‘THE SAGE’-Klein’s Online Newsletter—MAY 2018
Klein’s Floral & Greenhouses
608/244-5661 or [email protected]

Klein’s Grand Opening Celebration is May 4-6!
Our 2018 Spring Plant List Is Now Online
Our ‘Mad Gardener’ Is Ready for Your Questions
Don’t Forget Mom This May 13!
World’s Hottest Peppers Guide 2018: Eating On The Edge
When to Harvest Garden-Fresh Produce
Klein’s Favorite Seed, Bulb & Plant Sources
You Asked the Mad Gardener About a Sad Oxalis
Plant of the Month: The Common or French Lilac
Klein’s Favorite Mushroom Recipes
Product Spotlight: Oriole Feeders from Nature’s Select & Perky-Pet
Notes from Rick’s Garden Journal—From April 2018
—Seedling Stem Color & Ultimate Flower Color
—The Move to the Outdoors Begins
—Virginia Bluebells
May in the Garden: A Planner
Gardening Events Around Town
Review Klein’s @: Yelp, Google Reviews or Facebook Reviews
Join Us on Twitter
Follow Us on Facebook
Delivery Information
Related Resources and Websites
Plants Harmful to Kids and Pets




After just 7 months of construction (Demolition of the old Klein’s began in August.), Klein’s Floral & Greenhouses is completely up and running and ready for this exciting new spring season and the beginning of this new era.


Join us a fun-filled and informative weekend, May 4-6, as we celebrate the Grand Opening of our brand new, state-of-the-art facility. We will have both added staff and representatives from many of our vendors available to answer questions not just about our plants, but about the new structures and some exciting new product lines. Bucky Badger joins us in the celebration on Sunday, May 6.


OUR 2018 SPRING PLANT LIST can be viewed on-line by clicking on Spring Plants or under Greenhouse at the top of our home page. This comprehensive listing contains every plant that Klein’s will be offering for the 2018 season and is extremely helpful for both the home gardener and landscaper alike. The list contains fun facts, cultural information and pot or pack size for each item and comes in very handy in planning your garden this spring.


FOR NEIGHBORHOOD EVENTS OR GARDEN TOURS that you would like posted on our web site or in our monthly newsletters, please contact Rick at (608) 244-5661 or [email protected]. Please include all details, i.e. dates, locations, prices, brief description, etc. Events must be garden related and must take place in the Madison area.


“Madison’s Firsthand Source for Expert Gardening Advice”


Ask any of your gardening questions by e-mailing them to us at [email protected]. Klein’s in-house Mad Gardener will e-mail you with an answer as promptly as we can. We’ve also posted a link to this e-mail address on our home page for your convenience. Your question might then appear in the “You Asked” feature of our monthly newsletter. If your question is the one selected for our monthly newsletter, you’ll receive a small gift from us at Klein’s. The Mad Gardener hopes to hear from you soon!


Sorry, we can only answer those questions pertaining to gardening in Southern Wisconsin and we reserve the right to leave correspondence unanswered at our discretion. Please allow 2-3 days for a response.


Please note that our Mad Gardener is not only an expert gardener, but can answer all of your indoor plant questions as well.


Again during the 2018 spring season, Klein’s will open at 7:00 a.m. every Tuesday! Year long, Tuesday is Klein’s Senior Discount Day. On Tuesdays those 62 and over save an extra 10% off all regular priced items. Beginning Tuesday, May 1, we open the doors an hour early. Avoid the lines and shop early! The extended Tuesday hours last through mid-June.


Monday thru Friday : 8:00-8:00 (Open Tuesdays at 7:00)
Saturday: 8:00-6:00
Sunday: 9:00-5:00


Open Memorial Day, May 28, 9:00-5:00


May 5–Cinco de Mayo


May 6–This is Madison’s average last frost date (May 10 in the outlying areas), but keep your eye on the weather before planting. Madison has a notorious reputation for late May frosts. Many local old-time gardeners refuse to plant, especially their tomatoes, peppers, morning glories, etc. until Memorial Day weekend when the soil has warmed properly. Novice gardeners have a tendency to plant too early!


May 13–Mother’s Day. Order early and shop early!!! Mother’s Day is second only to Valentine’s Day for deliveries and the Saturday before Mother’s Day is traditionally our busiest day of the entire year. Extra drivers will be on the road Saturday, May 12 for prompt and efficient service. Click on Delivery Information at the top of our home page for more details about Klein’s delivery. Because this is our busiest day of the year in the greenhouse, will not be delivering on Mother’s Day, Sunday, May 13.


May 16—Ramadan begins.


May 28–Memorial Day-the unofficial beginning of summer! Store Hours: 9-5:00


May 29–Full Moon




The weekend of Mother’s Day is THE busiest time of the year at Klein’s, far surpassing even Valentine’s Day. The showrooms bustle with not only shoppers looking for that perfect Mother’s Day gift, but also gardeners with cartloads of annuals, vegetables, perennials, seeds and garden supplies. Our retail cooler is filled to the brim with stunning spring arrangements for mom and buckets of loose cut flowers to create your own at home. An array of beautiful blooming plants makes your selection even more difficult.


Avoid the rush by shopping early. Call us 608/244-5661 or 888/244-5661 to talk to one of our designers personally or order on line @ Klein’s Floral Delivery


Klein’s has it all for mom–”one-stop shopping” for floral arrangements, gorgeous hanging baskets and patio pots, interesting and whimsical garden ornaments or the ever-appreciated gift certificate.


Extra drivers will be on the road Saturday, May 12 for prompt and efficient service. Visit Delivery Information for more details about Klein’s delivery.


I purchased a shamrock plant (Oxalis spp.) from you around this time last year (St. Patty’s Day). When I brought it home, I had it in a location where it did not get enough light and it went dormant shortly afterward. When I moved it to a better location, it thrived! But it seems to be off schedule now. Instead of blooming in January/February it went dormant and is still dormant. Kelly


Hi Kelly,
It is on schedule! The ones you buy in March are ‘forced’ by growers to be leafed out and blooming for St. Patty’s Day when they are most popular for sale. This is not their normal cycle. Like most plants, they are responsive to day length and respond accordingly. Winter is their sleep time.


I have 3 pots of oxalis that I’ve had for many, many years and they are just resprouting after their winter of dormancy. Mine spend their summers outdoors along the east side of my house in morning sun and are in constant bloom all summer with lush, thick foliage. In early October, the foliage begins looking ratty and begins detaching from the tiny bulbs beneath and I allow them to go to sleep; storing them in my basement and watering once a month tops during the winter months. They begin sprouting naturally then in early March when I begin fertilizing them and move them to a bright location. By mid-May, they are ready to be moved outdoors to their summer “happy” spot.


Thanks for your question,
Klein’s Mad Gardener


. . . that of the 15 hottest pepper varieties in the world for 2018, Klein’s carry’s three of them (given timely and good germination)?


World’s Hottest Peppers Guide 2018: Eating On The Edge


The title for the hottest pepper is something that’s challenged more often than you may expect. Every year, hot pepper cultivators find a new mix of hybrid, soil, and temperature to create peppers that will combat for the top position, if not beat it. The competition is fierce. Below we break out the top 15 hottest peppers in the world based on potential peak heat. Each chili pepper has a range of spiciness possible, so some of the chilies below may rank lower than they would if we measured by floor heat and average overall heat.


#15 Ghost Pepper (Bhut Jolokia) (***Available @ Klein’s)
855,000 to 1,041,427 Scoville heat units
It really says a lot about the state of super-hot peppers when the notorious ghost pepper – once Guinness Book champ – barely cracks the top 15 hottest peppers in the world. The ghost pepper held the Guinness title for hottest chili pepper in 2007, so it has gotten a lot of fame over the years. In fact, some of its non-culinary uses have given it notoriety. Residents of India use the ghost pepper as a way to keep wild elephants away. They incorporate it into smoke bombs and even smear the pepper onto fences. Those elephants definitely don’t want to tangle with this pepper, but you can if you like!


#14: 7 Pot Jonah
800,000 to 1,200,000 Scoville heat units
7 Pot peppers abound among the hottest peppers in the world. The 7 Pot Jonah is much like the traditional 7 Pot pepper below, but bigger in size and (some say) even fruiter in flavor (if you can get past the extreme heat). They can dip down in heat below the level of a ghost pepper, but at their peak they’ll easily beat out the ghost by over 150,0000 Scoville heat units.


