Tag Archives

72 Articles

Landscaping for Fire Prevention

Posted by Felix Assivo on
0
Empowerment
Landscaping for Fire Prevention

agave.jpeg

By Cynthia Brian

“Fire is never a gentle master.” Proverb

This past year most of our conversations have revolved around the pandemic, masking wearing, and questions about recovery and normalcy. With the impending drought, an urgent topic that is on the minds of Californians is the potential for wildfires. With increasing climate changes and the trend of global warming, it is not a matter of if we’ll be faced with fires, it is when. 

We can do our part to protect our property as best as possible through firescaping, a landscape design that reduces house and property vulnerability to wildfire. While enhancing the beauty of the property and creating a defensible space, we surround the house with plants that are less likely to ignite. Fires respect no boundaries and fires don’t honor property lines. With enough heat, almost everything burns.

Our neck of the woods is rural and wooded. We have minimal escape routes and must be extra vigilant. 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. Coyote brush, although moderately fire-resistant when it is young and green, is highly combustible as it grows. It depends on fires to regenerate and grows everywhere in our hills. These plants need to be removed or carefully supervised. Since heat moves up, fire speed and severity are stronger on slopes where vegetation management is crucial.

A defensible space is an area around a structure that has been cleared of ignitable debris and botanicals that may cause a public safety hazard. A watered, green lawn can be considered a defensible space. A large brick, stone, or gravel area could be part of a defensible space.

sprinklers on lawn.jpeg

No plant is fireproof. 

Under the right conditions, every plant will burn, especially those that are drought-stressed or not maintained. Pruning of all plants makes them less flammable. A “fire-safe” plant means that it tends not to be a significant fuel source with a chemical composition that resists heat and combustion. It is critical to keep plants around our homes well-tended and pruned as a fire protection tool. The closer plants are to the house, the more care is needed. 

Every homeowner is responsible for managing their vegetation to meet Fire District requirements. For MOFD requirements, combustible materials must be two feet away from a structure and plantings no taller than two feet high. Low-growing ground coverings and green grass are suitable as well as river rock, gravel, or crushed granite. Trees that are within six feet of the structure need to be removed, specifically eucalyptus, pine, bamboo, and junipers.

Neighborhoods are encouraged to form a committee to receive advice from local fire professionals on how to be Fire Wise. Being Fire Wise is dependent on the diligence of everyone in a neighborhood to keep a property fire safe. All properties become indefensible when one neighbor has overgrown bushes, brush, or low hanging trees. Neighbors must protect neighbors by making certain their properties are maintained. Again, fires do not honor property lines.

Characteristics of highly flammable flora

  • o Dry and dead leaves, twigs, branches
  • o Abundant, dense foliage
  • o Needles
  • o Low moisture foliage
  • o Peeling, loose bark
  • o Gummy sap
  • o Leathery, dry, or aromatic leaves
  • o Content of terpene, oils, or resin
  • o Dry uncut grasses

Characteristics of reasonably fire-resistant plants?

  • o Hardy, slow-growing plants that don’t produce litter or thatch.
  • o Drought tolerant natives with internal high-water content. Generally, but not always, California natives are more tolerant of fire and deer.
  • o 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 more fire-resistant because they have higher moisture content when in leaf, lower fuel volume when dormant, and usually do not contain flammable oils.
  • o Supple, moist leaves with little to no sap or resin residue.
  • o Low growing ground covers.
  • o Bulbs with dried leaves cut to the ground.
  • o What can you do now to create a more fire-resistant landscape?
  • o Include pavers, bricks, pavement, gravel, rocks, dry creek beds, fountains, ponds, pools, and lawns. 
  • o Select high moisture plants that grow close to the ground with a low sap and resin content
  • o Plant the right plant in the correct location. Leave space between plants.
  • o Minimize the inclusion of evergreen trees within thirty feet of structures. Clear the understory. Keep trees twenty feet away from chimneys. 
  • o Remove invasive species or swaths of flammable plants including ivy, rosemary, broom, coyote brush, chamise, and juniper.
  • o Keep mulch moist. Create zones of rock, brick, or gravel. Bark and leaves are not mulches recommended near structures.
  • o Prune trees 6-10 feet above the ground to hinder fire laddering.
  • o Keep appropriate clearance to reduce the threat of burning embers from decorative features such as gazebos, fences, sheds, porches, and junk areas.  
  • o Irrigate and maintain all flora, lawns, and hillsides. Clover, groundcovers, and grasses that are kept low and green are excellent alternatives. 
  • o Due to soil erosion, bare ground is not recommended.
  • gravel path.jpeg

Prone to Ignite Plants

If you have these specimens in your garden, prune and maintain appropriately or eliminate them.

Acacia

Arborvitae or Thuya

Bamboo

Greasewood or Chamise

French, Spanish, and Scotch Broom

Ivy

Cypress

Eucalyptus

Juniper

Burning Bush or Gas plant

Pampas Grass

Palm

Pine

Rosemary

Cedar

Douglas Fir

Coyote Bush

Pride of Madeira 

General Rules of Fire Safety

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

  • o Prevent embers from igniting your home by clearing leaves, needles, and debris from gutters, eaves, porches, and decks.
  • o Mow grasses and weeds.
  • o Keep your garden watered.
  • o Prune tree limbs to keep the lowest branches 6-10 feet from the ground.
  • o Reduce “fire fuel laddering” by not allowing bushes or trees to touch one another.
  • o Keep combustible materials 15-30 feet away from structures.
  • o Maintain your property and be alert for any fire danger.
  • river rock canal (1).jpeg

Weed abatement must be completed by June 1st. Get out there and get your landscape more fire-resistant. We all have a responsibility to one another to help keep our community from experiencing a wildfire. 

Happy Gardening. Happy Growing. Be fire safe.

Photos: https://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue1507/Digging-Deep-with-Goddess-Gardener-Cynthia-Brian-Wildfire-protection-through-landscaping.html

cyn-flowering cherry.jpeg

Cynthia Brian, The Goddess Gardener, is available for hire to help you prepare for your spring garden. Raised in the vineyards of Napa County, Cynthia is a New York Times best-selling author, actor, radio personality, speaker, media and writing coach as well as the Founder and Executive Director of Be the Star You Are!® 501 c3. Tune into Cynthia’s StarStyle® Radio Broadcast at www.StarStyleRadio.com.

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

cyntha brian with books.jpg

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

Cynthia@GoddessGardener.com

www.GoddessGardener.com

Listen to StarStyle®-Be the Star You Are! on the Voice America Radio Network Wednesdays 4-5pm PT LIVE or in the archives at https://www.voiceamerica.com/show/2206/be-the-star-you-are

TIME TO GO! Emergency Prep

Posted by Felix Assivo on
0
Empowerment
TIME TO GO! Emergency Prep

Go bags.jpeg

If an emergency occurred while you were at home, work, or play, and you are forced to evacuate to another location, would you be prepared or panicked? This scenario could happen anywhere at any time.  With preparation, you will be ready to go.

A “Go Bag” is a bag filled with all the necessities you, your family, and your animals will need for one to three days. You will want to pack this emergency kit for every vehicle as well as have an additional one in your home in a closet or space closest to your exit door. The reason for keeping a “Go Bag” in your car at all times is because you may be caught in an earthquake, fire, or another disaster when you are not at home. By also keeping a “Go Bag” at home, in the event of an immediate evacuation, you will have additional reinforcements.

 

Here’s what you need to pack an emergency “Go Bag”

In a backpack, small suitcase, shoulder bag, or roller bag pack the following:

First Aid kit

Duplicate chargers for phones, tablets, and computers

Copies of important documents including passport, drivers license, credit cards, insurance

Work gloves

Warm gloves

Towelettes

Small towel

Bottled water (1 gallon per person per day)

Thick Blanket

Walking shoes

Socks

Warm jacket

Peanut butter

Honey

Protein bars

Personal hygiene kit with a toothbrush, soap, medications

Matches

Candle

Flashlight and headlamp with extra batteries

Eating utensils and plates

Breathing masks (Niosh-N95)

Clothing change

Reading Glasses

Extra set of keys to home, office, etc.

