St. Patrick’s Day

Newsletter 2 – Thursday, March 18, 2010

“Springtime is the land awakening.
The March winds are the morning yawn.”

Lewis Grizzard

America’s Best Flowers will officially open for the 2010 gardening season on Thursday, April1.  However, if there is any way we can help you, we invite you to stop out sooner.  We will have a lovely selection of Easter plants, including Easter and Stargazer lilies, potted tulips, daffodils, and hyacinths available beginning March 26.

This year we have the cutest children’s gardening gloves and tools; Dora the Explorer, Go Diego Go, Wonder Pets and Spongebob Squarepants. What perfect additions to Easter baskets!   Or fill a colorful pot with a few of our exciting garden accessories, gloves or tools, add a beloved America’s Best Gift Card and you have an ‘Easter basket’ that will be loved by anyone on your list.

If you are getting anxious to dig your fingers into the soil, come on out and check out our seed selection. Our vegetables, herbs and gorgeous flower seed packs are the perfect cure for the indoor crazies that strike this time of year.  We have everything you need to get your seeds up and growing.  So please feel free to stop out between the hours of 9-6 Monday thru Friday and let us help you banish those remaining winter blues.

“It was one of those March days,
When the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold:
When it is summer in the light, and winter in the shade.”

Charles Dickens

Fundraising Story

America’s Best Flowers offers a wonderful fundraising program for churches, schools, and non-profit organizations.  Our program runs October 1 through April 1.  Organizations sell our gift cards and keep 25% of the total value for their fundraising project.  What could be easier?  The program needs only one coordinator, eliminating ‘Volunteer Burn-Out’ that so many of you talk about.  ABF gift cards never expire or lose value and can be used at our main location in Cottage Grove, or at our satellite locations. Call Bonnie at 608-222-2269 if you would like information for next year’s sale.

We have many wonderful stories that tell what the money raised has been used for. This week St. Paul Liberty Lutheran is sharing their story with us.

St. Paul’s Liberty Lutheran Church in Deerfield participates in the Circle of Love program sponsored by Bethel Lutheran in Madison. Each year, Circle of Love provides an opportunity for children living near the site of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, in the Ukraine, to visit Wisconsin for much needed medical and dental care; respite from the radioactive contamination which remains in their environment; and some basic, and blessed, friendship-building and fun. Last year St. Paul’s Liberty Lutheran hosted three children, two in 2008 and will be hosting 2 children this coming summer. The generosity of America’s Best Flowers in contributing to our fundraising efforts helps these precious children enjoy the benefits and blessings provided by the Circle of Love program – many thanks!

~ Rachael Beck

Find us on Facebook

Our fan club is growing. Become a fan of America’s Best Flowers on Facebook. You can get up to the minute information about what’s new and wonderful just by clicking on our page.

"Spring is when you feel like whistling even with a shoe full of slush"

Doug Larson

Upcoming Events

Thu, May 20
Class 6:30PM – Herbs

Starts at 6:30PM with Mari Lyn Haugh. "Treat Yourself with Herbs"

Sun, May 23
Class 1PM – Vegetable Gardening Class

"Easy Vegetable Gardening, Tomatoes and More" by UW-Extension Horticulturist Brian Emerson.

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

"The first day of spring is one thing,
And the first spring day is another.
The difference between them is sometimes as great as a month."

Henry Van Dyke

Start Planning for Gardening 2010

Our Container Workshopsare our most popular events.  If you’ve never attended, we encourage you to give one a try.  They are so easy, and so much fun.  All you do is choose a variety of plants from our large selection of annuals and perennials, pick out a pot (or bring in your own) and create a beautiful, unique creation for your porch, deck or patio.  We provide FREE soil and clean up the mess.  Many people use these workshops to plant all the containers they will need for the entire season.  This year we have three weekends in May devoted to these workshops.  Watch for details.

Help us Support St. Vincent de Paul

April 30 thru May 2 you can purchase a four pack(s) of Lady Bell peppers and/or Celebrity tomatoes at America’s Best Flowers for donation to St. Vincent de Paul’s community gardens that provide food for the hungry.  In addition, ABF will donate fifty cents for each pack sold to the food pantry garden.  St. Vincent will also be seeking volunteers to help in the community garden and to grow a row of vegetables in their gardens to feed the hungry of Dane County.  Representatives of St. Vincent’s will be at America’s Best that Friday and Saturday to explain the program and answer questions.