#13: Trinidad 7 Pot Pepper
1,000,000 to 1,200,000 Scoville heat units
The common variety of the Trinidad 7 Pot pepper is a killer in the kitchen. IT equals the peak heat of the Jonah strain, but with a higher floor that guarantees this chili is close to the top end of a ghost pepper no matter what. 7 Pot peppers get their name for how far their extreme heat can go. One chili can easily spice up seven pots of stew – hence 7 Pot peppers.


#12: Infinity Pepper
1,067,286 to 1,250,000 Scoville heat units
For a brief 2 weeks in 2011, the Infinity pepper held the Guinness Book of World Records title as the hottest pepper in the world, before being replaced by the Naga Viper. It stole the crown from the ghost pepper, and it’s easy to see that both it and the ghost have been relegated far down the super-hot line since that time. Infinity pepper is a good name as the chili has a slow burn, like the ghost pepper, that seems to last a lifetime.


#11: 7 Pot Primo
800,000 to 1,268,250 Scoville heat units
The Primo hybrid is a cross between a Naga Morich and a Trinidad 7 Pot pepper. It’s heat level is at minimum the level of a ghost pepper with the chance to cross into the world of hotter chilies like the Moruga Scorpion. The 7 Pot Primo is known for its pronounced scorpion-like tail, giving the chili a real edge in the looks department.


#10: 7 Pot Barrackpore
1,000,000 to 1,300,000 Scoville heat units
Coming in bigger and hotter than most other 7 Pots, the 7 Pot Barrackpore is a a real force. What it has extra in heat, though, it loses some in overall flavor. It’s a little more bitter and less fruity than other super-hot peppers.


#9: 7 Pot Brain Strain
1,000,000 to 1,350,000 Scoville heat units
The name’s the thing with this super-hot chili strain. The 7 Pot Brain Strain truly strains the brain in heat-factor, but it also looks a lot like a human brain in shape, folded and round. It’s a popular 7 Pot because of its fun look and mega-spiciness.


#8: Naga Viper
900,000 to 1,382,118 Scoville heat units
The Naga Viper has quite the pedigree behind it. It’s a hybrid cross between three super-hot chilies – the ghost pepper, the Naga Morich, and the Trinidad Moruga Scorpion. In 2011 it took the official Guinness Book title as world’s hottest chili pepper, beating out the Infinity pepper. It lost the title in 2012, but still few chilies have held the title making the Naga Viper one to know among super-hots. It has the high heat of a scorpion pepper with the slow burn of a ghost pepper.


#7: Trinidad Scorpion “Butch T”
800,000 to 1,463,700 Scoville heat units
The “Butch T” is a strain of the Trinidad Scorpion pepper, and for 3 years it held the Guinness Book title for world’s hottest pepper. It ranks here at #7 for its peak range, but it tends to average out to a hotter temperature than the Trinidad Moruga Scorpion (which has the much higher potential peak heat).


#6: Naga Morich
1,000,000 to 1,500,000 Scoville heat units
A relative of the ghost pepper, the Naga Morich (also known as the serpent chili), starts in heat where the ghost pepper ends. Its floor is 1 million SHU, compared to the ghost pepper’s peak heat of 1,041,427 SHU. It has a sweet, almost floral flavor and a slow burn heat.


#5: Dorset Naga
1,000,000 to 1,598,227 Scoville heat units
The Dorset Naga is sort of a super Naga Morich. It was developed by choosing the seeds of the best possible Naga Morich chilies, creating a popular pepper in itself with a little extra heat. But the flavors (sweet and floral) are similar between these two peppers.


#4: 7 Pot Douglah
923,889 to 1,853,986 Scoville heat units
The 7 Pot Douglah is not your typical 7 Pot pepper. It ages to a chocolate-brown and has more of a sweet and nutty flavor than fruity. And in terms of heat, it’s a major uptick from other 7 Pots – at its peak it nears the 2 million Scoville heat unit mark, which only a few chilies ever come close to (or surpass).


#3: Trinidad Moruga Scorpion (***Available @ Klein’s)
1,200,000 to 2,000,000 Scoville heat units
Sporting a killer name, the Trinidad Moruga Scorpion is from Trinidad and Tobago and gets its moniker from its scorpion like “tail” that looks like the stinger of, you guessed it, a scorpion. Its heat at its potential peak hits 2 million Scoville heat units which places the Moruga Scorpion among the peppers that can be hotter than many pepper sprays. The Trinidad Scorpion chocolate (the brown sub-variety) falls also within these Scoville heat boundaries as well.


#2: Komodo Dragon Pepper
1,400,000 to 2,200,000 Scoville heat units
With comparable heat to our #1 hottest pepper in the world, the Komodo Dragon has face melting spiciness. There’s a sneaky sweet heat to this super-hot pepper – like the ghost pepper it’s a slow burn that doesn’t hit you upon first bite, but builds over time into a fire storm. Interestingly, the Komodo Dragon chili is unique in the fact that it’s founds its way into a major supermarket’s store shelves. It’s sold at TESCO stores in the United Kingdom.


#1: Carolina Reaper (***Available @ Klein’s)
1,400,000 to 2,200,000 Scoville heat units
As of November 2013, the the aptly named Carolina Reaper has been the Guinness Book of Word Record’s official hottest pepper in the world. It’s a United States hot pepper variety (South Carolina) with insane heat, coming in from 1,400,000 Scoville heat units (SHU) up to a mind and taste bud boggling 2,200,000 SHU. That’s essentially 200,000 SHU hotter than the hottest possible Scorpion pepper. Put it another way, it’s a whole habanero hotter in terms of peak spiciness, and at this top level it blows past many pepper sprays. The Carolina Reaper has a fruitiness to it, and the PuckerButt Pepper Company (the growers behind the Reaper) have grown it to be a super-hot that doesn’t skimp on overall flavor. That is, if you can handle the heat, and that’s a big ‘if’!


Please note that we grow very limited quantities of these hottest of peppers. Seeds are expensive and germination and growth rates can be slow and erratic. Due to their expense, plants are grown in larger pots than our other pepper varieties.


PRODUCT SPOTLIGHTEach month we spotlight some product that we already carry or one that we’ve taken note of and plan to carry in the near future. Likewise, if you would like to see Klein’s to carry a product that we don’t currently, please let us know. Our goal is to be responsive to the marketplace and to our loyal clientele. If a product fits into our profile, we will make every effort to get it into our store. In addition, we may be able to special order an item for you, whether plant or hard good, given enough time.


Oriole (Fruit & Jelly) Feeders and Jelly from Nature’s Select & Perky Pet


The brilliant orange and black orioles can be a delight to see in any backyard. Orioles have a big sweet tooth, and they particularly love sugar water, orange slices and jelly. Watch orioles flock to your yard when you offer them their very own oriole nectar feeder or jelly feeder. Our feeders even feature vibrant orange accents to draw them in from afar! Klein’s is carrying the following oriole feeders this season:


Nature’s Select Deluxe Fruit & Jelly Feeder—One of the best oriole feeders on the market!
—Made of long-lasting unfinished cedar
—Two cups hold your favorite jelly or cut fruit, each end is pegged to place fruit on
—Also makes a great meal-worm feeder for bluebirds
—Approximately 16” x 5” x 8” high


Nature’s Select Hanging Oriole Polywood Feeder
—Made of nearly indestructible plastic Polywood
—Features a removable jelly cup for easy cleaning
—Light weight and easy to hang anywhere


Perky-Pet Carnival Glass Vintage Feeder
—Vintage carnival glass bottle with orange luster finish
—Wide mouth opening for easy filling and cleaning
—Unique circular perch
—4 flower feeding ports
—16 oz nectar capacity


Perky-Pet Oriole Jelly Feeder
—Open design makes feeder easy to clean
—Built-in stirrer allows for easy jelly dispensing
—Jelly stays fresh and dry inside the inverted jelly jar
—Included jar can be interchanged with most jelly jars
—Orange color attracts orioles to your yard
—Includes a convenient hanging chain
—Included bottle holds up to 32 oz of jelly


Types of Oriole Feeders


Nectar – Nectar feeders hold a simple sugar and water solution. This type of oriole feeder is a popular choice that features large ports to accommodate large bills, and oversized perches that offer adequate room for these songbirds to sit and dine. Some may even feature spaces to put orange slices for an extra treat!


Jelly – Orioles love jelly! Typical jelly feeders come with a small dish and perch for the orioles to sit on.


How To Attract Orioles This Spring
With their signature black and orange or yellow coloring and beautiful songs, orioles are a favorite among backyard birds. However, orioles are also known to be somewhat elusive due to their very particular habits.


To help you out, we’ve gathered a list of tips to help you attract the orioles in your region this spring. With just a few simple steps, your yard could soon become a sought-after haven for these stunning birds.