Pet necessities: food, leash, medications

Cash

Toilet Paper

At your home, have a sign already made with your name, phone number, address, and the words “SAFELY EVACUATED” sitting on top of your “Go Bag” accompanied by a roll of blue painter’s tape. In an evacuation, when you exit your home, tape the sign (time permitting) to the door so the first responders will know that you have left. When told to evacuate, do so without question.  Take one vehicle to avoid clogging escape routes. Stay calm.

Other things to do in preparation for an emergency:

  • Make a rescue plan with your family and practice an evacuation.
  • Decide where you will meet up if separated and where to go in an emergency.
  • Back up important documents to the cloud or keep paper copies in a safe deposit box.
  • Get a landline phone for emergency purposes only. They work without electricity.
  • Know how to manually open automatic gates and garage doors.
  • Connect with neighbors to create a support safety team.
  • Keep your gas tank full on all vehicles.
  • Store your laptop, keys, purse, wallet, and other “must take” items in one place for swift retrieval.
  • Sign up for emergency alerts vis nixle.com and www.cwsalerts.com

Earthquakes may not provide any warning, and a devastating wildfire may give you only a minute or two to grab your family and your bag.  Natural disasters are on the rise and catastrophes can happen to you. Get ready to go!

More at: https://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue1507/Packing-an-emergency-Go-Bag.html

©2021 Cynthia Brian is a New York Times best-selling author of several books, TV/Radio personality/producer, lecturer, columnist, enrichment coach, and Founder/Executive Director of Be the Star You Are!® 501 c3. In her spare time, Cynthia can be found working in her garden or playing with her barnyard of adopted animals. www.CynthiaBrian.com

Listen to StarStyle®-Be the Star You Are! on the Voice America Radio Network Wednesdays 4-5pm PT LIVE or in the archives at https://www.voiceamerica.com/show/2206/be-the-star-you-are

cyntha brian with books.jpg

Courage to Continue-Good Things are Coming!

Posted by Felix Assivo on
0
Empowerment
Courage to Continue-Good Things are Coming!
“>

t-shirt_btsya_outlines.jpg

Click to view this email in a browser

May 17, 2021
Covid-19 Vaccine
Courage to Continue!
Get Vaccinated. Life is Precious.
large_box_top.gif

MIRACLE MOMENT®

“It takes great courage to see the world in its tainted glory and still love it.” Oscar Wilde


NASH BRIDGES MOVIE SET (1)Spring ushers a sentiment of hope, optimism, and opportunity. The population of our planet have endured fifteen long months of the Covid-19 pandemic, social distancing, mask wearing, isolation, civic unrest, political polarity, and so many devastating deaths. Yet, we all can see the glimmer of light at the end of the dark tunnel.

Nature has blossomed, the weather has warmed, and as people get vaccinated we ensure the safety of our families, friends, and neighbors. Employment is picking up and the economy is growing.

In an effort to keep art and culture alive. throughout the pandemic, Be the Star You Are!® pivoted our two radio broadcasts to showcase the talents of actors, artists, authors, poets, musicians, and other performers who had lost their ability to be in front of an audience as all venues closed and went dark. Creatives add the fun and entertainment to our lives and recovery means bringing back the arts. As an actor and author who also lost the ability to work during this crisis, I fully empathized with my colleagues.

My spirit was enhanced this week when I was cast and acted in the new Nash Bridges movie shooting in San Francisco. It was my first time being back on a film set since February 2020 when I worked in Venom 2. Every protective protocol was followed including pre-testing, temperature taking, social distancing, mask wearing for the full shoot, except between the words “action” and “cut”. Despite the colder weather and long hours, everyone felt blessed to be working and doing what they do best.

What many people who have binge-watching TV this past year don’t realize is that Covid didn’t only take away employment from the actors, but from every crew member in every department from lighting, grip and electric, sound, wardrobe, hair and make-up, production assistants, art, craft services, camera, assistant directors, location managers, film production, agents, casting, drivers, stunts, props, music, and all the rest of the individuals who work in those credits that you see rolling at the end of a TV show or film. SAG/AFTRA has been at the forefront of negotiating to get everyone back to work safely.

Although the impact of the pandemic will be with us for a long time and we must remain vigilant to stay healthy, we can be optimistic that we will slowly return to a new normal. Read below how Be the Star You Are!® volunteers are creating beauty and meaning in their lives during these difficult times. If you want great books to read for yourself or your children, check out the hundreds of book reviews by our Star Book Review Team on our creative site at http://www.btsya.com/book_reviews.html. Also read book reviews at our literacy partner, The Reading Tub at https://thereadingtub.org/books/be-the-star-you-are/ .

Until then, be courageous. I am grateful for the vaccine and encourage you to get your shot as soon as possible. Continue living gracefully.

Life is Beautiful! Smell the roses!

Angelface roses

Blessings to you,

Cynthia Brian

Founder/Executive Director

Be the Star You Are!®

PO Box 376

Moraga, California 94556

Cynthia@BetheStarYouAre.org

https://www.BetheStarYouAre.org

http://www.BTSYA.org

P.S. I am grateful and very honored to be included in the Points of Light Inspiration Honor Roll, celebrating individuals that have inspired others throughout the year and have demonstrated a commitment to create positive change. This is a lovely tribute. https://www.pointsoflight.org/inspirationhonorroll2021/

DONATE: https://www.paypal.com/fundraiser/charity/1504

large_box_bottom.gif


TEEN VOLUNTEER STARTS BOOK CLUB

Samantha reedMy name is Samantha Reed and I have recently started a book club in the Wake County Area of North Carolina. Our club is open to high school students in and around the Wake County area, and we focus on all genres of books. I have always loved reading, and found it one of my main ways I have helped cope with the lockdown. We started this club to share our love for reading in a fun environment. I have found that most people associate books with schoolwork, or have only read assigned books, and that is why they do not enjoy reading. I wanted people to be able to experience other genres and immerse themselves in the worlds that I have come to love. It always makes me happy when one of my friends who hasn’t read for fun in years tells me how much they loved my book recommendation. The club has helped me do this, as well as connect with people from all over Wake County. Reading is a great way to have interesting discussions with people you have never met. Over the past few weeks we have set up an instagram account, reached out to friends, and talked with other people who have started book clubs. My hope is that people will want to get involved in

the community as a club, and extend our activities beyond just discussing books.

Samantha Reed is a volunteer with the Be the Star You Are!® Book Review Team program , and is a high school freshman who devotes time to work with volunteer sites to inspire others to read and write. Samantha started a book club in North Carolina called The Page Turners in hopes of creating a community of high school students who love to read, write, and give back to the community.


CYNTHIA BRIAN, BTSYA EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR HONORED BY POINTS OF LIGHT

Moraga Faire-cynthia BrianFounder and Executive Director of Be the Star You Are!®, Cynthia Brian is recognized and featured on the @PointsofLight Inspiration Honor Roll. The Points of Light Honor Roll celebrates outstanding individuals who take action to help brighten communities and improve the lives of others. Since 1999, Cynthia Brian has dedicated her untiring leadership to Be the Star You Are!® and its volunteers without pay but plenty of passion. The George W. Bush Points of Light Awards honor those who demonstrate the power of service and who are driving significant and sustained impact through their everyday actions and words that light the path for other points of light. Visit the 2021 Honor Roll and meet the honorees https://www.pointsoflight.org/inspirationhonorroll2021/.  Congratulations Cynthia. This is well-deserved.


SHOPPING?

We have suggestions for you to shop, save, and stay safe. Please use these web sites for all of your shopping essentials.

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

2020 Amazon smile logo

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

Giving Assistant Icon 234x60

3. Giving Assistant: Shop. Earn. Give! Use Giving Assistant to earn cash at 3500+ popular online stores :https://givingassistant.org/np#be-the-star-you-are-inc

4. Shop at over 1300 stores on IGIVE: http://www.iGive.com/BTSYA

2020 IGIVE logo

5. Buy “Read, Lead, Succeed” black tanks and books at StarStyle® Store: http://www.starstylestore.net/

T-shirts

Cynthia Brian books banner 3

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

Continue to be Courageous!



IN LOVE WITH LOVE!

by Swakemyua Muhammad

Es otro día en el paraíso, mi amor.

