Memorial Day Weekend

Newsletter 11 – Wednesday, May 26, 2010

"Decoration Day is the most beautiful of our national holidays.
The grim cannons have turned into palm branches,
and the shell and shrapnel into peach blossoms."

~Thomas Bailey Aldrich

Memorial Day

Memorial Day, originally known as Decoration Day, was a time set aside to honor soldiers who died in war by decorating their graves. It began in 1868 to commemorate the Civil War soldiers and has since grown to honor fallen soldiers of any war. The freedom we enjoy today is largely due to the sacrifices made by the men and women who gave their lives for it. There are many ways to observe the holiday. Observations might include: visiting cemeteries and memorials, flying the flag at half staff until noon, pausing at 3 PM for a moment of silent prayer as part of the National Moment of Remembrance, or renewing a pledge to aid the families of those who died in service to our country. For many it’s also a time to gather with friends and family for a meal, perhaps after attending a parade. For more information, please visit

The dead soldier’s silence sings our national anthem.

~Aaron Kilbourn

Decorating and Americas Best Flowers

We have a riot of colorful choices for you to decorate your loved ones’ graves. Geraniums are always a good choice because they tolerate hot dry conditions. They come in the traditional red and white, as well as other colors. Or perhaps you would like to plant a patch of brilliant color with zinnias, marigolds, or daisies. Whatever you choose, you can be sure to find what you’re looking for at ABF.

If you are planning a celebration with a red, white and blue color scheme, we have the perfect accents for you. Our mixed annual containers are the easiest way to jazz up your outdoor party areas. Also available in a wide range of other colors and sizes, we guarantee you will find just the right one for your needs. If you don’t find exactly what you’re looking for, our Custom Container Department will plant one up for you. Our talented design staff is available to help you achieve the look you want. If you haven’t met Sharon and her crew yet, come out today and introduce yourself. You will find them in the back of the big house.

What do you call two bugs that live on the moon?
Luna ticks

YES, It’s Finally Warm Enough to Plant

One of our most frequently asked questions is when is it safe to plant outdoors? The answer is NOW! NOW!! NOW!!! Many people begin planting on Mother’s Day, but in Wisconsin Memorial Day is a much safer bet. If you are still planting, or dreaming of doing so, rest assured, it certainly is not too late. Our greenhouses are alive with bloom. If you were here in early May, you will be amazed at how things have changed. The plants have matured and are bigger, lusher, splashier, and just loaded with bud and blooms. The amazing palette of color will overload your senses.

Memorial Day weekend is the best time to plant a vegetable garden. The soil is finally warm enough to allow seeds to germinate quickly. Tomato, pepper, cucumber and melon plants put into warm soil outperform those planted earlier in cooler temps. Planting a vegetable garden is a great family project resulting in a bounty of fresh, ‘the best you ever ate’ veggies straight from your backyard to the table. America’s Best features Olds garden seeds. This local seed company provides us with varieties that are selected especially for our area. If you are new to vegetable gardening, or have questions about it, plan to attend the Veggie Gardening class described below.

What do you get when a chicken lays an egg on top of a barn?
An egg roll!

FREE "Ask the Expert" Classes

This week at our Cottage Grove location, we have two FREE classes in our "Ask the Expert" series. These classes, held in our meeting room, are designed to help you achieve gardening success.

Chickens in the Backyard and Veggie Gardening Too!

Saturday, May 29 at 10 Join Al Lunde as he shows you how to raise your own chickens in the backyard, the latest urban craze. Al will discuss feeding, caring for, and housing your flock. Nothing tastes like an egg fresh from your own chickens. Al will bring some of his own Bantam chickens in for you to see.

And what’s a backyard without a vegetable garden? Al, our Operations Manager here at ABF, has a broad knowledge of gardening. Whether you are a novice or an experienced gardener, this class will interest you. So come on out and enjoy!

Immediately following we have:

Japanese Beetle and Emerald Ash Borer Prevention

Did you know this week is Emerald Ash Borer Prevention Week? You may have seen our guest speaker, Madison City Forester Marla Eddy on television this week talking about the ash tree problem with Mayor Dave and other city dignitaries. With 30% of the trees on Madison public property being ash trees, this is a big concern for the city.

