‘THE SAGE’-Klein’s Online Newsletter—JANUARY 2021
Klein’s Floral & Greenhouses
608/244-5661 or info@kleinsfloral.com


Our ‘Mad Gardener’ and ‘Houseplant Help‘ Are Ready for Your Questions
Ever Thought about Working at a Garden Center?….
How Flowers Can Help during the Coronavirus Pandemic
8 Common Herbs That Make Any Meal Instantly Healthier
Online Green Thumb Gardening Class Series from the UW-Extension
Klein’s Favorite Seed, Bulb & Plant Sources
You Asked about an Unhealthy Christmas Cactus
Plant of the Month: Fiddle-leaf Fig (Ficus lyrata)
Klein’s Favorite Rutabaga Recipes
Product Spotlight: Marimo Algae/“Moss” Balls
Notes from Rick’s Garden Journal—From December 2020
—An Ever-Welcome Nightly Serenade
—Daffodils Thinking It’s Spring
—Calamint Named 2021 Perennial Plant of the Year
January 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


You can contact Klein’s in-house indoor plant experts by emailing to Houseplant Help for sound information and advice regarding indoor tropicals, succulents, blooming plants and so much more.


For many years, customers’ indoor plant questions have been directed to Klein’s Mad Gardener (see below). Now you have the opportunity to contact our indoor plant experts directly. We’ve posted a link on our home page and in our contacts 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.


We reserve the right to leave correspondence unanswered at our discretion. Please allow 2-3 days for a response.


“Madison’s Firsthand Source for Expert Gardening Advice”


Ask any of your gardening questions by e-mailing them to us at madgardener@kleinsfloral.com. Klein’s in-house Mad Gardener will e-mail you with an answer as promptly as we can. We’ve also posted a link on our home page and in our contacts 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.


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.


Monday thru Friday : 8:00-6:00
Saturday: 9:00-5:00
Sunday: 10:00-4:00


January 1–New Year’s Day. The store is closed. HAPPY 2021!


January 7–Orthodox Christmas


January 14–Orthodox New Year


Mid-January–Seeds begin arriving for retail sale. Believe it or not, it’s time to start thinking about spring planting. If starting your own seeds at home, some such as lisianthus, geraniums, pentas and bananas should be started now so they are ready for spring planting. Klein’s carries an extensive seed selection from Seed Savers, Botanical Interests, Livingston Seeds and Olds Seeds.


January 18–Martin Luther King Jr. Day


January 20—Inauguration Day


January 28–Full Moon


Throughout January–Have you ever thought about working at a garden center? Perhaps now’s the time to explore the possibility.


January is the perfect time to stop in and and pick up an application or fill it out online @ kleinsfloral.com/employment/. By the end of February we try to have most of our hiring in place.


We’re always in need of temporary, part-time counter help in the spring and greenhouse production swings into gear by mid-February. If you’re interested, ask for Sue or Kathryn for the retail area or Jamie, Sonya or Michael for the greenhouses. Benefits include flexible hours, a generous discount on all purchases and a stimulating and fun work environment. Join our team and experience first hand how we make the magic happen.


February 14–Valentine’s Day. Order early for guaranteed delivery. We deliver throughout Madison and most of Dane County


February 20 & 21PBS Wisconsin’s Virtual Garden and Landscape Expo
The safety of our attendees, presenters, exhibitors and volunteers is paramount. Therefore, PBS Wisconsin has made the difficult — yet necessary — decision to cancel our 2021 in-person Garden & Landscape Expo.


While not meeting together at the Alliant Energy Center in February, we plan to unite and engage the gardening community virtually, sharing inspiration and educational opportunities. See schedule details and register at www.wigardenexpo.com.




How Flowers Can Help during the Coronavirus Pandemic


Flowers help improve a positive mood…
• People who have flowers in their home feel happier and more relaxed. Through this positive energy the chances of suffering from stress-related depression are decreased.
• Positive emotions help put life events in a broader perspective and so lessen the negative effects that may result from negative emotions. Positive emotions such as gratitude, hope, empathy, joy, love, pride, calmness, surprise and awe can all be associated with flowers.
• Overall happiness, well-being, calm and intimacy benefit from surrounding yourself with flowers.6 • Flowers and ornamental plants increase levels of positive energy and help people feel secure and relaxed.
• Flowers have both immediate and long-term effects on emotions, mood, and even memory in both men and women.
• Women who received flowers had more positive moods even three days later.
• Flowers are the perfect morning pick-me-up for people who are less positive in the early hours. They are happier and more energetic after looking at flowers in the morning.
• Flowers impact people emotionally at home, causing them to feel less anxious and more compassionate. Having flowers in the home gives a boost of energy that lasts through the day.


