2008 Newsletter Archive

Newsletter 2: Valentine’s Day

Newsletter 2 – February 12, 2008      Seed Ball         Recipes


“After all these years, I see that I was mistaken about Eve in the beginning; it is better to live outside the Garden with her than inside it without her.” Mark Twain



It was a busy morning when an elderly gentleman in his 80’s arrived to have stitches removed from his thumb.  He told me he was in a hurry, as he had an appointment at 9 am.  I took his vital signs and had him take a seat, knowing it would be over an hour before someone would be able to see him.  I saw him looking at his watch and decided, since I was not busy with another patient, I would evaluate his wound.

It was well-healed, so I talked to one of the doctors, got the needed supplies to remove his sutures and re-dress his wound.  While I was working, I asked him if he had another doctor’s appointment.  The gentleman told me – no, that he always went to the nursing home to eat breakfast with his wife.

When I asked about her health, he told me she had been in the nursing home for many years with Alzheimer’s. As we talked, I asked if she would be upset if he was a little late.  He replied that she no longer knew who he was, that she had not recognized him for five years.

I was surprised, and asked him, “And you still go every morning, even though she doesn’t know who you are?”  He smiled as he patted my hand.  “She doesn’t know me, but I still know who she is.”

I had to hold back tears as goose bumps covered my arms.  After he left I thought, “That is the kind of love I want in my life.”  True love is not only physical or romantic.  True love is an acceptance of all that is, has been, will be and will not be.


Love is the only thing that can be divided without being diminished.


It was great seeing many of you at the Garden Expo. This is the time of year when gardeners find it hard to wait for the colors and smells of spring.  We heard over and over again how anxious you are.  We have a fix!! Planting is in full swing here at the greenhouse.  Even though we are not officially open for business (don’t let the closed sign stop you), our customers are always welcome to walk through the greenhouse and dream of spring. So come on out!!

While you’re here check out the beautiful cyclamen plants we have left from Expo.  Available in red, pink and white, these would make a wonderful gift for your Valentine.


Valentine’s Day is a day when you have dreams of a candlelight dinner, diamonds, and romance; but consider yourself lucky to get a card. unknown



Our SEED BALL display at Garden Expo was a big hit. So big, in fact, that our complimentary bags of seed balls were gone after Friday nite!  For those of you who are unfamiliar with seed balls, they are perhaps the easiest way to naturalize a small area.. A seed ball is simply a ball made up of seeds, art clay, and manure. Just toss them on the ground in the area you wish to have planted. But of course, you could also plant them in a pot or in the ground. We promised you we would include the recipe for making them up in this newsletter:

1 cup composted cow manure (from a bag)

1 cup terra cotta-colored art clay*

1 heaping teaspoon seeds of your choice**

small amount of water, if needed

It is best to make them up a day or two before you wish to use them. Simply put the manure, clay and seeds into a bowl and roll it into ½”-1” sized balls (if the mixture will not hold together, you may need to mist it with a small amount of water). Let the balls sit 24-48 hours to dry. Voila! You’re good to go!

*The clay is available in bags, and is a dry substance. We got ours at Paoli Clay Co.

**We used cosmos, but any self-seeding annuals will work.

You may make your mixture up in any quantity you want, as long as the clay and manure are used in equal parts.

For more detailed information, please Google “seed ball”.


People can be unreasonable, illogical and self-centered. Love them anyway.



With only seven weeks left until April, things are really starting to take shape at America’s Best.  We are hard at work preparing for Gardening 2008.  Last week we talked about clipping pictures from magazines and catalogs, and visiting the library to read about the plants you like.  Here’s a hint to turn that information into a useful format.  Some wintry afternoon, fix yourself a hot cup of tea and sit down at a big table with your folder, any existing maps of your landscape, colored pencils, and some large sheets of graph paper.  On a clean sheet sketch in your existing plantings, and then let your imagination go.  As you leaf through the pictures you cut out and the notes you took, place the plants into your landscape in your mind.  When you find a match between a plant and a space, lightly pencil it into your drawing with the appropriately colored pencil.  Continue until you’ve found a home for everything.  Sometimes this may require digging up a new area, but most of us look at that as a good thing.

Memory is the power to gather roses in winter. Anonymous



Our SNEAK PEEK Weekend in mid-April will be a special opportunity for our Loyalty Customers.  Watch future newsletters for more information.

