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Gardening is NOT Canceled!

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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. 

Waterfall Arrangement.jpg

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. 

spring floral arrangement.jpg

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.
  • flowering plum tree.jpg
  • 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.
  • rosemary in bloom.jpg
  • 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.
  • flowering peach in bloom.jpg
  • 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.
  • prune tree blossoms.jpg
  • 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.
  • oranges on tree.jpg
  • 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. 
  • Blossom snowflakes.jpg
  • 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/

  • crabapple in bloom (1).jpg

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.



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Preventing Car Theft, Communication, Winter Wonders By Cynthia Brian

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Preventing Car Theft, Communication, Winter Wonders By Cynthia Brian

If you are looking for upbeat, life-changing, and mind stretching information, you’ve come to the right place. Host Cynthia Brian takes you on a journey of exploration that will encourage, inspire, and motivate you to make positive changes that offer life enhancing results. It’s party time on StarStyle®-Be the Star You Are!®. And YOU are invited! Join us LIVE 4-5pm Pt on Wednesdays or tune in to the archives at your leisure. Come play in StarStyle Country.
crape myrtle pruned
Did you know that the Honda Accord and Honda Civic are the two vehicles that are stolen the most? Do you know what colors thieves prefer? Find out how to prevent your car from being stolen by being proactive with safety.
gertrude jekyll rose
Communicating clearly is a skill that everyone needs. How do you get your desires heard without being overbearing or demanding? Guidelines to expressing yourself in an approachable win/win manner are forthcoming.
flowers for Mom's funeral
Grab your coat, hat, gloves, and boots. Wander around your garden to admire the wonder of the winter garments nature has provided. If you have mobility issues, Cynthia Brian will share how to get your yard chores accomplished by doing the next best thing.

Listen at Voice America, Empowerment Channel :https://www.voiceamerica.com/episode/97125/preventing-car-theft-communication-winter-wonders

Check out this episode on StarStyle Radio with photos and descriptions:  http://www.starstyleradio.com/starstyle-radio

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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.
For photos, descriptions, links, archives, and more, visit http://www.StarStyleRadio.com.
Get inspired, motivated, and informed with StarStyle®-Be the Star You Are!®
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Digging Deep-Gardening with Cynthia Brian

Posted by Editor on
Digging Deep-Gardening with Cynthia Brian

Kridten's ridal bouquet

Love is to the heart the harvest of all the loveliest flowers of the soul. ~ Author Unknown

Besides the celebrations for grads and dads, June is the favorite month for couples to tie the knot. Getting married is a wondrous event experienced at a variety of venues from the simple backyard wedding to a grand hotel extravaganza, and everything in between.  It’s one of those rites of passage bringing family and friends together to commemorate the love of two individuals. Sometimes the price for these enchanted “I do’s” can be staggering. One way to cut costs while also encouraging a collaborative, meaningful activity is to create your own bouquets, boutonnieres, corsages, and floral arrangements.

For both weddings of my son and daughter, I spent months growing their favorite blooms, then designed and hand crafted the floral components. The vow exchange for my son occurred on a hill on our Napa ranch overlooking the vineyards and Lake David. For that springtime ceremony, the hillside wine barrel tables were festooned with mason jars filled with local wild flowers while the bridal bouquets, boutonnieres, and corsages boasted my homegrown calla lilies, peonies, roses, and forget-me-nots. The dining tables were simply decorated with merlot hued rose petals scattered amongst the private label wine allowing the food to take center stage.

For my daughter’s Southern California vineyard wedding, I transported over 50 pounds of my Moraga garden floral fronds via airplane. Because the venue was stunning, she wanted the table décor to be simple and ethereal. A mix of feathery grasses, heather, sage, and flax filled wine bottles painted with the table number for a perfect blend of simplicity and elegance. The day before the nuptials, I hosted a Flower Party luncheon for all the ladies walking down the aisle where I taught everyone how to make their own personal bouquet using a sample I had created as an example. Stargazer lilies, roses, gardenias, freesia, alstroemeria, purple sage, grape leaves, razor grass, and narcissus soaked in buckets. A nearby table included all the necessary tools, ribbons, and adornments for a personalized touch. After the rehearsal dinner, my mother, daughter, daughter-in-law and I enjoyed a final female bonding date as we made the beautiful boutonnieres for the groom and his groomsmen using tiny white roses framed with ferns.

Crafting the flowers for the Big Day or any special occasion produces such joy and camaraderie and is a special way to show your love. There is nothing to fear and so much bliss to savor.  It’s fun, simple, and extremely rewarding. Allow me to be your guide on the side offering these suggestions for DIY floral success.

First of all, it is important to have a conversation with the betrothed to define what their dreams and goals are for their Big Day. Even if we, as parents, are footing the bill for the celebration, we still have to keep in mind that this event is about them and not about us. It’s their day and needs to be their vision. Talk to them and find out their specific wishes. Let them know that if they want you to create or help in creating floral displays, you’d be honored. They may provide you with tear sheets of ideas they have culled from magazines or bridal books. Assuming they are excited that you’ll be an active participant and not just order from the professionals, here are the next steps.