Flowers accelerate healing:
• Flowers and plants accelerate healing due to their stimulation of a positive outlook.
• Exposure to natural surroundings has been shown to be restorative, based on measures such as self- reported mood, performance and attention tasks, and physiological measures that signify positive emotions and reduced stress. The presence of flowers in the home can deliver these benefits.
• For those who are ill, greenery has a very positive effect on state of mind and recovery.
• Visible greenery reduces stress, stimulates the mind and moves the focus away from pain and discomfort. With plants in the room people are able to tolerate more pain, and this can reduce the need for painkillers.
• Indoor plants release water vapor, humidifying the air and reducing the likelihood of headaches.
• Physical interaction with plants results in a significantly reduced recovery time for patient.


Flowers give happiness to both the giver and the receiver:
• The most common reason for flower purchases is as a gift. There is great power in giving the gift of flowers. 9 in 10 people remember the last time they gave flowers as a gift. Females are more likely than men to remember the last time that they received flowers as a gift (77% compared to 34%). Flower givers are considered to be caring, personal and sentimental.
• Both men and women who give flowers are considered to be happy, achieving, strong, capable, and courageous people.
• Flowers induce positive emotions which can be measured by the type of smile. When presented with flowers, women always respond with a ‘true’ smile. The ‘true smile’ is where both the mouth and the eyes smile, and this generates a reciprocal positive response. Both the giver and the receiver benefit. Other common gifts, such as fruit or a candle, generate less of a positive initial response in the receiver, and have no lasting effect.
• Despite most flowers being bought as a gift for someone else, the tendency to buy flowers for home decoration or as a gift for oneself is increasing. This tendency to buy flowers for home or self is particularly noticeable in GenY (26 to 34 year-olds).
• Gen Y and Gen X are more likely to purchase houseplants than Baby Boomers.
• Being surrounded by flowers brings benefits of overall happiness, well-being and calm.3 • 2/3 of people feel very special when receiving flowers as a gift.
• 64% consider flowers to be a very emotional gift.

• 3 in 5 (60%) believe that flowers have special meaning, unlike any other gift.

• 92% of say that the best reason to receive flowers is “just because”.


Source: The American Horticultural Therapy Society @ www.ahta.org


I have a Christmas cactus that has been ailing for a couple of years. I think it might be from when I repotted it into cactus soil. I realize that might have been a mistake. Do you have any advice on what I can do it is it a lost cause? Barb


Hi Barb,
You’re correct, Christmas cactus prefer to be potted in regular potting soil and not cactus soil. It is not a true cactus or succulent at all, but a tropical (though there are times of the year when it’s best to allow to dry out to induce flowering).


From your attached photo, I can’t tell whether your plant has been over or under-watered. The symptoms can appear the same in both situations and only you know which is correct. My guess, based on the reddish leaves, is under-watering.


This is the wrong time of the year to repot your Christmas cactus, so you’ll have to wait until spring when the days are longer to change soil. During the summer months Christmas cactus can be watered and treated like any other houseplant…well-watered in a bright location. Your plant should rebound quickly. Then in August, cut back on the watering to the point where it’s bone dry between waterings. Stress induces blooming. Keeping the plant in a very cool and bright spot will also help promote blooms (as will the shortening days). Flower buds should begin forming in early November for December blooms.


Thanks for your question,


. . . that the UW-Extension is conducting multiple series of online classes in 2021 covering a wide range of garden topics?


Online Green Thumb Gardening Class Series:
The Green Thumb Gardening series will give you the practical knowledge to keep your home garden thriving! University of Wisconsin Extension educators and local horticulture experts will provide in-depth and accessible information for everyone from the novice to the experienced gardener. In 2021, our class offerings have been expanded, including a Fall, Winter, Early Spring, Mid-summer and Late Summer series of classes.


For the safety of all participants, classes will be held online. Blended (in-person/online) classes may be available later in the year as conditions permit. Optional outdoor lab sessions for some classes in spring (e.g. shrub pruning class) and summer will be held in the Dane County Extension Teaching Garden. Separate registration for labs will be needed as space will be limited due to the need for social distancing. Face masks will be required for these in-person events. All class registrations are open now. One can purchase each class series for a package price or purchase selected classes.


The Winter Series on vegetable gardening starts Jan. 11 on Monday nights 6-8 p.m. A few topics include seed starting, vegetable diseases, insects, and cover crops.