Eres tan hermoso.

Tu tiempo es precioso.

Tu eres mi mundo.

Eres mi corozon.

Eres mi vida.

Yo vivo por ti.

Te amo.

Swakemyua mohammed (1) 2

My name is Swakemyua Muhammad born and raised in Oakland California. I am a Poet, a Farmer and an Entrepreneur in women’s fashion.  Three of my long time favorite activities as I grew up was and still is reading, writing and critical thinking. I have a passion for compassion towards humanity. As Founder and Designer of Sexy With A Kiss, one of my personal goals in life is to educate and empower through infinitely stimulating the worlds senses with quantum cognitive linguistics.

 Instagram: Sexywithakisslove

Facebook: sexy with a kiss

 
Mojammed's log


Bell (2)Walking among the stunning natural red rock formations in Sedona, Arizona is like experiencing beautiful works of art come to life.

Early morning hikes provide solitude with an occasional chirping melody or gentle breeze.  Prickly pear cactus, often seen along the way, add a sense of uniqueness.

While hiking to Boynton Canyon, the magical sounds of a flute player can be heard coming from the summit.  A kind gentleman makes it his life’s purpose to bring incredible music to these spiritual grounds.  Before travelers depart, he gives each person the gift of a hand-carved, red stone heart which he creates.  His wish, like ours, is simply to scatter kindness everywhere we go.

karen kitchel Sedona

Karen Kitchel who penned two chapters in the book, Be the Star You Are! Millennials to Boomers Celebrating Gifts of Positive Voices in a Changing Digital World, is the Kindness Coordinator volunteer with BTSYA. She serves meals to the homeless and is a volunteer teacher, writer, job coach, and mentor. (Photo by Larry Teckenbrock) www.scatteringkindness.com

Scatter Kindess 2


EDU_TAINMENT WITH BE THE STAR YOU ARE! RADIO

2021-brian-banner.jpg
LIVE on Wednesdays from 4-5pm PT, be entertained, informed, amused, and educated on StarStyle-Be the Star You Are!. Then be inspired and motivated on

Sundays from 3-4pm PT, it’s Express Yourself! Teen Radio with our Be the Star You Are! star teen hosts and reporters.
 
Express Yourself orange 72x24 banner-1 2
 
You’ll meet authors, actors, artists, activists, musicians, poets, scientists, educators, and other creatives. Enjoy our upbeat, authentic, and fun radio parties on the Voice America Network Empowerment Channel or wherever you like to listen. 
Visit https://www.StarStyleRadio.com for our line-up of guests.
on air logo


DIRECT LINKS


Be the Star You Are! 501 c3
PO Box 376
Moraga, California 94556
https://www.BetheStarYouAre.org


Be the Star You Are!®

PO Box 376

Moraga, California 94556

Cynthia@BetheStarYouAre.org

https://www.BetheStarYouAre.org

http://www.BTSYA.org

GARDEN PARTY PREP WITH the Goddess Gardener, cynthia Brian

Posted by Felix Assivo on
0
Empowerment
GARDEN PARTY PREP WITH the Goddess Gardener, cynthia Brian

purple sea foam statice.jpeg


Digging Deep with Goddess Gardener, Cynthia Brian
Azaleas do well in shady areas and will bloom profusely. Photos Cynthia Brian

“I was reared in the garden, you know.” ~ Emily Dickenson
If you are like most people who have been hibernating and following CDC social distancing protocols during the pandemic, you are probably itching for a gathering of friends and family. If you have been vaccinated (and, I hope you have), small outdoor get-togethers without masks are considered relatively safe.
Is your garden and patio area ready for a party? While many people have baked bread, learned to crochet, or tackled puzzles, I have been busy helping clients prepare their landscapes for small garden shindigs as well as creating quiet spaces as a peaceful, restorative sanctuary.
You don’t have to do an entire expensive makeover to make your place look pretty and presentable. There are several ways to get a streamlined look on a budget that you can afford.
I call these “garden hacks” and I’ll share suggestions with you.
Walk around your exterior perimeter and take notes. What areas need more TLC? Do you have debris anywhere or everywhere? What about weeds, broken or dead branches, or an overabundance of fallen leaves? The first thing you want to do is clean. Remove whatever is broken and not fixable, recycle or re-purpose other items. Rake the leaves and put them in the compost pile or green bin. With pruning shears, cut any dead branches on shrubs or trees and remove dead or dry foliage.
Next, tackle the weeds. If weeds are growing in beds, it is best to pull them by hand. If they are on a hillside or area without many other plants, you might be able to use a weed-eater. My preference is always hand-pulling to get the roots. Pulling out the roots ensures that they won’t sprout again this season.
Once your garden is free of weeds, check the soil. If it is hard and compacted, it behooves you to bring in bags of enriched compost before planting. Soil is the foundation of verdant growth. With our glorious spring weather, blooming flowers, trees, and shrubs are in abundance at nurseries and garden centers. Before it gets too hot, you’ll want to add any shrubs or color spots. Until plantings are established, you will need to water deeply and often. I prefer to plant colorful perennials, biennials, and bulbs that will return in future seasons. Some of my favorites are azaleas, foxgloves, delphinium, lavender, roses, and calla lily, all available in several colors. To soften a fence or arbor, I recommend clematis, honeysuckle, or jasmine. Wisteria is a strong, spreading vine that requires heavy-duty support systems. Also, seek drought-tolerant species and succulents. In my garden, I like to create a painter’s palette of color with minimal spacing between plants, however, strategically placing just a few select plants is impressively impactful.
Ornamental grasses are easy to care for and add a natural stream-like flow to a garden. Clumping bamboo is excellent as a rustling screen that blows in the breeze. Both offer a feeling of serenity and calmness to any space.
After you have planted, you’ll want to top-dress with mulch to enhance the aesthetics, increase moisture retention, and minimize weed growth. You can buy wood chips in at least three different colors: red, black, and forest brown by the bag or you can order other varieties in bulk. Any flammable mulches such as chips, bark, straw, or pine needles must be distanced two feet from structures as per the fire ordinance. Gravel or rocks can be placed around the structure as a preventive measure.
Add steppingstones surrounded by small pebbles or pea gravel to enhance a dirt path. Gravel and rocks add texture, and the crunching sound is soothing. If your porch or deck needs refinishing and that project is not in your current plan or budget, buy inexpensive indoor/outdoor carpeting or rugs in natural tones to temporally cover the flaws and make walking comfortable and splinter-free.
When it comes to patio furniture, take an inventory of the condition of what you have. Can it last another summer with a bit of cleaning and updating? Do you need new pillows and pads, or can you just wash and refresh the ones you own? I recently worked on a project where the homeowners were going to discard their table and chairs because they were rusting. Their dilemma was that they didn’t have the time nor the money to invest in new patio furniture before a scheduled garden get-together for a few vaccinated friends. My suggestion was to use a little elbow grease: scrub, sand, and spray-paint. It took only a couple of hours, and the result was that the set looked brand new. Painting is one of the greatest hacks offering immediate, inexpensive results.
Another hack that I employ regularly is adding cut seafoam statice to area pots or beds where a little pizzaz is needed. Bunches of straw-like statice will hold their purple color for weeks without additional water. Shaded areas with comfortable seating invite a cooling, quieting, and relaxing experience. Umbrellas add sophistication to a patio and two or three strips of vintage- looking LED Edison-bulb lighting to provide a warm inviting glow in the evening. Lay a row of tube lights on the ground behind hedges for ethereal illumination.
The smart choice when planning the party bites is to offer individually cupped appetizers to eliminate people double-dipping. Home-grown (or farmers’ market) carrots, celery, and peppers cut into long slices standing on top of hummus in tiny tableware mount a pretty display as well as a nutritious one. Cones with charcuteries adorned with springs of rosemary, orange slices, and berries will entice any carnivore. For drinks, individual bottles or cans of favorite beverages will quench thirsty friends. Glasses can be marked with the names of the guests.
Finally, fresh, free-flowing flower arrangements picked from a profusion of blooms from your garden will be a conversation starter. The ones I created for the event were a mixture of calendula, Jupiter’s beard, Mexican sage, mixed with mock orange which added a heady perfume to the outdoor occasion. After the festivities, the bouquets became fragrant favorites indoors.
I was reared in the garden and am proud of being a nature lady. By using these simple hacks, you are ready to host your outdoor garden party with your vaccinated friends. Give it your best shot!
Happy Gardening. Happy Growing.
REMINDERS
– Compliance deadline for wildfire risk is June 1. Make sure to cut your tall grasses, prune tree limbs to a minimum of six feet from the ground and away from roofs. Keep two feet of combustible ground covers including bark or mulch away from structures. Gravel is a good medium to use in this area. Also, plantings need to have a one-foot clearance above the ground. Clean out gutters and roof area of debris. Trim trees away from chimneys and remove flammable liquids and other matter away from your home.
– Once your daffodils, tulips, woodland hyacinths, and Naked ladies’ foliage have dried, remove them from the plant. By allowing the leaves to yellow, the plant is receiving its nutrition to develop flowers for the next season. The leaves can be added to the compost pile.
– Keep a bucket in your shower and use the water on your indoor plants.
– Empty all outdoor vessels of standing water. Even a teacup saucer will breed mosquitoes.
– Snakes are now out and about. Garter, King, and gopher snakes are great friends to our gardens.
Calla lilies are elegant and flower annually. Photos Cynthia Brian
Purple statice fills the back of a former solar light pelican Photos Cynthia Brian
The former dirt path is improved with black pebbles, steppingstones, and lined with mulch. Photos Cynthia Brian
As a highlight to your vaccinated outdoor gathering, make charcuterie cones with a slice of orange and a sprig of rosemary. Photos Cynthia Brian
Before planting, starting to put mulch, mostly bare ground.
After planting with mulch the appearance is much more appealing.
The repainted table holds a loose arrangement picked from the garden: calendula, Mexican sage, Jupiter’s beard, and mock orange blossoms.
Sliced celery, peppers, and carrots in an individual cup of hummus are a tasty appetizer.
A blue clematis is a great addition to a fence or arbor. .
 Cynthia Brian in the spring garden with purple wisteria

