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Gather in the Garden

Posted by Felix Assivo on
0
Empowerment
Gather in the Garden

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“We need to teach people that the environment has a direct bearing on our own benefit.” Dalai Lama

It’s official. The Pfizer vaccine has received full and final approval by the FDA with the Moderna and Johnson and Johnson vaccines soon to follow. The CDC stated that if we want to spend time with people who don’t live with us, outdoor activities are the safest choice.  In these dire days of global crises, natural disasters, evacuations, and a highly infectious Delta variant, any positive news is appreciated.

At the beginning of summer, we all had high hopes that we would be able to emerge from our caves to enjoy a quasi-normal season. With the emergence of the Delta variant, it became clear that the pandemic will not be contained until most of the country prioritizes health and gets vaccinated. Humans are social beings and we like getting together. With warm weather predicted for the next two months, gathering in our gardens for a picnic, barbecue, or just a chat will be a safer method of communing.

I recently attended an outdoor birthday party for a dear friend generously orchestrated by her adult children and their spouses. This was the first time since the pandemic began that I had gone to any non-family occasion. Although I was hesitant to be around a few dozen people, every precaution was taken to make guests feel safe and comfortable. Being informed that all guests had been fully vaccinated prompted me to R.S.V.P. “yes”. The affair was colorful, fun, and secure. I came away with constructive ideas that we can all utilize to enjoy togetherness outside in our gardens during these challenging times.

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How to have a more formal yet guarded, glorious garden gathering:

  1. 1. Prepare your patio. 
    1. a. Add colorful potted plants.
    2. b. String lights, flags, garlands, or pennants.
    3. c. Set up tables with fun placemats or tablecloths.
    4. d. Space tables and chairs for appropriate social distancing.
    5. e. Select throw pillows to add comfort and color.
    6. 2. Hang hummingbird feeders and birdhouses to attract the birds.
    7. 3. Create your scene with a theme and decorate accordingly.
    8. 4. Add a vase filled with flowers, branches, or fruit, preferably picked from your garden.
    9. 5. Design a thoughtful menu that allows you to be part of the party.
    10. 6. Have guests enter via a garden gate or other outside entrance.
    11. 7. Set up a “Covid” station with hand sanitizer and masks.
    12. 8. Ask that masks be worn when going indoors for any reason.
    13. 9. Make a playlist that fits your crowd.
    14. 10. If yellowjackets have been bothering your paradise, put up traps the day before your party and keep them in place throughout the event.
    15. 11. Invite the partygoers to tour your landscape.
    16. 12. Provide a “wow” moment with a special dessert.
    17. 13. Send your guests home with a gift from the garden.Round table set.jpeg

Being in a garden setting is always impressive to me. I relish being in nature, listening to the sounds, watching the birds, and appreciating the growing plants. I was especially impressed with the gigantic tomato plants my friend had grown from seed. A rock waterfall planted with abundant succulents echoed the theme.

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Joyful décor boasted multi-colored, elegant mats, runners, and tablecloths festooned with yarn pom pom ropes and a clear glass vase filled with lemons and fresh cut dahlias on each table. 

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The “wow” factor was provided by the spectacular cupcakes that mimicked the succulents and flowers on the tables. These beautiful cupcakes designed by Sarah Thongnopneua of Baked Blooms in San Anselmo (www.bakedblooms.com) were almost too gorgeous to eat. They were devoured with enthusiasm.

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Each guest was gifted a small succulent reminiscent of those luscious cupcakes and perfect for our drought, parched soil.

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When I came home, I found a small empty bird’s nest on my porch. Have you ever closely inspected the intricacy of a bird’s nest? What an architectural marvel.  Wouldn’t it be great to create a themed event around this wildlife discovery?

Now that the vaccines are receiving official approval and authorization, I hope that everyone will get vaccinated without delay. Once that is achieved, we will be able to return to the freer glory days of party frivolity. 

Fete the final days of summer with a casual gathering or formal gala. A setting in nature sets the tone for a festive, friendly, and safe celebration for the benefit of everyone.

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Happy Gardening. Happy Growing.  

See photos: https://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue1514/Digging-Deep-with-Goddess-Gardener-Cynthia-Brian-Garden-gatherings.html

MARK YOUR CALENDARS!

