Take a bit of the Tropics Home

Newsletter 6 – Thursday, March 26, 2015

Current Hours

Cottage Grove location open

9 – 5, Monday through Saturday
Beginning Monday, March 30 our hours will be 9-6
We are currently closed on Sundays.

Edgerton location open

Mon-Fri 8:30-5:30, Sat 8:30-5, Sun 9-4

Lucy’s Story – Chapter 84

Lucy licking her chops
"I can keep secrets when they’re delicious"
Click for Larger Image

Snippet from Lucy’s journal…February 2013

My tummy is a little touchy, so my mom and dad are very, very careful with my food. 

But, I gotta tell ya something, shhh, it’s a secret.  Don’t tell my mom and dad this, ok?

When it’s just my dad and me at home, we’ll have some salmon together.  With a smile and a wink, my dad says, ‘Lucy girl, this is our little secret.  It’s a healthy treat, but still a treat, so let’s just keep this between you and me and not tell your mom, ok?’   ‘Sure, you can count on me, Dad!’ 

When my mom and me are alone, well, she does the exact same thing only with TUNA!  Then she says to me with a big grin on her face, ‘This stays between you and me, Lucy, right?’  ‘Right, Mom, anything you say.’

I know I should feel a little guilty about this, but then again, who am I to ruin their fun? 

Till next time!

Just Arrived

By Bev Wilson

As I write, our associates are busy unwrapping pot after pot of beautiful tropical plants.  From Anthurium, comically known as ‘Little Boy Plant’ to Tillandsias (air plants), over 20 varieties are waiting for you. Tropical plants will brighten your home or office and add oxygen to any indoor environment.  Stop out today and check them out.

Spring Fever Got You?

By Bev Wilson

Basil (left) & Mammoth Basil (right)
Click for Larger Image

Herbs may be your answer.  We have really nice pots of several varieties of basil.  These are easy to grow right on your kitchen windowsill.  Snip away to add flavor to your cooking, and then replant outside in late May, to have fresh basil all year long.

We also have some very nice plants of Stevia, also known as Sugarbush.  Use fresh leaves right off the plant to sweeten your coffee or tea.  Dried and powdered leaves can be used in recipes, 1/8 t dried stevia equals approximately the sweetening of 1 t sugar.

Sugarbush would be a great gift for anyone who is trying to eliminate processed sugars from their diet.  Added bonus, the plant is very attractive and would make a nice addition to any sunny kitchen counter.

Negotiating a trip home

Bob had been shopping downtown all day with his wife and four little children.
They were all so tired, he decided to take a taxicab home.
Approaching a cab driver, he demanded,
“How much will you charge to drive us to the Bronx?”
“I figure $5 apiece for you and your wife,” said the driver.
“I’ll take the four kids along for nothing.”
Bob turned to his children and said, “Jump in kids, and have a nice ride home.
Momma and I will take the subway.”

We have succulents!

By Judy

A new shipment has arrived and they are waiting for you to take them home.

Did you know Succulents are the perfect plant for forgetful gardeners’?  Succulent care is so easy.  Succulents like dry humidity and the warm conditions found in most homes.  They prefer direct light, but can also adapt to lower light.  All prefer a fast-draining potting medium that’s not watered too often. Allow the soil to dry out between watering, a few weeks of forgetfulness won’t hurt, and succulents will prosper.

Succulent plants are always in style. With their juicy leaves, stems, or roots, succulents form a vast and diverse group of plants.  The color variation of succulents seems almost endless: blue-green, chartreuse, pink, red, yellow, white, burgundy, almost black, variegated, and more. The leaves may be rounded, needlelike, berrylike, ruffled or smooth, fuzzy or spiky. Many have an enticing "touch-me" quality.

Select from our wide variety of succulents and create your own unique container whether planted individually, together, or maybe you would like to try a miniature garden.  Come and see us, we have everything you need to get started!

Knock Knock
Who’s there?
Atch who?
I’m sorry I didn’t know you had a cold!

New Products Corner

By Marty Robbins

Have a large container that is way too heavy when filled with soil? Make things easier by using Ups-A-Daisy container inserts. Ups-A-Daisy inserts simply set about halfway down into your container creating a "false bottom". This greatly reduces planter weight while saving time and using less soil. Ups-A-Dairy is sturdy, lightweight and reusable year after year. It also provides excellent drainage in your containers. They are available in both round and square configurations in a variety of sizes to fit your containers.  Simply measure the diameter of your container at mid height and then find the Ups-A-Daisy closest to that size.


Spring appears in whispers
and hushed tones,
as the bellowing winter
bows away.
Drowsy flowers come to
waking from their sleep –
with heads turned upward towards
the Maestro called Sun –
I watch with anticipation
as . . .
the concert begins.


Coming Soon…
Seed Potatoes and Onion Sets

We are expecting to have our seed potatoes and onion sets in by the weekend.  To be sure they have arrived; we ask that you call ahead.  Following are the phone numbers for both of our locations: 

Cottage Grove – 608-222-2269
Edgerton – 608-884-8120 or Toll-free 888-287-1411

Hippity Hop…the Bunny’s on Her Way!

Mrs. Bunny wants to remind you of the Easter Egg Hunt at both of America’s Best Flowers’ locations, Saturday, April 4, from 10 – 2pm! Rain or Shine (it’s an indoor egg hunt!) 

Again, this year, at both of our locations, we will be accepting donations for local food pantries during our Easter Egg Hunt. 

