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Vol. 23, No. 1 January / February / March 2015 - La Crosse Floral

In this issue:


Did you know?

According to health officials, the saddest day of the year is in January. January seems to bring the sadness due to Christmas being over, bills needing to be paid, the weather being too cold, the sun being scarce and even the thought of returning to work. One way to get over the winter blues is to send flowers! Based on research, flowers have an immediate impact on happiness. All participants in the research smiled when presented with flowers. And according to our Delivery Drivers, this happens on a daily basis also! So, send someone flowers today!


Flower Facts

Chrysanthemums, cousins of the common daisy, were originally cultivated in the Orient.  Then after 2000 years they came to Europe in the 17th century.  Named Ki-Ku, or “Queen of the East”, they became the personal emblem of the Japanese Emperor.  European botanists then named it chrysanthemum, which means “golden flower”.


Top 10 Tips for Sending Flowers

  1. Be spontaneous…You don’t have to wait for a special occasion to send flowers. Actually, when you send flowers for the fact of “just because,” it’s actually more meaningful.
  2. Don’t overlook anyone…Each bouquet can express a range of feelings. Anyone will love to receive a surprise gift of a bouquet—your wife, mom, sister, brother, friend, etc.
  3. Try something new…People are interested in a variety of flowers. When you are sending flowers, try sending something different. Instead of red roses all the time, send orange roses or try even an entirely new type of flower!
  4. Get more bloom for the buck…The prices of flowers vary seasonally. Buy flowers according to the season. Rose prices are higher during the winter. Instead of sending roses during the winter, order a mixed bouquet of Holland flowers.
  5. Flowers are never boring…Flowers never lose their “specialness.” Each bouquet is unique in declaring its own appreciation and thoughtfulness. Tropical inspired designs are NEVER boring.
  6. Flowers does not equal commitment…Relax. People who receive a bouquet know that you just simply care.
  7. Be prepared…Have your information as well as the receiver’s information ready when ordering flowers (names, addresses, phone numbers). Ask for assistance. We’re always here to help!
  8. Get professional help…Not everyone is an expert about flowers. Don’t be shy. Consult with a Professional to personalize your floral gift. That’s why we’re there.
  9. A gift of flowers goes a long way…Everyone always remembers the last time they received flowers.
  10. Can’t put your feelings into words?…Use us! We’ll translate your feelings into flowers!


Garden Glossary

Weed – A plant that has mastered every survival skill except for learning how to grow in rows.

Bottle tree – A tree made of iron with branches that hold luminous colored glass bottles.  The concept originated in the Congo as a way to attract and trap evil spirits.


Dr. Greenthumb

Why not recycle your Christmas tree?  Instead of putting it on the curb for pick-up, cut off the branches and use them to cover your perennials for added protection.  We haven’t had much snowfall yet this year and the added cover will actually trap more snow over your plants.  In addition, the use of an anti-dessicant, such as Wilt Stop, or evergreens will keep them from drying out and browning like they did last year.  Also, I like to tie my tree upright near my bird feeders to give them added protection from wind and snow.  I love my birds.  The two pair of cardinals and the four kinds of woodpeckers are the most enjoyable ones.  In fact, my view out my kitchen window is better than television some mornings.  A heated birdbath is the greatest attraction to birds in winter.  The male cardinal with snow falling is on my Christmas card this year.

What to do with a poinsettia after Christmas?  If you purchased the right variety, they last for months.  Most of the problems we hear are connected to over-watering.  Make sure there is drainage by poking holes in the foil.  Never let the plant sit in water.  The newer varieties take less watering.  Poinsettias like light but not direct sunshine.  They do well in temperatures of 65℉ to 75℉.  Enjoy a breath of spring – come and enjoy the warmth, sun and higher humidity in our greenhouse.  It’s like a quick trip to Florida.

Dr. G.

