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Wild and Free!

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Empowerment
Wild and Free!

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“I think that I cannot preserve my health and spirits, unless I spend four hours a day at least — and it is commonly more than that — sauntering through the woods and over the hills and fields, absolutely free from all worldly engagements. ” Henry David Thoreau

Mother Nature has an astounding way of rebounding. The blackened, charred hills behind my house from the October wildfire are now a carpet of emerald green grass accessorized by a super bloom of glorious orange California poppies, and tall, bright yellow mustard. My orchard is blanketed with a plethora of colorful wildflowers mixed with the blooms from seeds either scattered by the wind or me at the end of autumn when the first rains drizzled onto our parched earth. Nigella, morning glory, nasturtium, calendula, statice, euphorbia, chamomile, lupin, daisy, yarrow, and more. My fruit trees have been a succession of flowering petals and delicate fragrance, forecasting a bounty of fresh treats to come. 

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After six weeks of staying-at-home, my garden is more alive and gorgeous than ever. The sky is blue and free of jet streams. The heady perfume of jasmine, lilacs, and wisteria waft through the clean air. The birds are singing as they build their nests. Trotting turkeys “gobble gobble”, bowing to one another, then gobbling again in their quest for mates. Untamed vines tangle their tendrils up tree trunks, along wires, and onto fences. Tulip, rose, lavender, iris, azaleas geranium, pelargonium, cyclamen, vinca, bird of paradise, and a plethora of other plants are a parade of festivity. Drifts of daffodils and mounds of grape hyacinth continue to add color and liveliness. Herbs and leafy greens are harvested daily to add nutrition and zest to meals. Freshly picked as needed, oranges, tangerines, lemons, limes, and tangelos provide plenty of vitamin C to keep my family well. My spirits are soaring with gratitude for my garden. I am healthy and happy as I witness spring unfurl in all its glory. I may not be interacting with people, but I am intensely involved with living beings in every moment I spend outdoors. Hopefully, with people ensconced at home, our planet is healing and rebuilding its strength. 

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The natural world is wild and free. Humans have the power and the responsibility to save our planet. In this beautiful month, be grateful for everything we are and everything we have. Refocus and reclaim your positivity. Reduce stress and anxiety by going where the wild things are…hills, fields, and your garden. Grow yourself!

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Cynthia Brian’s Gardening Guide for May

PROVIDE security for birds by building a nest box for the birds you want to attract. Place it in the shade with a clear flight path to the entrance. 

SOW for succession to provide pollinators a buffet throughout the growing season.

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SAVE your back and build a raised bed. It’s easy if you enjoy DIY projects. When you wire the bottom, you won’t have gophers or other diggers eating your crops.

INVOLVE your kids in gardening by allowing them to grow seeds that feature a rainbow of colors to fill their plates. Red radishes, orange carrots, green peppers, purple beets, and an array of lettuces will sprout quickly.

PLANT aromatic herbs and nutritious vegetables that will ensure the health of your family. Beans, peas, eggplant, broccoli, potatoes, cabbage, and turnips. Towards the end of the month, add tomatoes to your plot.

TRELLIS your vining plants such as wisteria, jasmine, and bower plants.

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TOWER gardens are a great alternative if you have a small space. Find ready-made options online.

CHECK sprinklers and irrigation systems for leaks. 

FERTILIZE containers as needed. Plants in pots lose nutrients more quickly than those planted in the ground.

SPRUCE up your patio to prepare for entertaining. Power wash hard surfaces and get ready to celebrate a Mother’s Day picnic at home.

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SOW annuals now in a rich soil mixture.  Marigolds, cosmos, zinnias, and bachelor buttons are excellent choices for a showy summer.

MULCH your garden with grass clippings, chopped leaves, and other organic composts to reduce weeds.

ELIMINATE any standing water from gutters, pot saucers, old tires, or puddles to reduce the breeding of mosquitoes.

DEADHEAD spent blossoms from any annuals or perennials to encourage continuous blooming.

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PRUNE back daffodil leaves only when they are yellow and crispy. 

THROW bait to eradicate snails and slugs from devouring new sprouts.

READ my books available from https://www.CynthiaBrian.com/online-store. To avoid shipping charges, I will leave your enhanced package outside my office door for you. There will be no personal contact.

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MOW your lawn without the bag at least every other week. This allows the nitrogen and nutrients that are in the grass to nurture the growing blades. 