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!r 501 c3. Tune into Cynthia’s StarStyler Radio Broadcast at www.StarStyleRadio.com. Buy copies of her best-selling books, including, Chicken Soup for the Gardener’s Soul, Growing with the Goddess Gardener, and Be the Star You Are! Millennials to Boomers at www.cynthiabrian.com/online-store. Receive a FREE inspirational music DVD. Hire Cynthia for writing projects, garden consults, and inspirational lectures. Cynthia@GoddessGardener.com www.GoddessGardener.com

No Showers for May Flowers

Posted by Felix Assivo on
0
Empowerment
No Showers for May Flowers

flowering cherry.jpeg

“My garden is my most beautiful work of art” – Claude Monet

We’ve all heard the adage, “April showers bring May flowers!”  We have the flowers this year, but April precipitation did not materialize. 2021 is lining up to be the third driest year in the history of California. And that means that we must be more diligent than ever to prepare our properties for a season of increased wildfires.

I have been weeding my property with every spare minute since February. It is essential to pull out weeds by the roots, else they return promptly. This is round three and the resulting garden is looking beautiful.  I’ve been experimenting with mixing flowers of iridescent pinks with buttery yellows and pumpkin orange accented by sky blue and bold purple. The palette has taken on an Impressionistic essence of which Monet would be proud.

after weeding.jpeg

April and May have always been my favorite months because of the plethora of blooms, birds, and fragrances. The perfume of the jasmine permeates the morning air, the lilac scents the afternoon sunshine, while the wisteria and mock orange infuse the evening with glorious aromas. 

mock orange blossoms.jpeg

My two thornless Lady Banksia rose bushes with their profusion of creamy double-petaled flowers have commandeered thirty linear feet of a fence as well as twined to the tops of a plum and chestnut tree.

lady banksia roses.jpeg

The flowering cherry tree showcases puffy blossoms resembling pink snowballs. The mock orange tree’s white blooms are candy for the bees. The cerise flowers of the Western redbud tree offer a gorgeous contrast to the unfurling green leaves of the honey locust trees. Under a canopy of pines and surrounded by white calla lilies and lacy hemlock, a New Zealand hawthorn brightens the verdant scene with clouds of blush blooms.

new zealand hawthorn in bloom, callas.jpeg

Bearded irises in a variety of colors are delicate and fragrant. Azaleas and camellias thrive in the shadow of the redwoods. Freesias, tulips, daffodils, calendulas, anemones continue their carnival of blooms. Despite the lack of rain, the spring display is splendor in the grass.

fountain and flowers.jpeg

In many parts of the country, people wait until after Mother’s Day to start planting their vegetables but because of the warmth of this season, I advise that you get started soon. Getting children involved with planting vegetables and herbs will encourage them to eat what they plant. After researchers spent time with children in Central Texas who had gardens and gardening classes at their schools, they discovered that the nutrition of both parents and children improved. Also, those who participated began enjoying more vegetables. 

oregano.jpeg

If you are planning a vegetable patch, buy pint or quart size containers of your favorite vegetables. Don’t attempt to plant everything you see at the nursery. Only plant what you and your family love. For example, for my spring veggie garden, I’ve planted nine varieties of tomatoes as I’m a tomato snob. I only eat tomatoes in season and prefer only tomatoes that I, a friend, or a family member grows. Also planted are eggplant, zucchini, cucumbers, and peppers. Already growing are a plethora of herbs including basil, oregano, fennel, sage, thyme, dill, cilantro as well as leafy greens of arugula, sorrel, lettuce, and sugar snap peas, artichokes, onions, chives, strawberries, and broccoli. 

onions, allium,-fennel.jpeg

Make sure that you rotate your crops from year to year so as not to deplete the soil. Most summer vegetables require a minimum of six hours of sunlight. Read and follow the instructions that come with your plant.

Another beautiful, long-flowering, and excellent fresh-cut for arrangements is the dahlia. Although they are supposed to be deer-resistant, the deer that graze around my property seem to find them delicious.  I don’t advise dahlias to be planted in areas where you have marauders. Dahlias produce large, colorful blooms and are a welcome addition to any garden. Here’s how to get them started in your landscape:

  1. 1. Choose a well-drained area with plenty of sunlight.
  2. 2. Plant the tubers after the danger of frost have passed.
  3. 3. Dig a hole about a foot deep and amend with compost or potting soil.
  4. 4. Place the tuber flat and cover with the amended soil.
  5. 5. Make a patch of dahlias spaced 12-36” apart for maximum impact.
  6. 6. Water immediately.
  7. 7. After sprouting, pinch off the side buds to allow the central blowers to be larger.
  8. 8. Deadhead as flowers fade to maintain blooming. 
  9. dahlias.jpeg

Because of the arid times in which we are living, make sure to cut all tall wild grasses, trim limbs up from the ground six to ten feet to prevent fire laddering, and clear a safety zone around your home. Clean out gutters, remove debris, be cautious when barbecuing and careful around the fire pit. Keep gardens irrigated, watering early in the morning or early in the evening. Be diligent and responsible to help prevent a fire from igniting. Pray for rain yet be prepared for drought. 

arrangement of mums, roses, berries.jpeg

Mother’s Day is approaching and a welcome gift for mom can always be found in the garden. Consider a bubbling fountain, birdhouse, or colorful annuals to plant. Make a simple arrangement using flowers from the garden accompanied by a garden book that will be treasured always.

Cynthia Brian'Growing with the Goddess Gardener book copy.jpg

Whatever you do, let your Mom know how much she means to you whether it is through a virtual visit or an in-person brunch, picnic, or walk. Moms love the little remembrances and deserve accolades, at least once a year!

Spring is the time to savor the beauty surrounding you. If you’ve ever been to Giverny in France, you will know that Monet was not exaggerating about his garden being his most beautiful work of art. He was inspired by nature and you can be too. Be an artist and create your masterpiece in your garden.

redbud (1).jpeg

Happy Gardening. Happy Growing. Happy Mother’s Day!