Baltimore Orioles are commonly found throughout the eastern and central regions of the United States. Their habitat range overlaps with the similar-looking Bullock’s Oriole in the middle of the United States. These two species sometimes breed together, creating a population of hybrid species where the range paths overlap. In winter, Baltimore Orioles depart south to the Caribbean, Central America, and northern South America – though they still may be located as far north as Florida.


As with all birds, orioles need food, water and shelter to survive. By meeting all of these needs and appealing to oriole’s specific preferences for each, you can make your backyard a favorite habitat.


One of the biggest mistakes many birders make when trying to attract orioles is that they don’t set up feeders early enough. Don’t wait until you’ve spotted the first oriole of the season before setting them out! Feeders should be placed several weeks before you expect them to arrive in your area. For most birds, putting up your feeders late wouldn’t matter much. Orioles, on the other hand, are creatures of habit and timing matters – if they don’t find feeders in your yard upon their initial spring arrival, they most likely won’t use them later.


Orioles are similar to hummingbirds in several ways. One of these similarities is their attraction to specific colors. While hummingbirds are attracted to red, orioles are particularly drawn to the color orange. They also like oranges, as in the fruit. To catch the eye of orioles passing overhead, place orange feeders in visible spots around your yard. You could also try tying orange ribbon or surveyor’s tape around trees, railings or bushes to lure them down from the sky. Once they figure out that your yard offers an abundant food source, they may decide to stick around.


When spring rolls around, orioles need lots of energy as they come to the end of their migration. To satisfy this need, orioles love to eat sugary, high-energy foods. Provide these beautiful birds with the sweet treats they love by placing feeders for nectar, jelly, and fruit around your yard.


On the other hand, orioles love oranges, as mentioned earlier. Many nectar feeders designed for orioles provide a specific location to offer orange slices. This way, your feathered friends can enjoy two of their favorite foods in the same place. Jelly is another great option to entice orioles.


Whatever you decide to feed them, be sure to keep it fresh. All of these sugary foods can become moldy. Only supply enough food that it will be consumed quickly and frequently replenished. Moldy foods make birds sick just as easily as they do humans.


Later in the summer, once they don’t require as much energy, orioles typically alter their diet to include more insects and less sugar. These offer more protein to support them throughout the nesting season. Keep them coming around through the remainder of the summer by providing mealworms and even suet.



NOTES FROM MY GARDEN JOURNAL–Tips and Observations from My Own Garden by Rick Halbach


ENTRY: APRIL 6, 2018 (Seedling Stem Color & Ultimate Flower Color)
I did a lot of transplanting of seedlings today down in the basement as I step up individual plant seedlings from the seed starting medium in which they germinated into individual cell packs (72 cells/flat). In a normal season I usually start about 30 or 40 flats of flower and vegetable seeds in the basement. I focus primarily on specialty items that I can’t find at garden centers. Though I sow more than enough of each seed variety, I step up only enough seedlings that I know will fit in my garden. The rest of the seedlings I usually pass on to coworkers or throw away.


When I’m transplanting most seedlings, I usually pick the largest and seemingly healthiest to transplant into the cell packs. However, after many years of experience I’ve learned that this isn’t always the right thing to do. When transplanting seedlings from flower mixes of different colors, it’s also important to note that stem color can play an important role in determining which plants I step up. Different stem colors result in plants with different flower colors and the seedlings aren’t always at the same stage of development. In mixes, some colors can germinate later and at different rates than other flower colors. Were I only to choose the largest and most vigorous seedlings, I could miss out on some flower colors entirely in the garden come summer.


Therefore, I take a very random approach when pricking out seedlings and transplanting into cell packs or pots—a little of this size seedling and a little of that size. In mixes where the stem color is quite obvious (balsam for example), I mix things up in the cell packs as much as I can so I get a nice, even mix in the garden. The seedlings with plain green stems are usually quite a bit bigger than those that are pinkish. Were I to focus on only the more vigorous green stemmed seedlings, the balsam in my garden would lean toward white and pastel pink, forgoing the deep reds and purples that are also a part of the mix.


* * * * *


ENTRY: APRIL 20, 2018 (The Move to the Outdoors Begins)
In checking the weather forecast, it seems like we’re in for a period of fairly warm weather. It’s time to start getting a few plants from winter storage. Because the nights are still rather cold and will be for weeks to come, I need to be selective about the plants I choose to bring outside and then be prepared to bring them back indoors if necessary. The first plants that I move outdoors are those that are very cold tolerant. These include many of the potted bulb containers that I’ve overwintered in the root cellar.
Around March 1, I moved many of those containers to a warmer part of the basement to give them a good start before I move them to the garden. By now, many of them, including callas, pineapple lilies, agapanthus (Lily-of-the-Nile), are four or more inches tall. In moving them outdoors while it’s still cool, I can control their growth and prevent them from becoming weak and spindly. Natural rainwater instead of tap water is an added bonus. I place my plants very near the garage so I can move them inside quickly on cold nights. Over the next month or so I may need to move my plants in and out 4-6 times depending on the weather. During extended cold spells I’ll keep the pots in the garage for a few days. Due to the cool temperatures, the lack of light won’t hurt them for a few days.


If the weather continues to be pleasant, I’ll begin hardening off some of my tougher overwintered potted annuals (like geraniums) and seed sown cool weather lovers like calendulas, violas, pansies, nasturtiums and rudbeckia . Even young petunias can take a fair amount of cold. Initially I set them just inside the garage door and open the door during the daytime. When nights are forecast to be above 40º I keep them outside overnight, moving them back inside the garage during cold snaps. It may seem like a lot of work, but I’m rewarded with sturdy, pest-free and acclimated plants ready to go into the garden in early May.


On the other hand, I’m very careful not to move my “warm weather” plants outdoors until the nighttime temperatures are forecast to be consistently in the 50’s or above. These include overwintered coleus, cannas and brugmansia and seed sown peppers, tomatoes, basil, marigolds, sunflowers, morning glories and zinnias These plants all succumb quickly in cold and damp conditions. I usually begin hardening off these plants during the first week of May for planting in the garden after May 15 when air and soil temperatures are sufficiently warm.


* * * * *


ENTRY: APRIL 25, 2018 (Virginia Bluebells)
Who cannot love Virginia bluebells? When in full bloom, a woodland field of their purest sky blue is a sight to behold. My yard is filled with them and the most protected ones (given this late spring) are just about ready to pop open.


Virginia bluebell (Mertensia virginica) is a native perennial and a member of the borage plant family. Plants appear, usually in deciduous woodlands, early in the spring and bloom from late April through May. They are native to nearly all of the eastern United States and north into southern Canada. Plants grow to 2 1/2’ tall with substantial foliage and sky blue flowers with hints of pink. Pink and white forms exist. Plants tend to grow in large colonies and are a favorite for early spring pollinators.


In my own garden, Virginia bluebells fill the spaces where sun and shade overlap. They self-sow readily (if not vigorously), but the shallow rooted seedings are easy to identify and pull as desired. Like spring bulbs, the foliage yellows and withers on its own. I simply tuck the yellowing leaves between the hostas and ferns that are replacing them. Once fully yellowed, the foliage can be removed. It’s amazing to me that there are no signs of these once tall and rather substantial plants during the summer months.


Virginia bluebells are available at Klein’s both potted and bareroot.


KLEIN’S RECIPES OF THE MONTHThese are a selection of relatively simple recipes chosen by our staff. New recipes appear monthly. Enjoy!!


Growing your own mushrooms year round continues to grow in popularity-especially during the winter months when we can grow little else. Easy to grow kits are available locally and from many seed companies including Territorial Seed Company (www.territorialseed.com/category/s?keyword=mushroom). Growing your own mushrooms is not only rewarding, but makes for a fun family project. The following are some of our very favorite mushroom recipes.


There are about 2,000 varieties of edible mushrooms, yet most people tend to cook with just one or two. Branch out!! Here are five to seek out on store shelves.


White Mushrooms—The most popular button mushroom on the market (its mild flavor makes it a versatile ingredient), they’re surprisingly protein-rich with 6g in 5 buttons—more than beans!!)


Shiitake—The shiitake has a deeper, more satisfying flavor than other varieties, and it has calcium, which white mushrooms do not. For the most flavor, buy dried and rehydrate them in warm water.


Cremini—Known as the portobello in its larger mature form, this one tastes similar to white buttons but is ideal for dark sauces. Plus they caramelize and take on a meaty flavor when grilled.


Oyster—This mild mushroom has more iron and antioxidants such as ergothioneine than shiitakes or portobellos. It stays firm when cooked, so its a great way to add texture to soft dishes such as polenta.


