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Sacred Spaces

Posted by rstapholz on
Sacred Spaces

garden stream.jpeghttps://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue1513/Digging-Deep-with-Goddess-Gardener-Cynthia-Brian-Sacred-spaces.html

“Nature is the original church. Worship there daily.”  Alan Cohen

If we have learned anything from the pandemic of the past eighteen months, it is that our greatest blessing is to be able to go outdoors to breathe fresh air. Many people choose to hike the hills, walk the reservoir, or take a jaunt to the ocean to calm nerves and preserve sanity. For those of us fortunate enough to have a garden, balcony, porch, or patio, we can open a door to escape the confines of lockdown.

The majesty of Mother Nature rivals the most exquisite man-made cathedral. Throughout my landscape, I have designed special areas that stimulate my senses, inducing a sense of tranquility and connectivity with the natural world. I have dubbed these my “sacred spaces”, places where I can meditate, watch the wildlife, listen to birdsong, commune with the breeze, rest my weary legs, take a nap, or just sit and contemplate life. My “sacred spaces” provide a structure amidst the chaos, a respite against the turmoil of the times.

We can expand our living environment by crafting outdoor elements that nurture our spirits, emotions, and bodies. Here are a few of my favorite strategies to help gardeners recast their yards into a serene, yet lush oasis. 


The sound of water is immensely soothing. Listening to the gurgling of a fountain or the rippling of a stream heightens my creativity. Birds splashing in a birdbath bring a smile to my face. A pond with a recirculating pump provides a happy home for frogs, and if deep enough, fish. 



Hanging a hammock from two trees is the ultimate in shaded relaxation. I have double hammocks strung between a giant magnolia and Japanese maples. There is nothing quite like swaying in the hammock looking up at the light as it dances between the branches. The colors of the leaves are forever changing. For an afternoon nap on a hot day, a hammock provides a piece of paradise.

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I’ve installed a metal garden swing behind my pond flanked by orange Birds of Paradise and midnight blue agapanthus. By adding comfy cushions, I can silently swing while listening to the aerating pond and watching the aerial antics of squirrels spiraling through the loquat tree. 

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Tables, Chairs, and Benches

Throughout my landscape, I have placed multiple tables, chairs, and benches in specific areas to encourage me to take a break from the hard labor. A wooden picnic table under an apple tree begs me to take a lunch period. A bench facing the hills beckons me to behold a doting doe with her twin fawns as they forage. A small rocking chair in a cozy nook allows me to remove my mud boots and watch the sunset.

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Paths and Walls

Whether you use gravel, bricks, decomposed granite, pavers, or flagstone, creating paths throughout the garden allows for interesting patterns and yard exploration. Because I believe in recycling, upcycling, and repurposing, I always utilize whatever materials are available when I’m building stairs, paths, or walls. A former built-in redwood bench is turned on its side to be reused as a retaining planter box. Used bricks add a separation element to the revamped below-deck walkway bordering the tangled wisteria forest. 

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Pergolas, Gazebos, Decks

A deck is always a great gathering spot. A gazebo or pavilion is a stately structure to sit, embrace the view, and offer gratitude for outdoor rooms. On my deck, under my grape, wisteria, and bower vine-covered pergola, I unwind after a long day by soaking in the hot tub. This is my prayer place as I gaze at the twinkling stars above.

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The selection of specific plants is critical to the overall color and scale of any garden. My goal is always to witness botanical interest 365 days a year through express attention to the trees, flowers, shrubs, bulbs, vegetables, herbs, and bushes. Every season brings a change to the landscape. Roses bloom for nine or ten months when regularly dead-headed. Perennial sweet peas flourish with their pretty purple pea heads from spring until autumn.

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Pink naked ladies pop up to smarten the summer soils when most other plants find it too hot to shine. Deciduous trees such a Japanese maple, pistache, crape myrtle, and liquid amber offer spectacular autumn colors.

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When you think about creating your sacred spaces, make sure you are bringing the indoors out and the outdoors in. Expand your home environment by mimicking and mingling colors, patterns, themes, and shapes through both areas. Great design amplifies your emotional well-being. Rediscover forgotten or overlooked spots. Feel the vibes as you develop your scheme keeping comfort and safety at the forefront. Use your imagination to unearth the endless possibilities.

