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FireScaping for Survival

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Empowerment
FireScaping for Survival

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https://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue1305/Digging-Deep-with-Cynthia-Brian-for-May-FireScaping.html

“Some say the world will end in fire.” Robert Frost

A running crown fire came rolling down the hillside toward our Lake County mountain cabin, moving faster than any human could run. All exits were blocked. Trees vaporized.  Sixteen civilians trapped in the valley were being gathered in the meadow around our house. This acre of lush green grass would be the safety zone, everyone’s last hope of survival. Ninety firefighters had been spread out along the roads, trails, and hillsides in the fire’s path. Their orders were to stay put until the fire was upon them, then to light a backfire and escape to our meadow.

The energy released was a hundred times that of a normal forest fire, with an explosive force nearing the intensity of a small atomic bomb. Everyone prayed. My sister and her husband said their goodbyes. Death seemed seconds away. Besides being a farmer, our Dad had been Captain of our volunteer fire department for forty-six years. Dad built the safety zone.  “Daddy,” my sister prayed, “please don’t let us die like this.”

Then, almost imperceptibly, the roar began to diminish. The fire continued to rage for fourteen days in nearby canyons, ultimately burning over eighty-two thousand acres. At the time, it was the second-worst firestorm in United States history, the subject of national training videos for firefighters and showcased on an episode of the TV series, 20/20. 

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I chronicled this epic true story in my book, Be the Star You Are!® 99 Gifts for Living, Loving, Laughing, and Learning to Make a Difference. The chapter is appropriately titled The Gift of Survival. (First Editions available from http://www.CynthiaBrian.com/online-store). 

When a town called Paradise is transformed into burning hell incinerating everything in its path within twenty-four hours and becoming the deadliest and most destructive wildfire in California and United States history, it is prudent for Lamorindans to make fire safety a priority.

A few months ago readers reached out to me asking if I would write an article on how to landscape with fire prevention in mind. They had contacted  their local Fire Chief to find out how to become a Fire Wise neighborhood. Being fire wise is dependent on everyone in a neighborhood being diligent about keeping their property fire safe because fires do not honor property lines. If one home’s landscape is pristine and the neighbor next door has overgrown bushes, brush, or low hanging trees, all of the properties become indefensible.

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The area where I live is rural, wooded, and has minimal escape routes. Many of the plants and trees growing throughout our area are highly flammable including pines, cypress, cedar, fir, bamboo, acacia, juniper, Pampas grass, rosemary, ivy, arborvitae, miscanthus, and eucalyptus. Heat moves up and many homes are on hills. Fire speed and severity is stronger on slopes where vegetation management is crucial.

Just as there is no such thing as a deer-proof plant, a fire-proof plant is a myth. Under the right conditions, every plant will burn. Referring to a plant as “fire safe” means that it tends not to be a significant fuel source by itself. Some plants chemical compositions resist heat and combustion. It is critical to keep plants around our homes well maintained and pruned as a fire protection tool. The closer plants are to the house, the more care is needed. 

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Firescaping is simply a landscape design that reduces house and property vulnerability to wildfire. While enhancing the beauty of the property, we surround the house with plants that are less likely to ignite and create a defensible space. 

Characteristics of Highly Flammable Flora

  • ϖ Dry and dead leaves, twigs, branches
  • ϖ Abundant, dense foliage
  • ϖ Needles
  • ϖ Low moisture foliage
  • ϖ Peeling, loose bark
  • ϖ Gummy sap
  • ϖ Leathery or aromatic leaves
  • ϖ High resin, terpene, or oil content
  • ϖ High, uncut or dry grasses

Characteristics of Fire-Resistant Flora

  • ϖ Hardy, slow growing plants that don’t produce litter or thatch
  • ϖ Native plants that are drought tolerant with internal high water content. Generally, California natives are more tolerant of deer and fire. 

(see Nature’s Natives: April 17, 2019, https://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue1304/Digging-Deep-with-Cynthia-Brian-for-April-Natures-Natives.html)

  • ϖ Trees with thick bark that restrict the growth of invasive shrub species and hardwood trees such as walnut, cherry, maple, and poplar are less flammable. Deciduous trees and shrubs are generally more fire resistant because they have a higher moisture content when in leaf, lower fuel volume when dormant, and usually do not contain flammable oils.
  • ϖ Supple, moist leaves with little to no sap or resin residue.
  • ϖ Low growing ground covers.
  • ϖ Bulbs.bright pink tulips.jpg

How to Create a Fire-Resistant Landscape:

  • ϖ Include fire-resistant features such as pavers, bricks, pavement, gravel, rocks, mulch, dry creek beds, fountains, ponds, pools, and lawns. Water features including ponds, streams, and pools can be helpful fuel breaks.
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  • ϖ Select high moisture plants that grow close to the ground with a low sap and resin content. (See an included list of plants, shrubs, and trees)
  • ϖ Maintain all plants and lawns. Clover, groundcovers, and grasses that are kept low and green through irrigation are excellent alternatives. Mow, prune, water, and space appropriately.
  • ϖ Leave space between plants.
  • ϖ Minimize the inclusion of evergreen trees within thirty feet of structures. Clear debris and understory. Have clearance of all trees within twenty feet of chimneys. 
  • ϖ Remove invasive species or swaths of flammable plants including ivy, rosemary, broom, and juniper.
  • ϖ Moist mulch, rocks, or gravel can be used for firescaping. (Bark and leaf mulch can ignite unless sufficiently wet. Usage not recommended near structures.)
  • ϖ When planting trees, identify the tree size at maturity. 
  • ϖ Prune trees carefully to remove the possibility of fire laddering.
  • ϖ Arrange plantings in clusters and islands, with those near structure being smaller. 
  • ϖ Consider the combustibility of decorative features such as gazebos, fences, sheds, porches, and junk areas.  Keep appropriate clearance to reduce the threat of burning embers.
  • ϖ Bare ground is not recommended due to soil erosion.
  • Lawn .jpg

General Rules of Fire Safety

HEED the checklist from our local fire departments to create a defensible space around your home.  To reiterate fire district recommendations:

  • ϖ Prevent embers from igniting your home by clearing leaves, needles, and debris from gutters, eaves, porches, and decks.
  • ϖ Mow grasses and weeds.
  • ϖ Keep your garden watered.
  • ϖ Prune tree limbs to keep the lowest branches 6-10 feet from the ground.
  • ϖ Reduce “fire fuel laddering” by not allowing bushes or trees to touch one another.
  • ϖ Keep combustible materials 15-30 feet away from structures.
  • ϖ Maintain your property and be alert for any fire danger.

Through proper plant selection, placement, and maintenance, we are able to diminish the possibility of ignition, lower fire intensity, and reduce the spread, helping our homes to survive the blaze.  A fire-resistant landscape reduces the risk to our homes while enabling firefighters a place to defend our structures.

Helpful Websites:

National Fire Protection Association: https://www.nfpa.org

Fire Safe Marin (We are not in Marin, but this is a great resource): http://www.firesafemarin.org

Pacific Northwest Fire Resistant Plants: http://www.firefree.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/Fire-Resistant-Plants.pdf

University of California Cooperative Extension: https://ucanr.edu/sites/fire/Prepare/Landscaping/Plant_choice/

Las Pilitas Nursery (although this nursery is in Santa Margarita it has the best website that gives burn times for various plants. Plus it also has deer resistant information as well.)https://www.laspilitas.com/easy/deerfire.htm

Sign Up for Alerts:

Alerts for Your Specific Area: http://www.nixle.com

 

Sample Listing of Plants that are Fire-Resistant

(I reiterate, NO PLANT is fire-proof. Maintenance, pruning, watering, spacing, location are all extremely important elements for fire safety.)

Bulbs (tulips, daffodils, iris, hyacinth, freesia, etc. Cut stalks to the ground when leaves are dry)

California redbud

Sage

Penstemon

Heather

Fuchsia

Columbine

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Thyme

Poppy

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Wild strawberry

Common yarrow

French lavender

Lilac

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Coreopsis

Ajuga

California lilac

Society garlic

Alliums

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Dianthus

Yellow or Purple ice plant

Creeping phlox

Lamium

Sedum

Succulents

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Veronica

Armeria

Agapanthus

Trumpet Vine

Daylily

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Heuchera

Hosta

Red hot poker

Lupine

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Delphinium

Echinacea

Lamb’s ear

Yucca

Roses

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Salvia

Evening primrose

Daphne

Boxwood

Rhododendron

Spirea

Dogwood

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Mock orange

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Azalea

Current

Viburnum

Horse chestnut

Liquid Amber

Honey locust

Crabapple

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Purple robe locust

Fruit trees (varieties of cherry, plum, pear, peach, apricot)

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Black oak

Hawthorne

Birch

Aspen

Poplar

Maple

Manzanita (prune without dead wood)

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Walnut 

Harry Houdini wrote, “Fire has always been and seemingly, will always remain, the most terrible of the elements.”  Use your common sense. If you need additional help, consult a professional. Contact your fire department for a Fire Wise walk.

