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Severe Storms + Additional 2023 Garden Trends

Posted by Cynthia Brian on
Severe Storms + Additional 2023 Garden Trends

“Hope and faith flower from the cheerful seeds of the old year to the sprouting garden of the new year’s dawn.”

~Terri Guillemets

For the past three-plus weeks, Californians have endured intense storms (bombogenesis) with strong winds and extreme precipitation. Substantial atmospheric rivers caused flooding, mudslides, debris flows, and power outages. Rock-filled dry creeks are raging, trees have been uprooted, and many residences required sandbags as protection from the heavy showers.


I am grateful for the rain and only wish I had personal reservoirs and underground cisterns to capture the run-off as my barrels and buckets are overflowing. Despite the torrents, the drought is not over. We need more rain.

Weeds and seeds are sprouting everywhere. On my hillside, orange and yellow self-seeded calendula plants are blooming while poppy plants are peaking through the soggy soil.


I have begun weeding daily, even in the downpours, as the small seedlings are so much easier to pull. A regular reader and an Ambassador for the Fire Adapted Community program wrote me to encourage gardeners to start pulling out non-native, invasive, flammable, and difficult-to-control Brooms including Cystisus, Gentista, and Spartum while the soil is soft. For those big broom plants that are difficult to eradicate, local fire departments have a special tool available to lend to the public which will pull out these unwanted invaders, including the taproot.

The Garden Media Group’s Trend Report for 2023 suggests that age 100 will be the new 50. I like that idea, although it does seem to be a bit of science fiction at the moment. In any case, gardening at age one hundred will require raised beds to avoid having to bend over as well as provide a manageable height for wheelchairs.

This year, classic columns, statues, boxwood hedges, and iconic Greek gardens offer inspiration, especially with Gen Z.


Stone walls, archways, and olive trees are in demand. For a timeless arrangement, roses, agapanthus, cyclamen, and water-wise succulents are included in designs as key plants. A staple of Greek design is gravel gardens, excellent choices for large and small spaces, requiring minimal maintenance in drought times.

Arbors have graced gardens throughout history. They provide shade and add a focal point to any landscape design. Although Greek decor will be progressively popular, when considering an arbor, select one that will complement the style of your home and garden. Choose durable materials that will withstand the weight of vines.

Climate action is also addressed in the trend report. The first hardiness zone map was drawn in 1960 by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The country is half a zone warmer since the last map was updated in 2012 indicating that the climate velocity of heat will increase 13 miles per decade. Our earth’s climate is projected to warm by an additional 11 degrees Fahrenheit by the end of this century. Planting climate-resilient trees will be one way to combat this warming planet. Reforestation produces clouds that cool the climate. Trees sequester and store carbon, conserve energy through their shade, decrease stormwater runoff, filter air pollutants, and reduce urban heat. It is critical to plant the correct trees in the correct places to increase biodiversity and resilient ecosystems. Hiring a gardening coach or arborist for specific zip codes will become increasingly important.

Orange is the designated color of the year. Orange has spiritual connotations deeply rooted throughout history. In Buddhism, it is the color of perfection and illumination. In Confucianism, it is the color of transformation. In Hinduism, Krishna’s dresses are orange. In Western culture, orange is considered earthy, amusing, exciting, and warm. It is also the preferred pigment for prison apparel. Showcasing plants with orange or terra cotta hues will be the rage in garden centers this year.

Although we don’t need to implement suggested trends, it’s always beneficial to understand what is happening in the world. With a new year ahead of us, we can plan how we want to spend the next eleven months and how we want our landscapes to look and operate.

Attract wildlife, especially birds, to your property by enticing them with native plants, trees, shrubs, and flowers. These will provide a consistent source of food throughout the year. Hang feeders, nesting boxes, fountains, and birdbaths to welcome these avian guests who will pollinate and protect your yard.

What’s happening on my property right now? Listening to the cascading waterfalls, thunderous creeks, and croaking frogs brings joy to my heart.


Watching the birds find shelter throughout my landscape indicates these feathered friends call my garden home. Newts and salamanders are frequenting my pond. My camellia tree is full of buds and blooming.

Pink Bergenia brightens the understory of shrubs. The thirty-seven-year-old olive tree boasts big black olives, although I am not planning on harvesting them.


The hillsides are carpeted with sprouts of wildflower seeds scattered in the fall. Sage and Madeira are dazzling companions.


The grass is emerald with new growth. Deciduous trees fascinate with branches of architectural interest. Lemons, limes, and tangerines knocked out of trees by the rains are gathered daily to use in the kitchen.


The ground is saturated and unable to drain quickly. Retaining walls, gravel walks, and sandbags are protecting my home from the deluge. Thousands of narcissi blossoms scent the air. The heavy pruning of rose bushes will commence soon.


Indeed, with the stunning storms, hope and faith flower from the cheerful seeds of the old year to the sprouting garden of this new year’s dawn.

