By H.I. Jean Shields
Special to The Breeze
It is time for all good gardeners to take a break. With all of the sun and rain we are having, Mother Nature has gone wild. I need a rest and I am sure a lot of gardeners do.
There are several events this month that will give us a break from the summer gardening routine, and will be informative and fun. Two are free family-orientated events and the other one a more serious one with a fee.
The first event is Aug, 20, at Terry Park, in Fort Myers, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
It is BEE Awareness Day. Really, it's about local bees and their ways and means of going about their busy little lives producing honey.
These little critters are mighty interesting to watch and the honey they make is truly a sweet treat as well as a soothing balm for minor skin scratches and burns. Their honeycombs make lots of beeswax products for the market.
Not all bees are little, of course, and there are about 300 varieties of honey in the world. This event will show you how important bees are to us and how to start a bee yard of your own.
There will be hourly raffles and a honey contest, now what is that?
This is a family friendly day and there will be fruit trees and herbs available, as well as beeswax candles and assorted other items.
The day is sponsored by the Lee County Extension service and the Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.
The event is free and there is plenty of parking.
The next event is Aug. 27 - a garden composting workshop for the serious gardener and composter, inside and outside.
John Puig, steward of the Garden Of Eden Organic Farm, will lead the workshop.
The fee is $30 and you will learn how to compost yard waste and kitchen scraps. He will remove the trial and error mystery of what to do first and how to do it correctly.
The workshop starts at 10:30 a.m. and is sponsored by the Holton Eco-Preserve, at its facility, 13411 Shire Lane, Fort Myers.
Worm ranching will be discussed and you will enjoy learning to reduce, reuse and recycle.
To register or for more information, call 239-699-0684.
The third event is three days and exactly an old-fashioned fun time for the whole family.
The annual Caladium Festival will be held in Lake Placid on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 26, 27 and 28.
The whole town of Lake Placid will be in a festive celebration as they show off their lovely caladium fields and hundreds of caladiums to buy and to admire. They have a whole neighborhood with yards landscaped with dozens of caladiums as they vie for the most beautiful caladium display.
An air-conditioned bus ride takes you through the rolling hills at the edge of town to the acres of caladium fields. No walking around the fields, just a tremendous views of colors as you drive slowly by the fields. A guide will enlighten viewers about the history and growing of caladiums.
Then the bus goes through the beautiful neighborhood will all the yards full of caladiums - a joy to behold. It is the kind of scene that makes you want to come back home and start planting 25 happy little bulbs in your own yard.
You do not have to do bulbs, of course, there are plenty of gorgeous plants for sale. The hard part is making a decision of what color combination do you want the most - the flamboyant foliage of "red flash" or "rosebud," the mottled green of the large leaf "Florida Elise" or maybe my favorite, "Miss Muffet," that has a smaller leaf with a light green edge and white center speckled with dark crimson.
They can be grown in the soil, and do not have to be removed each winter.
They do like a nice moist space for the first two weeks and then they do well without any special care. They make a great potted plant.
Shade is their desired spot. There are some that do well in the sun, just pay attention and plant the right one in the right place. No special soil. I have a
"Miss Muffet" in a pot on lania that has been there three years. When I do not water enough it droops to remind me to water please. No special soil. The plants will come with instructions.
There is plenty of ice cream, sandwiches, platters of food stuffs and shade and lots of hometown talent and music.
There is one main street so plan on finding a parking spot on a side roadway.
Lake Placid is located out on Route 27, North, you just cannot miss it.
There may be more events and workshops being held this month, but those are three good choices.
I went out looking for some sun impatiens last weekend but never found any.
I did not mind too much. There was a beautiful Angel Wing Begonia calling to me and I could just hang it up and not get out the trowel.
Keep cool; it won't be long before we can go about without an umbrella in one hand and sunscreen in the other.
Till we meet again ... happy gardening, somewhere.
H.I. Jean Shields is past president of the Cape Coral Garden Club.