EAT the flowers from nasturtiums, roses, arugula, cilantro, thyme, roses, basil, and sage. They add flavor and beauty to many dishes.

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CUT a branch from a flowering tree, like cherry, for a striking indoor statement.

CREATE stunning aromatic bouquets with blooming lilacs, wisteria, jasmine, and roses,

REGISTER your yard or garden as a Certified Wildlife Habitat at https://www.nwf.org/CertifiedWildlifeHabitat. The $20 fee supports wildlife.

FOLLOW up ground fertilizing of flowers, perennials, vegetables, and fruits with foliar and micro-nutrients at appropriate times during the growing season.

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EAT fresh fruits and veggies, especially those you grow yourself.

SLEEP seven to eight hours every day to keep your immune system strong.

BREATHE and know that the sun is going to shine tomorrow.

It may take some months before we are social gathering again. For those of us who usually shake hands or hug, we may be wise to take the advice of the World Health Organization and begin bowing. Or do as I learned in India last year: clasp hands in prayer, bow, and whisper Namaste. Although we are apart, we are together, and we can view this time as a learning experience. Get thee into thy garden. Grow thyself! Be wild and free.

Stay healthy. Stay safe. Stay home.

Happy Gardening. Happy Growing. 

Photos and more at http://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue1405/Digging-Deep-with-Goddess-Gardener-Cynthia-Brian-Wild-and-free.html

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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. 

Cynthia is available for virtual writing projects, garden consults, and inspirational lectures. www.CynthiaBrian.com

Cynthia@GoddessGardener.com

 

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Gardening is NOT Canceled!

Posted by presspass on
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Empowerment
Gardening is NOT Canceled!

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By Cynthia Brian 

“We have it in our power to begin the world again.”

Thomas Paine

What a difference a day makes! Who could have ever predicted that as the vernal equinox approached in the Northern Hemisphere the entire world would be mandated to stay home, pause, and practice social distancing?

Are you in compliance? As adults, we have the ability and the responsibility to be role models in keeping ourselves and our families safe and healthy whilst we are housebound. Thankfully, spring has sprung and our garden can be our protective sanctuary and our personal oasis. Although we can’t share our gardens personally with others, we can go outside to exercise, dig in the dirt, and enjoy the beauty that surrounds us.  It’s time to develop our green thumbs as gardening is open and we have the time.

In the weeks since I’ve closed my StarStyle® Productions LLC office to shelter-in-place, my garden has been my refuge and my workplace. Although I won’t be consulting or coaching in person, I am working for hire via SKYPE, ZOOM, and phone to offer assistance when needed. I’ve decided to reframe this crisis as a positive time-out to rebalance, readjust, rejuvenate, and rest. Instead of rushing to cross items off my to-do list, I can pace myself and enjoy the process of weeding, sowing, planting, pruning, cleaning, and repairing. The fruit trees in my orchard are gloriously full of blooms, while spring-flowering trees and shrubs are triumphant in their abundance of pretty petals. It’s been a joy to stroll through the landscape shooting photos of the emerging rebirth. Every day something new sprouts and I am so grateful to be able to witness Mother Nature in action. Taking snips of branches in bloom and flowers unfurling, I am filling my indoor spaces with hope for a healthy future.

When one of my girlfriends, Nancy Roetzer, retired from school teaching, she began taking flower arranging classes through the adult center. Her bouquets and arrangements are inspired by her hikes in the woods, and especially by the many waterfalls, she has experienced. Her waterfall style floral design shows movement, flow, and layering. Featured in this issue is a spectacular showstopper using tulips, roses, carnations, cushion spray chrysanthemums (Dendranthema), cone bush (Leucadendron), ferns, vines, and moss. 

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What a terrific idea to experiment with creating floral displays during these dark days! Whether we cut a few stems and add them to a whimsical vessel or decide to be more formal with our innovations, this is an opportune moment to get our ingenuity fueled and fired. 

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We do have it in our power to begin the world anew. Listen to and abide by the mandates of the experts. We may not be able to predict the course of the virus, but we do have agency over our actions and reactions. My April Gardening Guide provides a plethora of ideas to keep you occupied, safe, happy, and healthy as we navigate the next month together and apart. 

Enjoy the blossoms, bouquets, and the colorful photos of our developing spring, a reminder that life goes on. Gardening is NOT canceled.