Mother Nature is the original church. When we honor Her, we will attain a more balanced life with peace as a bonus gift, no matter what is happening around us. As this latest Delta variant spreads its dangerous virus tendrils, I urge everyone to talk with their physicians, listen to the science, and get vaccinated. Discover your sacred space, breathe, and spend as much time outdoors as possible. 

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A Be the Star You Are!® volunteer from Minnesota emailed me “I go for walks on our nearby trail as often as I can because it’s a way to escape to nature, and I know how you feel about that!  So off I go.”

Off you go!


Saturday, September 25th, Be the Star You Are!® will participate in the first live event at the Pear and Wine Festival with a booth sponsored by the Lamorinda Weekly(www.Lamorindaweekly.com) and MB Jessee painting (www.MBJessee.com). Wear your mask and visit us! Details at https://www.bethestaryouare.org/copy-of-events

Phots and more: https://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue1513/Digging-Deep-with-Goddess-Gardener-Cynthia-Brian-Sacred-spaces.html

Happy Gardening. Happy Growing. 

Cynthia Brian.jpeg

Cynthia Brian, The Goddess Gardener, is available for hire to help you prepare for your spring garden. Raised in the vineyards of Napa County, Cynthia 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.

Buy copies of her books, including, Chicken Soup for the Gardener’s Soul, Growing with the Goddess Gardener, and Be the Star You Are! www.cynthiabrian.com/online-store. Receive a FREE inspirational music DVD and special savings.

Cynthia Brian books banner.jpg

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



Bee Diligent

Posted by rstapholz on
Bee Diligent

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“The keeping of bees is like the direction of sunbeams. Henry David Thoreau

Barefoot and wearing our bathing suits, my daughter was teaching me Bar Method exercises out on our lawn on a beautiful summer afternoon. Partway through the practice I was stung on my foot by a honeybee dining on the clover. Clover is a wonderful addition to lawns as it adds natural nitrogen to the soil, however, when playing on the grass we must remember to be cautious as both red and white clover provide favorite nectar to our honey friends. 

We all want to attract pollinators to our gardens. The more flowers you grow equals the more food for the habitat of the pollinators. Bees, butterflies, beetles, hummingbirds, bats, and bids are responsible for 35% of our food crop and 75% of the world’s flowering plants. Every three bites of food eaten can be directly thanks to the pollination from these garden friends. By helping plants reproduce, pollinators sustain our ecosystem and produce our natural resources. Sadly, the pollinator population is in jeopardy on a global level.

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In 2006, the honeybee population substantially declined in a phenomenon that became known as Colony Collapse Disorder or CCD. When the worker bees disappeared, they would leave behind a queen and a few nurse bees to care for the queen and the remaining immature bees. There were rarely dead bees around the hives. Hives cannot sustain themselves without worker bees which resulted in the loss of the colony. There were many theories advanced on why the problem arose including new diseases, parasites, mites, pesticide poisoning, habitat changes, poor nutrition, and stress. Although an actual cause has never been determined, most scientists believe that CCD is related to this combination of causes. 

Honey bees reflect the health of the environment. Our agriculture depends on the pollination of honey bees. If bees continue to die, consumers can expect increased food prices and more scarcity. As gardeners, we can do our part to provide habitat and food for all pollinators and beneficial insects, including bees. 

Here are some ways individual gardeners can make a difference while creating harmony in the landscape:

  •  Support the pollinator population all season by including plants that bloom spring until the beginning of winter. Bumblebees need early-season nectar and pollen while bees need late-season blooms for winter hibernation.
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  •  Add easy-to-grow natives and native hybrids to your garden.
  •  Replace barren areas with wildflowers and perennials.
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  •  Include clover in your lawn.
  •  Avoid using any pesticides or herbicides.
  •  Provide a source of water by including a fountain or even a shallow birdbath with a landing pad of stones or pebbles.
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  •  Pollinators need a sheltered habitat of rocks, trees, shrubs, and ornamental grasses.
  • Bumble Bee on Greanium.jpeg

In general, bees tend to enjoy plants that have flat flower clusters, short tubular shapes, and single flowers which allow them to access the nectar and pollen easily. 