Hen-of-the-Woods—The hen-of-the-woods mushroom, also called maitake, has an earthy flavor—perfect for stir-fry—and has more glutathione than the others.


WILD RICE AND MUSHROOM SOUP–This longtime favorite comes from a St. Albert the Great Catholic Church (Sun Prairie) cookbook published in 1996. This hearty soup is a meal in itself!
3 cups water
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup butter
2 TBS. flour
1-2 cups sliced mushrooms
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup sliced carrots
1 cup half and half
2 cups vegetable broth
1 cup raw wild rice, cooked
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/4 cup parmesan
a little sherry to taste (optional)


Cook the rice per package instructions. Melt the butter in a large saucepan. Add the onion and sauté until tender. Stir in the flour, salt and pepper and cook, stirring constantly until thickened. Gradually stir in the water and bring to a boil. Cook, stirring 1 minute more. Add the mushrooms, celery, carrots and cooked rice. Reduce the heat and simmer 30 minutes or until the veggies are tender. Add the half and half, parmesan and sherry and slowly heat through. Serves 6.


PITA PORTABLES—For a refreshing summer meal, this recipe took first place in the 1988 Wisconsin State Journal Cookbook and has been a favorite of ours ever since. An excellent and easy choice for large get togethers.
1 cup shredded lettuce
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1 cup finely chopped green pepper
1 cup finely chopped cucumber
1 cup finely diced carrot
1 cup finely diced celery
1 cup sliced black olives
1 cup chopped tomatoes
1 cup chopped avocado
1/2 cup chopped green onion
1/2 cup alfalfa sprouts
2/3 cup mayo
1/2 tsp. honey
1/2 tsp. mustard
Pita bread


Combine the veggies in a bowl. Whisk together the mayo, honey and mustard and pour over the veggies and mix well. Chill until ready to serve. Serves 6.


MONTY’S BLUE PLATE ARTICHOKE SANDWICH—A long time favorite restaurant on Madison’s near east side, Monty’s Blue Plate Diner shared this recipe with the Wisconsin State Journal in September 2000.
2 TBS. olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
2 medium leeks, thin sliced
4 cups sliced mushrooms
1 x 8 oz. can artichokes (not marinated), drained
1 red pepper, diced
4 fresh tomatoes, diced
1 cup prepared pesto (jarred is fine)
1/2 cup pine nuts
1 oz. soy sauce
4 sliced baguettes or similar good bread
grated parmesan


Preheat the oven to 400º. Using a non-stick fry pan, heat the oil and sauté the onions and leeks until caramelized. Add the mushrooms and artichokes and cook 15 minutes over medium-low heat. Add the red pepper, tomatoes, pine nuts and pesto and cook 5 minutes. Add the soy sauce and stir. Place the bread halves on a cookie sheet(s). Place the mixture on the bread halves and sprinkle with parmesan. Bake 8-10 minutes. Rotate as needed to toast evenly. Yields 8 halves.


SPINACH MUSHROOM ENCHILADAS—We picked up this family favorite from the Channel3000 website in August 2008. This is a super-delicious family favorite.
4 tsp. canola oil
2 medium onions, finely chopped
16 oz. mushrooms, finely chopped
4 cloves minced garlic
2 x 10 oz. packages frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
2 cups ricotta
1 cup sour cream
2 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. cayenne
1/4 tsp. pepper (white if available)
salt to taste
4 cups shredded Monterey jack or Mexican blend cheese
16 x 8” flour tortillas prepped per pacage instructions
20 oz. enchilada sauce
the usual garnishes . . . lettuce, black olives, tomatoes, onions, etc.


Preheat the oven to 350º. Prep a 10 x 15” baking dish with cooking spray. In a large skillet, sauté the onion. Add the mushrooms and cook until tender. Add the garlic and cook 1 minute more. Add the spinach, ricotta, sour cream, chili powder, cayenne and pepper. Stir well and season as desired. Add 2 cups of the shredded cheese to the mixture. Spoon onto the warmed tortillas, roll and place into the prepped pan. Pour the enchilada sauce over the top and sprinkle with the remaining cheese. Bake about 40 minutes until hot and bubbly. Can be prepped ahead and refrigerated, but add 5-10 minutes to cooking time. Serves 10.


MUSHROOM BARLEY SOUP—This classic comes from the original Moosewood Cookbook.
1/2 cup raw pearled barley
6 1/2 cups stock or stock and water combo
1 tsp. salt
3 TBS. tamari (Japanese soy sauce)
4 TBS. sherry
3 TBS. butter
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
3 cloves minced garlic
1 large onion, chopped
1 lb. sliced mushrooms
fresh ground pepper


Cook the barley in 1 1/2 cups of the stock until tender right in the soup kettle, about 45-50 minutes. Add the rest of the stock, tamari and sherry. Meanwhile, sauté the onions, garlic and thyme in a separate skillet. When softened add the mushrooms and salt. When all is tender, add to the cooked barley, keeping all of the expressed liquid. Add a generous amount of fresh pepper and simmer over the lowest heat possible. Adjust the seasonings. Serve with a crunchy warm bread and a side salad for the perfect meal! Serves 6-8.


MUSHROOMS IN GINGER SAUCE—Serve alone as a side or poured over green beans or rice. NUM! From Better Homes and Gardens magazine, May 2007.
2 TBS. butter
1/3-1/2 cup chopped onion
1/3-1/2 cup chopped cilantro
4 cloves minced garlic
1 TBS. grated fresh ginger
16 oz. sliced mushrooms
2 TBS. soy sauce
1/4 cup unsweetened coconut milk (for cooking, not baking)
1 TBS. lime juice
Steamed beans or cooked rice, if desired


In a large skillet, heat the butter on medium-high. Add the onions, cilantro, ginger and garlic. Cook and stir 1 minute. Stir in the mushrooms and the soy sauce. Simmer, uncovered, 5 minutes or until the sauce thickens. Remove from the heat and stir in the lime juice. Serve alone as a side or poured over green beans or rice. Serves 6.




When to Harvest Garden-Fresh Produce
By Kris Wetherbee
Source: Mother Earth News @ www.motherearthnews.com


The secret to enjoying garden-fresh produce at its prime is knowing when to harvest. If you’ve ever eaten a melon that lacked sweetness or green beans that were fibrous and tough, you know how crucial timing can be. Just as different vegetables have their own distinct needs for planting, fertilizing and growing, each also will give certain clues when it is ready to pick.


A few vegetables are very accommodating and can stay in the ground for weeks until you’re ready to eat them. Others need continual picking to ensure ongoing production of a crop, but most have a short window of time during which they can be gathered at peak flavor. After a vegetable passes its prime, it undergoes permanent changes that alter its taste, appearance, quality and, sometimes, its future production. Sugars turn to starches, and the texture becomes mushy, like an overripe melon or chewy green beans.


On the other hand, if you pick too soon, you’ll harvest a vegetable that has not had adequate time to develop peak flavor, substance or nutrition.


The following is a guide to help you know precisely when your summer and fall fruits and vegetables have reached their peak of perfection and are ready to be picked and eaten.


Beans should be checked daily for harvesting. Snap beans/green beans are ready when the pods have filled out but the seeds are still tiny, which, depending on weather conditions, is usually some two to four weeks after bloom. The pods should be firm and crisp, with pliable tips. Pick haricot (French filet) types when the pods are about one-eighth inch in diameter, while they’re still young and very slender.


Beets can be picked when the roots are from 1 1/2 to 3 inches in diameter, and most taste best when they are about the size of a ping-pong ball or golf ball. White and golden varieties are tasty and tender until they reach baseball size, but storage (winter-keeping) varieties remain tender until they reach softball size or even slightly larger. When harvested past their prime, beets have a strong taste and a tough, pithy texture.
Broccoli should be harvested when the buds are still tight and before the florets begin opening their yellow flowers. For the first harvest, cut the central stalk at a slant about 5 to 6 inches below the base of the head. This prevents rot and encourages production of new side shoots, which can be harvested at a later date.


Brussels sprouts develop a sweet flavor after the plant has gone through a couple of mild frosts. The buds at the base are the first to mature, so pick from the bottom up when sprouts become firm and are about 1 inch in diameter. To encourage larger sprouts, which mature more uniformly, cut the top of the plant back by about 4 inches about four weeks before the harvest is to begin.


Cabbage offers some leeway as to when it can be picked at perfection, though larger heads are more likely to split than smaller ones. If a head is threatening to split, twisting it a quarter turn will slow down the splitting. Cabbage heads that have split are still tasty and should be picked; they just won’t store as well as solid heads. Begin harvesting cabbage anytime after developing heads have become solid and firm.