The Early Spring Series starts March 9 on Tuesday nights 6:30-8:30 p.m. Topics include fruit tree pruning, landscape tree and shrub pruning, proper tree planting and more.


Late Spring classes start May 3 on Monday nights 6-8 p.m. Topics include talks on plant diseases, insect pests, houseplants and growing berries.


The Midsummer Series on Monday nights begins June 21 6-8 p.m. Classes include weed ID and management, and perennials for sun and shade.


And the Late Summer series begins Aug. 4 on Wednesdays 3-5 p.m. and some of the class topics are invasive species, native plants and pollinators and rain gardens.


Visit dane.extension.wisc.edu/horticulture/greenthumb/ to learn about and register for our class series including class packages for winter, early spring, late spring,
early summer and late summer.



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.


Marimo Algae/“Moss” Balls (Aegagropila linnaei)


The remarkable shape and appearance of Marimo may not seem natural, but these “moss” balls are formed in nature with no interference from humans whatsoever! Marimo moss balls are a highly unique and rare form of algae growth. They can only be found growing in a few lakes throughout the world, which are located in Japan, Iceland, Scotland, and Estonia. As the algae grows in these lakes, the movement of the waves causes them to gradually form into spheres of soft, green algae with a fuzzy, velvet-like texture.


Marimo balls are regarded as good luck charms in Japan, and since they have been known to live to 200 years or longer, they are often kept as family heirlooms. They are thought to symbolize close bonds between family members or close-knit friends, and are often passed down to children and grandchildren or nieces and nephews. By the time future generations receive the Marimo, they will be larger in size and will continue to grow with each generation. Additionally, Marimo are sometimes given to young children as “pets,” since their care requirements are very minimal.


Marimo balls require very little maintenance. They can be kept in tap water, though they will remain cleaner longer in filtered or reverse osmosis water. Interestingly, Marimo can live in brackish water – in fact, it is often recommended to add a little ocean salt to the water if a Marimo is developing brown spots.


The lakes in which Marimo are naturally found are cold in temperature, so Marimo do best in cooler water (we recommend a water temperature no higher than 76° F). Brown spots may form on your Marimo if their water is too warm. If you find your water gets too warm during the hotter months, you can give your Marimo a “vacation” by putting it in a water-filled container in your refrigerator for up to 24 hours at a time.


Marimo balls are excellent for aquariums, but they can also be kept successfully in glass bowls, bottles, vases, and a variety of other containers. Marimo do not need air, so they are able to survive in sealed containers.


You may find that your Marimo takes one to two days to sink to the bottom of your tank or container. Floating Marimo likely means that there are air bubbles trapped inside the balls. You can gently squeeze the Marimo while holding it under water to let the air bubbles out.


Marimo naturally form at the bottom of a lake, so they do not require special or high intensity lighting. Normal household lighting or indirect sunlight from windows often provide enough light for Marimo to photosynthesize. They tend to do just fine with most aquarium lights and lamps. Lighting that is too intense (such as direct sunlight or high-intensity LED lights) may cause brown spots to appear on your Marimo.


If your Marimo is stationary for long periods of time, you may need to flip or rotate the ball to ensure that all sides of it receive enough light.


Water changes are important for preventing dirt and waste from building up on your Marimo. The percentage and frequency of water changes will depend on the aquarium or container in which you keep your Marimo. If you are keeping the Marimo by itself, with no other plants or animals in the container, we recommend a 50% water change every two weeks or so. If you are keeping the Marimo in a tank with animals and other plants, water change requirements will depend on your situation and will likely need to be done more frequently.


If you are not keeping your Marimo with algae-eating animals (such as dwarf shrimp and several kinds of fish), you will likely need to clean your moss balls from time to time. This can be accomplished by taking your Marimo out of the water and rinsing it, followed by placing it in a container of clean water and gently squeezing the ball a few times.


While you are doing this, it is also a good idea to carefully roll the ball in your hands for a few moments. Since the Marimo is no longer living in a lake with the motion of waves, you may find that your Marimo becomes misshapen over time. Rolling the ball gently will help it regain its round shape.


Most animals can live in the same tank with Marimo. However, a few types of fish and invertebrates may eat or damage the Marimo balls, including Goldfish, some types of Plecostomus (Plecos), and large-sized crayfish.



Klein’s currently has a selection of Marimo moss balls while supplies last and as they become available to us. Because Marimo balls are currently very much in demand, call ahead for availability and pricing.


