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August is the hottest month -- evah!

August 23, 2019
By JOYCE COMINGORE - Garden Club of Cape Coral ( , Cape Coral Daily Breeze

August is always the hottest month and now they are saying, this one is the hottest. Tell me something I don't already know! So now is the time to sit around a pool or in(air-conditioned)doors to study the situation. With the thousands of plants that can grow in Florida, you can always learn something new.

I have a friend who likes to find a plant she's never grown before and try it each year. There is much to learn and try, so, stay inside in this heat, relax, stop doing, start studying and keep learning. It's cooler in the air conditioning. Just remember, NO fertilizing with nitrogen and phosphorus until Sept. 30.

Don't feed the monster. Our rains wash off the fertilizer, making it fill the canals with the run-off, causing the smelly, green algae that gags us. Nutrient run-off is a big issue, impacting the water quality in our canals and surrounding waters. There is no bridge to be built over those troubled waters.

I see where an iceberg in the Arctic melted and collapsed. So, what happens in the Arctic, stays in the Arctic. No need to expound on climate change or global warming, it is obviously with us. Wow! I'm getting depressed and depressing. What I need is to think positively and find a cheerier subject. I like thinking about medicinal plants. They're good for what ails me. Herbs and things that create a natural pharmacy.

My first is the aloe vera plant. Love growing this in the house, available for any burns or rashes. It grows outside in zones of 8 through 11, we are zone 10. Being a succulent, it needs a well-drained soil. It seems to do alright in filtered light as that's what happens when growing it indoors. Aloe thrives on very little in fertilizer, sunlight or water. I told that to someone near and dear to me, the plant dried up, he never watered it, neglected it totally. I learned to be careful in giving directions. You can use the gel from the aloe vera to heal cuts, burns, even eczema. Always have a plant available.

One I wish we could grow here is lavender. My mother had English lavender tucked under the paper lining in all our clothing drawers. It smells soooo good. Used in sachets, added to our pillow helped us sleep better. I read that Florida is where lavender goes to die. Maybe, it might work as an annual.

However, there is a new variety called "Phenomenal," but that lives up to zone 9, curses, foiled again.

Basil, garlic and dill work here. Nothing beats a good caprese salad or dilled pickles. I learned using dill as a substitute for salt is in a weight loss program. Also, parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme. How much parsley have I chewed to eliminate bad breath? Chamomile tea has soothed and relaxed me.

Peppermint chewing gum helps settle my stomach. Rosemary and chives are said to enhance my memory, and at my age I need this. Chives, marjoram, lemon balm and oregano are herbs that help me.

The biggest herb I depend on is turmeric to help with my arthritic pains. It is said to also treat Alzheimer's, so now I'll be more aware of how much my arthritis is being relieved.

When I worked in a grocery store, I had a customer that really believed in the powers of garlic; it is believed to prevent cancer, dementia and reduce blood pressure, limiting heart disease. She ate copious amounts and wore a garlic clove around her neck. So much for seeking a friendly relationship.

A whole clove was given me by my mother to apply directly to my ailing gum, it numbed the pain of a toothache. Ginger relieves heartburn, indigestion and upset stomach. I grab a ginger ale for heartburn. Herbs and spices have been with us for centuries, to be used in staying healthy. As with all medicinal relief, be sure to consult with your doctor first. Discuss any allergy reactions or drug interactions that might relate to your health.

I'm still confused by the term "Pot Marigold." I know what the stinky marigold does in keeping pests away from my garden plants, but "pot" marigold is Calendula. The stinky one is tagetes minuta, never take this internally, don't eat it, highly toxic. The edible marigold is the calendula, that English marigold is the flower to use in salads or to be eaten.

When my husband and I lived in Ohio, we made dandelion wine. We brought the last bottle with us for a special occasion. His mother used dandelion greens in her salads. They really don't grow here. Ah, well, less weeding. I always wondered about the person who bought dandelion seeds when I worked in the nursery here. Dandelions are good for our health, but I didn't know that when I was diligently digging them out of my lawn, and not happy with them. All things work together for our good, we just have to find that purpose ( I found that even mosquitoes have a purpose as the lowest critter on the food chain.)

Relax. Look up at the sky outdoors, through the trees. Remember, we breathe in what the trees breathe out and they breathe in what we breathe out. I'm forever overwhelmed by the beauty of God's design.

Thank a tree.

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



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