  1. 1. Have a frank discussion with the couple to determine their theme, color scheme, style, and flowers they are seeking.
  2. 2. Choose flowers that have staying power. Popular choices include sunflowers, hydrangeas, roses, lilies, orchids, succulents, dahlias, clematis, iris, zinnia, callas, peonies, herbs, delphiniums, iris, tulips, anthurium, snapdragons, freesia, foxglove, hollyhock, gladiola, and seasonal favorites.
  3. 3. Write down the names of each person who will need a bouquet, boutonniere, or corsage. If there are too many people and you are already feeling stressed, this is the time to decide exactly what you are willing to do.  If you want to make just your daughter’s bouquet and purchase the rest, that’s totally fine and liberating.
  4. 4. Buy a swatch of fabric from the store that matches the bridesmaids’ dresses. Put your swatch in a zip lock bag to carry in your purse…everywhere! You’ll add the ribbons and other swatches as you go along.
  5. 5. Ask if they have any special flowers or greens they specifically want incorporated.
  6. 6. Determine whether you will grow the flowers and greens, buy them from a flower source, or engage a combination of the two.
  7. 7. Re-read my article, The Wild Bunch, as it is filled with tips on how to keep flowers and greens fresh.
  8. 8. Go to a crafts store or floral supply to buy green floral tape, wire, rolls of clear wrap, and ribbons that will coordinate with both the bride’s gown and the bridesmaid dresses.
  9. 9. Organize your tool bag. Include scissors, pruning shears, water buckets, masking tape, zip lock bags, rubber bands, hot glue gun, mister, floral tape, wire, clear wrap, ribbons, and cotton balls. Make sure to have a broom for clean-up.
  10. 10. Experiment with designing several different bouquets and boutonnieres at least a month in advance of the wedding. Take photos of your creations to share with your daughter, son, and anyone involved in the project design. Ask for feedback.
  11. 11. Log how long it took you to make each item. It will take at least that amount of time, if not more, before the big day.


  1. 1. Three days before the event: Go into your garden or floral shop to gather the greens. Depending on the season, you’ll need bear grass, boxwood, ferns, fountain grass, flax, evergreens, vines, or whatever suits the style and season. Cut the stems on an angle and soak overnight in cold water in deep buckets.
  2. 2. Two days before the event: Whether you are buying or growing the flowers, always choose fresh, tight buds. They will open naturally by the day of the wedding when prepared properly. Cut stems to soak up the water, separate flowers into species, plunge in cold water in a separate bucket from the greens. Cut stamens from lilies to prevent stains.
  3. 3. One day before the event: Create your bouquet beginning with the greens and add individual flower stems as you twist the arrangement in one hand until it looks as lush and full as you wish. Don’t be afraid to add, subtract, nip, and tuck.
  4. 4. If you are adding an ornament, embellishment, beads, or other adornment, do it now. You may need to wire the decoration to the bouquet.
  5. 5. Holding your bouquet in one hand, wrap a piece of masking tape around the stems to hold the bouquet in place. Cut your coordinating ribbon and cover the tape and stems, leaving about 2 inches of stems uncovered.
  6. 6. Trim a small amount of the stems once again and wrap the entire bouquet with clear wrap, like the coverings of store-bought flowers. Tape the bottom to hold in place and write the name of the bridal party member on the package.
  7. 7. Plunge in cold water with ice. An ice bucket works well to keep each bouquet fresh. If you are keeping all the bouquets together, an ice chest is a great asset. Mist the flowers lightly.  If you are putting a bouquet in the refrigerator, you must remove any fruit or vegetables. Ethylene gas rots a bouquet quickly.
  8. 8. If you hold a Flower Power Party whereby each person constructs her own bouquet, make sure to label each arrangement with the individual’s name for easy identification on the wedding day.
  9. 9. For boutonnieres or corsages, wrap your chosen bud and leaf with the green floral tape. Wrap the ribbon around the floral tape to cover.
  10. 10. Finish the ends of the ribbon on the backside with a dab of hot glue. Mist the buds.
  11. 11. Place each boutonniere in an individual zip lock bag with a moist cotton ball not touching the flower. Add the name of the person and a couple of pins. Place in the refrigerator. I usually put all the bags in a large plastic container, then, put the container in the refrigerator.


  1. 1. An hour before the ceremony, remove the bouquets from the ice buckets, cut off the bottom stems evenly on each of the bouquets. Add the final ribbons, bows, and bangles. Bouquets no longer need to be in water or ice.
  2. 2. Pin the corsages and boutonnieres on the left side of each recipient, right over the heart. (For my daughter’s wedding, all the women in the bridal families, including grandmothers, mother of the groom, and myself carried small, simple bouquets instead of wearing a corsage. We all liked this approach better than the traditional cumbersome corsage.)
  3. 3. Distribute your bouquets to the bride and bridesmaids with big hugs.
  4. 4. Extra Tip: I always make at least three or four extra corsages and boutonnieres and two extra bouquets as accidents do happen. In addition, I create a bouquet for the bride to throw so that she can preserve the original, if she chooses. You can also make wreaths, braids, headpieces, and other creations with left over flowers to add to the décor.

Bride & bridesmaids bouquets & boots

Voila! Take a bow! You’ve done it yourself.

All of this takes time, patience, confidence, energy, creativity, and ultra organization. Before you embark on this DIY project, make sure you understand the obligations of this enterprise. You don’t want to be frazzled for the wedding day itself.  Now that you know the work, time, and effort that generating glorious and original floral creations entails, you won’t suffer sticker shock at the price tag of purchased bodacious bouquets. If after a practice run, you realize that fabricating floral masterpieces isn’t your forte, a fabulous florist is just a phone call away.

For assistance in learning this craft, I do offer personal consultations as well as classes and workshops on the Art of Flower Power. Email me,Cynthia@GoddessGardener.com

Wishing you the most beautiful wedding ever! Enjoy every second of this momentous once-in-a-lifetime event.

Happy Gardening and Happy Growing.

Cynthia Brian’s Harvest List for June

  • Artichokes
  •  Cherries
  •  Loquats
  •  Mulberries
  •  Plums


Cynthia Brian is the Founder and Executive Director of Be the Star You Are!® charity, producer/host of the radio program StarStyle® Be the Star You Are!®, producer of Express Yourself!™, and editor/teen coach of Teen Scene.

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