By Master Gardener Volunteer Lesley Arrandale

In the first week of October we were still experiencing record-breaking temperatures, along with the rest of the south and east. In the first half of September we had adequate rains, but by the end of the month we were in a moderate drought; it does make a garden harder to manage when conditions are so out of the norm.

Thankfully, the heat is forecast to break, and rain really is on its way. We should soon be able to enjoy cool season annuals, like mums (chrysanthemums) and violas. Greens are some of the vegetables that benefit from cooler weather, and many of them are attractive enough to replace the usual ornamental cabbage. Pretty edibles for the flower border include kales and Swiss chard, and herbs like rosemary, sage, onion chives, and cilantro. Chard is sometimes sold in the ornamental section of big box stores, but they may have been treated with pesticides which could make them inedible. Not all pesticides formulated for ornamentals can be used for growing edibles, so it is safer to buy plants from the vegetable section.

Smart Choice Medical healthcare membership! No VoPay, No Deductibles, No Hassles

I recently read an article about plant blindness, which explained that many people simply don’t see the plants around them, don’t know much about their place in the world, and therefore have little idea of their fundamental value to our existence (see  As children, we almost all learn about the living world in relation to animals: we have pets, visit the zoo, and read books with animal characters. It’s only if parents are gardeners, or enjoy visiting parks and gardens, and encourage their children to discover the plants around them that children learn to appreciate, understand, and enjoy them. 

The Japanese believe that “forest bathing” — shinrin-yoku — is a great healer, and designate areas with walks and benches to encourage people to relax and soak in the peace and tranquility (see All you really need are trees, of which we are lucky to have plenty in Jacksonville, and some “me time.” In the UK, family doctors may write prescriptions for people with emotional problems, or who are simply lonely, connecting them with outdoor activities like group walks, or community gardening projects.

I love to walk along my street at dusk or shortly after, and as the light is fading I may see a small flock of bluebirds, one or two very vocal mockingbirds, a few bats, and occasionally a barred owl. The setting sun shining into the tops of the large trees simply makes them glow. Recently I saw my first fireflies in years, high in a sabal palm. And it takes me less than 15 minutes to relax. Clearly many of us could benefit by simply paying attention to our surroundings.

Duval County Extension manages several community gardens around town.  For anyone who has ever hankered after a plot of their own, this can be a great solution. The Extension Service takes applications from any resident, on a first-come-first-served basis. School and community groups can get advice on setting up their own gardens. For more information see Contact Beth Marlowe at (904) 255-7450, or by email at

As always, do read “A New Leaf” for timely tips. The upcoming November-December issue will be available here: Happy Fall!