Photos and more: https://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue1505/Digging-Deep-with-Goddess-Gardener-Cynthia-Brian-May-flowers-without-the-showers.html

Cynthia Brian-Spring garden.jpeg

Cynthia Brian, The Goddess Gardener, is available for hire to help you prepare for your spring garden. Raised in the vineyards of Napa County, Cynthia is a New York Times best-selling author, actor, radio personality, speaker, media and writing coach as well as the Founder and Executive Director of Be the Star You Are!® 501 c3. Tune into Cynthia’s StarStyle® Radio Broadcast at www.StarStyleRadio.com.

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

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

Cynthia@GoddessGardener.com

www.GoddessGardener.com

Cynthia Brian books banner.jpg Receive a FREE inspirational music DVD.

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

Cynthia@GoddessGardener.com

www.GoddessGardener.com

Weeds!

Posted by Felix Assivo on
0
Empowerment
Weeds!

Camellias in full .jpeghttps://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue1504/Digging-Deep-with-Goddess-Gardener-Cynthia-Brian-Weeds-weeds-and-more-weeds.html

Digging Deep with Goddess Gardener, Cynthia Brian
The hillside is lush with weeds, poppies, calendulas, geraniums, and other plants. Photo Cynthia Brian

“You may know the world is a magical place when Mother Nature creates her own jewelry.” ~ Maya Angelou
 Spring is the most colorful season of the year with a cornucopia of bulbs, flowers, shrubs, and trees in bloom. It is also the time when Mother Nature shares the ornaments that most gardeners loathe . weeds!
 Although I am aware that a weed is just a plant growing where I don’t want it, this year those plants are in profusion everywhere. My garden is bursting with blooms, blossoms and weeds. For the past month, I have spent hours on my knees pulling the roots of numerous unwanted characters to edit my beds to my definition of beauty. Three types of weeds in my landscape are the most egregious: black medic, Carolina geranium, and common grasses that have blown in from the surrounding hills.
 The best method to eradicate and control weeds organically involves several steps. First, it is essential to pull the weeds with the roots attached as they develop. The goal is to get rid of the weeds when they are sprouting and, definitely before they set and scatter seeds. Second, enrich the soil with compost. You will find more weeds will emerge because of the nutrient-rich soil.
 Third, go back to step one and remove the second batch of weeds. Fourth, top-dress with three inches of organic mulch which can be bark, straw, cocoa chips, shredded leaves, or even grass clippings.
 I am always experimenting with how best to accomplish a weed-free garden. Here are some things I discovered this year:
 1. The most densely growing patches of weeds, especially Carolina geranium and hill grasses, were in areas where I had only amended with shredded leaves or had done nothing at all.
 2. Where I added two inches of enriched soil without any top dressing, weeds grew lush and full but were easily pulled by hand.
 3. In beds where I only added wood chips, a smattering of weeds emerged, mostly black medic.
 4. In places where I had brought in new soil and topped it with wood chips, there were fewer weeds easily yanked by hand.
 5. In areas where I did a two-step mulch of shredded newspaper and cardboard topped with bark, there were minimal to no weeds. My observations indicate that a two-step mulching procedure worked the best. It is more labor-intensive yet effective.
 Carolina geranium (Geranium carolinianum), also known as cranesbill because of its profusion of half-inch beaks after flowering, is a very dainty and pretty weed when it is young. The palmate leaves are lacy, fern-like, with hairy petiole stalks and tiny five-petaled pink flowers.
 For the first month, after it sprouts, it resembles a ground cover. As the weather warms, it seeks the sunlight while branching out two feet or more. The seed has a hard core which allows it to withstand a long dormancy in the soil. Carolina geranium is not edible, but its roots, considered anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and astringent, are used as an external medicinal herb to stop bleeding and as a gargle for sore throats. Hand pulling while it is still young is the best control method.
 Black medic (Medicago lupulina), also known as yellow trefoil or hop medic, is a broadleaf plant that looks like clover with yellow flowers. It establishes itself in areas that have endured drought, in disturbed soils, or those in need of increased irrigation. As a legume, it fixes its own nitrogen which helps it to overcome lawn grasses in nutrient-poor soils. When the flowers mature, they form a black seedpod which lends itself to the name. A friend of mine informed me about its nutritional value as an herb. In Mexico, black medic is highly desired as an edible green and is expensive to buy. The leaves are bitter when eaten raw, but when cooked, taste like spinach or collards with a high amount of protein and fiber. It does have antibacterial qualities and is also considered a mild laxative. Bees are attracted to this plant. It makes marvelous green manure. To control black medic, it is critical to hand-weed making sure to pull out the taproot.
 Many of the hillsides are experiencing a super bloom of California poppies (Eschscholzia californica) mixed with purple vetch. Having grown up with these beautiful orange globes and vetch, when I witness them growing as natives, I am overjoyed by nature’s jewelry. California poppies are the state flower of California. Purple vetch, also known as American vetch (Vicia americana) or hairy vetch, is a native nitrogen-fixing cover crop that our family used to feed our cattle on our ranch. It is considered a weed, but I think of it as a valuable wildflower because it is great fodder for wildlife while adding biomass to the soil. The plant attracts beneficial insects to the garden and the flowers entice bees. Growing alongside vegetables, it acts as a living mulch. Vetch is a climber to about two feet and spreads through rhizomes. To control it, cut and leave on the surface of the soil to suppress other weeds. Native Americans consumed vetch as a food and used it for poultices.
 Make sure to consult a medical professional before consuming or externally applying any plant that you are unfamiliar with. Although many plants are herbs and helpful, individuals could have conditions that could make ingesting or topically using the plant reactive and dangerous.
 Once you’ve managed the weeds, you will enjoy the bounty of blooms erupting in our neighborhoods. Lilacs, wisteria, hyacinths, tulips, bluebells, calendulas, freesias, Chinese fringe flowers, Dutch iris, bearded iris, Santa Barbara daisies, osteospermum, azaleas, camellias, jasmine, redbud, and even roses are bursting with color. (Make sure to pick up fallen camellias to maintain the health of your shrub.) Fruit trees continue their parade of blossoms including cherry, apple, pear, crabapple and Asian pear.
 The grass is green, the weather is mild, and our gardens are the place where we can unwind and connect with the magical natural world. Celebrate Earth Day on April 22 and nurture our planet by protecting and appreciating our natural environment. Recycle, reuse, repurpose, reduce. Weed, seed, feed.
 Your home will shine with Mother Nature’s colorful plant jewelry.

 PLANT SALE: The Orinda Garden Club is holding a plant sale on April 17 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Orinda Library Plaza with members propagated plants plus over 30 varieties of tomato seeds, a Firewise demonstration table, and a garden marketplace. The event will be socially distanced and well-spaced outdoors throughout the Orinda Library Plaza. Look for your special seedlings at this local plant sale. Proceeds will benefit educational projects.
 Happy Gardening. Happy Growing.
A favorite of the April garden, wisteria springs into bloom. Photo Cynthia Brian
After the wind, the camellia blooms carpet the ground and must be removed. Photo Cynthia Brian
The pretty palmate leaves and pink buds of Carolina geranium weed look like a ground cover. Photo Cynthia Brian
The hillside is a bit barren after the weeds have been pulled. Photo Cynthia Brian
The clover-like tendrils of Black medic weed entwine around the Naked Lady fronds.
Without enriched soil, thistles and other weeds thrive.
A hillside of California poppies and purple vetch look like Impressionistic art.
Gorgeous lilacs perfume the garden.
The delicate orange petals of a California poppy are elegant.
Cynthia Brian reminds gardeners to pick up fallen camellia flowers to avoid disease to the mother tree.
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!r 501 c3. Tune into Cynthia’s StarStyler Radio Broadcast at www.StarStyleRadio.com. Buy copies of her best-selling books, including, Chicken Soup for the Gardener’s Soul, Growing with the Goddess Gardener, and Be the Star You Are! Millennials to Boomers at www.cynthiabrian.com/online-store. Receive a FREE inspirational music DVD. Hire Cynthia for writing projects, garden consults, and inspirational lectures. Cynthia@GoddessGardener.com



Easter Parade

Posted by Felix Assivo on
0
Empowerment
Easter Parade

Digging Deep with Goddess Gardener, Cynthia Brian
For a burst of bright color and wildlife resistance, the spring flowering freesia is fantastic. Photos Cynthia Brian

