The Bugs are Back!

Newsletter 23 – Thursday, July 18, 2013

Current Hours

Monday – Friday

Saturday – Sunday

Our Perennial of the Week is ‘Phenomenal’

By Bev Wilson

'Phenomenal' Lavender
‘Phenomenal’ Lavender
Click for Larger Image

Lavender that is!  A recent introduction by Peace Tree Farms, Lavender ‘Phenomenal’ has been named a ‘Must-Grow’ perennial by Better Homes & Garden.  Thirty years of breeding has resulted in one of the hardiest lavenders available, with proven reliability to zone 4. This sun-loving variety has a height and spread of 24-32 inches.

Popular for its silvery foliage, elegant flowers and wonderful fragrance, ‘Phenomenal’ truly belongs in every perennial garden.  A few weeks ago, we were able to purchase enough additional plants to allow us to feature it as Perennial of the Week, and allowing you to save 20% this week only. Hurry out, this special is only good while supplies last.

Why did the clown go to the doctor?
Because he was feeling a little funny!

Hey, all you junior Picasso’s and O’Keefe’s!

Sidewalk Chalk

Bring your colored chalk and come on out to America’s Best Flowers on Saturday, July 20, from 10am- 2pm.  Your blank canvas is waiting for you!  We’ll have a designated area in our parking lot for you to create your very own masterpiece.  There will be three age groups, 2-5 years old, 6-10 years old, and 11-15 years old and a winner will be announced for each age group.  The grand prize winner will receive a $20.00 Papa Jimmy’s gift card. 

For safety reasons we are requesting that parents stay with their children, regardless of age, while they are Chalking the Garden.  As this is a fun activity for the kids, we ask that parents please resist the temptation to assist your child with their artwork. 

It’s kind of tough to create chalk art in the rain, so if it’s raining cats and dogs this coming Saturday this event will be cancelled.  The good news is that we have another Chalk our Garden Event on Saturday, August 24.

Instant Color!

Our pre-made bright and colorful zinnias pots are waiting for you!  These sun-loving easy-care annuals will add a splash of ‘wow’ to your yard, porch, patio or deck that you can sit back and enjoy!

A guy goes to the hardware store to buy some insecticide.
He holds up a box and asks the store manager, "Is this stuff good for beetles?"
The manager replies, "NO, it’ll kill’ em"

Japanese Beetles be gone!

The disgusting shiny green Japanese Beetles are back.  To keep your plants looking good, do not delay treatment. As always, it is important to read the product labels for directions before using.  For your roses and ornamental plants, we recommend the following products;

Bonide Japanese Beetle Killer

Japanese Beetle Killer

The natural pyrethrum in this product works as a quick and easy kill of Japanese Beetles. 

Bonide Eight Garden & Home Spray

Eight Garden & Home RTU

This product controls over 100 different insect pests on fruits, roses, flowers, lawns, shrubs, trees, over 60 varieties of ornamentals, and house plants. This is a great product for both indoor and outdoor use.  It is water based and does not have an odor.

What did the mosquito say when he saw a camel’s hump?
"Gee, did I do that…?"

Beat the Mosquitos

Bonide Mosquito Beater

Mosquito Beater Natural RTS

This all-natural, residual formula repels mosquitoes, gnats, flies and other nuisance insects for up to 2 weeks. It works great for lawns, patios, gardens, barns and basically any outdoor area.  It has a pleasant scent. One quart treats 5000 sq. ft.  It contains Cedar Oil, Citronella, Geranium Oil and Lemon Oil.  And it is in a convenient, no-mix ready-to-spray applicator.

Q: What do you get if Bach falls off a horse, but has the courage to get on again and continue riding?
A: Bach in the saddle again.

Music in our Garden!

Decorative Musical Notes

Please join us on Saturday, July 27, from 1-5 pm, for our Music in the Garden event.  America’s Best Flowers is providing a garden setting for the young (and, possibly not so young?) talent in the area!  The stage is open for singing and/or playing music.  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!

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

Why do hummingbirds hum?
Because they forgot the words!