I am grateful. Stay safe and weather the storms.

Happy Gardening. Happy Growing. Happy January!

Photos and more: https://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue1624/Digging-Deep-with-Goddess-Gardener-Cynthia-Brian-Stunning-storms-and-2023-Garden-Trends-Part-two.html

Raised in the vineyards of Napa County, Cynthia Brian is a New York Times best-selling author, actor, radio personality, speaker, media and writing coach as well as the Founder and Executive Director of Be the Star You Are!® 501 c3. Tune into Cynthia’s StarStyle® Radio Broadcast at www.StarStyleRadio.com. Her newest children’s picture book, No Barnyard Bullies, from the series, Stella Bella’s Barnyard Adventures is available now at www.cynthiabrian.com/online-store  For an invitation to hang out with Cynthia for fun virtual events, activities, conversations, and exclusive experiences, buy StarStyle® NFTs at https://StarStyleCommunity.com

Hire Cynthia for writing projects, garden consults, and inspirational lectures. Cynthia@GoddessGardener.com


Hop to it!

Posted by Cynthia Brian on
Hop to it!


 Miracle Moment®

“I have a rabbit’s foot, a four-leaf clover, and a lucky charm. The only problem is, none of them become effective until I do.”


A Message from Founder/Executive Director, Cynthia Brian

As we welcome in the Year of the Rabbit, it’s a perfect time to focus on empowerment and encouragement.  I have adopted and raised bunnies since I was a little girl and find them to be smart, sweet, strong, affectionate, and fast. Rabbits are one of my favorite creatures. People born in the year of the Rabbit are believed to be vigilant, witty, quick-minded, and ingenious. Does this describe you?

Empowerment is about giving people the tools and resources they need to take control of their lives, to make their own decisions, and to create the future they want. Encouragement is about providing support and motivation to help people achieve their goals. Together, empowerment and encouragement can help us all to lead happier, healthier, and more fulfilling lives.

In the coming year, let us all make a commitment to empowering and encouraging those around us. Whether it’s a family member, a friend, a colleague, or a stranger, we can all make a difference by offering a helping hand, a kind word, or a listening ear.

One way to empower others is by giving them a voice. This can be done by being an active listener and providing an opportunity for them to express themselves and have their opinions heard. Encourage them to share their ideas, thoughts, and feelings, and create an environment where they feel safe and respected.

Another way to empower others is by providing them with the resources they need to succeed. This can be done by sharing knowledge, providing access to education, or offering financial assistance. Encourage them to take risks, to learn from their mistakes and to strive for their goals.

Finally, let us all endeavor to be a positive influence in the lives of others. Encourage others to be their best selves, to believe in themselves and to be resilient in the face of challenges. Let us be a light in the darkness, a beacon of hope, and an inspiration to all those around us.

As we hop into the Year of the Rabbit, aspire to assist, support, and motivate those around us, while being empowered and encouraged in return. When you are your unapologetically authentic self, service to others is easy. Every one is unique and everyone counts.


No matter how many lucky charms you have, until you go into action to be affective, nothing will be effective.

For 2023, I pledge to welcome, support, listen, value, and encourage our constellation of stars through kindness, inclusivity, generosity, and gratitude.

Will you join me?

Together, we can create a brighter future for ourselves and for the world.

Happy New Year!

With gratitude,

Cynthia Brian

Founder/Executive Director

Be the Star You Are!®

PO Box 376

Moraga, California 94556




DONATE: https://www.paypal.com/fundraiser/charity/1504

Words To Remember

by Karen Kitchel

I asked many people this important question: “What was something said to you that you will never forget?”

Here’s a sampling of the responses:

“When I grow up, I want to be you.”

 “Your mental health is more important than maintaining a toxic friendship.”

  “I do believe in fairies. And Santa Claus. And leprechauns. Don’t let the magic go away.”

“If you don’t believe in miracles, miracles won’t happen.”

“Life’s most difficult issue, which causes so much pain, is learning to say goodbye.”

“Don’t say ‘good-bye’. Say ‘farewell, until we meet again.’”

“Never say never.”

“Everything is possible when you are willing to work to achieve it.”

“Be brave.”

“Take measured risks.”

“Be the Star You Are!”

What words will you speak today that may empower someone to remember?

Karen Kitchel who penned two chapters in the book, Be the Star You Are! Millennials to Boomers Celebrating Gifts of Positive Voices in a Changing Digital World, is the Kindness Coordinator volunteer with BTSYA. She serves meals to the homeless and is a volunteer teacher, writer, job coach, and mentor. www.scatteringkindness.com

Do You Want to Help? Here are lots of ways to make a difference.

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  • Establish A Charitable Giving Account with an Investment Firm in the name of Be the Star You Are!® 501 c3
  • Donate rent money for our storage space

Please join our Galaxy of Stars and support BE THE STAR YOU ARE!® with your contributions and/or ask your company to be on our team. Visit our creative community at http://www.BTSYA.org for book reviews, news items, newsletters, and press pass clips.