By Cynthia Brian

“It was Easter Sunday. The full-blossomed trees filled all the air with fragrance and with joy.” ~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Spanish Student

Blossoming fruit trees, poppies adorning hillsides, and daffodils illuminating walking paths . the sirens of the start of spring have sprung. As seedlings pop through the soft soil and new green growth emerges on hedges, trees and vines, uninvited wildlife visitors tend to hop, fly, scamper, and trot into our landscapes.
Here comes Peter Cottontail, hopping down the bunny trail, followed by the families of Bambi, Tom Turkey, and Squiggly Squirrel. A buffet feast awaits their arrival in our rose beds, perennial gardens, and vegetable patches.
What is a human to do to protect our precious landscapes from invaders?
Although repellents promise perimeter patrolling, I have not found any that completely protect my premises. As much as I admire these furry, feathered and fluffy “friends,” I don’t want them munching my flowers, foliage, sprouts and shrubs. How can we find a way for the realms of nature to co-exist?
Here are few suggestions:
1. Fencing is the most effective deterrent for deer and rabbits. Although the bunnies can’t jump over a 6-foot fence, to keep deer out of our gardens, we need to erect 9-foot enclosures. Sadly, squirrels scurry from trees to fence rails. Turkeys fly over fences.
2. Drive around your neighborhood to see what kinds of plants are thriving. Consider using what grows well in your area.
3. During dry months, some sprays may be effective, including Liquid Fence which, according to the company, is natural, biodegradable, non-toxic, and safe for the environment with rotten eggs being the main ingredient. Supposedly wildlife can smell the stink up to two weeks after humans can no longer smell the stench.
4. Sprinkle blood meal on flowers and foliage. The problem I have experienced with this method, however, is that it attracts raccoons and skunks! Not a winning suggestion.
5. Unless you have fencing and/or containment, avoid using plants that are known to be delicacies such as roses, fruit, and leafy greens. If you plant tasty treats, the hungry nomads will find them.
6. Before buying large quantities of a plant, test the nibbling desire by buying a small container and placing it for two weeks in an area where the wildlife wander. Watch and wait.
7. Buy more mature plants in larger containers. Plants that have abundant leaves can tolerate the nipping and gnawing better than smaller specimens. Taller plants are less susceptible to damage when lower leaves are eaten. They recover more swiftly.
8. Don’t over water. The lusher the specimen, the more attractive it is for dinner. Drought-resistant vegetation is less likely to be gobbled.
9. Place pungent plants bordering areas that may be enticing. Mints, lantana, alyssum, marigolds, geraniums, catnip, strawflower, salvia, and scented geraniums may deter the diners.
10. Employ the use of motion detector outdoor lights and motion sensor sprinklers to scare the thieves away.
11. Build raised beds with removable wire tops.
12. Yell and scream and chase the trespassers away to let them know they are not welcome. (But sometimes they are so adorable you’ll want to snap some photos first!)
13. Don’t intentionally feed the nature critters.
14. When all else fails and you need help to trap the marauders, contact trapper Chris Davies of Full Boar Depradation, LLC at 925-698-1845, www.fullboar-llc.com. The insured company is licensed by the State of California Department of Fish and Wildlife to hunt and trap offending wildlife.
Stems and leaves that are scratchy, thorny, hairy, fuzzy, bitter, spicy, sappy, stiff, leathery or toxic will keep the predators away as they hunt for their next meal. Most varieties of gray or silver-hued plants are usually not appreciated by the hungry hunters, either.
Although there is no such thing as wildlife-proof plants, here is a list of probable safe bets to introduce into your landscape.
Foxglove
Lavender
Peony
Sage
Society Garlic
Artemis
New Zealand Flax
Portulaca
Boxwood
Forsythia
Begonia
Calla Lily
Four O’Clock
Yarrow
Star Jasmine
Muscari
Ferns
Naked Ladies
Bearded Iris
Birds of Paradise
Hellebore
Columbine
Gazania
Primrose
Chinese Fringe Flower
Honeysuckle
Viburnum
Barberry
Butterfly bush
Silky Dogwood
Elderberry
Weigela
Spirea
Pink Bower Vine
Allium
Privet
Abelia
Cleome
Freesia
Iris
Blue star
Oregano
Fennel
Sunflower
Marigold
Calendula
Gladiola
Ornamental Grasses
Remember that no plants or trees are 100% animal-proof, but many are resistant. Do your homework to find the right plants for the correct place. Be diligent. Be watchful. Experiment.
The fragrance of spring fills the air and egg-citing Easter is nigh. I’m hoping that Peter Cottontail comes hopping down the bunny trail bringing baskets full of joy to every girl and boy. And mostly chocolate bunnies!
Happy Gardening. Happy Growing.
Happy Easter and Passover.

Save the Date The Orinda Garden Club is holding a plant sale on April 17 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Orinda Library Plaza with members propagated plants plus over 30+ varieties of tomato seeds, a Firewise demonstration table, and a garden marketplace. The event will be socially distanced and well-spaced outdoors throughout the Orinda Library Plaza. Look for your special seedlings at this local plant sale. Proceeds will benefit educational projects.
Blue star grass and mint are not appetizing to bunnies. Photos Cynthia Brian
Viburnum is tolerant, tough, and boast fragrant flowers. Photos Cynthia Brian
The fragrant flowers of the crabapple tree. Photos Cynthia Brian
Deer-resistant calendula surrounds the flowering arugula. Flowers are edible. Photos Cynthia Brian
Bunnies are adorable and for Easter; we prefer the chocolate ones.
Cynthia Brian sits in a garden of Muscari,, cyclamen, and lavender freesia.
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!r 501 c3. Tune into Cynthia’s StarStyler Radio Broadcast at www.StarStyleRadio.com. Buy copies of her best-selling books, including, Chicken Soup for the Gardener’s Soul, Growing with the Goddess Gardener, and Be the Star You Are! Millennials to Boomers at www.cynthiabrian.com/online-store. Receive a FREE inspirational music DVD. Hire Cynthia for writing projects, garden consults, and inspirational lectures. Cynthia@GoddessGardener.com www.GoddessGardener.com

Cynthia Brian books banner.jpg

Erin go Bragh!

Posted by Felix Assivo on
0
Empowerment
Erin go Bragh!

Shamrocks copy.jpeg 

Top of the morning to you!

“May your thoughts be as glad as the shamrocks

May your heart be as light as a song.

May each day bring you bright

Happy hours that stay with you all the year long.”  Irish blessing.

Herbs in Galway Garden.jpeg

My first introduction to the Emerald Isles arrived when I was seven. First grade was the beginning of my education since pre-school and kindergarten did not exist in our neck of the woods. A new school had been constructed with young teachers dressed from head to toe in black with white collars who arrived from a faraway land called Ireland. These exotic nuns told the most marvelous tales of a land where mischievous little people known as leprechauns lived in tiny houses, worked as shoemakers, and hid their gold in pots at the end of the rainbow.

leprachaun house-.jpeg

Magical green shamrocks blanketed the fields and dales that were used by the legendary St. Patrick in the 4th century to explain the Holy Trinity to those he wanted to convert to Christianity. Best of all, we learned he had driven out the snakes.

Irish ivy-ardilaun gardens.jpeg

Rattlesnakes were everywhere on our ranch so the thought of being able to run barefoot through a field of clover sounded spectacular. By the age of nine, letters were flying across the pond to my pen pal in Dublin and, finally when I was eighteen, I visited her in this mythical landscape to become an adopted Irishwoman. Since then, I’ve spent many days traversing the island, soaking up the hospitality of the people and the beauty of the stones, seascapes, landscapes, cottages, and shamrocks. Most charming are the tiny doors built at the base of trees where the leprechauns live.

path-arch-ardilaun gardens and more.jpeg

Shamrocks grow in my garden in the colors of pink and yellow. There are over five hundred species of Oxalis, known as sorrel or shamrock. Many people consider them a weed because they do multiply. Because I love the Irish lore, I love my spreading shamrocks. They grow from a small bulb and in March sprout mounds of beautiful green clover-shaped leaves with flowers that open at the top of the morning and close at the end of the day. I started my collection by growing shamrocks indoors in a pot and eventually moved the plants outdoors. When the foliage turns yellow and begins to die, cut the leaves to let the plant sleep. Next season, the shamrocks will burst forth again. The tiny bulbs or tubers can easily be moved or transplanted elsewhere. Be aware that shamrocks can become invasive. If you have a small yard, it may be best to keep them in a container. Or designate one area of your garden for the shamrocks and don’t allow them to escape.

oxalis flowers.jpeg

Wear green on March 17 and celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with a pot of shamrocks on your table. They may not bring you a pot of gold, but shamrocks are a reminder that once we can travel again, visiting the land of leprechauns is at the end of the rainbow.