Fires are in our future. Hopefully, we won’t require a green meadow safety zone for survival, yet we need to be prepared. Make firescaping an ongoing conversation. 

In the meantime, get out to weed, water, prune, and maintain. Do what you can to be fire safe.

Happy Gardening. Happy Growing.

See photos and read more: https://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue1305/Digging-Deep-with-Cynthia-Brian-for-May-FireScaping.html

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. 

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

Buy a copy of her new books, 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 projects, consults, and lectures.

Cynthia@GoddessGardener.com

www.GoddessGardener.com

Donate to Fire Disaster Relief via Be the Star You Are!® 501 c3 at www.BethestarYouAre.org

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Nature’s Natives

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Empowerment
Nature’s Natives

California poppy.jpghttps://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue1304/Digging-Deep-with-Cynthia-Brian-for-April-Natures-Natives.html

by Cynthia Brian

Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.” Albert Einstein

Witnessed from outer space this spring, a pageant of splendor burst into bloom on hillsides, in fields, chaparrals, and desert environs. The “super blooms” of Southern California captivated hearts and cameras. Northern California is exhibiting a bountiful season of blue lupines, orange poppies, and gardens filled with flowers, just not to the degree of our neighbors to the south.

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Although weeds are described as plants growing where we don’t want them, weeds are in proliferation after our continual wet days. Wild cut leaf geranium resembles a ground cover when small with tiny pink petals, yet it is a weed that needs to be pulled before it scatters seeds. Hand removal of invasive grasses is also necessary as they create fire danger while outcompeting native flora for light, water, space, and food.

 

More than 18,000 plant species are native to the United States and approximately 6000 species are endemic to California. To be considered a true California native, the plants must have grown here before the late 18th century when the Europeans arrived. Our state flower, the California poppy, as well as lupines, fuchsias, and other “natives” were actually first cultivated in the gardens of Europe, yet we have adopted them as our own. We are blessed to grow numerous flora inhabitants from the Mediterranean that have acclimated to our mild four seasons and adapted to our clay soil. I have termed these friends, such as lavender and acanthus, “the new natives” as I like to include them in my garden designs. 

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Natives are drought tolerant after they have been established, although they will require water if the weather has been exceptionally dry. They are wildlife attractors bringing songbirds, lizards, salamanders, butterflies, frogs, hummingbirds, bees, and other pollinators into the landscape.  Minimal maintenance is required without dependence on pesticides or fertilizers. Top dressing all plants with mulch to maintain a constant temperature while reducing erosion and temperature fluctuations is advantageous.

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For year-round interest, select a variety of natives that bloom during each of the twelve months. Wildflowers are fussy as transplants therefore for a spring show, sow seeds in the fall to allow the winter water to promote a strong root system. Plants with tiny seeds can live dormant in the underground seed bank for 80 years or more depending on the optimum conditions to coax them above ground to flower, fruit, and set seed. 

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A Sampling of Favorite California Natives 

Trees, Grasses 

Oak 

Western Red Bud

Redwood

Sequoia

Pine

Cypress

Cedar

Fir

Yew

Willow

Alder

Aspen

Sycamore

Blue-eyed grass

Sedges

Rushes

Fescue

Reed grass

Wild Rye

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Shrubs, Plants, Flowers

Manzanita

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Ceanothus (California Lilac)

Sage

Currant

Fern

Lupine

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Columbine

California poppy

Heuchera

Dicentra

Brodiaeas

Blue Dicks

Morning glory

Clarkia

Wild rose

Wild grape

Clematis

Wood Strawberry

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Matilija Fried Egg Plant

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Native Perennials to the United States

Milkweed

Echinacea

Black-eyed Susan

Butterfly Weed

Aster

Creeping Phlox

Bee Balm

Bluebells

Lobelia

Hydrangea

Acanthus

Gaillardia

Trillium

Coreopsis

Bluestar Grass

Honeysuckle

Switchgrass

Blazing Star 

Dogwood

Iris

Gaura

Trumpet vine

Elderberry

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These are just a few of the thousands of natives you can discover at your nursery. A large variety of succulents and cacti are also available. It is important to remember that every plant is native to someplace. When choosing a species, you want to make sure it will grow well in your microclimate.

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Because natives have adapted to our land, they won’t struggle for survival. They are strong players requiring less work, water, and food as they work in harmony with our ecosystem. Natives are an advantageous addition to any garden as they support bees, butterflies, and birds, bringing beneficial insects and pollinators to our landscapes.

Cynthia Brian’s Mid Month Gardening Guide

BEWARE the tick. Ticks are attacking and they are not just on the deer. Keep your lawns mowed and the brush cleared.  Rid your yard of Japanese barberry as this invasive species is a haven for ticks. 

KEEP deer from nibbling your new sprouts by installing a nine to twelve-foot deer fence. Unfortunately, all of the natural remedies including soap, hair, sprinklers, whirlybirds, lights, and noise are not effective long term. 

RE-POT orchids in spring if they are root bound or the planting medium has broken down. Most orchids need to be repotted every two to three years. If you notice green root tips on plump white roots, it is time to divide. Re-pot in lightly packed fir bark or sphagnum moss using a container large enough to allow for two more years of growth.

DIMINISH spring allergies by always removing your shoes before entering your home.  Change your clothes, shower before bedtime to keep the pollen from gathering on your sheets. Ramp up your house cleaning efforts by dusting, vacuuming, and mopping often.

SHARPEN lawnmower blades for a cleaner cut. Stay off the grass if it has been raining as walking on wet grass damages the blades and the roots.

SNIP the flowers off bolting arugula, kale, lettuces, and other leafy vegetables to prevent the plants from going to seed. Add the flowers to salads, soups, and sauces or decorate your plates.

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MARK your calendars: 

April 21 is Easter. Fill baskets for garden lovers with my book, Growing with the Goddess Gardener available with extra freebies at www.cynthiabrian.com/online-store April 22 is Earth Day

April 28 is the Annual Wildlife Festival at Wagner Ranch www.fwrna.org/annual-wildlife-festival.html

May 11 is the Moraga Community Faire. Visit the Be the Star You Are!® booth to celebrate nature, books, and kids.www.bethestarBTSYA volunteers Moraga Fair-Cyn (1).jpg

 

Wishing you a hippity hoppity happy Bunny Day on Easter!

Happy Gardening. Happy Growing,

Read more and see photos at https://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue1304/Digging-Deep-with-Cynthia-Brian-for-April-Natures-Natives.html

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. 

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

Buy a copy of her new books, Growing with the Goddess Gardener and Be the Star You Are! Millennials to Boomers at www.cynthiabrian.com/online-store. 

BE StarYouAre_Millennials to Boomers Cover.jpeg Cynthia Brian'Growing with the Goddess Gardener book copy.jpg

Hire Cynthia for projects, consults, and lectures.

Cynthia@GoddessGardener.com

www.GoddessGardener.com

 

 

Celebrating Volunteers

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Empowerment
Celebrating Volunteers

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Read the newsletter at http://hosted.verticalresponse.com/672296/f916a880b9/288055965/ac7221bc2f/

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Miracle Moment®

“Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on Earth.” Muhammad Ali

A Message from Founder/Executive Director, Cynthia Brian

Besides adoring the beautiful flowers springing up in our gardens, April is dedicated to appreciating volunteers. Here at Be the Star You Are!®, we are proud of the service of our volunteers. 2019 marks the 20th year of being a 501c3 charity dedicated to empowering women, families, and youth through improved literacy and increased positive media messages, and we have much to celebrate and for which to be grateful. Throughout the years we have collaborated with volunteers from numerous countries around the globe besides working with thousands from various states in America. The majority of our crew are teens and young adults with a few adults sprinkled in the mix. 

