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A Christmas Cactus Story 
Hello Edward,  

Are you looking for a beautiful holiday plant to have in your home or give as a gift, but want something more “exotic” than a poinsettia? Christmas Cactus, or more appropriately, Holiday Cactus are gorgeous and, yes, “exotic looking” plants.

Native to the shady rainforests of Brazil, they are NOT your typical cactus! Of all the plants that are passed from generation to generation, Christmas cacti are some of the most popular. In fact, we currently have one in our greenhouse that was gifted to us by a customer who had it in her family for several generations! It was her great-
grandmother’s and it was passed down to her grandmother and then to her. The plant is 100-120 years old and it’s huge!

There are actually 3 different species of Holiday Cacti. Most people just know them as Easter Cactus, Thanksgiving Cactus and Christmas Cactus. For the most part, you can differentiate them simply by the fact that they bloom near those holidays. There are physical differences in the plants, but we won’t delve into the botany here. The important point is all three are beautiful!

Caring for Holiday Cacti is relatively easy. They prefer bright light indoors and benefit from full sunlight in the fall and winter. However, they cannot be in direct sunlight in the summer, as the leaves will become pale yellow.

Because they are native to the rainforest, they need high humidity. Water them when the top of the soil becomes dry. Do not let them dry excessively or the unopened buds will drop off. They also do not like to be water-logged, so make sure that they are in a loose, well-draining soil and do not sit in a saucer of water.

During the growing season in spring and summer, Holiday Cacti like to be grown in temperatures between 70 and 80 degrees. When it’s time for bud initiation in the fall, the temperatures should be kept between 60 and 68 degrees, with 68 degrees being ideal. 

Plants should be fertilized monthly during the spring and summer with a general purpose fertilizer. Stop giving them fertilizer in late summer so that flower buds can develop.

Flower buds develop when the days get shorter and the nights longer. They require at least 13 hours of darkness, at 55 to 70 degrees, for at least 6 weeks in order to develop their flower buds. By controlling the temperature and putting the plant in darkness, you can actually have some control over when it blooms. Be sure to give it light though too, because it cannot grow in total darkness for 6 weeks! 

Holiday Cacti can bloom for 7 to 8 weeks if the plants are given the right conditions. After the plant blooms, evaluate whether it needs to be repotted. They bloom best when slightly pot-bound, so this should only be done once every three to four years. If necessary, repot the plant in the spring.

Holiday cacti are easy to propagate, so if you want to increase what you have or pass on plants to family or friends, it can be done with relative ease. In May or June, remove sections of the stems with 3-5 segments and leave the cut ends of the sections to dry or callus for one to two days. After the segments callus, insert the segments 1″ deep into a well-drained potting media such as Espoma Seed Starting Mix and water well. Place in bright, indirect light and in about 6 weeks you should have rooted plants.

Holiday Cacti are a wonderful addition to any home during the holidays. They make great gifts because they are easy to care for and can live for decades. Many families have passed on Holiday Cacti through the generations. We have plants with white, peach, purple and pink flowers. Why not start a family tradition this year with this delightful plant?!
Knock, Knock 
Who’s there?
Owl 
Owl who?
That’s right Owls who! 😉

This Saturday is our Open House,
You don’t want to miss this!

Just wanted to remind everyone that the Clydesdales will be here from 11-1
(Weather permitting and tickets are required.)

Bring home a Fresh Canaan Fir trees and make your home smell like the holidays!
Create a Porch Pot Workshop 9-3
Free Kid’s Activities  9-3 
Face Painting 
Giveaways throughout the day!

Our friends at Nate Ladsten State Farm Agency will be here with 
Holiday treats, refreshments and giveaways!
Warm your cold hands with Hot cocoa while enjoying the holiday cheer around you.

 

Which reindeer likes to clean?
Comet

A Welcoming Wreath
  
What better welcome, as your guests arrive at your home, than a fresh wreath hanging on your front door. The fresh evergreen scent as guests enter your home is warm and welcoming. 

At America’s Best Flowers, we carry beautifully decorated wreaths, made with mixed greens, available for you to purchase and hang when you get home. Or, if you are so inclined, we also carry undecorated wreaths for you to decorate yourself. You can select your decorations and create your wreath at home or you can join the fun at our Wreath Workshop.
On Sat., Dec. 9, from 1 to 3 pm, we will assist you with the decorating of your wreath. We will have custom-made bows available and festive accessories ready for you to create your wreath to welcome your guests. Call us to reserve your spot, space is limited!

Creating Memories and Traditions 

This is the last weekend to attend our Porch Pot Workshop!

Jeanne Schommer and her girls created some magical porch pots.

Upcoming Events – Mark your Calendars!!!

Holiday Porch Pot Workshop and our HOLIDAY OPEN HOUSE! 
in conjunction with Christmas in the Grove   

Saturday, December 2, 2017 

We are ending the year with a celebration! Bring your family and friends! We will have our homegrown Poinsettias in a variety of colors, free kids activities AND a visit from a majestic pair of Clydesdales! (weather-permitting) Mark your calendars for this weekend! Check our facebook page for details!

Wreath Workshop 
 Saturday, December 9, 2017  1-3
Cost $35.00

During this workshop, you will create a one-of-a-kind wreath that will match your decor. Includes one custom-made bow and a selection of accent pieces to choose from to add character and whimsy to your wreath.

A Merry Little Centerpiece 
Saturday, December 16, 2017  1-3
Cost $35.00
Whether it is a chic farmhouse-style look or sparkle and glitter, 
express your style as you create your centerpiece.

Enjoy this workshop filled with holiday warmth and festive spirit. A variety of fresh greens, fresh flowers and various decorative elements are all included in this workshop. 

Come with friends and enjoy creating a centerpiece to match your style while creating memories to remember. 
Two expert floral designers will be here to assist you with any questions. 
Call (608) 222-2269 to register or message us on our facebook page @americasbestflowers. We are only offering a very limited number of spaces for these workshops, so call early!

BUTTERY ALMOND COOKIES

Makes: 24 Servings (2 cookies each serving)
Prep Time: 20 min.  
Bake: ~15min./batch
 
 
Ingredients:

1 cup butter (no substitutes), softened
½ cup confectioners’ sugar for dough & ½ cup for rolling cookie
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¾ cup chopped almonds

Directions:

1.  In a mixing bowl, cream butter and 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar. Add flour and vanilla; mix well. Stir in almonds. Shape into 1-in. balls. Place 2 in. apart on ungreased baking sheets.

 

2. Bake at 350° for 13-16 minutes or until bottoms are golden brown and cookies are set. Cool for 1-2 minutes before removing to wire racks to cool completely. Roll in remaining confectioners’ sugar. 

 

Yield: about 4 dozen

 

One of my favorite cookie recipes from Taste of Home.  Super easy cookie to make with my trusty small cookie scoop.  These taste so good on their own or with a hot cup of coffee. 

SEE YOU SOON!!!
America’s Best Flowers, 4311 Vilas Hope Road, Cottage Grove, WI 53527
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