St. Patricks Day.jpeg

Happy St. Patrick’s Day. Erin Go Bragh!

Cynthia Brian’s Gardening Guide for March

Since I’ve been writing this column since 2008, I often mistakenly assume that readers understand that I encourage the use of organic and safe garden practices for feeding, fertilizing, spraying, or eliminating pests. There are always ways to create a beautiful garden without the use of toxic chemicals, insecticides, herbicides, and pesticides. Keeping our children, pets, and wildlife safe and healthy is of the utmost importance. Whether I specific an organic method or not, please always use eco-friendly products. By doing so, we’ll also heal our planet.

ELIMINATE SNAILS: Non-toxic to children, chickens, and other pets, Sluggo and Natria are two organic baits containing iron phosphate which naturally occurs in soil. Non-ingested bait degrades and becomes part of the soil. 

Other ways to purge snails and slugs include:

  1. a. Handpicking them. I often go out at night with a flashlight and a bucket. If you have chickens, ducks, or geese, they’ll feast on escargot. Otherwise, at the risk of sounding cruel, you must kill them. We do the snail stomp. Put on boots and dance around. Other ways include drowning them in a bucket of water.
  2. b. Trapping them. Snails like to hide in damp, dark refuges under flowerpots, boards, or plants. Gather them in the morning after their nightly raid.
  3. c. Beer bowls. Snails are attracted to the fermenting yeast of beers. If you put out saucers or shallow bowls of beer, they will fall in. They don’t get drunk. They drown in the beer. 
  4. d. Copper barriers. Copper bands or strips are probably the most effective barrier to keep snails and slugs out of pots and plants. It is work-intensive and more expensive, but especially useful around trees.
  5. e. Decollate snails: These predatory snails have been used in Southern California to control young small brown snails in citrus groves. However, they cannot be used in Northern California as they would endanger other mollusk species. 

Once you have killed your snails, you can add them to your compost pile where their moist bodies will decompose quickly. The shells will take a bit longer but will add nutrients as they compost. 

Camellias in full .jpeg

UPGRADE your outdoor living to be a place that encourages peacefulness and solitude. Create an area where you can work and listen to the sounds of nature.

SUPPORT National Farmworkers Awareness Week March 25-31 by purchasing produce from socially responsible vendors.

TRY a solar-powered sonic mole deterrent that emits vibrations through the ground to keep these velvety creatures at bay. Moles do produce unsightly molehills and undermine plants with their shallow tunnels which can cause roots to dry out. They also do positive chores by feeding on slugs. 

purple plum at Moraga Commons.jpeg

STORE garbage cans out of reach of scavengers. Don’t feed wildlife. Skunks, raccoons, and coyotes have become frequent neighborhood visitors and can be dangerous.

FEED your lawns. Healthy soil grows healthy strong grass. Top your lawn with ¼ inch of compost or use a slow-release organic fertilizer that disseminates their nutrients through animal, plant, and mineral matter. It is best to fertilizer before rainfall. 

sprinklers on lawn.jpeg

TURN on lawn sprinklers to check the heads have not been covered by new growing grass. 

DESTROY weeds and poison oak without toxic chemicals. 

lawn daisies, stone wall, aran islands.jpeg

For weeds in sidewalk cracks, borders, and areas where lawns, flowers, and other plants won’t be affected, mix one tablespoon Dawn dishwashing detergent, a cup of salt, and a gallon of regular white vinegar in a pail. Pour into a spray bottle and spray on the weeds on a sunny day. The sunlight works the magic. Be careful where you spray as this solution is harmful to grass and plants. It will kill your weeds.

For poison oak or super-tough weeds, buy a gallon of 30% white vinegar and put it in a spray tank undiluted. Spray poison oak as it emerges in spring and do it on a warm, sunny day. The 30% white vinegar is very potent and will kill everything it touches. It is the safe and effective alternative to using Round Up for a similar amount of money.  It also is useful for cleaning brick and stone patios, driveways, greenhouses, and hothouses. It will dissolve calcium, mineral, and lime buildup. 

SPRING for spring on March 20th.  Enjoy the rebirth of our gardens and start digging deeper.

Happy Gardening. Happy Growing. Happy Spring!

Photos and mores: https://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue1502/Digging-Deep-with-Goddess-Gardener-Cynthia-Brian-Top-of-the-Morning.html

Cynthia Brian-Ireland-full Moon.jpeg

Cynthia Brian, The Goddess Gardener, is available for hire to help you prepare for your spring garden. Raised in the vineyards of Napa County, Cynthia is a New York Times best-selling author, actor, radio personality, speaker, media and writing coach as well as the Founder and Executive Director of Be the Star You Are!® 501 c3. Tune into Cynthia’s StarStyle® Radio Broadcast at www.StarStyleRadio.com.

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

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

Cynthia@GoddessGardener.com

www.GoddessGardener.com

Looking Out!

Posted by Felix Assivo on
0
Empowerment
Looking Out!

view from dning room.jpeg

“The heart is like a garden. What seeds will you plant there?” Buddha

The first vista I witness every morning as I traipse downstairs in my pink fluffy slippers to grab a cup of java invigorates my day. Outside my stairwell window,  a tall crimson camellia tree sways in the breeze flanked by a shimmering evergreen flowering pear. Rounding the corner, I look to my right. Through the hand-made stained-glass arch, winter and spring co-mingle. The bright cerise flowers of the peach tree frame the hillside carpeted by sprouting ranunculus, anemones, and hundreds of daffodils in a myriad of colors and textures: yellow on yellow, white and yellow, peach and white, white with white, orange and yellow. Frilly, singles, doubles, clusters…all with throats singing to the sky. Bare branches of pistache trees hug the redwoods. Butter-hued Meyer lemons hang like well-placed ornaments. I never fail to be awed by the majesty and beauty regardless of the season.

daffodils at sunsets.jpeg

Looking out to my colorful panoramas was carefully planned many years ago when I planted the first seeds and bulbs. Bringing the outdoors in has always been a priority for me. For over two decades I practiced interior design as a professional member of the American Society of Interior Designers. I believe that our landscape is an extension of our homes and as such must reflect our moods, tastes, personalities, and preferential palettes. For me, color is an essential element to my happiness. When I look through a window, I want to see my internal penchants reflected by nature. Looking out is looking in.

flowering peach blossoms.jpeghttps://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue1501/Digging-Deep-with-Goddess-Gardener-Cynthia-Brian-Looking-out.html

With less than three weeks to go before the vernal equinox, this is an auspicious time to contemplate how we want to orient our window views for the future. When you look out your windows, what do you want to see? Do you want flowering or fruiting trees? Do you want a monochromatic design? Are you like me and want to luxuriate in color? Are bulbs the surprise you anticipate yearly, or do you prefer planting annuals and perennials?

columbine-wild strawberry.jpeg

My garden is abloom with pear, peach, and plum trees. Orange, tangerine, tangelo, lemon, and lime trees are filled with ripening fruit. Daffodils blanket the landscape, tulips are beginning to pop, columbine, wild strawberry, and vinca minor are flush with flowers. I couldn’t finish pruning all my rose bushes because so many were still budding. Nature orchestrates a steady stream of amazement.