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The Little Sprout

By now, most of you know just how much I LOVE what I do.  And most of you know that this is a family business of which I am the 4th Generation.  What many of you may not know is that I am a Carroll College (now Carroll University) graduate with a B.S. in Biology and Chemistry.  After my freshman year at Carroll, I decided to add the chemistry part, so took some chemistry classes at UWL in the summer so I could graduate in 4 years with both.  I also decided to take Spanish to pick up all my retroactive credits from High School Spanish.  Thank you’s to Miss Brye (Central H.S) and Mrs. Nixon (UWL) for making a minor in Spanish happen for me.  One summer you could see me in the greenhouse with headphones on, listening to a cassette of conversational Spanish.  I also had almost enough credits in Tudor Stewart history to get a minor in History.

My relaxation at Carroll was being able to sing in the Concert Choir, directed by Dr. Aamot, who just happened to direct the Minnesota All State Lutheran Choir in the summers.  Until April of my senior year in high school, I was planning to attend St. Olaf College – I really wanted to be in their Concert Choir.  A visit to Carroll, last minute, changed all that.  Dr. Aamot was a St. Olaf grad, and as such, the Carroll Choir had a look and sound very much like St. Olaf.  The rest is history.  I also continued playing flute by being in the pit orchestra of musicals such as “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum”.  Carroll turned out to be a great choice for me – especially when as part of your degree you could travel abroad for 3-4 weeks either with your Degree Program or with the Concert Choir touring Europe.  The NCEP (New Cultural Experiences Program) part of Carroll has made me love to travel, appreciate the differences in our world, and embrace cultures unlike our own.

So – why am I telling you all of this?  Too often, when kids enter a family business, it is because it is expected, or because they do not have a clue as to what they want to do.  I am so appreciative that my parents let me go to school for what I wanted to – I was never forced into the family business.  My beginnings in Horticulture started at a young age.  My Dad would pay me $ .01 per label that I printed with the names of the tomatoes.  I have always had very legible printing.  At age 8, printing “Better Boy” on wooden labels 500 times was great!  And then I got to “dibble” the seedlings into a pot and stick my hand-printed label in it.  The customer would come in and buy my plant!

Another Big part of La Crosse Floral has always been fresh cut flower bouquets.  As a 10 year old I would sit alongside our Wedding Designers and wire and tape flowers that would go in corsages or wedding bouquets.  Remember shredded styrofoam?  I remember putting the shredded foam in a sundae glass, filling it with colored water, topping it with carnations, a straw, a cherry berry, and voila – you had a flower sundae!  I would make poodle dogs out of chrysanthemums – and those would sell too!  Imagine a 9 year old who sees her “designs” sell.  Pretty powerful stuff.

And then there was the summer my Uncle Richard only hired 1 young man – which meant my cousin Megan and I had to do most of the “heavy labor”.  That meant scraping under benches, running glass in the narrow V’s of the greenhouses, and even replacing and bar-capping glass panes.  I’m not sure if I would know how to do that anymore.  Little did I know La Crosse Floral would be my vocation and my love!

Because of Horticulture, I have been able to travel the world to flower auctions in the Netherlands, the largest horticulture trade show (70,000-80,000 people) in Essen, Germany, the protea farms in the highest elevations in Hawaii and the rain forests of both Australia and New Zealand.  To steal a phrase from a magazine article I recently read – “I don’t know of any other profession where so many people love their job.”  I get to wake up each day, go to work, and make the world a more beautiful place.

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Grower To Grower

Every year the National Garden Bureau Board of Directors selects crops as part of their “Year of the” program.  Last year it was the “Year of the Petunia”.  As far as I’m concerned, it’s never a bad time to talk petunias.  They are the perfect go-to gardening friend for sunny places.  There have been more petunia winners in the All-American Selections than any other class of flowers or vegetables.

The National Garden Bureau bases their picks on crops that are easy to grow, widely adaptable and genetically diverse.  The petunia is largely pest and disease free. Low maintenance and drought tolerance make them of great value to the home gardener.