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


ENTRY: DECEMBER 9, 2020 (An Ever-Welcome Nightly Serenade)
The neighborhood great horned owls have begun their nightly serenades as they begin pairing off and mating for the upcoming season. Not that many years ago we had never heard the owls in our neighborhood adjacent to busy Stoughton Rd. However, in the last decade or so, their nightly hooting has become an annual ritual, usually beginning in early December and then lasting into the new year. Sometimes up to four owls respond to each other and not only late in the evening and during the night, but up until dawn the past few nights. Sometimes it’s impossible to sleep because they are so loud…yet easy to fall back to sleep again listening to their comforting lullaby.


Great horned owls are relatively common throughout the Madison are; both in rural areas as well as areas with mature trees inside the city limits. Spotting one in the city is not unusual.


The great horned owl is the most common owl of the Americas, easily recognizable because of the feather tufts on its head. These “plumicorns” resemble horns or, to some, catlike ears.


Great horned owls are adaptable birds and live from the Arctic to South America. They are at home in suburbia as well as in woods and farmlands. Northern populations migrate in winter, but most live permanently in more temperate climes.


The birds nest in tree holes, stumps, caves, or in the abandoned nests of other large birds. Monogamous pairs have one to five eggs (two is typical), both the male and female incubate, and the male also hunts for food. Owls are powerful birds and fiercely protective parents. They have even been known to attack humans who wander too close to their young.


Like other owls, these birds have an incredible digestive system. They sometimes swallow their prey whole and later regurgitate pellets composed of bone, fur, and the other unwanted parts of their meal. Owls are efficient nighttime hunters that strike from above, and use their powerful talons to kill and carry animals several times heavier than themselves. Owls prey on a huge variety of creatures, including raccoons, rabbits, squirrels, domestic birds, falcons, and other owls. They regularly eat skunks, and may be the only animal with such an appetite. They sometimes hunt for smaller game by standing or walking along the ground. Owls have even been known to prey upon unlucky cats and dogs.



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ENTRY: DECEMBER 16, 2020 (Daffodils Thinking It’s Spring)
Oh my…many of my daffodils are up and some near the house are up to 2” out of the ground…in mid-December! Apparently the mix of both cold and then warm temperatures and lots of sun have tricked them out of their dormancy. Need I worry?


Gardeners often worry when they see daffodils, tulips and other spring bulbs emerge long before it’s spring. Fortunately, there’s little cause for concern.


Spring-blooming bulbs prefer old-fashioned winters, when temperatures drop gradually, stay cold and then slowly warm up as spring approaches. But even with today’s more erratic winter weather, these hardy and adaptable bulbs are proving to be remarkably resilient.


Tulips, daffodils and other fall-planted bulbs begin growing almost as soon as they are planted. During late fall and early winter, bulbs are developing their root systems and already starting to sprout. If the weather is unusually warm, these sprouts may rise to the soil surface and show a few inches of green.


This overly eager foliage can be damaged by extreme cold and drying winds, and may cause the tips of the leaves to turn brown. As long as the flower buds stay below ground, they are well protected from cold. If they rise above the soil surface, you can add a layer of mulch to help protect them.


As winter weather becomes increasingly volatile in our area, consider mulching the soil surface in the fall. Several inches of straw, bark chips or evergreen boughs will provide good protection from extreme cold. It also keeps the soil temperature constant and shields premature sprouts from damage. The best time to apply a winter mulch is late fall and into December, after the ground starts to freeze.



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ENTRY: DECEMBER 17, 2020 (Calamint Named 2021 Perennial Plant of the Year)
I just read today that one of my very favorite garden plants, calamint, has been named 2021’s Perennial Plant of the Year by the Perennial Plant Association. This ever-blooming pollinator magnet has been in my garden for at least five years and performs better and better each year as it becomes established. Never prone, to pest attacks that I’ve seen, this was a good, interesting and not well known Perennial Plant of the Year choice.


Calamintha nepeta spp. nepeta (Lesser Calamint)


Like a cloud of confetti, tiny white flowers (sometimes touched with pale blue) appear from early summer to fall. Undemanding and dependable, calamint provides the perfect foil for other summer bloomers and foliage. This full-sun perennial has a low mounding or bushy habit, ideal for the front of the border, rock gardens, and more.


While durable and pest-free, calamint also checks two important boxes for gardeners: bees and other pollinators work the flowers throughout the summer and the aromatic foliage is deer-resistant.


Calamintha nepeta subsp. nepeta is a favorite low-growing component in stylized meadows, matrix plantings, and other modern perennial designs. Gardeners can also create a lovely monochromatic garden with more sure-thing perennials such as Anemone x hybrida ‘Honorine Jobert’ and Phlox paniculata ‘David’, or complemented with ornamental grasses such as Panicum virgatum ‘Northwind’ (switchgrass) or Schyzacharium scoparium (little bluestem).