Cynthia Brian’s Gardening Guide for April

  • SOW seeds that will attract birds to your garden. Suggestions include coneflower, anise hyssop, bachelor’s button, Mexican sunflower, cosmos, and black-eyed Susan.
  • SHOOT photos of the abundant flowering trees including tulip magnolia, crabapple, peach, plum, prune, cherry, pear, and apple.
  • cu-tulip tree.jpg.jpghttps://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue1403/Digging-Deep-with-Goddess-Gardener-Cynthia-Brian-Blossoms-and-bouquets-gardening-is-not-canceled.html
  • CLEAN debris from berms and drainage ditches to prevent flooding. The soil and leaves can be added to your compost pile.
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  • PULL weeds while the ground is soft.
  • PLAN your vegetable garden for the foods you love the most. 
  • PLANT seeds of greens, beets, carrots, and turnips now.
  • CUT a branch or two from your favorite flowering trees or shrubs. Redbuds, crabapple, plum, and peach are glorious in vases.
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  • INTRODUCE plants that will make you smile. I planted sunflowers, sweet peas, nasturtiums, and purple hyacinth bean. 
  • TAKE a garden class on-line or watch YouTube videos with gardening tips. 
  • MAKE teas and cocktails from herbs you grow including mint, rosemary, sage, and fennel.
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  • REPOT houseplants.
  • BOOST your immune system with a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, leafy greens, nuts, and fatty fish. Adopt a Mediterranean style of eating.  
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  • WALK around your garden to admire the spring growth.
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  • BUILD a planter box.
  • ORDER gardening books to read. Be inspired and motivated by Chicken Soup for the Gardener’s Soul, Growing with the Goddess Gardener, and Be the Star You Are! Millennials to Boomers available at www.cynthiabrian.com/online-store. 
  • Cynthia Brian'Growing with the Goddess Gardener book copy.jpg BE StarYouAre_Millennials to Boomers Cover.jpeg Chicken Soup for the Gardener’s Soul.jpg
  • INHALE the perfume of fragrant plants. Roses are blooming and fruit blossoms are delightful.
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  • LOWER your stress by strolling alone in the outdoors amongst trees and on trails.
  • MEDITATE in your garden, or on your balcony, patio, or porch.
  • LISTEN to the birds, frogs, and insects as they begin their spring songs.
  • NOURISH your spirit by sitting by a fountain or pond. 
  • EAT plenty of fresh citruses, especially homegrown, to increase your vitamin C intake. Oranges, tangelos, tangerines, grapefruit, and lemons are ripe and ready for picking.
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  • EXERCISE includes all gardening chores: raking sweeping, weeding, lifting, pruning, planting, digging, fertilizing, and chopping wood. Workout outside.
  • TAKE a nap and on a warm day, get your z’s outside in the fresh air.
  • SHARE your garden skills with your children. Let them plant seeds of vegetables and herbs they want to eat. 
  • FERTILIZE lawns. Lawn food is available at your local hardware store.
  • GROW your own bouquets. Create a stunning arrangement with a variety of roses, stock, tulips, iris, calla lilies, and mock orange. 
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  • BEE friendly by planting three or four types of native wildflowers to attract the honey gatherers as well as pest-resistant varieties of flowers, shrubs, trees, and vegetables, thus eliminating pesticides. I’ve sown California poppies, lupines, bee balm, and morning glories.
  • WATCH the blossoms in the breeze float to the ground like snowflakes. 
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  • PREPARE your garden patches to sow seeds of potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant by rotating these crops. For best production, do not plant these in the same place every year.
  • ENJOY a peaceful Passover and Easter without an in-person gathering.
  • STAY informed about Covid-19 depending only on reliable information. Visit Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at https://www.cdc.gov; 

The World Health Organization at  https://www.who.int; 

State Department: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/traveladvisories/ea/covid-19-information.html; 

Contra Costa County Health Department at https://www.coronavirus.cchealth.org; 

Contra Costa County Office at https://www.contracosta.ca.gov/

  • STAY POSITIVE!
  • STAY SAFE! 
  • STAY HEALTHY!
  • STAY HOME! 
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Happy Gardening. Happy Growing. 

Photos and more: https://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue1403/Digging-Deep-with-Goddess-Gardener-Cynthia-Brian-Blossoms-and-bouquets-gardening-is-not-canceled.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 upbeat 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-storeCynthia Brian books banner.jpg. 

 

Hire Cynthia for writing projects and virtual garden consults or lectures.

