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Honorary members

March 23, 2018
By JOYCE COMINGORE ( , Cape Coral Daily Breeze

Jean Shields and I are so thrilled to have been presented Honorary Memberships in the Garden Club of Cape Coral at our April meeting. Being recognized is such an honor and paying no more dues is priceless. Sharing our passion for gardening with others and finding likeminded friends with which to do activities together is a real treat. I can only remember one Academy Award acceptance speech --Sally Fields clutching the award and grinning enormously, uttering the immortal words, "you like me!" That's how I'm feeling right now. It's always nice when people mention they read an article I wrote. It's great that someone is reading this time and effort I've put forth.

Many members join a Garden Club when they feel the need to learn about gardening in Florida. Things are done differently here, (unless you've come from a Tropical region) almost the reverse of northern gardening. Basics are the same, but timing is different. Besides that, the bonding that comes from comparing notes creates such marvelous friendships. There are men in our club as well as women. Couples join together, but some other gentlemen have come for the information and activities; they usually sit together at one big table, bolstering each other. We come together to do community projects, doing things with a purpose, disaster relief efforts, beautification, skill-building, learning new ideas and methods and visiting sites that display worthy attention that we can build on for growing our needs.

The Garden Club of Cape Coral is a Federated Garden Club, meaning we share with our overall garden clubs, Lee County Federated Garden Club, and they share with the State Federated Garden Club, and they share with our National Federated Garden Clubs. The common denominator is -Federated. We are one group sharing with all Federated Garden Clubs of America. We share their love of gardening nationwide. Ideas shared from them benefit us locally. We do local school gardens, form community gardens, help environmental causes and nurture our inner desires for beauty, whether by landscapes or floral designs. We each bring our own particular desires to fill a niche in our community's needs as well as our own.

One of the requirements in forming a club is to have a biannual community flower show. Our club will be having ours in April, on the 26th, 27th, and the 28th. This entails having horticulture plants entered and judged, as well as floral designs. I used to tell people we do designs, not arrangements. On the off years, the Federated Lee County Garden Club has theirs, every year there will be one event, just alternating years to help keep from getting crazy and overdone.

We have finished our fundraiser, March in the Park. Thanks to all who turned out and participated. It was a successful money raiser. We provide scholarships to local high school students interested in horticulture for their endeavors. We maintain the Rose Garden at the Historic Society, the Butterfly Garden at the library, and the gardens at City Hall. We provide support and plants for Habitat for Humanity, support for Camp Wekiva participation and S.E.E.K. We are ever growing in knowledge and deeds. There are many satisfying skill outlets available in which members can participate, or we're open to having you start your own new idea.

Just because I love trees and their benefits, doesn't mean everyone else does. We all do our own thing. I've been a little jangled lately and been searching for a good forest bathing. My daughter suggested I do the Eco walk at Four Mile Cove. Sounds like a good idea.

Another good idea is NASA's idea that every home needs at least one oxygen bomb. You probably know by now that plants possess amazing properties when it comes to cleansing our air and creating a healthy environment. Because we keep our homes closed up tight, we should keep at least 15 to 18 plants in our home to filter the air and eliminate the mold and toxins therein, especially in our bedrooms.

Aloe vera is an incredibly potent oxygen bomb. This plant is as effective as nine biological air purifiers in cans. It releases oxygen all the while absorbing carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide and formaldehyde.

Aloe Vera is one of the healthiest plants on our planet. Aloe also serves as medical help, soothing cuts and burns. Another is the weeping fig (ficus benjamina) tree.

Other health helping plants are spider plants (you've seen those hanging baskets with their regenerative hanging clusters), a single spider plant cleanses about 200 square meters area. These oxygen bombs exhale oxygen at nighttime, while doing their cleansing in the daytime. Good soldiers to guard the inside our homes. Sanseveria trifascinata, mother-in-laws tongue or snake plant. For color try Gerbera Daisys, chrysanthemums or azaleas in spots with 6 hours of full sun. Golden Pothos or Devil's Ivy, Scindapsus aures, is good in the garage to combat exhaust fumes, carbon monoxide.

The straight up growing red-edged Draceana Marginata can get 15 feet tall and help English Ivy (Hedrera helix) is considered by the National Park Service to be an aggressive invader that threatens all vegetation levels of forested and open area. Indoors it helps being kept in a containerized pot. So not just outdoors, trees, if manageable, are a help indoors. Don't forget to thank them.

Joyce Comingore is a Master Gardener, hibiscus enthusiast and honorary member of the Garden Club of Cape Coral.



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