Hardiness: USDA Zones 5 to 7


Light: Full sun


Size: Up to 18 inches tall and wide


Native Range: Great Britain to Southern Europe


Soil: Best with good drainage – tolerates some drought once established.


Maintenance: Low-maintenance deciduous perennial. Can shear back lightly if desired to create neater habit or refresh spent blooming stems. Tolerates drought once established.


Nomenclature: What’s with the “subspecies”? Abbreviated subsp. or spp., this is a naturally-occuring, phenotypic variation to a species that is usually related to a geographic situation. This subspecies was selected for size and vigor. May also be found under the following synonyms: Calamintha nepatoides and Clinopodium nepeta.


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


The rutabaga is an obvious close relative of the turnip, though larger, sweeter and more tan in color. While its origin is uncertain, it is believed to be a hybrid of the turnip and the cabbage (as is kohlrabi, though selected for different traits).


The rutabaga suddenly appeared in the middle of the 17th century and first became popular in Sweden. In fact rutabaga comes from the Swedish word rotabagge meaning ‘baggy root’. Rutabagas are also commonly referred to as ‘Swedes’ or ‘Swedish turnips’. They were among the first vegetables grown by colonizers in America as they began farming the untilled land because the large roots helped break up poor soils. Rutabagas have never enjoyed wide popularity in this country, and have fallen out of favor in middle Europe where it was one of few staples available post World War II and was eaten monotonously.


The rutabaga has many virtues, however, worthy of discovery by the seasonal eater. The rutabaga, available in late fall and winter, offers great versatility and excellent nutrition. Rutabaga is high in vitamins A and C and some minerals, particularly calcium. Rutabagas belong to a handful of cruciferous vegetables believed to be effective in cancer prevention as well.


For maximum nutrition do not peel unless you purchase the waxed rutabagas found in some supermarkets. Rutabagas are delicious both raw and cooked. They are particularly delicious mashed with potatoes or roasted with other root vegetables.


Source: From Asparagus to Zucchini: A Guide to Farm-Fresh Seasonal Produce.


AWARD WINNING POT ROAST–There is no better comfort food on a cold winter day. Our favorite pot roast recipe comes from a 2003 issue of Better Homes & Gardens magazine.
3-4 lb. chuck roast
1 TBS. vegetable oil
1/3 cup sweet Marsala wine
1/3 cup water
2 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. garlic salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/2 cup plum preserves
4 medium potatoes cut into chunks
4 carrots, halved lengthwise and the crosswise
1 large rutabaga cut into 1” chunks
1 medium onion cut into large wedges
2 TBS. cornstarch
1 TBS. cold water


Preheat the oven to 350º. In a large Dutch oven, brown the meat on all sides in hot oil. Drain. In a bowl, stir together the wine, 1/3 cup water, basil, garlic salt and 1/2 tsp. pepper. Pour over the meat in the pot, cover and bake 1 1/2 hours. In a small pan, melt the preserves and pour over the meat. Add the potatoes, carrots, rutabaga and onions around the meat. Cover and bake 45-60 minutes longer or until everything is tender, stirring once during the cooking. Remove the veggies to a serving bowl and remove the meat and tent on a carving platter.


For gravy, measure the juices and skim off the fat. Add enough water to equal 1 1/2 cups. Return the juices to the pot. Stir together the cornstarch and the cold water and stir into the juices. Cook and stir over medium heat until thickened and bubbly. Cook and stir 2 minutes more. Season and serve.


If desired don’t add potatoes to the pot and make potatoes separately as a side dish with gravy. Serves 8.


MASHED RUTABAGA, TURNIP AND POTATO–Easy and rich. A great holiday side dish. From The Frugal Gourmet Celebrates Christmas by Jeff Smith.
1 3/4 lbs. rutabaga, peeled and cut into large chunks
1 1/2 lbs. turnips, peeled and quartered
1 lb. russet potatoes, peeled and quartered
1/2 stick (4 TBS.) butter, melted
1/2 cup whipping cream
salt and pepper


Place rutabaga in a large pot with ample water and a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil and cook 15 minutes. Add the turnips and potatoes and cook 15 minutes more or until all is very tender. Drain well and mash with the butter, cream, salt and pepper.