April 25 – 27 is our annual Spring Open House.  In celebration of Earth/Arbor Day, we will be giving away FREE Black Hills Spruce seedlings. Saturday, April 26 at 10 AM we will feature FREE kid’s activities.  Hot dogs and popcorn will be served all weekend.

Other spring events will include several of our wonderful Container Workshops.  The first one is scheduled for May 3 – 4. Sunday, May 4 is our annual “SALSA SUNDAY,” when we celebrate Cinco de Mayo with Latin music, free samples of chips and salsa from 11-2, and a Salsa Container Planting workshop. We will give away a $50 gift certificate for the best salsa recipe.

Special Mother’s Day activities and free classes on vegetables, herbs and perennial gardening will continue throughout the season, along with our Make and Take Workshops and children’s activities.  We also promise you many exciting surprises, including our July 4th Celebration, when we have FREE ice cream for everyone.

Our goal is to hold events that are interesting and helpful to our customers. If you have ideas for events, please let us know.  You can email us at ed@americasbestflowers.com or call 608-222-2269.


What kind of man was Boaz before he married?   Ruthless

Bonnie’s Kitchen

This tasty recipe comes from a great couple, Bob and Shirley Holt who submitted it to my church’s cookbook and are customers of ours here at ABF.  Combine it with Twice-Baked Sweet Potatoes and a green salad for a wonderful Valentine’s Day meal.  See the December 2007 newsletter for a great truffle recipe for dessert.

Seared Pork Medallions with Sherried Pan Sauce

1 (10 ounce) pork tenderloin, cut crosswise into ½” thick slices

1 T chopped, fresh rosemary

2 t paprika

½ t salt

½ t pepper

3 T olive oil

1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced

2 garlic cloves, minced

2/3 c dry sherry

Place pork slices between 2 sheets of plastic wrap. Using mallet, flatten to a 1/3 inch thickness. Combine rosemary, paprika, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Sprinkle pork on both sides with mixture. Heat olive oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.  Saute pork until beginning to brown, about 1 minute per side. Transfer to plate. Add bell pepper to same skillet; sauté 2 minutes.  Add garlic and sauté until bell peppers begin to soften, about 1 minute longer. Add sherry. Boil until reduced by 1/3, about 1 minute. Return pork to skillet. Cook until heated through, about 1 minute. Arrange pork on 2 plates; top with bell peppers and sauce. Yield 2 servings

Twice Baked Maple Pecan Sweet Potatoes

2 medium sweet potatoes, scrubbed

1T butter

1 t pure maple syrup or pancake syrup

1/4 t salt

ground pepper, to taste

1 slice bacon, cooked crisp, crumbled

1T pecans, toasted and chopped

Garnish: snipped chives or sliced scallions

1. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Prick each potato once with a fork.  Bake on a rimmed baking sheet 45-55 minutes until soft.  Turn oven to 350.

2. When cool enough to handle, place potatoes on one side, cut the top ½ inch off lengthwise.  Scoop out insides, and place in a medium bowl.  Mash with next 4 ingredients until smooth.  Spoon mixture into skins.

3. Line baking sheet with foil; coat foil with spray.  Place stuffed potatoes on sheet; sprinkle with bacon and pecans.  Bake uncovered 20 minutes or until hot. Garnish.


A first grade teacher was doing a lesson about owls.  She explained to the class about how they are nocturnal, and how they can swivel their heads so far in either direction that it looks like they can turn them completely around, etc., etc.  Then she described how the birds swoop down to get their prey for dinner.

Following the lesson, she asked the children to draw a picture of one of the fascinating things owls do.  Looking over the pictures, she praised and applauded each child on their efforts.  She was puzzled, however, by one drawing.  It was an owl with its wings neatly folded, its eyes closed and a dead mouse nearby.

“Exactly what is this showing?” she asked the little girl who drew it.

“It’s just like you said,” said the little girl, “The owl swoops down and prays before dinner.”



May the Holy Spirit Guide You!  God Bless
Edward Knapton says Keep on Smiling!
President 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
https://www.americasbestflowers.com/home.htmlAlso President of The Commercial Flower Growers of Wisconsin  http://www.cfgw.org/ an Organization that is a division of the six group Wisconsin Green Industry Federation (WGIF) a 3 Billion dollar industry with over 4700 businesses and over 43,000 employees in Wisconsin
Senator Representing Wisconsin members of the American Nursery and Landscape Association – ANLA
Also Board member of Garden’s Beautiful Garden Centers
Also member of legislative of Committee of WGIF
Also Board Member of (WGIF) Wisconsin Green Industry Federation

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