Our Star Teen Book Review Team boasts the largest amount of volunteers, currently with 92 teens reading and writing reviews that our Book Review Coordinator, Stephanie Cogeos, uploads to our Book Review site at http://www.btsya.com/book_reviews.html. Stephanie makes sure that format, fonts, and style are correct and that each review is worthy of the parents, librarians, teachers, and others who will read it. The book reviews are published at our literacy partner, The Reading Tub, where we are honored to have assisted in hitting their 3000 book review milestone. Make sure you check out the reviews: https://thereadingtub.org/books/be-the-star-you-are/

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Our two Radio Broadcasts, StarStyle®-Be the Star You Are!® and Express Yourself!™ Teen Radio are setting new highs. StarStyle® has been broadcasting LIVE weekly since 1998 and Express Yourself!™ since 2011. Both programs are now on the Empowerment Channel at Voice America. Find out more information at http://www.StarStyleRadio.com. Forty one teens have become reporters and hosts through these innovative programs. 

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Operation Disaster Relief has become an ongoing outreach project since the devastating California fires of the past two years. Two of our teen radio hosts, Joven Hundal and Siri Phaneendra have been co-chairing this imperative service. Please consider donating to this worthy cause as we continue to help those affected by terrible disasters around the country. https://www.bethestaryouare.org/copy-of-hurricane-fire-disaster-rel

Be the Star You Are!® volunteers are involved in numerous other outreach projects. Eighty-seven volunteers became published writers through their contributions in two of our signature books, Be the Star You Are! for Teens and Be the Star You Are! Millennials to Boomers Celebrating Gifts of Positive Voices in a Changing Digital World. Buy the books with all money benefiting Be the Star You Are!® at http://www.CynthiaBrian.com/online-store

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Find out more about our programs, events, positive results, and how to help at http://www.BetheStarYouare.org, 

Direct Links you can use for Be the Star You Are!®

Positive Results: http://www.bethestaryouare.org/positive-results

About Us: http://www.bethestaryouare.org/about_us

Programs: http://www.bethestaryouare.org/programs

How to Help: http://www.bethestaryouare.org/how-to-help

Blog: http://www.bethestaryouare.org/blog

Events: http://www.bethestaryouare.org/events

Contact us: http://www.bethestaryouare.org/contact

GREAT NON PROFITS REVIEWS: http://greatnonprofits.org/reviews/be-the-star-you-are-inc/

GUIDESTAR: https://www.guidestar.org/profile/94-3333882

We invite you to volunteer, get involved, or make a donation. Make a DONATION through PAYPAL GIVING FUND and PAYPAL with 100% going to BTSYA with NO FEES:  https://www.paypal.com/fundraiser/charity/1504

As an all-volunteer non profit, I, too, am a volunteer. And as a volunteer I agree with what Mahatma Gandhi said,  “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”

Be the Star You Are! is supported 100% by the generous donations of individuals like you. BTSYA has no state or federal contributions. We thank you in advance for making a donation in honor of a special occasion, someone you love, or just because.

Thank you to our volunteers. We all salute and honor you.

Happy Spring!

Heartfelt gratitude,

Cynthia Brian

Founder/Executive Director

Be the Star You Are!®

PO Box 376

Moraga, California 94556

Cynthia@BetheStarYouAre.org

http://www.BetheStarYouAre.org

http://www.BTSYA.org

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THANKS FOR HELPING

In our recent shipments to help the survivors of the town of Paradise who lost so much in the disastrous Camp Fires, Be the Star You Are!® wants to thank three main supporters who assisted us in getting much needed new books to the distribution center.

Our sincerest appreciation goes to:

David Hancock, Morgan James Publishing: https://www.morgan-james-publishing.com

Monique Muhlenkamp, New World Library: http://www.newworldlibrary.com

Diana Zimmerman, The Calabiyau Chronicles: https://www.kandide.com

Caring is sharing. Thank you David, Monique, and Diana.

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SPOTLIGHT ON VOLUNTEERS

We are very proud of the work of all of our volunteers. We shine the spotlight on a few STARS who share their views on volunteering with BTSYA. 

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“I can say with certainty that joining Be the Star You Are! is the best decision of my life. This rare organization not only does good work for the community, but also actively promotes its volunteers and affords them opportunities not found elsewhere. I’ve worked as Lead Host of BTSYA’s teen radio show, Chairperson of BTSYA’s Disaster Relief, and even was published in BTSYA’s latest positive message media anthology, Be the Star You Are! Millennials to Boomers Celebrating Gifts of Positive Voices in a Changing Digital World. Nowhere else could I have found such service opportunities, and I look forward to taking advantage of them even more in the years to come.”

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I have been involved with Be the Star you are since I was a teen. The incredible impact it has made on my life and thousands of others, has continued me to stay involved all through my 20’s and now in my 30’s!! This organization is based on motivating others through the power of positivity and inspirational media. Thank you for every beautiful moment this organization has brought into my life.”

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“BTSYA is honestly amazing. I’ve been volunteering as a reporter and host for BTSYA’s teen radio show and it’s provided me with so much. It’s given me countless opportunities to speak about my interests, have fun, meet new people, and grow and develop as a person. Cynthia Brian is unbelievably kind and supportive, and an amazing leader and mentor all around. I am truly honored to be a part of this team.”

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“Amazing is one way to describe this outstanding nonprofit and its fearless leader, Cynthia Brian. Over the years I’ve seen many instances where Cynthia has been a role model in rallying teen volunteers to reach out to those in need, no matter where they are or what situation presents itself. 

I support this fine organization because I believe in their cause and their leadership, and I encourage you to do the same.”

COME PLAY AT THE MORAGA FAIRE

On Saturday, May 11th from 11am-3pm, the 13th Annual Moraga Community Faire and Classic Car Show will provide a day of family fun and community. The Faire attracts 3500 + attendees with numerous attractions, vendors, Kids zone, food trucks, wine, beer, art, and a classic car show. As the official face painting booth, Be the Star You Are!® volunteers will be offering activities for children including face painting, a reading circle, and giving away books to increase literacy. A book signing is also planned. Chelsea Pelchat is our teen coordinator. ““For the past four years, I have been the teen event coordinator where I have been able to exercise and develop life skills that I will use forever.“ To sponsor or volunteer, email info@BetheStarYouAre.org. Visit https://www.bethestaryouare.org/events

Moraga Fair Face painting-BTSYA (1).jpg BTSYA volunteers Moraga Fair-Cyn (2).jpg

EASTER GIFTS

For the perfect Easter basket gift, buy any of our books. When you order directly from our website, 100% goes to Be the Star You Are!® charity plus you will get extra FREE goodies. For spring, how about adding Growing with the Goddess Gardener.  Or to bridge the generation gap, buy Be the Star You Are! Millennials to Boomers with chapters by 35 volunteers Autographed the way you want and they are donation too! https://www.CynthiaBrian.com/online-store

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MORE WAYS TO GROW WITH BTSYA

If you would like to make a direct donation to our giving fund, please visit our PayPal page!

https://www.paypal.com/us/webapps/mpp/search-cause?charityId=1504&s=3

 

We appreciate a direct donation most of all via PAYPAL GIVING FUND at https://www.paypal.com/fundraiser/charity/1504.

Checks can be sent to PO Box 376, Moraga, California 94556

There are other easy ways that assist our mission and don’t cost you a dime!