MARSALA OR SHERRY GLAZED WINTER VEGETABLES–Nicely sweet. Adjust the temperature and baking time to prepare with meatloaf or roasted meats. Other root vegetables can be substituted if desired. From Cooking Light magazine.
3 cups rutabaga cut into 1/2” cubes
1 1/3 cups parsnips cut into 1/2” thick slices
1 1/4 cups onions cut coarsely into wedges
1 cup carrots cut into 1/2” thick slices
1 1/2 cups halved brussels sprouts
1 TBS. butter
1 TBS. olive oil
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/2 cup marsala wine or sherry


Preheat the oven to 450º. Bring 2 qts. water to a boil in a Dutch oven. Add the rutabaga, the parsnips, the onion and the carrot and cook 4 minutes. Add the sprouts and cook 1 minute more. Drain the veggies and place them in a roasting pan that has been coated with cooking spray. Add the butter, oil, thyme, salt, pepper and nutmeg and stir until the butter has melted. Pour the wine over all and cover with foil. Bake 30 minutes. Uncover, stir and bake 15 minutes more until all is tender, stirring after 8 minutes. Serves 6.


MAPLE RUTABAGA WITH CRANBERRIES–This recipe first appeared in a December 2006 issue of Isthmus.
4 lbs. rutabaga
2/3 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup butter
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/2 cup dried cranberries, coarsely chopped


Optional topping:
1 cup fresh bread crumbs
3 TBS. melted butter
2 TBS. fresh parsley


Preheat the oven to 400º. Peel the rutabaga and cut into cubes. Cook rutabaga in boiling salted water 30-40 minutes or until tender. Drain and return to the pot. Mash the rutabaga together with the syrup, butter, salt and pepper with a potato masher. Stir in the cranberries. Spread into an 11” x 7” baking pan sprayed with nonstick spray. Bake, covered, 30 minutes or until hot. For the topping, combine the crumbs, butter and parsley and sprinkle over the top. Broil until golden.


2-3 lbs. rutabaga, peeled in cut into 1/2” cubes
1 lb. carrots, peeled and sliced
3 TBS. butter
1 cup chopped onion
1 tsp. pepper
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. marjoram
1 clove minced garlic
3 TBS. flour
3 cups milk
1/2 cup shredded cheddar


Preheat oven to 350º. Place the rutabaga in a pot and cover with 2” water. Bring to a boil and cook 10 minutes. Add the carrots and cook 5 minutes more. Melt the butter in a saucepan. Add the onion, pepper, salt, marjoram and garlic. Cook on medium heat until the onion is soft. Stir in the flour and cook 3 minutes, stirring. Gradually add the milk and stir continuously, bring it to a boil. Continue to cook 3 more minutes. Set aside. Drain the cooked vegetables and put into a 2 qt. casserole dish. Pour the sauce over the top and sprinkle with cheese. Cover and bake until hot and bubbly, about 25-30 minutes. Uncover and broil until lightly browned.




8 Common Herbs That Make Any Meal Instantly Healthier
You don’t need supplements to boost your mineral intake—just grow a windowsill garden! By Emily Main


What’s the quickest way to load your dinner down with antioxidants? Add oregano. Need more iron? Add lavender. If you’re not cooking with fresh herbs, you’re missing out nature’s real miracles, tiny taste-enhancers loaded with compounds that add antioxidants and vital minerals to every dish, and some that can even cut down on toxic chemicals that form while cooking. Even if you don’t care about nutrition, they’ll all help you make totally killer meals sure to impress anyone.


A Note: All of the following herbs (except lemongrass and cilantro) are currently available at Klein’s in 5” pots for winter windowsill culture.


One of the most commonly used medicinal herbs, thyme has been used for everything from killing germs to curing colds. But don’t just relegate it to your medicine cabinet. Two teaspoons of the herb pack in nearly 20 percent of your daily requirement for iron, and it’s also rich in manganese, a mineral that boosts brain function and aids in healthy bone, skin, and cartilage formation.


Two tablespoons of fresh parsley will provide more than 150 percent of your daily requirement for vitamin K, which plays an important role in blood clotting, proper bone formation, and liver function. A super side benefit of eating parsley is that the herb’s odor-beating chlorophyll will freshen your breath—which might spice things up in your bedroom. The ancient Greeks utilized parsley as an aphrodisiac.


This aromatic, citrusy grass is probably best known for its prevalence in Southeast Asian cuisine. And exotic lemongrass—which derives its flavor and scent from the same compound found in lemon zest—is not only a great addition to recipes, but also is prized in natural medicine for its ability to relieve fever, muscle cramps, upset stomachs, and headaches. It’s loaded with antioxidants, as well, which help protect against oxidative stress, one of the leading causes of heart disease and cancer. Studies have also found that lemongrass contains antimicrobial properties that fight E. coli.