Attract and Feed Pollinators, especially bees and Bumblebees by planting a selection of these specimens:



Bachelor Button

Bee Balm

Black-Eyed Susan

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Blazing Star











Four O’Clock



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Morning glory









Sweet Pea



Another great addition to any pollinator garden is the bearded iris. Irises spread as they mature, with old rhizomes producing new ones to form rhizome clumps. These clumps need to be divided every 3–5 years to avoid overcrowding and reduce the likelihood of soft rot. You may want to designate an area specifically for an iris plot. Divide and replant the rhizomes to grow your garden. To divide irises do the following:

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  1. 1. About four weeks after the flowers fade, cut down the foliage by about two-thirds.
  2. 2. Carefully dig up the clumps and gently separate individual rhizomes by hand or with garden shears.
  3. 3. Discard damaged or discolored rhizomes. Also, toss out any with soft spots.
  4. 4. Freshen soil with compost and replant the newly separated rhizomes 15–24″ apart.
  5. 5. If you have too many, share with friends and family. 

Bees are critical to the well-being of the planet. My daughter and her husband have become home beekeepers and are enjoying the delicious honey that their bees create from the many flowers growing in their garden. The bees are sunbeams of beauty and productivity.  It’s up to humans to “bee” careful with how we manage our biologicals to promote the health and longevity of all pollinators.

Just don’t exercise barefoot on the clover!

Photos: https://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue1510/Digging-Deep-with-Goddess-Gardener-Cynthia-Brian.html

Happy Gardening. happy growing!

BEST cynthi-BEESUIT.jpeg

Cynthia Brian, The Goddess Gardener, is available for hire to help you prepare for your spring garden. Raised in the vineyards of Napa County, Cynthia 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.

Buy copies of her best-selling books, including, Chicken Soup for the Gardener’s Soul, Growing with the Goddess Gardener, and Be the Star You Are! Millennials to Boomers at www.cynthiabrian.com/online-store. Receive a FREE inspirational music DVD.

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



What’s Bugging You?

Posted by presspass on
What’s Bugging You?

bee-blackeyed susan conflowe.jpghttps://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue1312/Digging-Deep-with-Goddess-Gardener-Cynthia-Brian-Whats-bugging-you.html

“…many plants of many kinds, with birds singing on the bushes, with various insects flitting about, and with worms crawling through the damp earth.” Charles Darwin

Twenty-three honeybees, ten lady beetles, five lizards, three frogs, and several spiders.

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Within two hours on a very hot day this past week, the rescue count from the swimming pool kept mounting. I was afraid to leave the water lest more of my garden friends would drown.  It’s summer and the flying insects, creepy crawlies, and slithering creatures are in abundance.  The ones I want to save are the ones that are our garden guardians. 

The Good Guys


We’ve all heard about the Colony Collapse Disorder affecting honey bees worldwide and the importance of protecting our all bees. Don’t confuse honey bees with carnivorous yellowjackets. Bees, bumble bees, and yellowjackets are all pollinators yet honey bees and bumble bees don’t attack humans unless they are stepped on, slapped, swatted, or threatened. They are gathering pollen and the honey bees are making honey while keeping our fruit, flowers, and vegetables reproducing. 

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Lady Beetles

There are over 450 species of ladybugs in the United States and they are voracious consumers of aphids, caterpillars, lace bugs, mealybugs, scale, whiteflies, and mites. Lady beetles are perhaps the most beloved of all insects and even though you can purchase them for your garden, they will fly away when their food level declines. An adult will eat over 5,000 aphids in her lifetime.

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Don’t be afraid of these garden helpers. Lizards are carnivores, not plant-eaters. You are fortunate if you have lizards in your yard. They eat beetles, ants, wasps, aphids, and grasshoppers. They like to bask in the sun and also shelter under rocks or in the mulch. Predators to lizards include cats, snakes, and birds. 