Our Cottage Grove location will be accepting donations for the Cottage Grove Food Pantry. Our Edgerton location will be accepting donations for the Edgerton Outreach Food Pantry.

Associate of the Week: Marty

By Judy

Marty is our associate of the week for this newsletter.  Marty began in Customer Service in April of 2010.  In 2012 he took on the role of Retail Manager.  When asked when he began at America’s Best he said “not sure when, my time here has been a blur”.  That says it all about Marty and how he has embraced the position.  Always with new ideas and being busy, busy, busy.

The things he enjoys most about America’s Best is helping customers try something new.  Watching our plantings from start to maturity.  Traveling to trial gardens and learning about new varieties.  Buying product for retail, and planting containers and installations.

As you know, we have a large selection of plants, but Marty’s favorite is Sun Coleus because they are always colorful, low in maintenance and they grow well in containers.

Did you know?  For relaxation, he retreats to his home, in Eagle River, in the Northwoods of Wisconsin.  Marty enjoys classic autos, owning a 1975 Sting Ray.  His collecting also includes old postcards of Wisconsin and vintage cocktail shakers.  He is an ‘avid’ UW hockey & football fan.  Go Badgers!

Get your facts first,
then you can distort them as you please.

Mark Twain

Extended Deadline for America’s Best Flowers Fundraising Program

America's Best Flowers Gift Card
Their garden will thank you!
Click for Larger Image

The deadline for our fundraising program has been extended to April 8.   So, there is still plenty of time for your non-profit organization to participate in our easy and fabulous fundraiser program!

Non-profit organizations earn 25% of the proceeds from each gift card they sell.  For example, if your organization sells $500 of our gift cards, which are available in any denomination over $10, your organization would earn $125.   

Please contact us if your non-profit organization is in need of funds for things such as (but by no means limited to):

  • local charities, (i.e. food pantry)
  • church mission trips,
  • new equipment or uniforms for your school sports program, or school band or orchestra.

America’s Best Flowers gift cards may be used at both our Cottage Grove and Edgerton locations. 

If you are interested or have questions regarding our easy and profitable program, please contact Shirley at abfscimino@yahoo.com.

Do not take life too seriously. You will never get out of it alive.

Elbert Hubbard

It’s Time to Bid!

Text: "Wisconsin Green Industry Federation Online Auction; March 17 - March 31; biddingforgood.com/wgif"

The Wisconsin Green Industry Federation Online Auction has started and will run through March 31st, 2015. This organization will be auctioning off a number of useful, fun and unique items from many different companies. 

America’s Best Flowers will also have a number of great items for you to bid on.  Check out their website at http://www.biddingforgood.com/wgif.

Has your email address changed?

If your email address has changed please remember to let us know by either calling us at 608-222-2269, sending us an email at abfbev@yahoo.com or just let us know the next time you are at the greenhouse.

Upcoming Events

Sat, Apr 4
Community Egg Hunt

10am-2pm – Indoor – Rain or shine! FREE candy! For children 6 and under. Bring your camera and have your picture taken with the Easter Bunny. Accepting items for the Cottage Grove Food Pantry.

Sat, Apr 11 – Sun, Apr 12
Terrarium & Miniature Garden Container Workshop

10am-3pm – FREE soil and assistance. Create your own terrarium or miniature garden. Customers may bring in their own EMPTY containers, but all accessories must be purchased from America’s Best Flowers.

Sat, Apr 18 – Sun, Apr 19
Spring Flower Show

9am-6pm We have your all-time favorite plants plus a few new ones for the season and a HUGE selection of new pottery.

Sat, Apr 18
Herb Container Workshop

10am-3pm – FREE soil and assistance. Create your own herb garden. Bring in your own EMPTY containers or buy some of ours.

Sat, Apr 18 – Sun, Apr 19
Universal Saw & Tool Sharpening

9am-3pm Get your tools ready for easier gardening.

Sat, Apr 25
Earth Day Celebration

10am-2pm Free children’s activities. Bring a white T-shirt to paint, make seed balls, plant flower seeds and more.

Our Kitchen

I love opening my email and finding recipes from our readers.  When the following one came in, I decided it was perfect to share right before Easter.  What better time of the year could there be to serve ‘Angel’ pie? Enjoy!

“Just sending you a recipe I’ve loved for many years.”  ~Gretta


Mocha Angel Pie

  • 3 egg whites
  • 1/4 tsp. cream of tartar
  • Dash of salt
  • 3/4 c. sugar
  • 1 12 oz pkg. semi-sweet chocolate pieces
  • 1 tsp. instant coffee
  • 1/4 c. boiling water
  • 1 c. heavy cream, whipped
  • 1 tsp. vanilla

Heat oven to 275 degrees. Beat egg whites until stiff. Add cream of tartar, salt, and sugar, beating until stiff and satiny. Spread about 2/3 of meringue over sides and bottom of well greased 8 inch pie pan. Drop remaining meringue in tiny mounds along rim of plate. Bake 1 hour or until shell is light brown and crisp. Cool on wire rack, away from drafts.

In double boiler, over hot boiling water, melt chocolate pieces. Combine instant coffee and boiling water. Stir into melted chocolate. Cool 5 minutes, stirring now and then. Whip cream and vanilla.  Fold chocolate mixture into whipped cream. Pour into meringue shell. Refrigerate overnight.

I usually decorate it with some chocolate curls scraped from a bittersweet bar, or adorn with whipping cream piping.

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