1. AmazonSmile donates .5% of purchases http://smile.amazon.com/ch/94-3333882

2. Discounted books at Amazonhttp://www.amazon.com/shops/be_the_star_you_are_charity

3. Buy or Sell on EBAY:http://givingworks.ebay.com/charity-auctions/charity/be-the-star-you-are-501-c-3/1504/?favorite=link

4. Use GoodSearch to search the web & buy from your favorite stores. Choose Be the Star You Are as your charity to support. You can log in with Facebook, too!http://www.goodsearch.com/goodto-go/be-the-star-you-are

5. Shop at over 1300 stores on IGIVEhttp://www.iGive.com/BTSYA

6. BTSYA Logo Storehttp://btsya.rylees.net

7. Giving Assistant: Shop. Earn. Give! Use Giving Assistant to earn cash back at 1800+ popular online stores, then donate a percentage to BTSYA: https://givingassistant.org/np – be-the-star-you-are-inc

8. Designer Clothes to Buy or Sell: https://www.unionandfifth.com/charities/be-the-star-you-are-moraga-ca/shop

9. Buy “Read, Lead, Succeed” T-shirts and tanks $19.99 at StarStyle® Store: http://www.CynthiaBrian.com/online-store

10. Are you a gamer, lover of new software, or other digital content? Buy all of your favorites at Humble Bundlehttp://ow.ly/cYs130iN6n4

““We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” Winston Churchill

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Please Be A Friendly Neighbor

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Empowerment
Please Be A Friendly Neighbor

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“Look for helpers. You will always find those who are helping.” Mister Rogers

After sowing seeds of beets, arugula, Swiss Chard, and leeks, I sat on my small white wooden bench to watch. Within minutes a black and white king snake slithered by my foot sending shivers up my spine at the sudden surprise yet joy because I know that king snakes keep rattlers away.  A tail-less baby lizard scampered to a rock to bask in the sunshine, and a chorus of frogs croaked their mating calls, each attempting to outdo the other. Two moths flitted through the nasturtiums, a swarm of honeybees gathered on the rosemary, and a clew of worms tilled the rich soil.  A covey of quail called to one another, landing in my chestnut tree. My vegetable garden was alive with congenial visiting helpers.

mushrooms in mulch.jpgFor years Fred Rogers modeled the benefits of caring on his award children’s program, Mister Rogers Neighborhood. The root principle of his teachings was to be a good neighbor and find helpers. Having friendly, helpful neighbors is good not only for humans but for plants and animals, too. We are all interdependent on one another for survival. To fully understand how important buddies are, we need to look no further than the kingdom of plants.

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In gardening, we call this companion planting. Health and yields are improved when certain plants are grown together. Some plants will attract beneficial insects while others will repel destructive ones. Certain flowers, vegetables, and herbs grown together will produce more beautiful flowers and flavorful edibles than if grown in solitary confinement. 

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When planning your companion garden, for the team to thrive, it is critical to consider these important requirements. Determine if they enjoy the same type of soil (sandy, loamy, clay, silty, peaty), light exposure (shade, partial shade, full sun, partial sun), water (how much and how often), and pest control. 

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Soil: The ideal garden soil is loam as it is a balanced mixture of sand, silt, and clay with plenty of humus.  To improve our clay soil, we need to develop better drainage and lighten the heaviness by adding copious amounts of organic matter.  A combination of compost, mulch, and cover crops will enrich the soil, prevent erosion, and minimize weed growth.

Light: Record where the sun is during different times of the day. Remember that tall plants will provide shade for smaller plants that need protection. 

Water:  Roots need oxygen to survive. Waterlogged roots rot. Vegetables require about one inch of water a week, columbines prefer a moist environment, while succulents succeed in drier soils. Determine your own watering personality then choose compatible plants accordingly.

Pest Control: One of the most exciting things about companion planting is how various plants can attract good bugs and deter the bad ones when surrounded by their friends. Alliums are terrific company for almost all plants except asparagus and beans!

When building your garden, think about building a community of friends. 

Roses are jewels of the garden for at least three seasons, and, as with their mineral cousins, their beauty is enhanced when placed in the right setting. According to rose expert Michael Marriott, senior rosarian and technical manager of David Austin Roses Ltd in Albrighton, England, roses are beautifully suited to mixed garden borders. The trick to combining roses successfully with other garden plants lies in knowing which will play well together. Although we don’t normally plant roses with our vegetables, rose petals are edible. Gathered early in the morning, they make a tasting topping for salads and soups.

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The best partners, he says, bloom exactly together or closely overlap. “The joy is in pairing flowers that play off one another when seen side by side in full bloom. The goal is to heighten peak bloom experiences. Extending the bloom season is a different exercise. Here is a short list of his recommended rose partners.

Favorite Blue Perennials:

Lavender

Blue Eyed Grass

Monkshood

Aster

Bellflower

Cornflower

Delphinium 

Sea holly

Geranium

Salvia

Pincushion flower

Veronica

Viola 

Favorite Other Colored Perennials:

Agastache

Candytuft

Chamomile

Columbine

Penstemon 

Black-eyed Susan

Sedum

Verbena

Favorite Biennial

Foxglove

Favorite Annuals

Cosmos,

Nicotiana 

Nigella 

Poppy

Sweet pea

Favorite Hedge

Boxwoods

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When it comes to vegetable companions, we have a long list of allies and enemies. General rules advise avoiding planting in long rows or big patches to deter the pests.  Instead, interplant with flowers and herbs to confuse the predators and attract the beneficials.

Marigolds are the workhorse of any vegetable planting as they discourage beetles and nematodes. The presence of calendula in any garden is a plus repelling nasty insects while the roots clean the soil by establishing active relationships with soil-borne fungi. Nasturtium, chives, and garlic keep away aphids. Dill improves growth and flavor in all plants of the cabbage family including kale while mint will deter ants and cabbage moth and improve the flavor of peas.  However, dill will retard the growth of your carrots.  Parsley, carrots, and parsnip attract praying mantis, ladybugs, and spiders that dine on pests. Beans, peas, and clover make nitrogen that enrich the soil. 

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Never plant corn and tomatoes near one another as the identical worm attacks both. If you want potatoes, plant horseradish in the four corners as protection and refrain from including squash, cucumbers, or sunflowers in the same location as they all suffer from the same blight. If you are growing strawberries, prevent worms by creating a border of thyme and strengthen resistance to disease and insects with borage. Oregano provides general pest protection while basil ward offs flies and mosquitoes while improving (no surprise) the flavor and growth of tomatoes. 

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Before you start your spring planting, consider the community you will be creating. The rains are continuing, the crabapples are blooming, and the willow buds are set to burst. 

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Fred Rogers said that maybe heaven is the connections we make while on earth. In gardening as in life, it takes a village. 

Happy Gardening. Happy Growing.

Read and see photos at https://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue1303/Digging-Deep-with-Cynthia-Brian-Wont-you-be-my-neighbor.html

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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. 

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

Buy a copy of her new books, Growing with the Goddess Gardener and Be the Star You Are! Millennials to Boomers at www.cynthiabrian.com/online-store. 

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Hire Cynthia for projects, consults, and lectures.

Cynthia@GoddessGardener.com

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Donate to Fire Disaster Relief via Be the Star You Are!® 501 c3 at www.BethestarYouAre.org

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Awaken Spring

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Empowerment
Awaken Spring

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“The ghostly winter silences have given way to the great spring murmur of awakening life.” Jack London

It all began when I witnessed the new growth unfurling on one of my loquat trees. The leaves were a mesmerizing bright green, like the color of lime with a hint of sunshine.  Ah, sunshine, I thought! How I longed for warm, sun-drenched days. The darkness, cold, and wet of winter had begun to unravel my soul. 

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The rains throughout the winter, although welcome and necessary, have been torrential. The creeks are full and raging. If only we could save this H2O to quench summer thirsty landscapes.

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Our hillsides are carpets of emerald grasses. The only hint that salvation was near was the happy stalks of the ubiquitous daffodils singing to the sky an end to the melancholia. 

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I wanted to bottle a bit of this luminosity from those loquat leaves so I did the next best thing…I painted my fingernails the exact color! An odd choice, I’ve been told, but I was hell-bent on awakening spring.

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The next day, the weather reports suggested that we would bask in sunlight for at least a week. My earthy polish must have summoned the gods of rebirth. 

As if on cue, terra firma has erupted in a procession of power plants. Besides the narcissi and bergenia that have been blooming successively since January, we now witness muscari, tulip, hyacinth, ranunculus, anemone, oxalis, calla lily, azalea, freesia, Chinese fringe, blue star grass, and one of my favorite over-looked specimen, hellebore joining the parade.

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Hellebores are a deer resistant, low maintenance perennial that stirs with blooms (actually sepals protecting the flower) before other plants. Known as the Lenten rose, they prefer partial shade, are evergreen and boast flowers January through May. If you plant them on a slope, you’ll be able to see the flowers more easily as their stems face downwards. Hybrids include shades of ivory, jade, maroon, pink, yellow, speckled, and fringed combinations. 

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As the soil warms and the daylight hours grow longer, it is time to prepare your garden for seeding by weeding, hoeing, and adding rich soil. This year I have chosen packets from Renee’s Garden (https://sh2543.ositracker.com/121062/9151) and have already jotted down when the seeds will be planted. At the end of March or beginning of April, I will be planting beets, leeks, and clarkia. In April I will add cleome, columbine, and dwarf dahlias. Brussels sprouts will wait for a summer sowing.