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Both frogs are toads are amphibians living on both land and in water. They need moisture to survive and prey upon snails, slugs, and other insects. However, if they fall into a swimming pool without a way to escape, they will drown. In one summer, a single toad may devour over 10,000 pests.  Some species will eat mosquito larvae. Like our lizard friends, pets, birds, and snakes enjoy them as a meal. Enjoy their choral music at dusk.



Fear of spiders is one of the most common phobias even though most spiders do not bite humans.  The two biting spiders with venom that can be fatal to humans are the black widow and the brown recluse. Spiders are not insects.  Spiders are arthropods as they have eight legs.  As happy hunters, they are excellent garden pest control managers, actually considered to be the most beneficial and efficient insect eradicator in our landscapes.  When you see a spider web, admire its delicate intricacy. Don’t destroy it. Inside your home, spiders are helping eradicate more invasive bugs.  Spiders don’t carry diseases like mosquitoes or ticks. 

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To keep the good guys attracted to our landscapes, eliminate pesticides, insecticides, and chemicals. Companion planting with a diversity of species will provide a variety of stalking and dining options. Offer shelters of mulch, rocks, small branches, and a water source.

The Bad Guys


Mosquito bites cause puffy red bumps that can itch for a week. Worse, mosquitoes are vectors for West Nile Virus that they transmit to humans. Empty any standing water around your garden and punch drainage holes in containers. Change birdbaths daily or add a re-circulating pump. If you have a pool or hot tub, keep it effectively chlorinated. Check for leaky faucets. It only takes a few days for larvae to mature. Vector Control is available at no charge to add mosquitofish (Gambusia affinis) to your pond water.


Although yellowjackets do help with pollination, they are scavengers for meat and sugary food, disrupting picnics, summer outdoor activities, and barbecues. Never squash a yellowjacket. When crushed they emit a chemical that calls to other yellowjackets to attack. They build nests in abandoned burrows, in eaves, and bushes. Because their sting is so potent and painful, if you find a nest, call Vector Control for eradication.


Lyme disease is one of the fastest-growing epidemics with over 300,000 diagnoses occurring annually in the United States. Summer is the most likely time to be bitten by a tiny deer tick. Ticks are parasites that feed on blood. They live in brush piles, leaf litter, lawns, tree stumps, ground cover, and stone or brick walls. They even have been found on picnic tables and benches. It’s important to wear tick repellent clothing when outside and after being outdoors, conduct a full body check, take a shower, and put your clothes in a hot dryer for thirty minutes to kill any ticks, then wash your clothes. (I know, it seems weird to dry first, then wash, but the heat of the dryer kills the ticks) Check your pets. Ticks can be hard to find and can linger in your hair, clothing, or pet fur. If you find a tick, don’t twist it or turn it. Use sanitized pointed tweezers to grab the tick and pull it straight out. Wash the bite, apply antiseptic, save the tick for identification, and seek medical attention.

The “bad guys” are on my ‘danger watch out” list. I’ve had three trips already to either urgent care or the emergency room with ticks lodged in my neck that required surgery to remove.  Mosquitoes are my nemesis inflicting gigantic, itching bites with bumps that last for two weeks or more. In the last year, I’ve stumbled upon three yellowjacket nests, suffering multiple stings on my hand and arms with swelling that abated after a week. 

The “good guys” I’ll continue to rescue as they are my garden “watchdogs” along with the numerous birds and hummingbirds that thankfully aren’t nose-diving!

What’s bugging you?

Hammock Time

Posted by Editor on
Hammock Time

hammocks tied between trees.jpg

“Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful,

we must carry it with us or we find it not. “

                                             ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

While I was traveling in Southeast Asia, I was enthralled with the multitude of hammocks hung everywhere…on balconies, under eaves of storefronts, under houses built on stilts on the Mekong River, between trees in a field, in marketplace stalls, even on rickety boats. Because of the intense heat and humidity that assaults life between noon and four in the afternoon, workdays begin in the early morning, then continue until nine or ten at night, while in between everyone cools off with a swinging siesta.

