Musical Garden

Newsletter 24 – Thursday, July 25, 2013

Current Hours

Monday – Friday

Saturday – Sunday

Perennial of the Week – Rudbeckia ‘Goldsturm’

Rudbeckia 'Goldsturm'

Bright yellow petals and dark brown cone-shaped centers make Rudbeckia (rood-BECK-ee-ah) a perennial that’s hard to miss. These tough and versatile sun-loving plants are native to meadows in much of the country and flourish in like conditions – well-drained, mostly dry and not too good soil. These "Black-Eyed Susans" will even tolerate partial shade and brighten the back of a bed or border.

Of special interest is "Goldsturm" a variety noted for its stunning three inch flowers of deep gold and three month-long bloom time. This variety has so impressed gardeners that it was named Plant of the Year in 1999 by the Perennial Plant Association.

You need this plant in your landscape! Make a mass planting to attract birds and butterflies. Combine it with Russian sage and asters, sedums and grasses for a swath of color into autumn. And the best part is that Goldstrum is 20% off its regular price at America’s Best Flowers. Run, don’t walk, to add this abundant bloomer to your life.

Two caterpillars are talking on a leaf when they see a butterfly flutter past.
One caterpillar says to the other: "You’ll never get me up in one of those things!"

They’ll be dancing, singing and music playing…

Decorative Musical Notes

At America’s Best Flowers this weekend!  Please join us this Saturday, July 27, from 1-5 pm, for our Music in the Garden event. 

Our line up of musical talent will get you swinging and swaying to the beat this weekend.  Lydia sings and has performed in school musicals.  Jason plays the guitar and sings and actually performed at the Memorial Union last Tuesday. Matt B. is a jazz pianist and plays in a jazz combo. Noah plays the trumpet and is in a jazz group.  Matt P. is our most seasoned performer of the group.  Matt has sung, played guitar and harmonica for many, many years.   

The stage is open for singing and/or playing music.  So, don’t be shy!  Grab your guitar, saxophone, drums, etc. and join us for a fun afternoon.  If your voice is your instrument, bring your recorded music and sing us a few tunes!

Please keep in mind that we do not provide instruments or a microphone.  The ‘performers’ will need to bring their own equipment.  Electricity and extension cords will be available for electrical instruments and speakers.

If you know of any groups or solo artists in the area that sing and/or play musical instruments tell them to come on out and perform at America’s Best Flowers on Saturday, July 27, from 1-5 pm!  

Things are going to be pretty lively at our ‘Garden Party’ this Saturday.

P.S. Dancing will be allowed! 

In the event of inclement weather this event will be cancelled.

Do we still have hanging baskets?

A small selection of our Hanging Baskets
A small selection of our Hanging Baskets
Click for Larger Image

You bet we do!  We have a nice selection of hanging baskets for both sun and shade areas.  Just swing by and pick up a few. They will brighten up your day, we promise!

Herbs are for Grilling too!

Have you ever added fresh herbs to your grilled vegetables, poultry, fish or beef?   It’s as simple as adding cilantro, parsley or some basil leaves to your favorite grilled food.  What an easy way to add a unique flavor to your summer menu.  Stop out today and check out our home-grown herb selection.  No more boring grilled chicken breast or plain old hamburgers on the grill for you!  Choose from our wide selection of herbs and add some pizzazz to your next cookout.    

Be sure to check out Bev’s yummy herb recipes below.

Why did the tomato go out with a prune?
Because he couldn’t find a date.

Tomato Tips


Are you anxiously waiting the day that you can harvest a red beauty or two from your garden to slice up and stack on a BLT?  Mmmm, what a delicious thought, right?

We want you to succeed in growing healthy tomato plants.  Following are a few important tips that will assist in your tomato endeavor.

It’s been terribly hot the last few weeks, so amp up the watering on your tomato plants, as well as other plants.  Tomato plants need to be watered deeply, thoroughly soaking the roots, several times a week, especially in this extremely hot weather. Tomatoes in containers will, of course, need to be watered much more often.  Water at soil level and take care not to get the foliage wet. 

Keeping soil moisture even 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.  Blossom-end rot is easy to prevent with Bonide’s Rot-Stop. This is a ready-to-use spray that is quickly absorbed.

Bonide Stop Rot for Tomatoes

Espoma Tomato Tone
Espoma Tomato Tone

Tomatoes are "heavy feeders."  Be sure to get on a regular fertilization schedule.  We suggest Tomato Tone by Espoma for organic gardens.

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.

To conserve soil moisture during the hot, dry days of July and August, apply a 2-3 inch layer of mulch around your tomato plants. We suggest straw, although you can use grass clippings if your lawn is chemical free. 

It‘s a paradox.  The more you water your plants the more you flush out the fertilizer which makes it doubly important to adopt an adjusted fertilizer schedule in this heat.

Q: What did Bacon say to Tomato?
A: Lettuce get together!

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.

What makes more noise than a dog barking outside your window?
Two dogs barking outside your window!