Cynthia@GoddessGardener.com

www.GoddessGardener.com

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Let the Sun Shine In!

Posted by presspass on
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Empowerment
Let the Sun Shine In!

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“The sun does not shine for a few trees and flowers, but for the wide world’s joy” 

Henry Ward Beecher 

It’s been at least seven years since we’ve enjoyed a warm, sun-filled February. Being accustomed to cold, dreary, gray days in the months of Aquarius and Pisces, this year buoyed my spirits immensely even though I know that we need rain. I admit I thoroughly lapped up those 70 plus degree days spending hours in the garden weeding, pruning, and planting with a break to Bodega Bay to ride a bike on the beach, inhale the salt air, and watch the glorious sunset. If winter is going to be mild and bright, why not enjoy it?

The tulip magnolias, peach, plum, and pear trees are in full bloom. The bees are busy buzzing their business in the blossoms. Sweet scents of narcissi, stock, and freesia fill the air. Oxalis, also known as shamrock, carpets vineyards, trails, and roadsides. Wisteria and lilac are budded, ready to burst any day. Early spring erupted in mid-February, a full month ahead of schedule. In many Northern California areas, temperatures have been in the mid-80s. If it wasn’t for water shortages and the rising trajectory of global warming, we could all be rejoicing. Instead, we may need to chant and dance for rainfall to ward off another summer drought.

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Compost will be your most important gardening ingredient this season. By turning organic waste into humus, you will be feeding your plants in the same manner that Mother Nature has been nurturing the planet since the beginning of time. Compost will help your plants retain moisture, curtail erosion, maintain a constant temperature, and it will enrich your soil. It’s so simple to make that everyone can easily do it. 

Recipe for Compost

In an open pile or composting bin, add both green and dry plant matter plus eggshells, coffee grinds, tea leaves, and fish bones. Green matter includes grass clippings, vegetables, weeds without seeds, peelings, and green leaves. Dry matter includes paper, straw, twigs, fall leaves, and dried stalks. Don’t add any animal feces, diseased plants, or meat products. Moisten everything without soaking it and turn with a pitchfork at least weekly. Worms may be added for speedier results. The compost will cook and steam. Add water as necessary if the pile is too dry. Your compost is ready to return to your garden when it smells earthy, sweet, and looks like a crumbly chocolate cake. I recommend creating two or three different piles as they will finish at different times and you can always have a batch cooking. Making your own compost is an excellent way to recycle with almost zero waste. As an added bonus it is FREE plant food!

Cynthia Brian’s Gardening Guide for March

CREATE simple arrangements with branches cut from blooming peach, pear, or plums. Add a few daffodils or freesias.

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BLOW the “angel” seeds of dandelions if you want dandelions growing in your garden. (This was a favorite past time as a child, although we weren’t allowed to blow “angels” into the lawn.) Dandelions are nutritious and delicious in salads and sautés and they attract quail.

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PICK lettuce, parsley, arugula, Swiss chard, and baby mustard to add to meals.

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MAKE an artful wall-hanging using a variety of succulents.

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ADMIRE the tulip magnolias as they emerge or cut a stem to enjoy indoors.

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WATCH for aphids, moths, slugs, and snails on artichoke plants as they mature. Blast the leaves with water if you see any infestation.

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TALK to your doctor if you are experiencing pollen-related allergies. Pollen fertilizes plants but causes misery for sufferers. Acacia trees are beautiful in bloom but may trigger hay fever or asthma.

AERATE and de-thatch lawns if necessary. Be prepared to scatter seeds and fertilizer before a rain.

SHOOT lots of photos of spring unfolding. 

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BEFORE recycling empty milk cartons, fill with water to use on houseplants. The residual calcium is good for the plants and it also rinses clean the cartons for the bins.

BUY your favorite seed packets in anticipation of sowing.

SPREAD alfalfa pellets mixed with diatomaceous earth around your rose bushes to promote large blooms and healthy plants.

The vernal equinox is still three weeks away. The sun is shining on our gardens and for all of us. It’s playtime. 

Happy Gardening. Happy Growing!

 

Photos and more: https://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue1401/Digging-Deep-with-Goddess-Gardener-Cynthia-Brian-Let-the-sunshine-in.html

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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. 

Cynthia Brian books banner.jpg

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

Cynthia@GoddessGardener.com

cyn-bike-doran beacn.jpg

www.GoddessGardener.com

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