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Pumpkin seeds that I’ve saved will be planted in late May in anticipation of Halloween and Thanksgiving. If you want to carve them, choose a fun variety such as Warty Goblin or Super Moon. For that delicious holiday pie, the go-to favorite is Pik-a-Pie. Pumpkins need a large area to grow making it essential to plan now to give your Curcubita pepo the room to thrive.  Small pumpkins need a 12-foot area, medium pumpkins require 24 feet, and giants want a 36-48 feet space per plant. 

Are you thinking of including perennials that will attract butterflies, bees, bats, and birds? The National Pollinator Garden Network has announced it has surpassed its goal of registering one million pollinator gardens. In just three years, 1,040,000 gardens were registered with the Million Pollinator Garden Challenge. From tiny yards to public gardens, the million-plus gardens add up to a network of approximately five million acres of enhanced or new pollinator habitat. Offer a buffet with a diverse array of flowers, herbs, colors, fragrances, sizes, and shapes that will encourage these garden guards to visit and stay. 

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The elegant tulip soulangeana magnolia adds beauty and structure to any landscape and now is the time to choose a specimen in full bloom at your local nursery. Blooming time varies with varieties and micro-climates. Santa Rosa plum and peach trees are radiantly blossoming and will soon form fruit.  Crab apple will follow shortly. Hopefully, the rains won’t knock off too many buds.

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The frogs are chirping, birds are tweeting, and cows are mooing. The orchestra of nature waking up from its winter slumber is music to my ears. It’s time to polish our dancing shoes (and maybe your nails) as the vernal equinox has arrived with an equal balance of light and dark. The season of spring has sprung.

Cynthia Brian’s Mid Month Reminders

CREATE a cutting garden for summer by planting delphiniums, snapdragons, and sunflowers.

VISIT http://www.RecycleSmart.org for dates of the 5th Annual Compost Giveaway. Register to collect up to three yards of free compost or “black gold” which has been recycled from the green organic bins. 

FERTILIZE lawns. Spring is also the second-best time after fall to install a new lawn or refresh an old one. If you are seeding, March and April are excellent times to scatter seed, especially before a rain. My preference is http://www.PearlsPremium.com for an almost weed-free, lush green ground cover.

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ADD to your planting list aeoniums and other succulents as they require minimal maintenance and water, even in the hot months. 

dinner plate aeonium succulent.jpghttps://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue1302/Digging-Deep-with-Cynthia-Brian-Awaken-spring.html

CONTINUE to pick up the fallen camellias. I know I’m sounding like a broken record but camellias have a long blooming season and the ones that drop will cause a rot for next year’s bloom. Don’t stop picking them up and don’t add them to your compost or recycle bins.

BUY seeds for spring sowing from Renee’s Garden (https://sh2543.ositracker.com/121062/9151) 

Through March 24 you can get FREE Shipping on orders over $20.00.

STOP mowing your lawns when the grass is wet or it is raining. Hearing the growl of lawnmowers when it is pouring outside boils the soul of my inner gardener. Cutting the grass when it is raining damages the grass blades and causes ruts and compaction. Inform your “mow, blow, and go” service providers to perform other tasks in inclement weather. A healthy green lawn will thank you for your restraint. 

Happy Gardening. Happy Growing. Hello Spring!

Read more at 

https://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue1302/Digging-Deep-with-Cynthia-Brian-Awaken-spring.html

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 her new books, Growing with the Goddess Gardener and Be the Star You Are! Millennials to Boomers at www.cynthiabrian.com/online-store. 

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Hire Cynthia for projects, consults, and lectures.

Cynthia@GoddessGardener.com

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Donate to Fire Disaster Relief via Be the Star You Are!® 501 c3 at www.BethestarYouAre.org

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Pass the Mustard!

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Empowerment
Pass the Mustard!

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“In seed time learn, in harvest teach, in winter enjoy.” William Blake

The thunder clapped. The lightning bolted. The skies opened. 

Rain, life-giving rain.

The garden rejoices. 

The lawn, browned from the hot summer and autumn, is once again a lush verdant emerald. Fresh new leaves are beginning to unfurl on plants presumed expired. Weeds are sprouting in every crevice and worms are back working their tilling magic.  Tiny pink buds are exploding on peach trees, white blossoms already cover the flowering pears, and scarlet blooms of Chinese flowering quince, a member of the rose family highlight the barren landscape. We are smack in the middle of winter with the opportunity to learn, teach, and enjoy.

 

lush lawn.jpgAs you drive along the local roads, you’ll witness fields carpeted in yellow. This is the wild mustard plant, the magical staple of my childhood. Every year in March our walnut orchards would be blanketed in five-foot tall plants that provided my siblings and me abundant opportunities to build forts, hide from our parents, and make mustard leaf sandwiches. We’d collect the seeds, mix them with vinegar and sea salt, and make our own culinary creations. Our Dad would eventually till this beneficial cover crop back into the soil as a green manure to add nitrogen, increase drainage, and water retention.

If you planted seeds of edible greens and cool loving crops in the fall, you are now harvesting many members of the mustard family including cabbage, kale, collards, kohlrabi, broccoli, yellow mustard, bok choy, and cauliflower. Buds of Brussels sprouts are forming their “sprouts” in the axils of leaves on the stalk.  Flavor improves with Brussels sprouts after two or more frosty nights. The mustard family includes the genus Brassica whereby most of the leaves and flowers taste peppery. Since the flower pattern is in the form of a cross, the plants are referred to as cruciferous. Called super-foods, cruciferous vegetables pack a punch with disease- fighting phytochemicals, attributed to preventing cancers and cardiovascular diseases. Brassicas are also nutrient and fiber-rich with healthy plant omega-3’s, vitamin A, C, E, B-1, and folic acid. They are easy to grow from seed in well-drained, fertile soil enriched with compost.  Because Brassicas are prone to pests and soil-borne diseases, make sure to practice crop rotation and never compost the roots. Although you can use recycled containers to start seeds indoors in the winter, these plant varieties are more successful when seeds are sown directly in the garden. 

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With the recent outbreaks of e.coli infections found in a variety of leafy greens and specifically romaine lettuce, growing your own vegetables is not only less expensive, but it is safer because you have the power to control what goes into your soil. Seeds of arugula, Swiss Chard, lettuces, spinach, scallions, sorrel, fennel, and nasturtium can be succession scattered to ensure year-round eating pleasure. 

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Your vegetable garden has the potential to feed your family throughout all four seasons at a fraction of the cost of what you’d pay for equivalent produce at the market. In winter, you will rarely have to turn on a water source, and you can fertilize with your homemade compost.  When you save the seeds of your favorite plants, you also won’t have to buy new seed packets. During every planting period consider adding an unfamiliar crop that you’ve discovered by perusing seed catalogs.

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Even when the inclement weather is keeping you bundled by the fire indoors with a cup of hot tea to ease your sore throat, if you’ve taken an hour or so to sow your favorite seeds, germination will be happening underground. One sunny day you’ll walk outside to witness the miracle of nature. 

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Voila! Instant leafy greens sown and grown in your personal hearty-health home garden. 

Pass the mustard!

Cynthia Brian’s Mid Month Gardening Guide for February

PICK UP the fallen blooms of camellias to prevent the fungus Camellia blossom rot which causes blooms to turn brown from the center out. Do not compost spent blossoms. Put the dead blooms in the trash bin. 

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USE Chinese flowering quince as a spiny hedge or barrier.

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DON’T mow your lawn after a rain when the soil is too moist or you will damage the grass and cause rivets in the soil.

PLANT seedlings of celosia next month for a late spring show.

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FINAL time to heavy prune your roses. Dig canes in a rooting solution and plant in rich soil in small containers to give as summer hostess gifts.

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GROW your own Brassicas and leafy greens by sowing seeds in succession.

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MAKE homemade mustard from the seeds of wild mustard by grinding them and adding salt and vinegar.

PRUNE and shape pelargoniums and geraniums for fuller flowering.

WASH leaves of indoor plants that are dusty. Re-pot if necessary. 

FEED the birds as winter is challenging for them to find essential food.

Happy Gardening. Happy Growing. 

View photos and read more at https://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue1226/Cynthia-Brians-Digging-Deep-Pass-the-mustard.html

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.

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Buy a copy of her new books, Growing with the Goddess Gardener and Be the Star You Are! Millennials to Boomers at www.cynthiabrian.com/online-store. 

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Hire Cynthia for projects, consults, and lectures.