Carrots usually hold well in the ground and can be harvested over a long period of time. Begin as soon as the roots color up and grow to from a half to 1 inch in diameter. Continue harvesting until the last frost-sweetened carrots are dug before the ground freezes for winter. Careful digging — rather than pulling — is best as a harvest method; only pull the roots if your soil is extremely friable. The texture of a fresh carrot is at its finest in the young ones, but the sugar content heightens as they mature.


Cauliflower is at its best when 6- to 8-inch, fully formed heads are firm and the curds in them are solid. If you wait until after the curds have opened (they resemble rice grains), you have passed the window of opportunity for harvesting optimum-quality heads.


Corn should be picked when the kernels have swollen to their maximum juiciness, usually about 20 days after the first silk strands appear. When the silks begin to turn dry and brown, partially peel back the husks and pierce a kernel with your thumbnail. If a milky juice squirts out, the corn is ready to eat. To harvest, snap off the ear by pulling it downward, then twisting and pulling again. If allowed to overripen, corn will loose its sweet flavor and become starchy.


Cucumbers grow fast, so check them daily if you plan to keep up with the peak of harvest and ensure continued production. For fresh use, a cucumber should be filled out enough to be crisp and juicy, and should measure from 6 to 9 inches long. For sweet pickles, cucumbers are best harvested when they measure from 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 inches long; for dill pickles, the ideal length is from 3 inches to 4 inches.


Eggplant has received a bad rap as a bitter-tasting vegetable because of the oversized fruits often sold in supermarkets. Eggplant past its prime is soft, pithy and laden with seeds, which are what give it the bitter taste. Fruit harvested while still young and firm is actually rather sweet and very tender; that’s when the vegetable measures from 4 inches to 8 inches in length, or about one-third of its mature size. Use strong scissors or pruning shears to harvest the fruit rather than pulling it, which will injure the plant.


Kale leaves — a fall green — can usually be harvested about 40 days after planting, although a frost really sweetens and enhances the flavor, so wait until then if you can. Harvest by taking off outer leaves as needed; because the plants are frost-hardy, in mild winter areas, you can pick fresh kale at its prime well into December.


Leeks can be pulled from the ground anytime the stem is an inch in diameter or larger. Use them when they are still very small for the mildest, most delicate flavor. Cut off the roots and most of the top green portion before storing in the refrigerator. (Save the green part to use in soup stock.) Many varieties will overwinter in mild climates and remain harvestable into March. After that, they can develop a hard core in the center that will not soften even when cooked.


Lettuce can be picked in stages: tiny leaves for a gourmet salad mix or larger leaves for a main dish. For loose-leaf varieties, pick outer leaves as needed, or cut the head an inch aboveground for a cut-and-come-again crop. Butterheads, romaines and crispheads should be harvested when the head begins to form, and — for peak perfection — before the center begins to elongate, which means that the plant is preparing to flower. After that point, the lettuce will taste bitter. For refrigerator storage, run washed leaves through a salad spinner, place in a sealable plastic bag with a paper towel or tea towel, and store in the crisper section of your refrigerator.


Melons can be a challenge, but several telltale signs can help you decide when the fruit is perfectly ripe. On some cantaloupes, which may also be called “muskmelons,” “netting” (“venation”) that overlays the skin becomes more pronounced, and the melon will separate easily from the vine when it has fully ripened. True cantaloupes and honeydew-types soften and give slightly to pressure on the blossom end, and the background color will change. Cut these from the vine, as they will not slip from the stem. Pick for optimal quality after the tendril closest to the fruit has turned completely brown. On watermelons, the surface of the fruit loses its gloss, the belly side touching the ground changes from white to creamy yellow, and the tendril turns brown and begins to shrivel. Thumping as a measure of ripeness is a matter of luck; it works for some and not for others. Those who claim the gift say the thump should sound hollow and deep.


Onions can be harvested in two stages: the green “scallion” stage or the bulb stage. Green onions are best when tops are 6 to 8 inches tall and stems are the thickness of a pencil. For maximum size and mature bulbs, wait until more than half of the tops have fallen down, then push over the remaining tops. A week later, harvest the bulbs and set them in the sun for a day or two (cover at night). Cure the bulbs with tops intact for about a week in a sheltered, dry area; during this time, the outer layers will form a dry skin. After that, cut the tops about an inch above the bulbs, trim off the roots, and store the onions in a well-ventilated, dry, cool and dark location.


Peas are best harvested in the early morning or early evening, but the stage at which to harvest the pods depends on the type. Snap peas and snow peas are both eaten pod and all. For best flavor, pick snap peas when plump and well-colored but not as fully filled as garden peas. Pick snow peas before the pods fill out, when they are young, tender and thin. In contrast, garden peas, often referred to as “shell peas,” are ready to harvest and shell when the pods are bright green and fully filled. Then, the peas inside are sweet, plump and tender — a true taste treat of the early summer garden.


Peppers can be harvested anytime in the immature green stage — the more you pick, the more your plant will produce. However, for a fully flavored and sweet pepper, wait until it changes color. (Some varieties turn red, others gold, some yellow and still others orange.) Hot peppers also usually take on more flavor when their color changes as they mature.


Potatoes give an easy signal as to when they’re ready to harvest: Their tops die down. About two weeks after that happens, dig the potatoes; the delay gives them time to toughen their skins for long-term storage. You can leave potatoes in the ground longer — just be sure to dig them before rain or frost sets in. Carefully dig tubers with a spading fork, allow them to dry for a few hours in the sun, and then cure them for about two weeks at 50 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit in a sheltered, well-ventilated, high-humidity area. After they have been cured, potatoes store best at 40 to 50 degrees.


Summer squash is at its best if harvested on the small side, while skins are still tender. For zucchini, straightneck types and crookneck types, harvest when fruits are 4 to 8 inches in length; for pattypan varieties, up to 3 inches in diameter. Don’t let your squash get too big, or the plant’s production will falter.


Tomatoes are tops if picked between the semi-firm and semi-soft stages, when the fruits are fully colored (whether gold, pink, orange, red, black or white). Second best is to pick fruits a few days early and allow them to finish ripening indoors, a great option when temperatures are too hot or frost threatens. Tomatoes are best stored at temperatures higher than 50 degrees — never in the refrigerator, which will turn their texture to mush.


Winter squash that passes the thumbnail test (the skin should resist puncture from your thumbnail) usually is fully ripe and ready to harvest. The stem hardens and the skin color deepens: Spaghetti squash turns a mellow golden yellow, butternut deepens to a subtle orange-tan, and a splotch of orange-yellow will often appear on the underside of acorn, delicata and buttercup types. Most winter squash will keep up to four months after harvest if you follow these tips: Harvest after the first light frost to enhance sweetness but before a hard frost; never handle squash by the stem (fruits can rot in just a few weeks after the stem breaks); cut — don’t pull — squash from the vine, and leave 2 inches of the stem attached; wipe off any dirt but don’t get the fruits wet; cure fruits in a warm place (80 to 85 degrees is ideal) for a couple of weeks. Once cured, store in a cool, dry location at 50 to 55 degrees.




Common or French Lilac (Syringa vulgaris)
Few fragrances generate as much emotion as the common lilac and the spectacle of the lilac bloom at the University of Wisconsin Arboretum is truly a sight to behold. It’s a common sight throughout Wisconsin to see abandoned farmsteads lined with generations-old, thriving lilac hedgerows. Lilacs are one of the treats of living in the north, for they tend to do rather poorly south of a certain line. When asked which flower fragrance is most adored, lilacs come in second only to roses. Warm, calm spring evenings bring out the best fragrance. Cool temperatures lengthen the show time. The timing of the lilac bloom around the northern hemisphere is used as a gauge to measure the progress of global warming. It’s getting a little earlier each year.


The common lilac or French lilac (Syringa vulgaris) is a native of Eastern Europe and was brought to the United States with the earliest settlers. The original is a large, sprawling shrub/small tree that can achieve heights of nearly 20 feet with an equally large spread. Modern hybrids have been bred for smaller, more manageable sizes with larger blooms. Many say the old “farmstead” varieties have the nicest fragrance, though some newer cultivars are equally intense. Flower color ranges from purple, through the blues and pinks, to yellow, white and even bicolors. Blooming occurs during the month of May here in southern Wisconsin. Korean and Chinese lilacs, which bloom a bit later, are also aromatic, but don’t have that “true” lilac fragrance. Lilacs are easy to grow in any average soil. Full sun (6 hrs. minimum) is a necessity for best bloom.