Lady Hamilton rose, David Austin.jpeg

Although the nights are still cool, the days are warming allowing the soil temperatures to rise. Weeds are rapidly sprouting, and the ground can be worked in preparation for seeding and planting. Read garden catalogs or books for ideas on how to design spaces that will offer you years of enjoyment.  I’m preparing beds in full sun where I’ll scatter seeds of Lauren’s dark grape poppies. Poppies can handle frost and bloom best when started in early spring. These seedlings will emerge within fourteen days. The flowers will boast four-to-five inch chalice-shaped flowers in a showy port wine hue and they will self-sow for future enjoyment. 

plum blossoms.jpeg

Another favorite perennial plant that I’m adding to my garden is the Lenten rose or hellebore. These plants which feature chartreuse, white, pink, and purple flowers with evergreen foliage are hummingbird friendly, deer-resistant, and water-wise. They thrive in part sun to full shade and are hardy to minus 30 degrees Fahrenheit. 

chartreuse  lenten rose.jpeg

What will you plant in your spring garden as you look out?

looking out window to pear and camellia.jpeg

Cynthia Brian’s March Gardening Guide

  • RESTORE your mental and physical health by planting a beautiful vista outside your windows.
  • FILTER your indoor air with houseplants. According to NASA, 87 percent of volatile organic compounds are removed by live plants naturally. Now that is nothing to sneeze over!
  • RETHINK the design of your landscape to coincide with your interior spaces.
  • PULL weeds as they sprout.
  • PERUSE garden catalogs to plan a 2021 victory garden of healthy vegetables and herbs.
  • Garden Catalogs 2021.jpeg
  • FERTILIZE lawns.
  • SCATTER slug and snail bait.
  • REACH horticultural heights with a selection of flowering trees and shrubs. 
  • SUPPORT the Moraga Garden Club’s project, Moraga for Monarchs by helping to install a Monarch Butterfly Habitat and Education Garden at Rancho Laguna Park. Visit www.moragagardenclub.com.
  • FORCE branches of crabapple, quince, forsythia, and redbud by placing your tree prunings in a bucket of water in a dark place until the buds swell. Move the branches to a beautiful vase filled with warm water and enjoy the show. Change the water daily and add a few drops of bleach to ward off bacteria.
  • TRIM dead foliage from your ornamental grasses using sharp hedge clippers.
  • PICK up camellias blossoms that have fallen to the ground. Decaying blooms harbor petal blight.
  • AERATE your lawn. The soil is compacted from winter rains and foot traffic.  Leave the plugs to add nutrients back into the grass.
  • SPRINKLE poppy seeds as spring approaches. 
  • tangerine tree.jpeg

Happy Gardening. Happy Growing!

More Photos: https://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue1501/Digging-Deep-with-Goddess-Gardener-Cynthia-Brian-Looking-out.html

Cynthia Brian, The Goddess Gardener, is available for hire to help you prepare for your spring garden. Raised in the vineyards of Napa County, Cynthia is a New York Times best-selling author, actor, radio personality, speaker, media and writing coach as well as the Founder and Executive Director of Be the Star You Are!® 501 c3. Tune into Cynthia’s StarStyle® Radio Broadcast at www.StarStyleRadio.com.

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

Cynthia Brian books banner.jpg

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

Cynthia@GoddessGardener.com

www.GoddessGardener.com

cyn-tangerine tree.jpeg

Let the Sun Shine!

Posted by Felix Assivo on
0
Empowerment
Let the Sun Shine!

bergenia.jpeg

When the moon is in the Seventh House
And Jupiter aligns with Mars
Then peace will guide the planets
And love will steer the stars.

This is the dawning of the Age of Aquarius.” Lyrics to Age of Aquarius by The 5th Dimension

Astrologers don’t agree that it is the dawning of the Age of Aquarius, but one thing is certain, until February 18th, we are living under the sign of Aquarius. It has not felt like winter as the sun has been shining daily with only sporadic bouts of drizzle. In the past two weeks, gardens have burst into bloom as the days are warmer and brighter.

Here, in my yard, spring has sprung a full month ahead of schedule. The peach tree buds display their glorious magenta hues, the daffodils stretch their necks to the heavens, and camellias didn’t take a bloom break. Throughout our neighborhoods, evergreen pear trees are in full flower. Birds are feathering their nests, the frogs have begun their mating croaks, and worms are busy loosening the soil.

daffodils with chinese fringe.jpeg

Our reservoirs are not yet at capacity and we desperately need more rain. Since the groundhog went back into her hole, I’m hopeful that we will still get much-needed precipitation. 

flowering pear flowers.jpeg

Cynthia Brian’s Garden Chores for February

Roses

Pruning: Roses need to be pruned to allow for them to thrive. You’ll need pruning shears, loppers, a pruning saw, and gloves. Cut out dead or woody stems as well as any diseased or damaged stems. If you have rambling roses, allow them to ramble unless you need them contained. With climbers, cut the previous year’s flowering shoots. For hybrid teas and floribundas, prune the stems by 2/3. With shrub roses, cutting back to a 1/3 for single flowering and 1/3 to 2/3 for repeat flowering. Pruning will ensure a beautiful, long-lasting blooming season. Keep in mind if you want smaller plants, you may prune harder. Make sure to nicely shape your bushes. If you have the room, select canes to plant elsewhere or give to a friend. You can plant the canes directly in the ground or in pots to root. Dip canes in a rooting powder before planting.

rose canes in pots.jpeg

Bare-Root Planting: Through early spring you can plant bare-root roses. 

  • • Make sure the soil isn’t frozen or water-logged. 
  • • Choose an area that receives a minimum of four hours of sunlight daily. The more sun, the better your bush will grow. 
  • • Rehydrate your bare-root in a bucket of water overnight. 
  • • Remove weeds and rocks from the area where you will dig the hole and loosen the soil with a garden fork. 
  • • Dig a hole with a spade approximately 16” x 20” or whatever is necessary for the roots to spread.
  • • Add a few handfuls of compost or rose soil to the hole.
  • • Remove the rose from the bucket and place in the hole. Keep the bottom of the stems need to be 2-3” below the top of the hole.
  • • Replace the original soil, the tap down with your foot.
  • • Water.

Other Goddess Gardener Tips

  •  FERTILIZE your trees, shrubs, and ground covers. 
  •  SCATTER snail bait around your garden.
  •  APPLY a systemic insecticide to roses to prevent the first flush of aphids in the spring.
  •  SPRAY roses, citrus trees, fruit trees, evergreen pear trees, and crape myrtles with dormant oil to protect again fungal disease.
  •  PICK UP and discard fallen camellia blooms.
  • camililia tree.jpeg
  •  CUT a branch from a budding peach tree to watch the flowers unfurl.
  •  PLANT a few of my favorite specimens: 
  • • To attract hummingbirds: Fringe-love lies bleeding (Amaranthus caudatus) boasts striking red hanging plumage. Columbine (aquilegia) is a perennial with clouds of bell-shaped flowers in several colors. A loquat tree offers flowers that hummingbirds crave.
  • fringe-love lies bleeding plant.jpeg
  • • Drought-resistant, no maintenance ground cover: Pink Knotweed
  • Pink Knowtweed. (persicaria capitata).jpeg
  • • Shade plant with distinctive colors: Hellebores
  • hellebore-lavender-blue.jpeg
  • • For Borders: Bergenia
  • • A shrub that cascades: Purple potato plant
  • purple potato plant.jpeg

As we leave the sign of Aquarius and enter the horoscope of Pisces, let’s pray that the lyrics from the Age of Aquarius ring true throughout 2021.

Harmony and understanding
Sympathy and trust abounding
No more falsehoods or derisions
Golden living dreams of visions
Mystic crystal revelation
And the minds true liberation

Let the sun shine, let the sun shine in! And, please let it rain this month.

Guara with pink flowers.jpeg

Happy Gardening! Happy Growing!

Photos and more: https://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue1426/Digging-Deep-with-Goddess-Gardener-Cynthia-Brian-Let-the-sun-shine-in.html

Cynthia-star earring copy.jpegCynthia Brian, The Goddess Gardener, is available for hire to help you prepare for your spring garden. Raised in the vineyards of Napa County, Cynthia is a New York Times best-selling author, actor, radio personality, speaker, media and writing coach as well as the Founder and Executive Director of Be the Star You Are!® 501 c3. Tune into Cynthia’s StarStyle® Radio Broadcast at www.StarStyleRadio.com.

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

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

Cynthia@GoddessGardener.com

www.GoddessGardener.com

Enjoy this blog? Please spread the word :)

RSS
Follow by Email