese into 1/4-inch thick slices. Arrange on a serving platter or individual plates in an alternating pattern.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Scatter the basil leaves over the top and drizzle with the oil. Serve at room temperature.

*Tomatoes have the sweetest taste if they have never been refrigerated, so this salad is best prepared right before your meal.

**Fresh mozzarella comes in a clear tub about the size of a sour cream container and will probably have 3 large or several smaller white balls of mozzarella floating in water. Or sometimes it’ll be wrapped in plastic.

Tomato Millionaire

An unemployed man goes to apply for a job with Microsoft as a janitor. The manager there arranges for him to take an aptitude test (Section: Floors, sweeping and cleaning). After the test, the manager says, “You will be employed at minimum wage, $5.15 an hour. Let me have your e-mail address, so that I can send you a form to complete and tell you where to report for work on your first day.

Taken aback, the man protests that he has neither a computer nor an e-mail address. To this the MS manager replies, “Well, then, that means that you virtually don’t exist and can therefore hardly expect to be employed. Stunned, the man leaves.

Not knowing where to turn and having only $10 in his wallet, he decides to buy a 25 lb flat of tomatoes at the supermarket. Within less than 2 hours, he sells all the tomatoes individually at 100% profit. Repeating the process several times more that day, he ends up with almost $100 before going to sleep that night.

And thus it dawns on him that he could quite easily make a living selling tomatoes. Getting up early every day and going to bed late, he multiplies his profits quickly. After a short time he acquires a cart to transport several dozen boxes of tomatoes, only to have to trade it in again so that he can buy a pickup truck to support his expanding business. By the end of the second year, he is the owner of a fleet of pickup trucks and manages a staff of a hundred former unemployed people, all selling tomatoes.

Planning for the future of his wife and children, he decides to buy some life insurance. Consulting with an insurance adviser, he picks an insurance plan to fit his new circumstances. At the end of the telephone conversation, the adviser asks him for his e-mail address in order to send the final documents electronically. When the man replies that he has no e-mail, the adviser is stunned, “What? You don’t have e-mail? How on earth have you managed to amass such wealth without the Internet, e-mail and e-commerce? Just imagine where you would be now, if you had been connected to the internet from the very start!”

After a moment of thought, the tomato millionaire replied, “Why, of course! I would be a floor cleaner at Microsoft!”

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