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Stars of the Garden

Posted by presspass on
Stars of the Garden

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“Won’t you come into my garden? I would like my roses to see you.” –Richard Sheridan

It’s only mid-February, yet it feels like spring. As I write this article, the thermometer in the shade reads 71 degrees. The sun is shining, the skies are clear, and it’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood. Historically the average daily temperature in our area for February is 46.4 degrees. I’m accustomed to dreary Februarys, yet this year is full of cheer. Although we still need more rain, I am delighting in this weather as I finish pruning my roses and grapevines.  

Roses are the ultimate garden stars, complementing classic and contemporary landscapes. Many varieties are repeat bloomers, extravagantly fragrant, and easy to maintain. The thorns are a nuisance, yet, sometimes we have to endure a bit of pain to savor the pleasure. As I’m pruning, I’m wearing two pairs of thick gloves. The thorns still pierce the leather and I find myself extracting tiny pieces of barbs with tweezers from my fingers after an afternoon amidst these stellar actors. 

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If you haven’t started or finished your annual heavy pruning, you’ll have about two more weeks to accomplish the task to have blooms by mid-April.  Roses anchor a landscape offering unrivaled diversity of colors, shapes, and sizes. From ten-inch miniature roses to twenty-five-foot rambling and climbing roses, there is a variety for every preference. The scents that emanate from these stunners can be musky, fruity, sweet, and indescribably powerful. In our region, once established, roses will bloom a full ten to eleven months as long as they are regularly deadheaded. Although roses prefer a sunny location, shade and even poor soil are tolerated.

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It’s best to plant roses from January through May and make sure the root has plenty of space to grow. Re-hydrate bare root roses in a bucket of water before planting. If planting from a quart or gallon container, remove the plant carefully. Sprinkle roots with Mycorrhizal Fungi to stimulate root growth. Place the stems of bare root roses about two inches below the top of the hole, and for a potted rose, position the plant level with the ground.  Backfill with the original soil and lightly tap it with your foot. Water deeply. My secret to rose success is to scratch a scoop of alfalfa pellets in the soil around each bush in March. Every morning, I stir my used coffee grounds into a carafe of water to nurture a different rose daily. They love their jolt of java. Feed your roses according to the instructions that you receive when purchasing. Never over-fertilize. Add mulch or compost to retain moisture. Contrary to popular belief, roses are not fussy. Feed, mulch, water, deadhead, and enjoy.

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A shining star of the winter garden is the daffodil. Every year daffodils signal that spring is around the corner as they salute the skies with their bright trumpets. Daffodils belong to the genus Narcissus. The over 50 species come in all sizes with colors ranging from the ubiquitous butter yellow to pure white, peach, and combinations of yellow and orange. They are perennials, popping up to surprise us just when we need a boost of encouragement. Many varieties will naturalize when planted in a sunny place with slightly acidic soil and plenty of mulch. The deer and wildlife won’t eat them, so they are great bulbs to plant everywhere the deer and rabbits roam. Bulbs planted in fall are now blooming. There is no need to remove the bulb after the flowers fade. Cut back the stems when the foliage is yellow and potato chip crispy. If you insist on digging out bulbs, wipe the dirt off, store in onion bags or pantyhose, and hang in a cool location. Bulbs require air circulation to survive or they will rot. Many of the smaller daffodils, also called narcissi are very fragrant. They make marvelous cut bouquets brightening any room.

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The heart-shaped cyclamen is a tuberous perennial that is honored with garden star status. Shades of pink, red, salmon, and white flowers with silver-marbled leaves adorn winter borders and indoor rooms. Cyclamen require almost zero care and very little water. They go dormant when temperatures rise towards summer and return in glory when winter arrives. When grown outdoors, like the daffodil, when you are least expecting to see a riot of color, the cyclamen unfurls its pretty petals. Hardy cyclamen sold in nurseries are to be planted outdoors. Tropical cyclamen for décor as a houseplant won’t tolerate temperatures above 68 degrees or below 40 degrees. 


Our shining garden stars may only twinkle during certain times of the year, yet they are always here. Planting and appreciating them helps us grow into kinder humans. Saunter into the garden to say hello.