Saturday, September 25th, Be the Star You Are!® will participate in the first live event at the Pear and Wine Festival with a booth sponsored by the Lamorinda Weekly(www.Lamorindaweekly.com) and MB Jessee painting (www.MBJessee.com). Wear your mask and visit us! Details at https://www.bethestaryouare.org/copy-of-events

Happy Gardening. Happy Growing. 

Cynthia Brian-party.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 books, including, Chicken Soup for the Gardener’s Soul, Growing with the Goddess Gardener, and Be the Star You Are! www.cynthiabrian.com/online-store. Receive a FREE inspirational music DVD and special savings.

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

Cynthia@GoddessGardener.com

www.GoddessGardener.com

Sacred Spaces

Posted by Felix Assivo on
0
Empowerment
Sacred Spaces

garden stream.jpeghttps://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue1513/Digging-Deep-with-Goddess-Gardener-Cynthia-Brian-Sacred-spaces.html

“Nature is the original church. Worship there daily.”  Alan Cohen

If we have learned anything from the pandemic of the past eighteen months, it is that our greatest blessing is to be able to go outdoors to breathe fresh air. Many people choose to hike the hills, walk the reservoir, or take a jaunt to the ocean to calm nerves and preserve sanity. For those of us fortunate enough to have a garden, balcony, porch, or patio, we can open a door to escape the confines of lockdown.

The majesty of Mother Nature rivals the most exquisite man-made cathedral. Throughout my landscape, I have designed special areas that stimulate my senses, inducing a sense of tranquility and connectivity with the natural world. I have dubbed these my “sacred spaces”, places where I can meditate, watch the wildlife, listen to birdsong, commune with the breeze, rest my weary legs, take a nap, or just sit and contemplate life. My “sacred spaces” provide a structure amidst the chaos, a respite against the turmoil of the times.

We can expand our living environment by crafting outdoor elements that nurture our spirits, emotions, and bodies. Here are a few of my favorite strategies to help gardeners recast their yards into a serene, yet lush oasis. 

Water

The sound of water is immensely soothing. Listening to the gurgling of a fountain or the rippling of a stream heightens my creativity. Birds splashing in a birdbath bring a smile to my face. A pond with a recirculating pump provides a happy home for frogs, and if deep enough, fish. 

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Hammock

Hanging a hammock from two trees is the ultimate in shaded relaxation. I have double hammocks strung between a giant magnolia and Japanese maples. There is nothing quite like swaying in the hammock looking up at the light as it dances between the branches. The colors of the leaves are forever changing. For an afternoon nap on a hot day, a hammock provides a piece of paradise.

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Swing

I’ve installed a metal garden swing behind my pond flanked by orange Birds of Paradise and midnight blue agapanthus. By adding comfy cushions, I can silently swing while listening to the aerating pond and watching the aerial antics of squirrels spiraling through the loquat tree. 

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Tables, Chairs, and Benches

Throughout my landscape, I have placed multiple tables, chairs, and benches in specific areas to encourage me to take a break from the hard labor. A wooden picnic table under an apple tree begs me to take a lunch period. A bench facing the hills beckons me to behold a doting doe with her twin fawns as they forage. A small rocking chair in a cozy nook allows me to remove my mud boots and watch the sunset.

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Paths and Walls

Whether you use gravel, bricks, decomposed granite, pavers, or flagstone, creating paths throughout the garden allows for interesting patterns and yard exploration. Because I believe in recycling, upcycling, and repurposing, I always utilize whatever materials are available when I’m building stairs, paths, or walls. A former built-in redwood bench is turned on its side to be reused as a retaining planter box. Used bricks add a separation element to the revamped below-deck walkway bordering the tangled wisteria forest. 

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Pergolas, Gazebos, Decks

A deck is always a great gathering spot. A gazebo or pavilion is a stately structure to sit, embrace the view, and offer gratitude for outdoor rooms. On my deck, under my grape, wisteria, and bower vine-covered pergola, I unwind after a long day by soaking in the hot tub. This is my prayer place as I gaze at the twinkling stars above.

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Plantings

The selection of specific plants is critical to the overall color and scale of any garden. My goal is always to witness botanical interest 365 days a year through express attention to the trees, flowers, shrubs, bulbs, vegetables, herbs, and bushes. Every season brings a change to the landscape. Roses bloom for nine or ten months when regularly dead-headed. Perennial sweet peas flourish with their pretty purple pea heads from spring until autumn.

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Pink naked ladies pop up to smarten the summer soils when most other plants find it too hot to shine. Deciduous trees such a Japanese maple, pistache, crape myrtle, and liquid amber offer spectacular autumn colors.

