Hello Edward,

During the winter months, our outdoor living spaces can lack the colors we so admired during spring and summer. One way to bring color and movement to your outdoor space is to provide our feathered friends with food during winter. 

Have you ever spotted a cardinal among the snowy branches in your backyard? Such a gorgeous sight!
 
Tips for Feeding Birds in Winter 

1. Fill your backyard bird feeders daily if you can, preferably in late afternoon, to give the birds a boost before nightfall. A few days of leaving your feeders empty and you might notice the birds will quickly disappear, so make sure to keep them filled.

2. To get the most winter bird traffic in your backyard, place your feeders at varying heights and locations, including in or near trees and shrubs. This also gives them protection from harsher weather conditions.

3. Provide a variety of foods to attract the greatest number of species,
after all more species provides you with endless hours of bird watching.
4. Offer suet to birds all winter long. This is probably the best way for birds to get a quick energy boost, especially during cold nights.

5. Make sure to keep your feeders clean and free of snow, so food is accessible to our hungry feathered friends.

Graptopetalum 
Succulents are all the rage now and we have dozens of different species from which you can choose. Graptopetalum, commonly known as Mexican Ghost Plant, is a wonderful plant and it’s one of the easiest to grow.
 
Mexican Ghost Plant is known as such because of the gray, chalkish-white hue over the greenish-pink to mauve-blue leaves. Leaf color is determined by the amount of sunlight, the soil type and the amount of moisture in the soil. A plant sitting in full sun can look very different than a plant sitting in light shade.

The leaves grow in rosettes with overlapping, chubby, triangular leaves. The rosettes grow at the tips of the stems that continue to lengthen and eventually cascade over the pot. Plants are easy to propagate as each leaf that falls off has the potential to root and become a new plant.

Most Graptopetalum do best when placed in full sun. Succulents are very drought tolerant and the surest way to kill them is to give them too much water. Do not water Mexican Ghost Plant until the soil is dry several inches below the surface or you see the leaves start to shrivel.

Fertilize only during the growing season. We recommend Bonide Liquid Cactus Food, which is also good for succulents. It’s specially formulated for cacti and succulents and is easy to use.
 
Whether you are looking to start an indoor succulent garden or add to an existing one, Graptopetalum is a fine choice because of it’s chameleon-like colors and easy care.

Succulents and Cacti need love and we have what they need!

Looking to escape to a tropical paradise, 
but can’t afford the airfare?

Bring a bit of the tropics to your own home! 

 Palms make perfect houseplants, as they are pretty adaptable. An added benefit is their ability to clean and purify the air. When NASA conducted their experiments in the 1980s to see what plants would best be able to remove volatile organic compounds from the air, five different Palms made their list of the fifty best plants. Areca Palm, also known as Butterfly Palm, was rated number one.

Butterfly Palms require bright, indirect light. Allow the top 1″ of soil to dry before watering them. All Palms are sensitive to salts, fluorine and chlorine. These are all compounds found in water that has passed through a water softener or comes from the city water supply. Because of that, it is best to water Palms with distilled water or rainwater. Fertilize while they are actively growing, in late spring and through the summer, at one-half the labeled rate. We recommend Miracle Gro All Purpose Liquid Indoor Plant Food because it’s economical and easy to use.

Because these are tropical plants, they prefer warm temperatures of between 65 and 75 degrees during the day and 55 degrees at night. They should not be exposed to temperatures of 50 degrees or cooler. High humidity is important, so if needed, supplement the humidity in your home during the winter to keep these beauties happy.
If you have human children or fur-children, you can rest easy knowing that Butterfly Palm is non-toxic. For this reason, as well as the health benefits Palms provide by removing harmful chemicals such as formaldehyde (found in furniture, carpet), xylene (found in some paint) and toluene (found in wood sealer, floor polish, multi-purpose cleaners) from the air, they make an excellent choice as indoor plants.
Come visit us. We have Butterfly Palms in 4″ pots; a good, manageable size to start out. Why not bring a bit of tropical paradise to your world?
 
If you would like to read more about winter houseplant care, please visit our website.

 

I choked on a carrot this afternoon, and all I could think was, 

“I bet a donut wouldn’t have done this to me.”

Is your non-profit organization in need of funds?

America’s Best Flowers’ fundraising program is in full swing and runs through April 1, 2018.  We have designed it to be quick, easy, and profitable.  In as little as 2-3 weeks or less, you can earn substantial money for your group.

For further details or questions contact Shirley at
abfscimino@yahoo.com 

Floral notes

As we ease into the new year, we are starting to see some signs of spring pop up in our floral shops. Just in time for this much needed little warm spell, iris and tulips are again available as cut flowers, and spring bulb planters are also coming into season. 


There is no better cure for the winter blues than a beautiful vase of tulips on your table.  
Just remember to keep an eye on the water level as they will drink a lot as they open.
Edgerton 
Cottage Grove
I waited and stayed up all night and tried to figure out where the sun was.

Then it dawned on me.
Upcoming Events 2018- Mark your Calendars!!!

2018 will be full of new workshops and informational classes for you to attend. 
Like our Facebook page to keep up to date with the latest!
Make your own floral arrangement 
Saturday, January 13, 2018, 1pm-3pm
Cost $30.00
Create a springtime arrangement of daisies, carnations and alstroemeria in a mason jar vase to brighten up your winter days.
Paint-A-Pallet Party!
Saturday, January 20, 2018, 1pm-3pm
Cost $35.00 (one side) 
          $50.00 (both sides)

It’s time to unleash your creativity as you paint your way through this workshop.
You don’t have to be an artist to attend this fun and creative event; you just have to hold a paint brush and have some fun! 

You will be creating a decorative pallet you can add to your Valentine decor. If you choose to paint both sides, the other side will be something you can use for Spring! 
Make a Terrarium Garden
Saturday, January 27, 2018, 1pm-3pm

Choose from a selection of terrariums as you design your miniature world.

A variety of miniature plants and accessories will be available. Price will depend on materials chosen for your terrarium.
All classes are only available at our Cottage Grove location.
To reserve your spot please call (608) 222-2269 to register.

   ITALIAN CHILI

Ingredients:

1-2 T. olive oil
2   cloves garlic, crushed
1   large onion, coarsely chopped
1   large green pepper, coarsely chopped
1   pound bulk Italian sausage or links, casing removed
1   29 ounce can Italian tomatoes, cut up
1   15 ounce can tomato sauce, Contadina thick & zesty
1   15 ounce can of water
1   15 ounce can cannellini beans, drained
1/2 cup Burgundy or Chianti wine
1   t. dried basil
1   t. dried oregano
1   t. salt 
1/2 t. pepper
1/2 cup freshly grated Romano or Parmesan cheese

Brown sausage, onion, pepper and garlic in oil. Drain. Stir in remaining ingredients except for beans and cheese. Cover and simmer 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in beans and cheese. Cover and heat through. Serve with salad and Italian bread. Excellent reheated. Serves 6-8

Catherine Tripalin Murray

SEE YOU SOON!!!