With the development of F1 hybrids – a whole new world opened up for petunia breeders.  Controlling the growth from open and floppy, to bushy and great weather resistance has made the petunia a winner.  Bouncing back up from hard rains and withstanding the rigors of brutal summer heat brought petunias from ho-hum to amazing!  A whole range of new colors and combo colors came into being.  Purple Wave, introduced in 1995, opened the door to spreading petunias.  One of the larger groups, Supertunias, are outstanding in their color range.  We will have 13 selections this spring including the new “Limoncello” and “Blackcherry”.   Within the Supertunias are the Vistas.  Vista Bubblegum kicks it up another notch with its amazing avalanche of flowers!

Joining the Supertunias are the Cascadias and Surfinia series.  Cascadia Indian Summer was new last year.  It came on strong as the summer warmed up and its full range of colors came through.  Cascadias have a vigorous spreading form, bloom all season, and can be used for just about anything.  New in the Cascadias for us will be Autumn Mystery.  Indian Summer will return.  We loved it.  The Surfinia series is one of the best for rain, wind and heat tolerance.  It was one of the first series to be produced from a vegatative cutting, not from seed.  Summer Dbl. White will return and our new intro will be Sumo Pink.  This one is big.  It is bigger, fuller and more vigorous than the other Surfinias.  The large flowers make Sumos a high impact Flower Power in large planters in the ground, as HUGE hanging baskets, or alone in Big Pots.

With all the options petunias have to offer, you are sure to find exactly the right fit for your flower planting needs.  Flowers that are multicolored, have veining in them, are vivid in bold colors, have stripes, have blotches, have star-shaped patterns or ruffled white edges. – The list goes on.

Petunias are so different than 20 years ago.  Easy care tops the list.  There is no need to deadhead*; they are self-cleaning.  So sit back and enjoy; petunias today make an amazing statement.

*deadheading means cutting off old flowers

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Teresa’s Pieces

Hi, again, readers!

Bird is the word!  I’m an avid “birdie” and provide food, water, and housing year ‘round for my feathered friends.  There are myths about winter birding, so I thought I’d check ‘em out, see what the scoop is and get the facts.

MYTH – Hummingbirds migrate south for the winter.

FACT – Most hummers do move on in winter, but on the West Coast the Anna’s hummingbird stays on its breeding grounds.

MYTH – Birds move north for the summer and south for the winter.

FACT – Some species do migrate to these latitudes, such as westerners rosy finches and ptarmigans.

MYTH – Robins always fly south for the winter.

FACT – Well, seeing that a robin was bobbin’ around my yard last week this myth just flew (HA, HA!) out the window!  Robins, along with bluebirds, finches, and owls (to name a few) will stick around all winter if they have enough to eat, and a water source.

MYTH – Birds always move on in flocks.

FACT – Many do, including starlings, nighthawks, swallows and robins.  But a juvenile hummingbird that has never before migrated knows just when and where to fly, how far to go and when to stop!  And the little sweetheart does this all alone – amazing!

MYTH – Birdhouses should not be left up in winter.

FACT – Au contraire!  Besides tucking into trees, shrubs, bushes (and our toasty greenhouses here at La Crosse Floral), birdies like to roost in birdhouses on frigid winter nights, some even huddling together for warmth.

MYTH – When temps get well below 0℉, birds will freeze to death.

FACT – They store fat during the short winter days so as to stay warm throughout the long nights.  During the frigid nights they fluff their feathers to trap heat and slow their metabolism, which helps conserve energy.  As aforementioned, birds will cozy-up in bird houses, trees, shrubs, etc. to keep warm.

MYTH – Goldfinches will maintain their bright yellow plumage year-round.

FACT – In the fall goldfinches lose their yellow feathers.  These are replaced with dull, greenish-brown ones, making it hard to recognize them as they come to feed in winter.

MYTH – Birds will get their feet stuck on metal suet cages and feeders.