Lucy’s Story – Chapter 16

Lucy has a sleep over!

Lucy and Tucker sleeping on the couch
Lucy and Tucker all tuckered out
Click for Larger Image

One of our grand dogs stayed with us for a few days.  He is a sweet little guy named Tucker.  Tucker is an eight year old King Charles Cavalier Spaniel.  Tucker has a sweet and loving personality just like Lucy, so they get along like two peas in a pod.

It’s been quite some time since Tucker has visited, so he had a field day getting reacquainted with our backyard.  First, we have untreated grass so little Tucker helped himself to many servings of grass salad.  Second, it was like center ring at the circus.  Tucker would sniff and mark (come on, you all know what I mean).  Lucy would follow behind and mark where Tucker had marked.   Then they would reverse the cycle.  Lucy would sniff and mark and Tucker would follow behind and mark.  Good golly, I didn’t see them drink all that much water!

Where does it all come from?!

Bedtime was a real treat!  Tucker snores, Lucy snores and Hubby snores!  Hubby tells me I snore, whatever!  Having (supposedly) four snorers in the same bedroom is not fun!  No one was snoring in sync!  Which meant that there was a constant sound of well, snoring!  How does one describe the sound of snoring?  Only one word I can think of…annoying!

Doesn’t it automatically make me a non-snorer if I was the only one in the bunch that didn’t get much sleep?

Thanks, I knew you would agree!

`til next time,
    ~ Shirley

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

Upcoming Events

Sat, Jul 27
Music in the Garden

Musical talent featured at the greenhouse!

Sat, Aug 10
Customer Appreciation Day
Sat, Aug 17
3rd Annual Dog Wash Fund Raiser for the Dane County Humane Society

11am – 3pm Bring your dirty dogs out to the garden.

Sat, Aug 24
Flea Market

8am – 3pm – Rain or Shine

Sat, Aug 24
Tomato Tasting

11am – 2pm – Taste the difference between varieties.

Sat, Aug 24
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.

Our Kitchen

In our herb section, we have beautiful pots of parsley, basil and cilantro.  These three herbs are so easy to grow, we think every cook should have them in a pot right by the kitchen door.  These basic herbs (along with a little garlic) can take any recipe from ordinary to sublime.

The following recipe takes an old favorite (parsleyed potatoes) and puts a new twist on it by roasting the potatoes first.  I enjoy watching programs on the Food Network.  The chefs are always talking about depth of flavor, and I don’t think there is any way to bring out depth of flavor in vegetables better than by simply roasting them.  I usually mince a clove or two of fresh garlic and let it sit in the olive oil for a few minutes before mixing it into the veggies.  This quicker recipe uses garlic powder instead. Whichever way you do it – Yum!

Roasted Baby Potatoes with Parsley and Butter

Recipe and photos by For the Love of
  • 12 oz baby potatoes
  • Drizzle of olive oil
  • Garlic powder, to taste
  • Sea salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste
  • 2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 tbsp butter

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Coat a baking dish with cooking spray then add the baby potatoes. Drizzle the potatoes with olive oil then season with garlic powder, sea salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste. Place into the oven and roast for 10 minutes then toss them. Continue to roast for an additional 10-15 minutes or until tender and cooked through.

Toss the roasted potatoes with the butter and freshly chopped parsley until evenly coated. Serve immediately. Enjoy.

Bev’s note: For additional color and flavor add a handful or two of baby-cut carrots to the pan before drizzling with oil.

Pesto is another great way to use fresh herbs.  If you are new to pesto, check out this list of 50 things to make with pesto on the Food Network’s website.

Traditional pestos are made with basil, but parsley and cilantro also work well.  Experiment to find the ones you like best.

Parsley Pesto

from the Food Network
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 cups packed, stemmed Italian parsley
  • Coarse salt
  • 1/4 cup walnuts
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, or to taste
  • 2/3 cup olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

In a food processor place the garlic, parsley, pinch salt, walnuts, and cheese. Process until they form a paste. Gradually blend in olive oil, taste, and adjust your seasoning if necessary. Great with pasta, poultry, vegetables and rice.

Basil Pesto

from the Food Network
  • 2 cups packed fresh basil leaves
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Pecorino cheese*

Combine the basil, garlic, and pine nuts in a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped. Add 1/2 cup of the oil and process until fully incorporated and smooth. Season with salt and pepper.

If using immediately, add all the remaining oil and pulse until smooth. Transfer the pesto to a large serving bowl and mix in the cheese.

If freezing, transfer to an air-tight container and drizzle remaining oil over the top. Freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw and stir in cheese.

*Bev’s note – you can substitute freshly grated parmesan

Cilantro Pesto

  • 1 cup packed fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1/2 cup almonds
  • 3 large garlic cloves
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Combine the cilantro, garlic and almonds in a blender or food processor and puree until smooth. Add the parmesan, oil and salt and puree to a smooth paste. Stir into hot pasta and serve.

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