In the Amazon rainforest, my husband and I slept in hammocks covered by mosquito netting. The first hammocks date back to over a thousand years ago and were made from the bark of the Hamak tree. Christopher Columbus is credited with bringing hammocks back to Europe after his encounter with the Taino tribes who tied these nets between trees for their slumber and protection. Because hammocks were off the ground, there was less chance of bites from insects, snakes, rats, or other creatures.

My favorite hammock experiences have always been at beaches in tropical locales where hammocks are attached to swaying palm trees.  In Hawaii, Tahiti, Bermuda, the many islands of the Caribbean, and throughout the coastlines of Central and South America, I have always scouted the sand for the perfect rocking repose where I can read a book, take a nap, or just listen to the pounding waves while the birds chirp in paradise.

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Summer is the perfect time to lounge in a hammock under the shade, especially after a few hours of strenuous gardening, Swiss researchers published a scientific explanation why hammocks are loved the world over.  The gentle rocking motion of a hammock synchronizes brain waves allowing us to get to sleep quicker while attaining a deeper state of relaxation.  No wonder babies quiet when being rocked! 

Between my Japanese maples and my magnolia trees, I secured two double hammocks so that two to four people could enjoy the benefits of a summertime break.  It is restful to sway in these hammocks with the fragrance of my roses and lavender wafting around me.  I watch the butterflies and bees darting throughout my flowers while I listen to the sound of the breeze and the crooning songbirds. 


Hammocks are versatile because they are affordable super space savers, flexible, and are easily moved and stored.  They are perfect camping trip companions.  The net hammocks purchased in Vietnam pack into a small ball, while the heavier cloth hammocks I bought stateside roll into a cloth bag for storage.  

If traveling is not on your agenda for this summer, consider a staycation with the potential to transport your dreams to exotic distant lands by installing a hammock in your backyard.  Undulating in my hammock, I can be anywhere my imagination takes me. 

It’s hammock time.  You can’t touch this!

Cynthia Brian’s Mid Month Gardening Tips:

VISIT gorgeous gardens while you travel. For the best private gardens in America that are open to visitors visit www.opendaysprogram.org .

Michael Marriott cottage.rose garden .jpeg

SHAKE out boots or shoes that you leave outside before putting them on your feet. A visitor may have taken up residence inside and give your toes a nibble. (I’ve had lizards, frogs, spiders, and more in my gardening boots!)

PERUSE bulb catalogues to see what new bulbs are emerging for fall planting. Orders will need to be placed before the end of the month for autumn shipping.

JOIN internationally acclaimed speakers, exhibitors, and chefs at America’s largest celebration of pure food with heirloom and organic displays, heritage livestock, poultry, and more at The National Heirloom Exposition September 11-13 in Santa Rosa. Mark your calendars now. Visit www,TheHeirloomExpo.com

EAT more watermelon! A standard slice provides 1/3 of your daily vitamins A and C, plus you’ll get lots of potassium and lycopene with only a 90-calorie bump.

REPAIR broken irrigation pipes immediately. If you notice that your sprinklers have little pressure, look for leaks. Besides wasting water, and the cost incurred, your garden could suffer without proper amounts of H2O. 

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CALL your electric company (PGE in our area) if you are planning to dig deep holes so that they can make sure you are digging in a safe place. 

SUCCESSION planting is in order if you like a continual crop of lettuces, carrots, beets, radishes, and corn. 

PREPARE a refreshing Jell-O salad that looks like fresh flowers with an online video tutelage. 

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GROW sunflowers to attract bees and pollinators to help terminate the “bee-apocalypse”.

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IMPRESS friends by growing adenium desert rose, an appealing succulent with deep red or pink blossoms that truly shouts, “It’s summer!”

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ROOT cuttings from hydrangeas to expand your collection. 

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PLANT lamium pink pom pom in a rock wall to create a crack garden. 

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CUT pixie roses for a simple indoor arrangement. If you love roses but have a small area, try planting miniature roses that pack a punch. 

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RELAX this summer with a hammock tied between two trees or poles. 

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Read more at https://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue1210/Cynthia-Brians-Digging-Deep-for-July-Hammock-Time.html

Happy Gardening. Happy Growing.

