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March Madness

March 8, 2019
By JOYCE COMINGORE ( , Cape Coral Daily Breeze

March Madness usually refers to basketball and I grew up in Indiana where basketball ruled. But I want to discuss our weather. How blessed are we to live here in the South and not be involved in the stormy northern weather. I was shaken by the headlines saying Lee County was hit by a tornado last weekend.

What a relief it was to find that it was Lee County in eastern Alabama that was devastated, not Lee County, Fla., but so sad for them. I also read that every state is suffering from extreme temperatures.

Airlines are waving 2,300 fees from flight cancelations because of the storm. Seems like the ol' March Lion is roaring into the nation's weather. Our weather is going to stay nice temperature-wise, maybe a few ups and downs, but pleasant for living comfortably.

As I mentioned last week, Saturday March 9, is our club's 11th Annual March in the Park day, at Jaycee Park, 4125 S.E. 20th Place/Beach Parkway, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Over 50 local vendors, plants & plus, garden art, painted rain barrel drawing, food and free workshops are available. Information and advice freely given. Hourly informational programs available. Come and join us.

March begins in Plant City with the Strawberry Fest, Feb. 28 to March 10. I've been enjoying the bountiful harvest of strawberries in my diet today. It will ease the shock of setting my clocks forward this Sunday, losing that precious hour to set our clocks straight with people's wants of brighter mornings. "Spring forward, fall back" goes the saying.

Florida is a peninsula, sticking out into the Gulf and Atlantic Ocean, surrounded by water, and lots of beaches, but forests comprise nearly half of our state's land, providing our need for timber production and the rest is government owned for recreational areas. This fact alone leaves me wondering about global warming and sinking land. I understand the whole east coast is sinking, not because the sea level is rising, but because of collapsing land. It is sinking because of the massive weight we've been placing on top of it. Miami has people, buildings and much construction. This not an immediate or sudden danger, just a gradual occurrence. Miami Beach's Alton Road is 85 centimeters above sea level and constantly flooding. It is just a few blocks from the Atlantic Ocean; this is ground zero above sea level.

Other interesting facts about our states are - the world's entire population could fit inside of Texas; also, Alaska is our country's most western point and most our eastern point. What a world in which to live.

If you are looking for inspirations for your own garden, the International Epcot Flower and Garden Festival started March 6 and lasts until June 3. I love going to Epcot, I don't need children to enjoy it.

Mini-gardens floating in the middle of the lakes fascinate us all.

Then there is always the celebrating of the "Green," St. Patrick's Day on March 17. On that day, everyone's Irish. There will be plenty of corned beef and cabbage available at many celebrations. I always try to cook up my own because I like the left-over corned beef for reuben sandwiches.

March 20 is the Vernal Equinox. Springtime hath cometh. We will have the final super moon called by the Indians, the Full Worm Moon. A super moon is the time the moon is closest to the Earth, looking large and bright. Usually Easter, a moveable feast, is celebrated on the first Sunday after a full moon, on or after the Vernal Equinox. Since they both fall on the same day and the Christian Church decided the Equinox will always be considered March 21, Easter will be on April 21 this year after the next full moon.

This week we entertained the thoughts of Mardi Gras, Fat Tuesday before Ash Wednesday and its six weeks of fasting and penance, bringing us to Easter.

Always there is spring housecleaning. Here in Florida we can do that all year round. I remember my mother's frenzy with seven children, living up north. We all were assigned our duties.

I was asked to identify a tree this week. The picture was of red blossoms and branches. I could tell from the large spines on the trunk, it was a Bombax. Bombax Malabarium or Ceiba, a kapok, a red silk-cotton tree.

It produces a capsule pod after blooming, containing a cottony cushion for its seeds, like a fabric similar to kapok, cottony, but not long enough threads to spin, making it an unusable by-product. The blossoms appear in the spring before leaves set. I have seen these bare limbed trees with their red flowers and white puffs of cotton in the landscape.

Belonging to the mallow family, the tree is deciduous when it blooms, and the trunk bares those tell-tale large spines of a Bombax tree. The article said they do this to protect themselves from animals, deer and such that like that nibble, as if they have a choice?

Its wood is too soft to be useful. Its bark, flowers and leaves are said to have therapeutic uses.

Plant a tree, thank a tree.

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



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