Lilac foliage is attractive and glossy—early in the season that is. Lilacs are notoriously prone to powdery mildew during the summer with the visible residue remaining for the rest of the growing season. Though the fungus will generally leave healthy plants unharmed, badly infected foliage can be an eyesore. Some cultivars are less prone to mildew than others so its best to do some research before shopping for a lilac, weighing out shrub size, flower size, color, fragrance and susceptibility to mildew.


Lilacs make excellent cut flowers for the vase where the fragrance can be enjoyed indoors. Simply harvest branches as the flower buds begin to open. To prolong life in the vase, smash the end of the stem slightly with a hammer. Doing so allows the stem to take up more water, whereas a straight cut tends to seal itself.


Because lilacs are a suckering shrub, they are easy to propagate by digging out plants that come up around the parent plant, taking as much root as possible with the new plant. This is best done in the spring, keeping it well-watered until established. Old plants can be rejuvenated by selectively removing unwanted limbs to ground level. New shoots will fill in quickly. Keep unwanted shoots removed, thereby directed energy into the desired branches. Any pruning to a lilac should be done just after flowering. The following season’s flower buds are formed in the fall. Therefore, pruning in the fall means no blooms the following spring.


For neighborhood events or garden tours that you would like posted in our monthly newsletter, please contact Rick at (608) 244-5661 or [email protected] or Sue at [email protected]. Please include all details, i.e. dates, locations, prices, brief description, etc. Events must be garden related and must take place in the Madison vicinity and we must receive your information by the first of the month in which the event takes place for it to appear in that month’s newsletter.


Lilacs and Crabapples
Saturday, May 5, 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm
In the Longenecker Gardens


David Stevens, LHG curator, will lead this tour through two signature collections, focusing on the history, beauty, and landscape value of crabapples and lilacs, which are some of the favorite ornamental woody plants in the Midwest. Free, no registration required. Meet at the Visitor Center.


University of WI Arboretum
1207 Seminole Hwy.
Madison, WI 53711
608/263-7888 or arboretum.wisc.edu


Rotary Garden’s Pansy Sale
Saturday, May 5, 8:00-noon
At the Garden’s Horticulture Center


4-packs, planters and hanging baskets are available—all while supplies last. Rotary Botanical Gardens’ Friends Members will receive an additional 10% discount at the sale.


Rotary Botanical Gardens
1455 Palmer Dr., Janesville, WI


UW Family Gardening Day
Saturday, May 6, 9:00-1:00


Join us for the 13th Annual UW Family Gardening Day at D.C. Smith Greenhouse, 465 Babcock Drive; Allen Centennial Gardens, 620 Babcock Drive; Steenbock Memorial Library, 550 Babcock Drive; and The Greenhouse Learning Community at the rooftop of Leopold Residence Hall, 1635 Kronshage Drive.


Each location will host a variety of demonstrations and displays on topics such as pollinator friendly planting and rock gardens. They will also have fun, hands-on activities for kids. At Steenbock Library, children can get their faces painted by UW–Madison students. At D.C. Smith Greenhouse, they can look at insects under a microscope and construct DNA necklaces. Young visitors to Allen Centennial Garden can pound flowers and learn to make flower crowns.


While supplies last, Allen Centennial Garden will be distributing Pasta Four-Packs (sets of tomato, oregano, basil and pepper plants), and Master Gardener’s at Steenbock Library will hand out pollinator-friendly Mexican Sunflowers for visitors to take and plant in their home gardens.


Steenbock Library will have Master Gardeners on hand to answer questions and distribute information about gardening resources. Visitors are also encouraged to check out the library’s collection, which includes popular materials on cooking, food preservation, gardening and urban agriculture.


While on campus, visitors should be sure to stop by Babcock Hall Dairy Store, which will be open and dishing up ice cream treats from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m.


Free parking is available in Lot 34 at 1480 Tripp Circle; in Lot 36 just west of Steenbock Library; and in Lot 40 behind Babcock Hall.


Visit www.science.wisc.edu/family-gardening-day.htm#sthash.ugjcsqEH.dpuf or contact Johanna Oosterwyk @ [email protected] or (608) 262-3844 for details.


Sunday, May 6, 3:00 pm – 5:00 pm
In the Longenecker Gardens


See, smell, and learn about the gardens’ extensive magnolia collection, and other spring flowering plants encountered along the way, with Michael Jesiolowski, Chicago Botanic Garden senior horticulturist. Free, no registration required. Meet at the Visitor Center.


University of WI Arboretum
1207 Seminole Hwy.
Madison, WI 53711
608/263-7888 or arboretum.wisc.edu


Dahlia Tuber Sale
Sunday, May 6, Noon-3:00


Dahlias are late summer bloomers popular for their extravagant blooms, diverse forms, and bright colors. They’re subtropical annuals grown each year from tubers dug up in the fall and overwintered in a cool, dry environment. The sale is sponsored by the Badger State Dahlia Society. For more information call 608-577-1924.


Olbrich Botanical Gardens
3330 Atwood Ave., Madison
608/246-4550 or www.olbrich.org for details.


Olbrich’s Plant Sale with the Pros
Friday, May 11, 11:00-5:00
Saturday, May 12, 9:00-3:00


Get great plants and expert advice from area professionals this year at Plant Sale with the Pros. The sale features everything from annuals and perennials to ornamental grasses and shrubs. Olbrich’s staff carefully chooses unique plants that do best in this climate. Find the newest, hardiest, disease-resistant cultivars on the market. Local plant pros, master gardeners, and Olbrich’s horticulturists will be available to answer questions.


Proceeds from the plant sale benefit Olbrich Botanical Gardens. Shop early since quantities are limited. Shoppers are encouraged to bring cartons, wagons, or boxes for carrying plants. Cash, checks, MasterCard, Visa, and Discover are accepted. Maximize your support of the Gardens by using cash or check.


Early Bird Shopping
Got your eye on a particular plant? All Plant Sale with the Pros shoppers can take advantage of an Early Bird Shopping opportunity. By giving a $20 per person donation, or $30 per couple, you can shop from 9 to 11 a.m. on Friday before the sale officially opens.


Member Benefits
Members save 20% off purchases in the Growing Gifts shop on Friday, May 11!


An annual individual membership to the Olbrich Botanical Society starts at $40 and includes many other benefits throughout the year. Call 608-246-4724 for more information on membership. Or, just sign up to become a member at the Plant Sale with the Pros.


Pro Potting Bench
Take advantage of free container design and potting services at the Plant Pro Potting Bench. Get help selecting the best plants for a stunning container garden or hanging basket…then let a professional plant them for you!


Design Stations
Friday, 9 a.m.-12:00 p.m.
Saturday, 9 a.m.-12:00 p.m.
Refresh a lack-luster garden area at the Design Station during a short, 20 minute consultation. Local landscape architects will sketch out basic garden designs on the spot using your printed photos and feedback. Be sure to note the features of areas in your landscape, for example, how much water is received, lighting conditions, existing plantings, etc.


Plant Sale with the Pros features everything from annuals and perennials to ornamental grasses and shrubs. Choose cultivars on the market including tropical plants that will fire up your garden, small-scale garden conifers, herbs, and butterfly plants along with hundreds of annuals and perennials. Find rare shrubs and trees, including hardy shrub roses that thrive in the challenging Wisconsin climate.


Olbrich Botanical Gardens
3330 Atwood Ave., Madison
608/246-4550 or www.olbrich.org for details.


Rotary Garden’s Spring Plant Sale
Friday, May 11, 9:00-6:00
Saturday, May 12, 8:00-5:00
Sunday, May 13, 10:00-4:00
Rotary Gardens Horticulture Center, 825 Sharon Rd., Janesville, WI


Plant Sales are open to the general public. Those with a RBG Friends membership will receive a 10% discount on purchases. Memberships may be purchased at the sale. The sale includes a wide range of vegetables, herbs, perennials and shrubs.


Rotary Botanical Gardens
1455 Palmer Drive
Janesville, WI,
608/752-3885 or www.rotarygardens.org


Crosstown Violet Club Sale
Saturday, May 12, 9:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.


This annual sale includes African violets, starter plants, blooming plants, leaves, gesneriads of all kinds, and potting soil and pots. Sponsored by the Crosstown African Violet club. For more information call 608/850-9740


Olbrich Botanical Gardens
3330 Atwood Ave., Madison
608/246-4550 or www.olbrich.org for details.


Native Plant Sale
Saturday, May 12, 9:00-2:00
U.W.-Madison Arboretum Visitor Center


Visit the big tent on the lawn in front of Curtis Prairie to shop for all your native plant gardening needs. The Friends of the Arboretum (FOA) annual native plant sale offers more than 200 species of native plants suitable for a variety of soil and light conditions. Experts will be available to answer questions. Organized by FOA, open to the general public.