  • Ackerman Urology We specialize in Prostate health, sexual health, bladder health, and Kidney health
  • Smiles by Glenos & Hadfic Orthodontists
  • I.T. Promise Inc. Computer Services Professional Computer Services business and residential
  • Pavers concrete and more Free estimates
  • Snip's Tree and stump service over 25 years experience
  • The right cleaners, LLC House cleaning services
  • Premier Homes Realty Inc. Michael Taylor and Tari Taylor
  • Quality Eye care 25+ years of experience
  • Vote Rod Hardwick for st johns county sheriff Working together for the strength of our community during challenging times
  • Preddy law firm estate planning, wills, trusts, probate, guardianship
  • Starling Nocatee, 360 degree virtual tour
  • Advertise in our May Issue The Creek Line
  • Staverman Hearing Centers Hear loud and clear
  • Support Community Journalism The Creek Line
  • Tutoring club of st johns. Text tutoring to 484848 for a chance to win one month of free tutoring
  • Being Well Florida News line is excited to introduce Being Well magazine
  • Westminster Woods on Julington creek. Live well. Be Happy
  • Ackerman cancer center. We're here for your cancer treatment
  • Have questions about your medicare benefits? Call a SHINE volunteer.
  • Ellegant earth solutions complete lawn maintenance with 28 years experience, complete lawn maintenance
  • Prudential Financial Planning Services with Andrew Laino
  • Vote for Dr. Erick Aguilar Republican candidate U.S. House Fl 4th district
  • Academy of Dance Open House & Registration August 19th and 20th 3pm to 6pm Classes start August 24th! Ballet, Pointem Jazz, Hip Hop Contemporary, Modern, Lyrical, Music Theatre, Vocal
  • Affordable Water
  • All About Ballroom
  • Do you only want cremation?
  • Craig Funeral services, Funeral, Crematory, Memorial Park
  • Cronin Ace Hardware
  • Vote for Christian Whitehurst! for St. Johns county commissioner, District 1
  • Doug Nunnery, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices,
  • Finding the right doctor just got easier, Dr. Levine Baptist primary care
  • DIscount up to 30% Jim Register state farm agent
  • Nemetz Dental Associates! Your new smile awaits!
  • Deerwood Academy register now for 2020-2021 VPK
  • Eye center of st augustine, The eye surgery Center of St Augustine
  • Famous Automotive and tire center
  • Fruit Cove Baptist Church
  • The Goddard School summer camp
  • Havana Printing and office supply Call us today for all your cutome printing needs
  • Ian MacDonald Mortgage loan originator with Regions Mortgage
  • Julington Creek Chiropractic & Wellness Center P.A. serving st. johns county for nearly 21 years
  • Future home loans. North Florida's Premier Mortgage Expert Ryan Proffitt
  • Wild Birds Unlimited Nature shop. Have you watered your birds lately?
  • Legends of Real Estate call Kim Kessler
  • Creeks Air Conditioning & Heating. We service all makes and models for residential and commerical!
  • Crosswinds Veterinary Hospital. Preventative Medicine and wellness, Surgery, Dentistry, Labs and Imaging, Farm Animal Medicine, In-Patient and Emergency Care
  • Florida Waterways Inc. Your trusted Waterway Advisers
  • Harbor Chase Independent & Assisted living Memory Care Mandarin. Immerse yourself in a rewarding community that enriches your body, mind, and soul.
  • Dont Forget to vote for John Turner School Board member
  • Julington Creek Family Dentistry. Implant Cosmetic and Restoration Dentistry. We are following Advanced Safety protocols set forth by CDC, OSHA and ADA guidelines for dental practices
  • Lori Hershey for School Board, District 7. A school system we can all believe in.
  • Alicia Washington for Circuit Judge
  • Matt Schellenberg. Dependable Leadership for these challenging Times. School Board District 7
  • Re-elect Mike Orfinger for circuit judge
  • Concrete Works! Free Estimates, driveways, Patios, Walkways, Concrete removal, Driveway extension, Pavers
  • Family Remodeling Contractors! Bath, Kitchen &ADA Remodeling
  • Mobile Notary Service. 15 years experience, 24 hour services
  • River Garden Senior Services, However and whenever you need us we're here
  • Starlight Gymnastics! Our #1 priority is your children!
  • Chris Strickland for ST Johns county sheriff!
  • Sugar Bear Antique Mall Summer spectacular sale July 10th-12th
  • Baptist Health, Great tools for motherhood
  • A Green Cleaner, Free pickup and delivery to your home!
  • Luxury living and compassionate care come together at starling. Welcome Home.
  • Alive Credit Union Start banking healthier today!
  • Clara's Tidbits Now in Mandarin!
  • Brian E. Floro DMD, PA Dental services
  • JR Dental General, Specialty and Dental lab
  • Support community journalism! Subscribe to the Mandarin Newsline today!
  • Railing Chiropractic & Acupuncture
  • Let them know you are open for business! Advertise in our may issue!
  • HarborChase independent & assisted living Memory Care Mandarin. Your safety and peace of mind is always our Top Priority
  • Smart Choice Medical healthcare membership! No VoPay, No Deductibles, No Hassles
  • Havana Printing 904-447-5021