If you use only one herb in your cooking, make it oregano. This potent herb (which some chefs think actually tastes better dried) contains up to 20 times more cancer-fighting antioxidants than other herbs, on average, and holds its own against fruit, as well. According to USDA researchers, 1 tablespoon of fresh oregano has the same antioxidant power as an entire apple. And gram for gram, the herb has twice the antioxidant activity of blueberries.


Who doesn’t love a good grilled steak? But exposing meat (red or white) to the hot flames of a grill leads to the formation of heterocyclic amines (HCAs), carcinogenic compounds created when meats are barbecued or grilled. Add rosemary, though, and that doesn’t happen, according to researchers from the University of Arkansas, Iowa State University, and Kansas State University, who found that cooking meats with rosemary could lower the levels of HCAs by 60 to 80 percent.


Love it or hate it, you may want to make sure you always throw a few sprigs of cilantro into your next chicken dish. Researchers from the University of California have found that a compound in cilantro called dodecenal is nearly twice as effective at killing salmonella bacteria (commonly found in raw meats) as commercial antibiotics, and they isolated a dozen other antibiotic compounds that were also effective at killing other foodborne bacteria. Those same compounds were also found in coriander, the spice made from seeds of the cilantro plant.


This strong-flavored herb is an antioxidant powerhouse, ranking just behind oregano in terms of antioxidant content, and this herb, widely used in herbal and traditional cures, boosts your brain power. In a study published in the journal Pharmacological Biochemical Behavior, 45 adults were given either a placebo or varying levels of the essential oils found in sage. Those receiving even the lowest levels of sage oils had better memory and subject recall, based on cognitive tests, than people taking a placebo. If you’re a local-food addict, try pineapple sage, a variety you can grow in your back yard that tastes and smells just like the tropical fruit but without the food miles.


Peppermint does more than just dress up a cocktail or freshen your breath. It ranks third, behind sage and oregano, in terms of antioxidant content, and it might actually keep you skinny. Simply smelling mint can reduce cravings, so much so that a study from Wheeling Jesuit University in West Virginia found that people who sniffed peppermint every 2 hours for a week consumed 2,800 fewer calories that week than non-peppermint-sniffers.




Fiddle-leaf Fig (Ficus lyrata)
The fiddle-leaf fig (Ficus lyrata) is a popular indoor specimen plant featuring very large, heavily veined, violin-shaped leaves that grow upright. These plants are native to tropical parts of Africa, where they thrive in very warm and wet conditions. This makes them somewhat challenging for the home grower, who is likely to have trouble duplicating these steamy conditions. However, they are relatively tough plants that can withstand a less-than-perfect environment for a fairly long time.


Fiddle-leaf figs are perfect as focal points of a room if you can situate them in a floor-standing container where the plant is allowed to grow to at least 6 feet. (Most indoor specimens reach around 10 feet tall.) They’re fairly fast growers and can be potted at any point in the year if you’re like most gardeners acquiring a nursery plant to keep indoors.


Fiddle-leaf figs are not especially demanding plants as long as you can get their growing conditions right. When grown as a houseplant, be prepared to rotate your fiddle-leaf fig every few days so a different part faces the light source. That way, it will grow evenly, rather than lean toward the light.


Also, every week or two dust the leaves with a damp cloth. Not only does this make the leaves appear shinier and more appealing, but it also allows more sunlight to hit the leaves for photosynthesis. Moreover, you can trim off any damaged or dead leaves as they arise, as they no longer benefit the plant. And if you wish, you can prune off the top of the main stem for a bushier growth habit.


Fiddle-leaf figs require bright, filtered light to grow and look their best. Direct sunlight can burn the leaves, especially exposure to hot afternoon sun. And plants that are kept in very low light conditions will fail to grow rapidly.


Fiddle-leaf figs like a moderate amount of moisture in the soil. If the plant doesn’t get enough water, its leaves will wilt and lose their bright green color. And if it gets too much water, the plant might drop its leaves and suffer from root rot, which ultimately can kill it. During the growing season (spring to fall), water your fiddle-leaf fig when the top inch of soil feels dry. And over the winter months, water slightly less.


Furthermore, these plants are sensitive to high salt levels in the soil. So it’s ideal to flush the soil until water comes out the bottom of the pot at least monthly. This helps to prevent salt build-up.


Fiddle-leaf figs don’t like extreme temperature fluctuations. A room that’s between 60 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit is typically fine, though you must position the plant away from drafty areas, as well as air-conditioning and heating vents. These can cause sudden temperature shifts.