University of WI Arboretum
1207 Seminole Hwy.
Madison, WI 53711
608/263-7888 or uwarboretum.org/events


Medicinal Plants
Saturday, May 12, 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm
Longenecker Horticultural Gardens Tour


Explore the historical and contemporary medicinal uses of woody plants with Jane Hawley Stevens of Four Elements Herbals. Free, no registration required. Meet at the Visitor Center.


University of WI Arboretum
1207 Seminole Hwy.
Madison, WI 53711
608/263-7888 or arboretum.wisc.edu


Home Compost Bin & Rain Barrel Sale
Saturday, May 12, 10:00-2:00


Spring is here – and that means it’s time to quench your thirst for gardening at the Annual Compost Bin And Rain Barrel Truckload Sale.


It is estimated that our urban communities contribute about 30% of the total phosphorus that enter in lakes Mendota, Monona, Waubesa, Kegonsa, and Wingra from runoff. By harvesting rainwater for your indoor and outdoor plants and putting clippings and leaves into a backyard composters, you don’t just make plants healthier; you’re also reducing run-off and the phosphorus that feeds our algae problem.


Alliant Energy Center in The Olin Ave. parking lot
1919 Energy Center Way
Madison, WI 53713


Madison Area Permaculture Guild Sale
Saturday, May 12, 10:00-3:00
5310 Winnequah Road, Monona WI 53716


Tree, Shrub, Plant, Book, and Mushroom Log Sale. Fundraiser for Madison Area. Permaculture Guild



10th Annual Plant Sale
Friday, May 18, 7:30-4:30
Saturday, May 19, 8:00-12:00
414 Meadowlark Dr., Madison, WI 53714


Sponsored by Kappa Master Chapter of Beta Sigma Phi. Partial proceeds this year will go to the River Food Pantry


Badger Bonsai Annual Show
Saturday, May 19, 9:00-4:00
Sunday, May 20, 10:00-4:00


Marvel at these growing miniature landscapes. Sponsored by the Badger Bonsai Society. For more information call 608/249-6195.


Olbrich Botanical Gardens
3330 Atwood Ave., Madison
608/246-4550 or www.olbrich.org for details.


Dane County UW-Extension’s
Teaching Garden Plant Sale
Sunday, May 20, 11:00-3:00
Dane County UW-Extension Office
5201 Fen Oak Ct, Madison (just off Agriculture Dr. between Pflaum & Femrite)


Mark your calendar for the Dane County Master Gardener Plant Sale. We offer hundreds of perennials for shade or sun, vegetable & herb starts, annuals and more! Master Gardeners will be available to answer your gardening questions. Plants are reasonably priced. Cash or check only.


Madison Area Master Gardeners Association
PO Box 259318
Madison, WI, 53725


Hosta Auction
Sunday, May 20, 12:00-2:00


Pick up some interesting hostas to add to your collection at the Wisconsin Hosta Society’s Annual Hosta Auction. These shade-loving perennials, prized for their interesting foliage, come in a variety of sizes, shapes, and colors. For more information, send an email to [email protected].


Olbrich Botanical Gardens
3330 Atwood Ave., Madison
608/246-4550 or www.olbrich.org for details.


From the Garden: Herbal First Aid
Tuesday, May 22, 6:00-8:00
Willy St. Co-op East Community Room


Instructor: Linda Conroy
Fee: $20 for Owners; $30 for non-owners


Join Herbalist Linda Conroy for this fun and informative program! She will discuss herbs and transform them into useful products for a personal first aid kit. Just in time for spending time outdoors, class participants will leave with an insect repellent, healing salve for cuts and scrapes, and a seasonal tincture. Recipes and instructions for expanding your herbal first aid kit will be included.


Payment is required at registration; please register by stopping at the Willy East Customer Service desk or by calling (608) 251-6776.


Willy Street Co-op East
1221 Williamson Street
Madison, WI 53703
(608) 251-6776


Dane County Farmer’s Market
Saturdays, April 14 thru November 10, 6:15-1:45
On the Capitol Square


Wednesdays, April 18 thru November 7, 8:30-1:45
In the 200 block of Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd.


For details visit www.dcfm.org


Northside Farmers Market
Sundays, May 6 through October 21, 8:30-12:30
In the Northside TownCenter at the intersection of N. Sherman Ave. and Northport Dr. across from Warner Park.


The Northside Farmers Market is a nonprofit community enterprise. It is one of the newest and fastest growing farmers’ markets in Dane County. In keeping with the innovative spirit of Madison’s Northside, we are surpassing what defines the traditional farmers’ market. Our fundamental principles include:


–Providing an abundant selection of high quality, locally grown foods.
The market accepts Quest, WIC and Senior FMNP vouchers.


–Supporting our local agricultural entrepreneurs who are increasingly important today in ensuring that we have the best and safest food possible.


–Educating the community about traditional foods and the history of local agriculture in an attempt to preserve (and expand upon) our rich heritage.


–Promoting nutrition and the market by hosting dinners for neighborhood groups and seniors.


Parking is always FREE!



MAY IN THE GARDENA checklist of things to do this month.
___By May 1, cool weather items like pansies, cole crops, onion sets, etc. should
already be planted.
___Sow successive crops of radishes and greens every 2 weeks.
___Mow your lawn frequently and at a high setting to control lawn weeds.
___Reseed bare spots in the lawn as needed.
___Begin hardening off your seedlings and overwintered plants. Move inside or cover on cold nights.
___Prep beds as soon as the soil is workable and not too wet.
___Till compost into beds.
___Perennials, shrubs and trees can now all be planted safely.
___Divide and propagate most perennials as desired (except peonies & iris)
___Plant strawberries and asparagus early in the month.
___Plant your leftover Easter Lily into the garden. They’ll bloom each July in the garden.
___Be prepared to move plants indoors if a sudden cold spell (or snow) hits.
___After May 10, begin setting out all plants, but KEEP AN EYE ON THE WEATHER!
___Sow beans and corn after the last scheduled frost date.
___After May 20, begin planting warm weather items: tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, cucumbers, coleus, impatiens etc.
___Mulch beds as needed to cut down on weeds and watering.
___Begin a weeding as needed. The smaller the weed, the easier to remove.
___Prune spring blooming as desired AFTER they are done flowering.
___Wait until after the foliage has yellowed to cut back daffodils, tulips, etc.
___Begin pinching tall perennials like asters, goldenrod, phlox, etc. for shorter and bushier plants.


Some of our very favorite seed and plant sources include:


For seeds:
Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds @ www.rareseeds.com or 417/924-8887
Burpee @ www.burpee.com or 800/888-1447
Harris Seeds @ www.harrisseeds.com or 800/514-4441
Johnny’s Select Seeds @ www.johnnyseeds.com or 207/861-3901
Jung’s Seeds @ www.jungseed.com or 800/247-5864
Park’s Seeds @ www.parkseed.com or 800/845-3369
Pinetree @ www.superseeds.com or 207/926-3400
Seeds of Change @ www.seedsofchange.com or 888/762-7333
Seed Savers @ www.seedsavers.org or 563/382-5990
Select Seeds @ www.selectseeds.com or 800/684-0395
Territorial Seeds @ www.territorialseed.com or 888/657-3131
Thompson & Morgan @ www.thompson-morgan.com or 800/274-7333


For bulbs:
Brent & Becky’s Bulbs @ www.brentandbeckysbulbs.com or 877/661-2852
Colorblends @ www.colorblends.com or 888/847-8637
John Scheeper’s @ www.johnscheepers.com or 860/567-0838
McClure & Zimmerman @ www.mzbulb.com or 800/883-6998


For plants:
High Country Gardens @ www.highcountrygardens.com or 800/925-9387
Logee’s Greenhouses @ www.logees.com or 888/330-8038
Plant Delights Nursery @ www.plantdelights.com or 912/772-4794
Roots and Rhizomes @ www.rootsrhizomes.com or 800/374-5035
Wayside Gardens @ www.waysidegardens.com or 800/213-0379
White Flower Farm @ www.whiteflowerfarm.com or 800/503-9624


Note: To receive every possible seed, plant or garden supply catalog imaginable, check out Cyndi’s Catalog of Garden Catalogs @ www.gardenlist.com. Most catalogs are free and make for great winter reading!