Cynthia Brian

Cynthia Brian, The Goddess Gardener, raised in the vineyards of Napa County, 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 Are1® 501 c3. 

Tune into Cynthia’s Radio show and order her books at www.StarStyleRadio.com.

Buy a copy of the new book, Growing with the Goddess Gardener, at www.cynthiabrian.com/online-store

Cynthia Brian'Growing with the Goddess Gardener book.jpg

Available for hire for projects and lectures.



Cannabis Cures, Autumn Accord, Healing Power of Nature By Cynthia Brian

Posted by Editor on
Cannabis Cures, Autumn Accord, Healing Power of Nature By Cynthia Brian

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Cannabis. Marijuana is the news everywhere today, especially for medicinal purposes. Does cannabis help with pain and illness or is it all a hype to get a drug legalized? Find out in Health Matters with Heather Brittany.
prayer plant
Autumn is harvest time here in California with the bounty of grapes, walnuts, apples, and pears ripe and ready.The days are shortening, the nights are lengthening, leaves are turning amber, umber, and orange as we herald in the hush before winter. Nature is in harmony as gardens begin to settle in for their long winter’s nap. Let’s take a fall hike with Cynthia Brian
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The quiet atmosphere, beautiful scenery, and fresh clean air in forests have lead to scientific evidence of the healing powers of nature to decrease stress, keep blood pressure in check, and increase our immune systems. Cynthia Brian offers the evidence.

Listen LIVE at Voice America Network, Empowerment Channel 
fall fountain
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The award winning positive talk radio program, StarStyle®-Be the Star You Are!® broadcasts on the Voice America Empowerment Channel LIVE every Wednesday from 4-5pm Pt/7-8pm ET.  Cynthia Brian and Heather Brittany are the Mother/Daughter dynamic duo who have been co-hosting this program live weekly since 1998 bringing upbeat, life enhancing conversation to the world. With Cynthia’s expertise in interviewing the trailblazers, authors, and experts and Heather’s healthy living segments, these Goddess Gals are your personal growth coaches helping you to jumpstart your life while igniting your flame of greatness. Brought to the airwaves under the auspices of the literacy and positive media charity, Be the Star You Are!®, (http://www.BetheStarYouAre.org) each program will pump your energy to help you live, love, laugh, learn, and lead.
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Buzz On! By Cynthia Brian

Posted by Editor on
Buzz On! By Cynthia Brian

CU Cynthia-wagon wheel garden.jpg

By Cynthia Brian

*I am weary of swords and courts and kings.  Let us go into the garden and watch the minister’s bees.   Mary Johnston