Cynthia@GoddessGardener.com

www.GoddessGardener.com

Donate to Fire Disaster Relief via Be the Star You Are!® 501 c3 at www.BethestarYouAre.org

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Love is a Rose!

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Empowerment
Love is a Rose!

angelface rose.jpg

“Everything is coming up roses!” Ethel Merman

When Cupid shoots his arrow of amour on February 14th, more than 51% of the flowers bestowed upon the lovers will be roses.  The allure of roses dates back more than 5,000 years when rose cultivation began in China. Evidence in fossils indicates that the wild rose is as ancient as 35 million years. No wonder that the rose has symbolized beauty, love, politics, and war for the past five centuries in our modern world.

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Roses possess a classic beauty with an unrivaled diversity of shapes, sizes, colors, and fragrances. Blooms may be solitary and delicate, semi-double, open cupped, rosette, pompon, peony-like, buttoned, and ruffled. They may be single stemmed or present a bouquet of several blossoms on a stalk.  Newer disease-resistant varieties brag continuous flowering from the first bud in spring to the final pruning in winter. 

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Best of all, with a little know-how, roses are one of the easiest plants to grow in our gardens offering perennial joy.  Plant them in a formal garden bordered by boxwoods, or add varying heights of roses to a casual mixed backyard bed. Pop them in containers to add elegance to a porch, patio, or balcony. Train climbers and ramblers to grow on arches, gates, trellises, fences, and walls adding vertical appeal.

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February is an excellent month to plant bare root roses. 

How to plant bare root roses

1.    Decide where you want to plant roses. Although some varieties will tolerate a reasonable amount of shade, most roses require at least four hours of daily sunshine.

2.    Once you know the “where”, you can decide the “which”. Peruse rose catalogs and visit your nursery.  You want to purchase the right rose for the right purpose. Make sure that the bare-root roses you select are healthy and sturdy. If planting more than one, it is best to purchase the same color and type of rose in uneven numbers. For example, buy three or five of the same rose for preferable impact.

3.    Soak your roses overnight in a bucket of water to rehydrate them.

4.    Dig a hole large enough to allow the roots to spread.

5.    Spade the soil well and add compost.

6.    After removing each rose from the bucket, place the bare roots of each rose in a separate hole. The bottom of the stems needs to be two to three inches below the top of the hole.

7.    Replace the soil and tap around the rose with your foot until the ground is firm.

8.    Water slowly and deeply.

9.    Mulch with bark, shredded wood, or pine needles to three inches of thickness.  This prevents erosion, controls temperature variations, suppresses weeds, and makes for a prettier presentation.

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Maintenance of your rose garden

1.    Watering properly is key to healthy roses. Water deeply without flooding and be cognizant of your sprinkler system to assure that your roses are not over or under irrigated. 

2.    Fertilize in March, then approximately eight weeks apart starting in May through September. For my first feeding, I like to use alfalfa pellets mixed with diatomaceous earth.

3.    Although the new varieties of roses are more disease resistant, black spot, rust, and powdery mildew remain the culprits to control. Destroy any diseased, fallen leaves.

4.    If you have a plethora of other flowers, your garden will have developed a more natural eco-system, keeping most pests away. Aphids can be sprayed with soapy water, or introduce ladybugs. 

5.    Deadhead as flowers wilt and prune stems back one and a half feet after flushes of flowers to shape your plant.

6.    Once a year, usually towards the end of January, heavy prune roses removing any dead, diseased, or damaged stems. Old wood can be cut from older roses to encourage fresh growth. Shrub roses can be pruned 1/3 to 2/3. Hybrid teas and floribundas should be pruned to ¾. Leave ramblers alone or shape them according to your wishes. Remove the dead wood on climbers and cut the year’s flowering stems back to ¾.

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Whether you decide to cultivate shrub roses, old roses, rambling roses, climbing roses, hybrid teas, tree roses, or floribundas, you will be rewarded with beauty, fragrance, and the ability to create sweet-scented arrangements throughout the year. 

For Valentine’s Day, consider giving your loved one a bouquet of roses and a bare root plant! Double the pleasure! Everything is coming up roses!

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Cynthia Brian’s Gardening Guide for February

  IDENTIFY: With the rains, fungi are at their edible best. If you don’t know how to identify mushrooms that grow in your garden, do not eat them. Buy from a reputable source and enjoy the impressive nutritional benefits of this humble fungus. Whether you eat shitake white, oyster, hen-of-the-woods, Portobello, or others, mushrooms are brimming with phytochemicals, antioxidants, and fiber, all which are packed with anti-inflammatory properties that can protect you from numerous diseases. 

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  APPRECIATE: Daffodils and narcissi have unfurled their blooms suggesting the promise of Printemps.

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  BUY: Growing with the Goddess Gardener is a gift that will give perennially. Order copies with extra freebies at http://www.CynthiaBrian.com/online-store.

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    PERUSE catalogs to create your plan for spring planting.

    FIND a rose with the same name of your partner. If you have the dollars, there are companies that will allow you to name a rose. 

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    ENJOY this final month of garden rest before the busy spring season arrives.

Happy Gardening. Happy Growing. Happy Love Day!

Read more and see photos at https://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue1225/Cynthia-Brians-Gardening-Guide-for-February-Love-is-a-rose.html

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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. 

Cynthai brian & cynthia rose - 5.jpg

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

Buy a copy of her new books, Growing with the Goddess Gardener and Be the Star You Are! Millennials to Boomers at www.cynthiabrian.com/online-store. 

Hire Cynthia for projects, consults, and lectures.

Cynthia@GoddessGardener.com

www.GoddessGardener.com

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Donate to Fire Disaster Relief via Be the Star You Are!® 501 c3 at www.BethestarYouAre.org

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$20.00 Discount on Animated Video with Health at Your Fingertips with Deborah Myers Wellness plus Taming Teens

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Empowerment
$20.00 Discount on Animated Video with Health at Your Fingertips with Deborah Myers Wellness plus Taming Teens

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Do you want to feel stronger, healthier, and more vital? Founder and Director of Health at Your Fingertips, Deborah Myers, is passionate about empowering others to live a balanced, healthy lifestyle.  Deborah helps audiences reduce stress, relieve pain, and begin healing through the use of energy balancing techniques of acupressure and Jin Shin Jyutsu. Deborah will share her techniques for boosting energy, creativity, and productivity and introduce her animated video, the Daily Clean Your House Flow. www.deborahmyerswellness.com. Get a discount on the animated video and ebook — purchaser can select any of the ebooks

$20.00 off of the $89.00 price

Coupon code is

videospecial  (no caps and no spaces)

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Is your young teen moody and emotional? Hormonal changes peak in early adolescence. Parents can help by focusing on what matters most to teens. It’s important to be aware of the signs of serious issues and just normal teen mood swings. Learn a few strategies to modulate the mood for better coping skills. 

Do you find the marvelous in nature? Why do you garden? In Growing with the Goddess Gardener, you’ll discover how a warm summer resides within our souls even in the depths of a frozen winter. www.cynthiabrian.com/books

 

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Deborah Myers’ Biography

Deborah Myers empowers wellness, transforming stress and pain into balance and health. Health at your fingertips comes alive in her programs and workshops for the classroom and workplace. 

Deborah is an Acupressurist and Jin Shin Jyutsu practitioner and has been in private practice for over 20 years. She is founder and director of Deborah Myers Wellness and Health at Your Fingertips. 

She is the author of the Easy Self-Help Acupressure Book Series and the creator of the Daily Clean Your House Flow animated video, a program that allows people of all ages to enjoy more stress-free and productive lives. Her video is an easy way for children to discover less stress, increased focus and improved performance at school, at home and in all extra-curricular activities. 

www.deborahmyerswellness.com

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Listen at Voice America Network, Empowerment Channel: https://www.voiceamerica.com/episode/111102/health-at-your-fingertips-with-deborah-myers-wellness-taming-the

Be the Star You Are! 501 c3 charity offers help, hope, and healing. for California Fire Victims.

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Make a DONATION through PAYPAL GIVING FUND and PAYPAL with 100% going to BTSYA with NO FEES:  https://www.paypal.com/fundraiser/charity/1504

End of Year Newsletter: http://hosted.verticalresponse.com/672296/f1c321b27e/288055965/bbd34d3431/

December Newsletter: 

http://hosted.verticalresponse.com/672296/02a367404a/288055965/ac7221bc2f/

Simple Fundraiser Creation Link: Create fundraisers for Be the Star you Are! with this link:https://www.facebook.com/fund/BTSYAcharity/

Make a DONATION through PAYPAL GIVING FUND and PAYPAL with 100% going to BTSYA with NO FEES:  https://www.paypal.com/fundraiser/charity/1504

JUST PUBLISHED: Be the Star You Are! Millennials to Boomers Celebrating Gifts of Positive Voices in a Changing Digital World and Growing with the Goddess Gardener.