The first Saturday in May is our annual “SALSA SATURDAY,” when we celebrate Cinco de Mayo with Latin music and free samples of chips and salsa. You can also plant a salsa container that weekend at our workshop. We will give away a $50 gift certificate for the best salsa recipe in our Salsa Recipe Contest.  This year we are looking for a unique salsa with a new and different taste.  Start experimenting now and the $50 gift certificate might be yours.

“Spring shows what God can do with a drab and dirty world.”

Virgil A. Kraft

Bonnie’s Kitchen

Here’s one you’re bound to love IF YOU LIKE ARTICHOKES! As my mom used to say “I love them so much, I could bathe in them”. You can also substitute chicken for the turkey.

Artichoke-Turkey Casserole

  • ½ c chopped carrot
  • ½ c chopped sweet red pepper
  • ¼ c sliced green onion
  • 1 T butter
  • 1 10.75 oz. can cream of chicken soup
  • 1 8-9 oz. package frozen artichokes, thawed, cut up
  • 1 ½ cups chopped turkey or chicken
  • 1 c cooked long grain rice or wild rice
  • ½ c shredded mozzarella cheese (2 oz.)
  • 2/3 c milk
  • ½ t dried thyme, crushed
  • 2 slices bacon, crisp-cooked, drained and crumbled
  • 3 T grated Parmesan cheese

1 In a large skillet cook carrot, sweet pepper, and green onion in hot butter over medium heat until carrot is crisp-tender. Remove from heat. Stir in soup, artichoke hearts, turkey, rice, mozzarella cheese, milk, thyme and bacon. Transfer turkey mixture to a 2 qt. rectangular baking dish. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

2 Bake, covered, in a 350 degree oven for 20 minutes or until bubbly. Let stand 10 minutes before serving. Makes 6 servings.

Make-ahead directions; Prepare as above through step 1. Cover and chill for up to 24 hours. Bake covered in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake about 20 minutes more or until bubbly.

This is a low-fat menu item.
Calories 248
Total fat 11 g
Saturated fat 5g

This week, I’m throwing in a little something for you to make for St. Patties. These brownies are quite good.

St. Patrick’s Irish Coffee Brownies Brownies

  • 1 ¼ cups granulated sugar
  • ¾ c butter, softened
  • ½ c unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 t vanilla
  • 1 ½ c all-purpose flour
  • 1 t baking powder
  • ¾ c milk
  • ¼ c Irish whiskey
  • 2 T instant coffee crystals
  • 1 c chopped walnuts
  • 2 ½ c sifted powdered sugar
  • 2 T unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 T Irish whiskey
  • 1 ¼ t vanilla
  • 3-4 T brewed coffee
  • chopped walnuts, optional

Heat granulated sugar, butter, and ½ c cocoa powder. In a large saucepan, over medium heat until butter or margarine melts, stirring constantly.  Remove from heat. Add eggs and 1 t vanilla; beat lightly just until combined.

Stir together flour, baking powder, and baking soda in a bowl; set aside. Stir together milk and 1/4 c whiskey; stir in coffee crystals. Add flour mixture and milk mixture alternately to the chocolate mixture, beating by hand after each addition. Stir in nuts. Pour into a greased 15X10X1” baking pan.

Bake at 350 degree oven for 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool in pan on a wire rack.

Meanwhile, for the Irish Coffee Glaze, stir together sifted powdered sugar, 2 T unsweetened cocoa powder, 1 T Irish whiskey, and 1 ¼ t vanilla. Stir in 3-4 T brewed coffee until of drizzling consistency.

If desired, sprinkle with additional chopped nuts. Makes 36 brownies.

“Yesterday the twig was brown and bare;
Today the glint of green is there;
Tomorrow will be leaflets spare’
I know no thing so wondrous fair,
No miracle so strangely rare.
I wonder what will next be there?”

L. H. Bailey

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