Join us this Saturday, May 29 at 11 as Marla gives advice on Emerald Ash Borer control as well as how to prevent Japanese Beetles from destroying your favorite plants and shrubs. We know how much time, energy, love and money go into making your yard beautiful. And we understand how disheartening it is when pests damage your plants. This is an excellent opportunity to hear directly from the expert what you can do to keep your plants healthy.

What do you call a nervous Japanese Beetle?
A jitter-bug!

Find us on Facebook

Our fan club is growing. Please become a fan on Facebook, and invite your friends. Help us get one thousand fans and surprises will await you when you visit our page.

Why did the Japanese Beetle get kicked out of the park?
Because he was a litter-bug!

Upcoming Perennial Garden Classes

Saturday, June 5 at 10 Ilene Isenberg, our perennial manager, will discuss perennial gardening for sunny locations. She’ll show you some new varieties as well as provide a free garden plan.

Saturday, June 12 at 10 Ilene will discuss the shade garden. While it can be harder to find plants with vibrant color for shady areas, she will show you options other than hostas and ferns. She will again offer a garden plan to get you started.

Why did the chicken cross the basketball court?
He heard the referee calling fowls.

Upcoming Events

Sat, May 29
Class 10AM – Chickens and Veggie Gardening

By Al Lunde. Learn how to raise chickens and how to have a successful vegetable garden.

Sat, May 29
Class 11AM – Emerald Ash borer and Japanese Beetle prevention

Now is the time to prepare to minimize these pests from your garden

Sat, Jun 5
Class 10AM – Sun Perennial Gardening

Free garden plan and class by Ilene Isenberg.

Sat, Jun 12
Class 10AM – Shade Perennial Gardening

There are more choices than hostas for shady places. Class by Ilene Isenberg.

Sat, Aug 14
IRIS Divide and Swap

Starts at 10 AM. Bring a clump of Iris to divide and swap with others! Bring a knife, a sharpie pen and plastic bags.

Sat, Sep 18
Art in the Garden

9 AM – 4 PM Local artisans and crafters will be displaying and selling their merchandise

What do chickens serve at birthday parties?

Bonnie’s Kitchen

I have a favorite cookbook entitled "JAMBALYA", which is an old Junior League cookbook from New Orleans. I have LOVED, not just liked, most of the recipes in it and it is one of my prized possessions. This ‘to-die-for’ recipe will not disappoint.

Crabmeat Casserole

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Serves 6
  • 1 stick butter
  • ½ cup chopped green onion
  • ½ cup chopped yellow onion
  • 5 T flour
  • 1½ cups milk
  • ½ cup dry sherry
  • 1 6-ounce can mushrooms, drained
  • 1 cup grated sharp Cheddar cheese
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 ¼” slices of lemons, seeds removed
  • 1 t Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 t seasoned salt
  • ¼ t Tabasco
  • 1 t salt
  • ¼ t pepper
  • ¼ cup freshly chopped parsley
  • 1 lb. lump crabmeat
  • 1 14 oz. can artichoke hearts, drained
  • ¼ cup seasoned bread crumbs
  • ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

In a large skillet, melt the butter, add green onion and yellow onion and sauté until soft, about 3 minutes. Add flour and cook, stirring constantly, until thick and bubbly. Add milk alternately with sherry and mushrooms. Stir constantly to prevent sticking. Simmer gently. Add cheddar cheese to sauce, stirring until cheese is melted. Add bay leaves, lemon slices, Worcestershire, seasoned salt, Tabasco, salt and pepper. Then add parsley and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and set the sauce aside.

Pick over crabmeat to remove any shells. Arrange artichoke hearts in the bottom of a 2 qt casserole and cover with the crabmeat. Remove the lemon slices and bay leaves from the sauce and pour sauce over crabmeat. Gently blend the sauce with the crabmeat, but do not stir. Top with bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes, or until it starts to bubble.

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