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.

Lucy’s Story – Chapter 15

Happy Birthday, Lucy!

Lucy with her new best friend! A plush penguin.
Lucy with her new best friend!
Click for Larger Image

We had a surprise birthday party for Lucy last week!  Lots of talking, laughing, eating and of course, pampering of Lucy took place.  That is what birthday parties are all about, right? 

And as it happens, the question of age came up.  With the information we have about Lucy we believe that she is either eleven or twelve years old.  Neither Hubby, our dear friend Sue nor I liked the sound of that!  So a unanimous decision was made by the three of us that Lucy is only eight years old.  We ran this past Lucy and she gave it a tails up.  After all, it’s a female’s prerogative (human or dog) to misrepresent one’s age!

The guest of honor enjoyed her special day…which when I think about it, is a pretty normal day for our Lucy! 

The birthday banner A second picture of Lucy with her new penguin chew toy

`til next time,
    ~ Shirley

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

Q: What do you call a pickle you buy at a great price?
A: A sweet Dill!

Upcoming Events

Sat, Jul 20
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.

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.

Our Kitchen

Have you ever noticed at picnics that the deviled egg platter is almost always the first empty dish?  After all, who doesn’t love deviled eggs?  Last week, while searching for birthday cake ideas for my granddaughter, I signed up to get weekly recipes from the Better Homes and Gardens website.  I got my first one this morning, and when I saw one for Deviled Egg Macaroni Pasta Salad, I decided I would break Bonnie’s steadfast rule about trying all recipes before they go in the newsletter.  It might be a couple of weeks before I actually make this (most likely for the next neighborhood potluck) and I didn’t want you to have to wait.  I’m very confident the food scientists at the Better Homes & Garden test kitchen have tried it for us.  So here you go!

Deviled Egg Macaroni Pasta Salad

  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
  • 1/4 cup cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 8 ounces large elbow macaroni
  • 12 hard-cooked eggs
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 3 tablespoons country Dijon-style mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper
  • 1/2 cup chopped sweet pickle (See Recipe below)
  • 1 1/2 cups very thinly sliced celery
  • Smoked paprika and/or pepper (optional)

In a small saucepan combine onion, vinegar and sugar. Bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat; set aside.

Meanwhile, cook macaroni according to package directions. Drain and rinse well with cold water; set aside.

Coarsely chop one egg; set aside. Halve remaining eggs; separate yolks from whites. Coarsely chop egg whites; set aside.

For dressing, place yolks in a medium bowl; mash with a fork. Add mayonnaise, mustard, and onion and vinegar mixture. Gradually stir in 1 Tbsp. water, salt, paprika, and pepper. Set aside.

In a large bowl combine the egg whites, pickles, celery, macaroni, and dressing; toss to combine. Top with reserved egg; sprinkle with additional smoked paprika and pepper. Serve at once or cover and chill up to 6 hours.

If the mixture gets a little dry after storing, you can stir in a little milk.

My friend Jesse emailed me this recipe for homemade microwave pickles on Monday.  His timing was great; they would make a great addition to the above pasta salad.  Jesse was so excited about the recipe because his cucumber plants are loaded.  He says the pickles are great even before they are chilled.  Based on his review, you might want to double the recipe.

Homemade Microwave Pickles

“Never made your own pickles? What are you waiting for?! With the help of the microwave, we can make pickles way faster than our grandmas ever could, and now we can have them homemade whenever we want!”

Makes: 2 cups
Chilling Time: 2 Hours

Homemade Microwave Pickles

  • 1 Large cucumber, thinly sliced
  • 1 Medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 3/4 Cup sugar
  • 1/2 Cup vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon mustard seed
  • 1/4 teaspoon celery seed
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon salt

In a microwaveable 2-quart bowl, combine all ingredients.  Mix Well. Microwave uncovered 5 minutes, stirring halfway through.

Allow pickles to cool.  Cover and chill at least 2 hours before serving.

Jesse’s note – The pickles were about 80% cooked after 5 minutes but they do continue to cook in the juice as they cool.

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