There is a symphony playing daily in my garden. While my husband turns on the stereo to listen to his favorite tunes, I merely open my door or window to hear the melodic concert of nature. My favorite musicians include the thousands of bees buzzing, hummingbirds bustling, birds singing, frogs croaking, water trickling, owls hooting, and crickets chirping. Sometimes the hawks or turkey vultures swoop low with the sound of their flapping wings creating a “whoosh, whoosh” like a strong base. The orchestra changes by the minute as the pollinators search for nectar that produces one out of every three bites we consume. This week as I was sitting on my porch putting on my boots, a hummingbird came to inspect the red mandevilla blooms next to me, then, rapidly moved to hover three inches from my nose for about ten seconds. It was a magical moment photographed in my mind.
blackberry tart
With much of summer spent outdoors, I’ve had individuals tell me that they don’t like to be in their gardens because of their fear of bee bites. Honeybees, bumble bees, and other native bees are passive as they busily forage. They are not interested in humans and will only sting to defend themselves. With the thousands of bees serenading in my landscape, the only times I have been stung is when I’ve tried to rescue a bee from a swimming pool, fountain, or other water feature. (Of course, if you are allergic to bees, it’s always good to have an updated pen of epinephrine on hand.)
J BERRY Deckorations Hydrangea
Yellow jackets are meat eaters. Although these black and yellow carnivorous creatures are also pollinators, they are mostly attracted to meat, fish, sugary substances, garbage, and, alas, our barbecues and picnics. Unlike bees that sting once and die, yellow jackets have the ability to sting repeatedly. If you have “bees” landing on your plates as you are enjoying a meal outdoors, you have an invasion of yellow jackets, not bees. Bees flock to flowers, yellow jackets to flesh. Find the nest and call Vector Control ((925) 685-9301), a countywide free service paid through our taxes to eradicate these pests. Yellow jackets are not music to our ears.
Buck jumping in front yard
For the rest of the butterflies, moths, bees, and musicians, cue the conductors and buzz on! Go into the garden to enjoy the show.
hummingbird on agapantha
Refresher Steps for Sustained Buzzing
⎫ Build a house: allow for a small pile of leaves or branches to provide shelter.
⎫ Provide a fresh water source: birdbaths, fountains, ponds, even a small mud puddle for the butterflies.
⎫ Don’t use pesticides, insecticides, or other chemicals that will kill the pollinators.
⎫ Offer a continual source of nectar and pollen by planting fennel, parsley, dill, lavender, tubular, colorful flowers, milkweed, and shrubs.
⎫ Attract a diversity of buzzers to your garden with drifts of the same plant so that they can see and smell the buffet.
⎫ Don’t be afraid of the native bees, honeybees, or our other flying winged friends. They are not interested in harming you unless they are defending themselves. Let them do their business.
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Trending in my garden:
⎫ Santa Rosa plums, cherry plums, Asian pears, apples, blackberries, and tangerines are finding their way to tarts, barbecues, sauces, salads, and drinks.
⎫ Zucchini is growing as fast as the pods in Invaders of the Body Snatchers..
⎫ Wisteria boasts a second flush of purple.
⎫ Roses and stargazer lilies perfume the air and beautify my garden.
⎫ Herbs (parsley, basil, cilantro, fennel, sage, thyme, oregano, rosemary, and tarragon) are flourishing.
⎫ Hydrangeas are finally blooming. I love putting a hydrangea in a Deckorations™ container from www.Jberrynursery.com, then planting I a shaded area when the blooms fade.
⎫ Passion lower vines are growing on my fence featuring intricate show stopping blooms.
pink stargazer lily
Monthly Tips:
KEEP fruited plants evenly moist to avoid blossom end rot.
PRE-ORDER new garlic varieties for a September delivery. Four new ones that are offered by Sow True Seed (www.sowtrueseed.com) include Early Red Italian, Red Russian, Georgian Fire, and Majestic. Everything tastes better with garlic!
DRY herbs and flowers during the summer to use for infusions into homemade cosmetics, shampoo, steams, and masks.
EAT the tendrils of peas. Stir-fry or eat raw. Many unexpected veggie greens are edible including turnip, radish, and beet. Never eat the leaves of rhubarb as they are poisonous.
PINCH back annuals for a fuller display all summer.
EMPTY any vessel holding water, even as small as a bottle cap to prevent mosquito larvae from breeding. Change birdbaths daily or add Dunks to non-moving water.
DEEP soak trees like magnolia or redwoods especially when you see them dropping abundant leaves.
CHECK outdoor pots and containers daily for moisture level. Pots dry out very quickly in this hot weather.
SNIP the tops of your herbs as they flower to use in your salads and sauces.

skewers of vegetables
SKEWER vegetables and fruits from your garden to barbecue on your grill. Toss the items in a bowl with olive oil,lemon, and herbs, refrigerate overnight, skewer, grill, enjoy! I use peppers, melons, plums, apples, radishes, zucchini, tomatoes, and mushrooms.

gravel pile
ADD pea gravel to paths for easy walking and to prevent mud run-offs in the winter.
CONTACT Vector Control if you have a mosquito, skunk, or yellow jacket problem. The phone number is (925) 685-9301.
HANG yellow jacket traps ONLY on days that you are having a picnic or outdoor event. If you have traps always engaged, you will attract more yellow jackets.

Happy Gardening! Happy Growing!
Read more with photos
Cynthia Brian
The Goddess Gardener
Starstyle® Productions, llc
Tune into Cynthia’s Radio show at www.StarStyleRadio.net
I am available as a speaker, designer, and consultant.

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