FACT – Their tootsies are tougher than you think!  (And most feeders have a laminated coating on the metal.)  Birds have special arteries and veins in their feet, along with protective scaly coverings that keep their toesies warm.  I’ve always been wowed when I see them standing in the cold snow and on the freezing ground, and wondered how they managed!

MYTH – Woodpeckers drill on house siding to find food or nesting places in the winter.

FACT – The tat-a-tat-tatting that is heard in winter is a sort of mating call to declare territory and attract a future “love connection”!  However, in the summer and fall, my mom has a pesky Woody that pecks on her house, probably to load up on insects for the winter mating ritual!

MYTH – If you provide a heated birdbath when it’s cold out, birds will freeze from getting their feathers wet while bathing.

FACT – Birds aren’t “bird-brained” when it comes to survival.  They’ll drink from the warm water but won’t “swan dive” into it when temps are seriously frigid.

MYTH – Don’t give birds peanut butter as it’ll stick in their throats and choke them.

FACT – Not true!  Tweeters need as much protein as they can get in winter and P.B. is P!  It’s very nourishing and helps them produce fat.

MYTH – If you go away during winter or stop feeding birds for a while, the birds that rely on You for din-din will starve.

FACT – I totally believed this myth until research proved otherwise.  In certain studies scientists have discovered that sweet little chickadees (one of my faves!) eat only 25% of their daily intake of food from feeders or from other nourishment provided by you.  The other 75% they scavenge from the wild.  If I’m not always Johnny-on-the-spot at feeding time, the birds will be lined up on my neighbor’s windowsill, happily munchin’ away at his dine-n-fly buffet!

Speaking of food, here’s a homemade all-purpose suet recipe that’s sure to please (and can be made “cheeply”!).  You can also add raisins, apples or fresh berries for an extra treat.

1 lb. suet or lard cut into small pieces

1 cup yellow cornmeal

1 cup rolled oats

1 cup chunky peanut butter

1 cup mixed wild bird seed

1 cup hulled sunflower seed, chopped peanuts or pecans

Melt suet over low flame.  Stir in other ingredients.  Then pour or pack into molds, feeders, pinecones, margarine containers, or, when cooled, roll into balls.  Refrigerate until hardened, or freeze.

You’ll want to stop in and see us here at La Crosse Floral – we have all kinds of goodies for your feathered favorites; yummy insect toppings, a variety of unusual melt-resistant suet, bird feeders and more!

All a-twwitter, ain’t no lie –

All a-flitter; gotta fly!

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KZ’s Kreative Korner

Winter doesn’t go away as soon as we would like it to. Don’t let the winter blues get to you…have some fun and make your own sled that will fit the whole family! Here’s the plus to it, it’ll be comfortable! Well, at least a little bit.

Things you’ll need:

  • 1 kiddie pool (this is the cheap one you can get on sale at the end of summer or an old one works just as great)
  • tarp or garbage bags (preferably the thick lawn ones)
  • old pillows
  • cardboard (optional)
  • plain duct tape and/or colorful ones (optional)
  • scissors

Make sure to duct tape any holes on your kiddie pool so that you can make your sled safe.

Take your old pillows and fill the inside of your kiddie pool. Duct tape them to the bottom of your pool. This will keep you and your family’s bottoms safe from a bumpy ride. If you have extra pillows, you can even tape them inside the walls of your kiddie pool. You can use your colorful duct tape for this part.

If your kiddie pool is a little lumpy on the bottom, use your cardboard to make it flat. The flatter the bottom, the smoother the ride.

Next, cover your entire kiddie pool with the tarp or garbage bags. Use duct tape to make sure there are no holes. Snow should not be able to get inside the tarp or the garbage bags.

Now that you’re all done with the technical part of this project, you can decorate your sled. Have the kids or adults decorate the sled…personalize it. This will even make an awesome winter birthday present!

If you’ve ever imagined sledding with your whole family, now you can do it in reality. Have fun!!!!