BEHIND THE SCENES AT KLEIN’SThis is a sneak peek of what is going on each month behind the scenes in our greenhouses. Many people are unaware that our facility operates year round or that we have 10 more greenhouses on the property in addition to the 6 open for retail. At any given moment we already have a jump on the upcoming season–be it poinsettias in July, geraniums in December or fall mums in May.


—Transplanting continues!! Early in the month we finish transplanting the seedlings for spring sales. But during mid-month we begin transplanting the seedlings for our summer “Jumbo-Pack” program. Customers continue to purchase bedding annuals through the summer months. Sometimes they’re replacing plants that have succumbed to summer heat or heavy rains. Or maybe some quick color is needed for selling a house or having an outdoor party. Whatever the case, we can fill their needs.


—The spring onslaught is in full swing. The back greenhouses are filled floor to ceiling with plants awaiting purchase. Our outdoor space is a sea of color. Flats of plants waiting for sale fill most nooks and crannies of our property.


—Watering is a nonstop endeavor. On hot, windy days, we no sooner finish the first round, when we have to start all over again. Some plants in our retail areas may need watering 3 or 4 times in a single day! You wouldn’t do this at home, but customers don’t like to see wilted plants. It’s not harmful for us to let them wilt a bit, but it makes for bad presentation.


—Restocking is also constant. Cart loads of product are moved nearly continuously from our back greenhouses to the front showrooms.


—Believe it or not, but our fall mums arrive! The small plants are put into small pots now and then stepped into larger tubs later in the summer. They won’t be available for sale until mid-August.


Have our monthly newsletter e-mailed to you automatically by signing up on the right side of our home page. We’ll offer monthly tips, greenhouse news and tidbits, specials and recipes. . .everything you need to know from your favorite Madison greenhouse. And tell your friends. It’s easy to do.


THE MAD GARDENER–“Madison’s Firsthand Source for Expert Gardening Advice”
Ask us your gardening questions by e-mailing us at [email protected]. Klein’s in-house Mad Gardener will e-mail you with an answer as promptly as we can. The link is posted on our home page and in all newsletters.


We can only answer those questions pertaining to gardening in Southern Wisconsin and we reserve the right to leave correspondence unanswered at our discretion. Please allow 2-3 days for a response.




Follow Klein’s on Facebook where we post updates and photos on a regular basis.


Join Klein’s on Twitter where we post company updates and photos on a regular basis.


We offer a 10% Off Senior Citizen Discount every Tuesday to those 62 and above. This discount is not in addition to other discounts or sales. Please mention that you are a senior before we ring up your purchases. Does not apply to wire out orders or services, i.e. delivery, potting, etc.


Plastic flower pots and garden edging can now be recycled as part of the City of Madison’s rigid plastic program. Flowerpots and edging must be free of dirt and can be placed in your green recycling bin. For more information call 267-2626 or visit www.cityofmadison.com/streets/recycling/plastic.cfm



Klein’s Floral and Greenhouses delivers daily, except Sundays, throughout all of Madison and much of Dane County including: Cottage Grove, DeForest, Fitchburg, Maple Bluff, Marshall, McFarland, Middleton, Monona, Oregon, Shorewood Hills, Sun Prairie, Verona, Waunakee and Windsor. We do not deliver to Cambridge, Columbus, Deerfield or Stoughton.

Current delivery rate on 1-4 items is $7.95 for Madison, Maple Bluff, Monona and Shorewood Hills; $8.95 for Cottage Grove, DeForest, Fitchburg, McFarland, Sun Prairie, Waunakee and Windsor; and $9.95 for Marshall, Middleton, Oregon and Verona. An additional $3.00 will be added for deliveries of 4-10 items and $5.00 added for deliveries of more than 10 items. For deliveries requiring more than one trip, a separate delivery charge will be added for each trip.


A minimum order of $25.00 is required for delivery.

We not only deliver our fabulous fresh flowers, but also houseplants, bedding plants and hardgoods. There may be an extra charge for very large or bulky items.

Delivery to the Madison hospitals is $5.95. Deliveries to the four Madison hospitals are made during the early afternoon. Items are delivered to the hospital’s volunteer rooms and not directly to the patients’ rooms per hospital rules.

There is no delivery charge for funerals in the city of Madison or Monona, although normal rates apply for morning funeral deliveries to Madison’s west side (west of Park St.). Our normal rates also apply for funeral deliveries in the surrounding communities at all times. Although we don’t deliver on Sundays, we will deliver funeral items on Sundays at the regular delivery rate.


Morning delivery is guaranteed to the following Madison zip codes, but only if requested: 53703, 53704, 53714, 53716, 53718 and Cottage Grove, DeForest, Maple Bluff, Marshall, McFarland, Monona, Sun Prairie, Waunakee and Windsor.

We begin our delivery day at 8:00 a.m. and end at approximately 3:00 p.m. We do not usually deliver after 4:00 unless specific exceptions are made with our drivers.

Except for holidays, the following west-side zip codes and communities are delivered only during the afternoon: 53705, 53706, 53711, 53713, 53717, 53719, 53726, Fitchburg, Middleton, Oregon, Shorewood Hills and Verona.

During holidays (Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, etc.) we are able to make morning deliveries to all of the above areas. We are not able to take closely timed deliveries on any holiday due to the sheer volume of such requests.

It’s best to give us a range of time and we’ll try our absolute hardest. Orders for same day delivery must be placed by 12:30 p.m. or by 2:30 p.m. for Madison zip codes 53704 and 53714.


DEPARTMENT HEADS: Please refer all questions, concerns or feedback in the following departments to their appropriate supervisor.
Phone: 608/244-5661 or 888/244-5661


Horticulturalist & General Manager–Jamie VandenWymelenberg [email protected]
Accounts, Billing and Purchasing—Kathryn Derauf [email protected]
Delivery Supervisor & Newsletter Coordinator—Rick Halbach [email protected]
Owner, Floral Designer & Purchasing—Sue Klein [email protected]


University of Wisconsin Extension
1 Fen Oak Ct. #138
Madison, WI 53718


Plant Disease Diagnostics Clinic
Dept. of Plant Pathology
1630 Linden Dr.
Madison, WI 53706


Insect Diagnostic Lab
240 Russell Labs
1630 Linden Dr.
Madison, WI 53706


U.W. Soil and Plant Analysis Lab
8452 Mineral Point Rd.
Verona, WI 53593


American Horticultural Society


Garden Catalogs (an extensive list with links)


Invasive Species


Community Groundworks
3601 Memorial Dr., Ste. 4
Madison, WI 53704


Madison Area Master Gardeners (MAMGA)


Wisconsin Master Gardeners Program
Department of Horticulture
1575 Linden Drive
University of Wisconsin – Madison
Madison, WI 53706


The Wisconsin Gardener


Allen Centennial Gardens
620 Babcock Dr.
Madison, WI 53706


Olbrich Botanical Gardens
3330 Atwood Ave.
Madison, WI 53704


Rotary Gardens
1455 Palmer Dr.
Janesville, WI 53545


University of WI Arboretum
1207 Seminole Hwy.
Madison, WI 53711


University of Wisconsin-West Madison
Agricultural Research Center
8502 Mineral Point Rd.
Verona, WI 53593


Children may find the bright colors and different textures of plants irresistible, but some plants can be poisonous if touched or eaten. If you’re in doubt about whether or not a plant is poisonous, don’t keep it in your home. The risk is not worth it. The following list is not comprehensive, so be sure to seek out safety information on the plants in your home to be safe.
•Bird of paradise
•Bull nettle
•Castor bean
•Chinaberry tree
•Deadly nightshade
•Dieffenbachia (dumb cane)
•Glory lily
•Holly berry
•Indian tobacco
•Lily of the valley
•Mescal bean
•Morning glory
•Mountain laurel
•Night-blooming jasmine
•Poison ivy
•Poison sumac
•Water hemlock


Below is a list of some of the common plants which may produce a toxic reaction in animals. This list is intended only as a guide to plants which are generally identified as having the capability for producing a toxic reaction. Source: The National Humane Society website @ http://www.humanesociety.org/
•Autumn Crocus
•Black locust
•Carolina jessamine
•Castor bean
•Chinaberry tree
•Christmas berry
•Christmas Rose
•Common privet
•Corn cockle
•Cow cockle
•Day lily
•Delphinium (Larkspur)
•Dutchman’s breeches
•Easter lily
•Elephant’s ear
•English Ivy
•European Bittersweet
•Field peppergrass
•Horse nettle
•Jerusalem Cherry
•Lily of the valley
•Milk vetch
•Morning glory
•Poison hemlock
•Rosary pea
•Sago palm
•Skunk cabbage
•Star of Bethlehem
•Wild black cherry
•Wild radish
•Yellow jessamine