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Available at http://www.CynthiaBrian.com/online-store

Book Newsletter: http://hosted.verticalresponse.com/672296/2e05cd10ed/288381033/82c07ab8f2/

YouTube book announcement: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Ru354Mhvu0&feature=youtu.be

 

Check our Book Reviews at our literacy partner, The Reading Tub: https://thereadingtub.org/books/be-the-star-you-are/

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Discount Software, Digital content. Ebooks, Games: http://www.humblebundle.com/store?partner=1504&charity=1504

Shopping online? #StartWithaSmile at https://smile.amazon.com/ch/94-3333882 . Amazon donates to Be The Star You Are, Inc..

Read our BTSYA Garden Newsletter: lilies-pink.jpg

 

Show your support for your favorite nonprofit by making a generous donation. You will be making a huge difference in someone’s life! Be the Star You Are! is a TOP NON-PROFIT http://greatnonprofits.org/reviews/profile2/be-the-star-you-are-inc

surviving solely on individual donations. Show Your LOVE! https://www.paypal.com/fundraiser/charity/1504

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When you are looking for upbeat, life-changing, and mind-stretching information, you have 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. Catch up with all broadcasts on iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/starstyle-be-the-star-you-are!/id669630180?mt=2

Make a DONATION through PAYPAL GIVING FUND and PAYPAL with 100% going to BTSYA with NO FEES:  https://www.paypal.com/fundraiser/charity/1504

Buy books by Cynthia Brian at http://www.cynthiabrian.com/online-store

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For photos, descriptions, links, archives, and more, visit http://www.StarStyleRadio.com.

Get inspired, motivated, and informed with StarStyle®-Be the Star You Are!®

Lend us Your Ears!!!

Embed StarStyle® Be the Star You Are!® Radio

If you are a fan of the authors, experts, celebrities, and guests that appear regularly on StarStyle®-Be the Star You Are!® radio, you can now be sure to never miss an episode. Embed this code into your WordPress site or any site and you’ll always have Cynthia Brian and all of your favorite pioneers on the planet at your fingertips.  Upbeat, positive, life-changing talk radio broadcasting live each week since 1998. Lend us Your Ears. We are Starstyle®-Be the Star You Are!®

https://www.voiceamerica.com/jwplayer/HostPlayer.html?showid=2206

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Be the Star You Are!® charity. Every Season is for Giving  http://www.paypal.me/BetheStarYouAre

Links you can use for Be the Star You Are!®

Positive Results: http://www.bethestaryouare.org/positive-results

About Us: http://www.bethestaryouare.org/about_us

Programs: http://www.bethestaryouare.org/programs

How to Help: http://www.bethestaryouare.org/how-to-help

Blog: http://www.bethestaryouare.org/blog

Events: http://www.bethestaryouare.org/events

Contact us: http://www.bethestaryouare.org/contact

GREAT NON PROFITS REVIEWS: http://greatnonprofits.org/reviews/be-the-star-you-are-inc/

GUIDESTAR: https://www.guidestar.org/profile/94-3333882

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Need an injection of positivity, passion, & purpose to boost productivity & joy? Invite me into your circle of chaos as we grow confidence & energy through simple coaching techniques that tap into your inner star. Accepting clients. http://www.cynthiabrian.com

Make your life happen!

Starstyle, Be the Star You Are, and Miracle Moments are registered trademarks of Cynthia Brian 

 

Joy to the World

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Joy to the World

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Only those who go where few have gone can see what few have seen.~ Buddha

Did you know that poinsettias grow into trees? Or that mother’s tongue, also known as snake plant, is an excellent fence barrier? Without a thought from whence a plant derives, most of us buy our indoor plants at nurseries, grocery stores, and big-box centers.  Our holiday décor includes colorful tropical specimens that thrive inside.

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On a quest to discover the flora and fauna that bring joy to our world, I traveled to Cuba with a program in support of the Cuban people. Throughout my journey, the diverse and unique landscape constantly changed as our small group of six plus an informative Cuban guide hiked through nature reserves, parks, rainforests, and into the magnificent Escambray Mountains. In 1492 Christopher Columbus discovered Cuba describing it as “the most beautiful land that human eyes had ever seen.”  Supporting 7,500 species of flowering plants with more than 53% being endemic, Cuba is a garden lovers paradise.  

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The rivers, grottos, caves, and waterfalls were dotted with gigantic tree ferns, indigenous species of orchids, tillandsias (air plants), bromeliads, and palms as well as banana, mango, papaya, orange, and grapefruit trees. Philodendrons twined up fifty-foot trees and Ixora commonly called jungle flame or jungle geranium, firespike, and ginger flanked the narrow footpaths.

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Fields of sugar cane, coffee plants, and tobacco straddled the lowlands and hillsides. We traversed log bridges over rushing rivers in Topas de Collantes and were mesmerized by the delicate mimosas. Their leaves instantly closed with the touch of a finger.

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We tiptoed on rocks crossing trickling streams and swam in the poceta de cristal or crystal pond under a waterfall near the top of the mountain.

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A sign on the tree read salto los desparramaderos: translated means “jump the scatters”.  Chuckling, we jumped numerous “scatters”! Tall thick spires of bamboo led to the mouth of the river where rocky stalactites hung from the ceiling of caves and the rocky formations of stalagmites rose from the cavern floor.

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We were fortunate enough to witness the unique Cuban national bird, the trogan tocororo, sitting on a limb in the forest. Its striking feathers are red, white, and blue reflecting those of the national flag. It is said that this endemic bird found only in Cuba will die of sadness in captivity, symbolizing the desire of the people to always be free. It was called guatini by the Taino Indians and is also known as the onomatopoeic tocoloro because of its song. 

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At lunch one day under a thatched canopy, we met the largest endemic land mammal in Cuba, the friendly and curious social rodent, the Cuban Hutia.  Prized as a rare delicacy, it lives in trees and is almost extinct because of over-harvesting. We stopped at a lunch hut in the Zapata Swamp another afternoon but didn’t see any Cuban crocodiles, an endangered species found exclusively in Cuba. 

The produce on this island is always organic, fresh, and delicious. When I commented about the importance of growing and eating organic, our guide informed us that farming organically was not a choice but a necessity because the cost of fertilizers, pesticides, and insecticides are prohibitively expensive. Growing organic is cheaper than using chemicals in farming. Fruits and vegetables are only eaten in season. Pineapple, guava, and bananas are the sweetest I’ve ever tasted anywhere. In Havana, carts of tomatoes, peppers, lettuces, beets, bananas, and cucumbers are pushed through the streets offering a daily rolling farmer’s market to the populace. 

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Nature is what attracted me to Cuba and it didn’t disappoint. After hiking, biking, snorkeling, kayaking, bird watching, horseback riding, and examining the flora and fauna of the island, it was the people that stole my heart.

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They have so little economically speaking, yet they are joyful, full of life, and welcoming to Americans. In the casa particulares where we stayed, tiny Christmas trees or frayed holiday trinkets brightened the small rooms where families gathered, a far cry from the Disneyesque Christmas spectacle I’m accustomed to in my family. Speaking Spanish to several Cubans, I learned of dreams to travel and hopes for a freer future.  

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Not many Americans have had the opportunity to visit this impoverished, yet beautiful Caribbean nation. If you are one of those individuals who want to see what few have seen, consider supporting the Cuban people. You’ll be rewarded with a visit of joy, diversity, and plenty of grateful hugs!

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Cynthia Brian’s Gardening Guide for Bringing a Slice of Cuba to your Landscape

Cuban plants that make great houseplants in California:

Ixora, commonly called jungle flame, flame of the woods, or jungle geranium with clusters of star shaped flowers.

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Poinsettia, a Euphorbia pulcherrima, is the most well-known holiday flower. Although red is the most popular color, the bracts are available in pink, white, salmon, and bi-colors. Poinsettias love warmth and humidity and in Cuba grow to be trees.

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Tillandsias, the largest genus in the bromeliad family, are air plants that will cling to anything. Natural light, soaking, and misting will keep them happy.