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Well, the color of the year for 2015 has been announced per the Pantone Institute – MARSALA is the color of the year.  Any of you who have ever eaten in an Italian Restaurant have probably seen Chicken or Veal Marsala on the menu.  Now you need to picture the reddish brown sauce that is essential to the dish.  If we were to consult Giada De Laurentis from the Food Network, the sauce is made from sweet Marsala, chicken broth, and mushrooms.  All of these ingredients contribute to the distinct sauce, which is reddish brown in color.  I am not sure how I feel about this color yet.  It is very earthy (like the soil), it is somewhat subdued (a trend with all the other colors in the forecast for 2015), and it is what I would consider to be a safe choice for the Pantone Institute.  Of more importance to me is what flowers we have to set against the outdoor furniture, throw pillows, and tabletop dishes.  The bottom line for 2015 though is warmth.  Gone are the bright acid tones found in the past 5 years or so.

Other colors forecast for 2015 are:

Aquamarine – This is a “gray” version of a soft blue.  I have seen delphinium and tweedia in this shade.

Scuba Blue – I can relate to this muted turquoise – even if it only is in a dream vacation.

Lucite Green To me, this color is a throwback to the early 1970’s – hence “Lucite”.  This is a tough color to pull off in clothing.  I really do not know of any flower it relates to.

Classic Blue – Kind of reminds me of the lighter navy we were told to wear on job interviews – it’s friendly, approachable and predictable.

Toasted Almond – hmm – To me – that weird khaki color you really don’t want in pants.

Strawberry Ice – This seems a return to the mauve of the 1980’s.

Tangerine – Not. the tangerine tango of 3 years ago.  Imagine pouring coffee into tangerine paint – this is what you get.

Custard – Classified as a yellow, I think it is a “browned” yellow.  Again – pour a cup of coffee – into yellow paint.

Glacier Gray – Truly a trend among Millenials, however – even I, myself, (age 52) love all the gray.  Think Dusty Miller and Lambs Ear.

Dusk Blue – Tends to remind me of Wedgewood or Colonial Blue.  It would pair well with Glacier Gray.

Tree Top – Remember the LL Bean version/edition of a Jeep Grand Cherokee in the 1980’s?  All Forest Rangers should/do wear this color.

Woodbine – This is an olive green watered down with toasted almond soy milk.  Kind of camouflage-like.

Sandstone – This is as if you took Toasted Almond and poured a little light pink in it.  It is a warm color that pairs well with Marsala.

Titanium – Very IKEA, very industrial, I would consider this to be a milky dark gray.

Lavender Herb – Very well named, this is a very likable, very adaptable color.

All of the colors forecast by Pantone are neutrals.  This past Holiday Season we found a resurgence in metallics.  Golds are back in a big way, and rose-gold is being shown on Pinterest on lots of Wedding Boards.  So – what’s old is new again.  If you are lucky to live long enough, a “fresh” version of what you have seen 1 or 2 times before is sure to come around again.

Next time – the Color Marketing Group forecast.

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Crab Rangoon Dip

This is just Perfect for SuperBowl Sunday!

I first saw this recipe in October on Facebook and made a mental note to remember it.  So, here we are.  For all those Celiacs out there like me, you choose the “dipper”!  For once, we can eat this, unlike those made with wonton wrappers.

Heat oven to 350℉

2 cups crab meat

16 oz. cream cheese (I use 1/3 less fat)

1/2 cup sour cream

4 green onions, chopped

1 1/2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce

2 Tblsp. powdered sugar

1/2 tsp. garlic powder

1/2 tsp. lemon juice

1.      Soften cream cheese in the microwave.

2.      Chop green onions.  Add to the crab meat and cream cheese.

3.      Add the sour cream, then all the rest of ingredients.  Mix well.  Pour into a low casserole dish (I use a glass pie plate), and bake for 30 minutes.  Serve with fried wontons, chips, pork rinds, etc.  I love the “shrimp chips” you find at Asian Markets or Woodman’s.  Plus, they’re in pretty colors.