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PO Box 376,

Moraga, California 94556

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Be a Honey Bunny! Welcome, support, listen, value, and encourage others!

Happy Hopping!

With gratitude and encouragement to make 2023 a great year!

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The Garden of 2023!

Posted by Cynthia Brian on
The Garden of 2023!

“To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow.” Audrey Hepburn

Where did the year go? It seems like only yesterday that I was writing gardening goals for 2022, and it is already 2023. Time to start anew!

Happy New Year!


Every year, the Garden Media Group releases trends for the forthcoming year. The Garden Trends Report for 2023 is aptly named, I Believe in Me! Individuality and access to critical resources will be in vogue throughout these next twelve months. As an Empowerment Architect, I resonate with this craze outlined for 2023 and hope that personal expression and self-reliance will become a style, not just a fad. Our choices and lifestyles need to reflect who we are as individuals so that we become our unapologetically authentic selves in service of others.

When it comes to designing any interior or exterior place, I have always believed that to fully function for the family, the space must be personalized, reflecting the colors, shapes, objects, and souvenirs that are meaningful to the individuals living in the location. We need to feel comfortable, secure, relaxed, and rejuvenated. Home is where our heart resides. Cookie-cutter installations may be magazine-worthy, but they won’t necessarily showcase the depth, passions, and character of the dwellers.

As we begin to plan for 2023, learn about the forthcoming trends, but decide what resonates with you. Just because something is au currant, it doesn’t mean that it will empower everyone. In part one of my interpretation of the Garden Media Report, I’ve chosen a few gems that may trigger a positive possibility for you.

The report shares the smart benefits of the garden green industry which has gone electric or battery-powered more quickly than any other industry, including electric vehicles. Mowers, leaf blowers, chain saws, and other electric equipment accounted for 17% of the gardening sales in the United States in 2022. Smart garden tools are becoming as critical to gardening as shovels and picks, especially for those who are just entering the gardening arena. Although I have not tried it yet, there is a new smart device on the market that is a weeding robot. Solar-powered, it lives in the garden chopping weeds. Now that is an innovation I will be checking out as weeding my landscape requires grueling work for months on end.

Another huge trend will be shopping online for garden products. Many companies are offering not only plants for sale but identification and information for various plants. It is as easy as taking a photo of a flower, leaf, tree, or other specimen and clicking a button. Several matches will appear on the app, but it is up to you to determine which is the correct one. Other garden apps provide tips on how to plant, when to plant, and where to plant as well as healthy recipes for harvesting crops.

Because of the housing crisis with buying a home being out of reach for numerous people, ADUs (accessory dwelling units) have become popular in the past year and will continue to be in demand. Container gardening will linger as a major trend as gardens and patios become smaller. Vertical gardening, trellises, fences, and living green walls will be integral to adding privacy and protected places to enjoy nature.  Millennials and Boomers are embracing vintage and mid-century patio furniture including wrought iron, retro lawn chairs, and pagoda umbrellas.

In the section called Super Agers, the Garden Trends Report boldly states that “In 2023 and beyond, 100 is the new 50!”  I’m not so certain that this is a truism, but it does bode well for gardeners who want to continue being active with tilling, filling, and thrilling with nature long into their golden years. Accessibility options such as raised beds, wider paths for wheelchairs, and plants at levels that don’t require bending will allow anyone to enjoy the outdoors.


When it comes to plants, tropical and exotic are the favorites for all age groups. Orchids, bromeliads, anthuriums, birds of paradise, cordylines, Ficus, palms, philodendrons, and peace lilies are only a sampling of specimens that are attractive to Gen X, Y, Z as well as Boomers.

I speculate that water features, especially creative fountains based on individual themes, will be a big focus this year. Besides the health benefits of the negative ions that running water provides to humans helping us refocus and recharge, birds and wildlife rely on them in the backyard garden for bathing and drinking.

These are just a few of the projections for our outdoor enjoyment for 2023. In my next column, I’ll offer more suggestions. Believe in tomorrow. Plan to plant a garden.

Live to 100?

What’s on your list?


Happy Gardening. Happy Growing. Happy 2023!

Raised in the vineyards of Napa County, Cynthia Brian is a New York Times best-selling author, actor, radio personality, speaker, media and writing coach as well as the Founder and Executive Director of Be the Star You Are!® 501 c3. Tune into Cynthia’s StarStyle® Radio Broadcast at www.StarStyleRadio.com. Her newest children’s picture book, No Barnyard Bullies, from the series, Stella Bella’s Barnyard Adventures is available now atwww.cynthiabrian.com/online-store 


For an invitation to hang out with Cynthia for fun virtual events, activities, conversations, and exclusive experiences, buy StarStyle® NFTs at



Hire Cynthia for writing projects, garden consults, and inspirational lectures. Cynthia@GoddessGardener.com


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