Aim for a humidity level between 30% and 65%. If you need to supplement humidity, mist your plant with clean water in a spray bottle daily. Or you can place it on a tray of pebbles filled with water, as long as the bottom of the pot isn’t touching the water. Plus, fiddle-leaf figs can benefit from being in a room with a humidifier.


Fertilize throughout the growing season with a high-nitrogen plant food, following label instructions. There are fertilizers specially made for fiddle-leaf figs available. You generally won’t have to feed your plant over the winter.


Plan to repot a young fiddle-leaf fig annually every spring. Select a sturdy container that is roughly 2 inches larger in diameter than the existing one. Gently loosen the plant from its current pot, lift it out while supporting its base, and place it in the new pot. Fill in the spaces around the plant with potting mix.


Once the plant is mature, it likely will be too large to repot. In that case, remove the first few inches of soil each spring and replace it with fresh soil.


Moreover, if you will be doing the potting work outdoors, do so when the temperature is at least 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Anything colder can cause too much stress for the fiddle-leaf fig.


These plants don’t have serious pest or disease issues, but they can be prone to spider mites, scale, and bacterial or fungal diseases. Many people notice that their ficus plant may show brown spots on the foliage or drop its leaves. Both of these characteristics are natural and are apart of a normal maturing plant as long it’s not happening in abundance. The plant has a sap which when exposed to air (and on top of leaves) causes browning.



Klein’s currently has a nice selection of fiddle-leaf figs in 4”, 6”, 8”, 10” and larger pots, from 8” to 6+’ tall.


For neighborhood events or garden tours that you would like posted in our monthly newsletter, please contact Rick at (608) 244-5661 or rick@kleinsfloral.com. 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.


***Due to the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic, nearly all garden/plant related public events in the Madison area continue to be cancelled or postponed until further notice.***


PBS Wisconsin’s Virtual Garden & Landscape Expo
Saturday, February 20 & Sunday, February 21, 2021
The safety of our attendees, presenters, exhibitors and volunteers is paramount. Therefore, PBS Wisconsin has made the difficult — yet necessary — decision to cancel our 2021 in-person Garden & Landscape Expo.


While we will not be meeting together at the Alliant Energy Center in February, we plan to unite and engage the gardening community virtually, sharing inspiration and educational opportunities. See schedule details and register at www.wigardenexpo.com.


JANUARY IN THE GARDEN-A checklist of things to do this month.
___Place your used Christmas tree in the garden for added wildlife protection.
___Inspect stored summer bulbs like dahlias, cannas and glads for rotting.
___Check for and treat for pests on plants brought in from the garden.
___Begin forcing stored elephant’s ears at the end of January.
___Keep birdfeeders full. Clean periodically with soap and water.
___Inventory last year’s leftover seeds before ordering new ones.
___Order your seeds. By ordering early, there are usually freebies & discounts.
___Start certain slow-growers like lisianthus, geraniums, pentas and bananas.
___Shop for summer bulbs like begonias, caladium, calla and elephant’s ears.
___Use the winter days to plan next summer’s garden.
___Check your garden for any plant damage from weather or rodents.
___Have trees trimmed–it’s often times cheaper and easier to schedule.
___Visit Klein’s—it’s green, it’s warm, it’s colorful—it’s always spring.


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


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.


—This is the quietest month at the greenhouse. All 10 greenhouses in our back range are usually shut down to save on energy and prep them for all the spring plants that start arriving in February.


—Thousands of geranium cuttings arrive for our 5” pots and we begin planting up our geranium hanging baskets and flower pouches.


—We begin stepping our tropicals into larger pots for spring sale. This early jump gives you larger and more vigorous plants than many of our competitors.


—We spend much of our time ordering product for next summer, from plants to pottery to garden ornaments and sundries.


—We begin to access our needs for spring staffing and try to have the new people in place and trained by March 1. March and April are the busiest months behind the scenes in the greenhouse and we rely on a dedicated, hardworking team to have everything ready for the customer come May 1 and the spring onslaught.


—Hundreds of herbs for windowsill culture are thriving in the sunny, warm greenhouses . We have chosen only the best assortment for indoor growing and winter harvest. Choose from rosemary, lavender, parsley, thyme and more.


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 madgardener@kleinsfloral.com. 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 jamie@kleinsfloral.com
Accounts, Billing and Purchasing—Kathryn Derauf kathryn@kleinsfloral.com
Delivery Supervisor & Newsletter Coordinator—Rick Halbach rick@kleinsfloral.com
Owner, Floral Designer & Purchasing—Sue Klein sue@kleinsfloral.com


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