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Cynthia Brian’s Mid-Month Gardening Guide for February

  • TAKE 15% off all orders of David Austin Roses before March 6, 2020 with CODE UKA at www.DavidAustinRoses.com or call 1-800-328-8893.
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  • CARE for your trees. With the recent heavy winds, limbs and trees have toppled. Make sure to prune dead branches, mulch to suppress weeds and pest infestations, deep soak when the weather is hot, and protect shallow roots from lawnmowers. Call an arborist for help when in doubt.
  • INSPECT lawns for dandelions. When you see the yellow flower, snip it off to avoid the flower going to seed. Dig out the roots if possible but be aware that dandelions have long taproots. Do not put in the compost pile.
  • CHECK irrigation systems for broken or damaged pipes. Weeds and lawns often cover sprinkler heads. This is a good time to prepare and repair for spring.
  • WATER lawns and gardens as needed. This is the first February in decades that I’ve had to turn on sprinklers. Rain is not forecast until March. Global warming? 
  • CUT a branch from flowering pear or peach trees to use as an indoor decoration. Pear trees are in full-bloom, peaches are in bud.
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  • PLANT summer bulbs including gladiolus, cannas, dahlia, and caladium towards the end of the month as the soil dries.
  • WALK barefoot on a blanket of soft moss to connect with Nature.

Happy Gardening. Happy Growing!

Photos and more: https://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue1326/Digging-Deep-with-Cynthia-Brian-Stars-of-the-garden.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.

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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. 

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




Cynthia Brian’s Garden Guide for February

Posted by Editor on
Cynthia Brian’s Garden Guide for February

seed catalogues

“It is Nature that causes all movement. ”
Veda Vyasa, The Bhagavadgita

The creeks are rushing, hillsides are saturated, lawns are green, and rain is in the forecast for the month. Our H2O dances and prayers resulted in an El Nino winter, much to our delight. People with swimming pools find themselves draining the overflows. If only we as individuals could save all this extra water! I no longer have buckets in my shower nor am I dumping dishwashing water in my potted plants. We are not wasting water in our household, but there is no need to collect every droplet as there was this past autumn as I have nowhere to toss the excess. In fact, I am diligent about making sure my outside container plants are not drowning. What a difference a month makes!

Narcissus, bergenia, and daffodils are already spreading their sweet joy in our slumbering gardens. The cold of this winter will help trigger flower formation in peonies. If you are lucky enough to have a home in the snow country, peonies benefit from a thick blanket of snow. Camellias are blooming and rhododendrons are budding. Loquat and pear trees boast blossoms. Begonias, pansies, and cyclamen add color and texture to our beds. Nature is on the move and we are the beneficiaries.
naval oranges
PICK naval oranges as they are ripening. Twist the orange and when it comes off the limb easily it’s ready to eat. It the orange resists, let it stay on the tree a bit longer.

PROTECT lettuce from aphids naturally by planting alyssum as a border.

GROW pansies, cyclamen, and violets as a winter pick me up and to attract butterflies. Pick the edible flowers to adorn salads and desserts.

SPRINKLE a granular organic fertilizer around fruit trees. The rainy weather will aid with the absorption of the grains.

PROTECT frost tender plants from the cold, especially those in containers. We have at least 45 days more of possible freezes. Frost blankets, canvas, tarps, or cloth sheets will do the trick. Don’t use plastic and be especially diligent with citrus.

DIG a ditch to divert water from rain gutters to your garden. It’s best to line the swale with pebbles, gravel, or rocks to help filter the run off and protect against flooding. These swales look great as dry creeks during the summer months.

HARVEST cabbage, chard, lettuces, arugula, and other greens as needed. Snip the tops of greens to encourage more growth.

PERUSE seed catalogues curled up on the couch with a cup of hot tea on a chilly, rainy day. You’ll get ideas for new plants and learn a bit more about the growing seasons.

PLAN on planting a patch of wildflowers at the end of our rainy season. Wildflowers are easy and rewarding plus they come back year after year.

PRUNE your roses, vines, and berry bushes through mid February.

DESIGN your dream garden while the weather is wet in preparation for April and May planting.

PLAY in the mud. New research shows that when you dig in the soil, beneficial bacteria in the environment repopulate the community of bacteria on your skin boosting your immune system. Get dirty. It’s GOOD for you!

SHOWER your beloved with red roses and baby’s breath for Valentine’s Day.

HIBERNATE. Our gardens are sleeping and so should we. Take time for yourself this February. Rest, relax, rejuvenate, and replenish yourself. Move with Mother Nature.
cycalmen, pansies
NEED  ideas to help you choose the right plants for your garden?
Consider these four selections for four different areas of your yard
Plants for a Shady Area

Plants to Attract Butterflies and Hummingbirds
Creeping Phlox

Plants that the Deer Don’t Usually Eat
Bleeding Heart
Naked Ladies

Plants for Sunny Areas
If you want one to one assistance, email me to set up a garden consultation with hourly rates. I’ll help your garden shine this spring.

Sending you love, blessings, and virtual rose bouquets for a warm, romantic Valentine’s celebration.

Happy Gardening! Happy Growing! Happy Love Day!

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Cynthia Brian
The Goddess Gardener
Starstyle® Productions, llc
Tune into Cynthia’s Radio show at www.StarStyleRadio.com
Garden and plant consultations by appointment.

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