Cuba 2018-bromeliads.jpg

Bromeliads, add a touch of the tropics to every home. With flowers of pink, red, and maroon, they require minimal care. Fill the cup at the base with water and let them thrive.

Philodendrons are easy care houseplants. Vining philodendrons need a pole to climb; non- climbing will grow upright without any support. They like bright, indirect sunlight, and enjoy an occasional vacation outdoors in the shade.

Snake plant, also known as mother’s tongue, is one of the air freshener plants. It requires almost no care at all and will keep you breathing freely.

Mimosa pudica, a perennial herb in the pea family, is the touch-me-not-plant. When touched it closes its leaves, titillating audiences.

Cuban plants to grow in your garden:

Gloryblowers (Clerodendrum) make excellent choices for trellises, poles, and other structures in full sun as climbers. Since they are tropical, they need to be protected from frost.

Cuba 2018-gloryblower vine.jpg

Coleus, painted nettle plant, grows outdoors when it is warm, but being a tender specimen, are best grown as a container or houseplant.

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Royal Palm will grow to 60 feet in frost-free areas and is moderately drought resistant, bringing the sway of the island inland.

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Bamboo is a fast-growingCuba 2018-bamboo forest.jpg giant grass that makes an excellent privacy screen. Beware, certain species of bamboo can take over, breaking concrete and sidewalks. 

 

Firespike, odontonema strictum, is an evergreen shrub that tolerates drought producing brilliant panicles of tubular waxy flowers summer through winter.

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Ginger, both ornamental and edible, is easy to grow and incredibly pretty. To grow edible ginger, just break off a piece of a healthy, plump ginger root that you buy at the store and plant in the location you want. Leaves die back in winter. Harvest whenever you need to add spice to life!

Look around your house and garden to identify what botanicals you are growing with a Cuban origin. Wishing you a beautiful holiday season of joy, peace, gratitude, and love.

Happy Gardening. Happy Growing. 

Feliz Navidad y Feliz Jánuca!

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Read more: 

https://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue1221/Digging-Deep-with-Cynthia-Brian-Joy-to-the-world.html

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. http://www.BethestarYouAre.org

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

Buy a copy of her new books, Growing with the Goddess Gardener and Be the Star You Are! Millennials to Boomers at www.cynthiabrian.com/online-store

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Hire Cynthia for projects, consults, and lectures.

Cynthia@GoddessGardener.com

www.GoddessGardener.com

Donate to Fire Disaster Relief via Be the Star You Are!® 501 c3 at www.BethestarYouAre.org

Cuban Adventure, Brain Buzz, Making Scents

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Cuban Adventure, Brain Buzz, Making Scents

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When you hear the word “Cuba”, what do you think? Bay of Pigs, Fidel Castro, Revolution, Cigars, Mafia, Christopher Columbus, Hemingway, pirates?

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Cynthia Brian has just returned from this largest island in the Caribbean on a Support the Cuban People cultural experience and found a rich culture steeped in history with European, African, and Asian influences.

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From UNESCO World Heritage sites to celebrating Cuban music, Cynthia and her new friend from the Cuban adventure, Paul Devaney, bring you along as they reminisce about participating in the daily life of the charming people, hiking and horseback riding through the mountain forests, enjoying delicious dishes, photographing breathtaking flora, and kayaking, swimming, and snorkeling in the crystal aqua seas.

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Want to learn a few simple tricks to keep your brain healthier? If even one of the tips resonates with you, your brain will benefit and so will your overall wellness.

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Freshen the air in your home with a calming aroma. Cynthia Brian explains how to make potpourri, homemade incense, and other fragrant packages with flowers and herbs from your garden.

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Guest Bio: Paul Devaney

Paul Devaney, a 2nd Dan Black Belt in Tae Kwon Do and Black Belt in Aikido and an FAA Certified Flight Instructor recently retired after twenty-five years working with the postal service. He teaches an informal martial art fitness class 5-6 times a month and is a daily practitioner of S.A.V.E.R.S. “Win the morning seize the day”  He’s been married for over 30 years to his beautiful wife, Cleo and has twin daughters who both work in breweries on opposite coasts. Besides traveling, he is considering playing guitar more, writing a novel, and learning a foreign language or two!

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Listen at Voice America Network, Empowerment Channel: : https://www.voiceamerica.com/episode/111070/cuban-adventure-brain-buzz-making-scents

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Be the Star You Are! 501 c3 charity offers help, hope, and healing. for California Fire Victims.

BTSYA Operation Disaster Relief. Please donate. http://ow.ly/ks8A30lekGe

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Make a DONATION through PAYPAL GIVING FUND and PAYPAL with 100% going to BTSYA with NO FEES:  https://www.paypal.com/fundraiser/charity/1504

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November Newsletter: 

http://hosted.verticalresponse.com/672296/3b195abe0b/288055965/ac7221bc2f/

Simple Fundraiser Creation Link

Create fundraisers for Be the Star You Are! with this link:https://www.facebook.com/fund/BTSYAcharity/

Make a DONATION through PAYPAL GIVING FUND and PAYPAL with 100% going to BTSYA with NO FEES:  https://www.paypal.com/fundraiser/charity/1504

JUST PUBLISHED: Be the Star You Are! Millennials to Boomers Celebrating Positive Voices in a Changing Digital World and Growing with the Goddess Gardener. Available at www.CynthiaBrian.com/online-store

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Book Newsletter: http://hosted.verticalresponse.com/672296/2e05cd10ed/288381033/82c07ab8f2/

YouTube book announcement: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Ru354Mhvu0&feature=youtu.be

Check our Book Reviews at our literacy partner, The Reading Tub: https://thereadingtub.org/books/be-the-star-you-are/

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Discount Software, Digital content. Ebooks, Games: http://www.humblebundle.com/store?partner=1504&charity=1504

Shopping online? #StartWithaSmile at https://smile.amazon.com/ch/94-3333882 . Amazon donates to Be The Star You Are, Inc..

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Read our BTSYA Garden Newsletter: http://hosted.verticalresponse.com/672296/8417ebf8e3/288055965/329f30721c/

Show your support for your favorite nonprofit by making a generous donation. You will be making a huge difference in someone’s life! Be the Star You Are! is a TOP NON-PROFIT http://greatnonprofits.org/reviews/profile2/be-the-star-you-are-inc surviving solely on individual donations. Show Your LOVE! https://www.paypal.com/fundraiser/charity/1504

When you are looking for upbeat, life-changing, and mind-stretching information, you have 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. Catch up with all broadcasts on iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/starstyle-be-the-star-you-are!/id669630180?mt=2

Cuba 2018-Bay of Pigs.jpg

Make a DONATION through PAYPAL GIVING FUND and PAYPAL with 100% going to BTSYA with NO FEES:  https://www.paypal.com/fundraiser/charity/1504

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Buy books by Cynthia Brian at http://www.cynthiabrian.com/online-store

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For photos, descriptions, links, archives, and more, visit http://www.StarStyleRadio.com.

Get inspired, motivated, and informed with StarStyle®-Be the Star You Are!®

Lend us Your Ears!!!

Embed StarStyle® Be the Star You Are!® Radio

If you are a fan of the authors, experts, celebrities, and guests that appear regularly on StarStyle®-Be the Star You Are!® radio, you can now be sure to never miss an episode. Embed this code into your WordPress site or any site and you’ll always have Cynthia Brian and all of your favorite pioneers on the planet at your fingertips.  Upbeat, positive, life-changing talk radio broadcasting live each week since 1998. Lend us Your Ears. We are Starstyle®-Be the Star You Are!®

https://www.voiceamerica.com/jwplayer/HostPlayer.html?showid=2206

Be the Star You Are!® charity. Every Season is for Giving  http://www.paypal.me/BetheStarYouAre

Links you can use for Be the Star You Are!®

Positive Results: http://www.bethestaryouare.org/positive-results

About Us: http://www.bethestaryouare.org/about_us

Programs: http://www.bethestaryouare.org/programs

How to Help: http://www.bethestaryouare.org/how-to-help

Blog: http://www.bethestaryouare.org/blog

Events: http://www.bethestaryouare.org/events

Contact us: http://www.bethestaryouare.org/contact

GREAT NON PROFITS REVIEWS: http://greatnonprofits.org/reviews/be-the-star-you-are-inc/

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Starstyle, Be the Star You Are, and Miracle Moments are registered trademarks of Cynthia Brian 

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