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When you think about creating your sacred spaces, make sure you are bringing the indoors out and the outdoors in. Expand your home environment by mimicking and mingling colors, patterns, themes, and shapes through both areas. Great design amplifies your emotional well-being. Rediscover forgotten or overlooked spots. Feel the vibes as you develop your scheme keeping comfort and safety at the forefront. Use your imagination to unearth the endless possibilities.

Mother Nature is the original church. When we honor Her, we will attain a more balanced life with peace as a bonus gift, no matter what is happening around us. As this latest Delta variant spreads its dangerous virus tendrils, I urge everyone to talk with their physicians, listen to the science, and get vaccinated. Discover your sacred space, breathe, and spend as much time outdoors as possible. 

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A Be the Star You Are!® volunteer from Minnesota emailed me “I go for walks on our nearby trail as often as I can because it’s a way to escape to nature, and I know how you feel about that!  So off I go.”

Off you go!

MARK YOUR CALENDARS!

Saturday, September 25th, Be the Star You Are!® will participate in the first live event at the Pear and Wine Festival with a booth sponsored by the Lamorinda Weekly(www.Lamorindaweekly.com) and MB Jessee painting (www.MBJessee.com). Wear your mask and visit us! Details at https://www.bethestaryouare.org/copy-of-events

Phots and more: https://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue1513/Digging-Deep-with-Goddess-Gardener-Cynthia-Brian-Sacred-spaces.html

Happy Gardening. Happy Growing. 

Cynthia Brian.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 books, including, Chicken Soup for the Gardener’s Soul, Growing with the Goddess Gardener, and Be the Star You Are! www.cynthiabrian.com/online-store. Receive a FREE inspirational music DVD and special savings.

Cynthia Brian books banner.jpg

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

Cynthia@GoddessGardener.com

www.GoddessGardener.com

Water Works

Posted by Felix Assivo on
0
Empowerment
Water Works

Ranch lake before drought.jpeg

“When the well is dry, we know the worth of water.” Benjamin Franklin

We turned on the spigot. A trickle. Seconds later, nothing. 

For over a hundred years the deep well had served three houses, several barns, and all the gardens on our Napa County ranch without a problem. This summer, the well is empty. The bucolic lake built by my Dad and brothers in the former horse pasture served as a family playground, fishing area, and farm irrigation reservoir for decades. In 2021, it is a big basin of cracked clay. There is no water.

In the San Joaquin Valley, an area known to be the breadbasket of fruit and nuts for America, the aquifers and canals are depleted. It is projected that by 2040, 535,000 acres of agricultural production will be lost. If the drought persists and water is not available, double that amount of land will not be planted resulting in food shortages around the country.

Seventy-one percent of the earth is covered in water. Over 96 percent of that water is saline, represented by our oceans and seas. The human body consists of sixty percent water. H2O is a vital nutrient to the life of every cell. People can survive without food for several days, but without water, organ failure commences around the third day of dehydration.

Water matters and water is scarce. Climate change is resulting in rising temperatures and when the soil gets warmer, heat waves worsen. Fifty-five percent of the West is experiencing extreme drought conditions. Some scientists have declared the summer of 2021 the worst drought in over 1200 years. 

What is a gardener to do? 

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Because of the efforts to reduce water usage as well as the higher costs of water, many people have asked me if it would be best to “let their landscape go”.  My rapid reaction is a decisive “NO!” Besides the financial burden of re-landscaping, maintaining a garden during a drought is essential not only for the aesthetics and beauty a garden provides but for keeping your home cooler and contributing to a fire safety zone. If you let your plants and trees die, your parched landscape could become a fire hazard. 

Here are ways to minimize watering while keeping your plants alive.

  1. 1. Weed your garden thoroughly as weeds are huge drinkers.
  2. 2. Mulch to conserve water. Add three inches of good quality mulch to your entire landscape to suffocate weed growth, conserve water, prevent evaporation, and reduce the heat to the soil.
  3. 3. Check for leaks in your sprinkler system. If you find a spike in your water bill, you probably have a broken pipe somewhere.
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  5. 4. Water deeply and infrequently. Once or twice a week will suffice. Most plants need about one inch of water weekly. Check your soil to make sure that the water is penetrating the soil. Dry soil sheds water as run-off. If this happens, water twice, five minutes apart until the soil is saturated. Deep watering encourages a healthy root system while frequent short showers are wasteful and not beneficial to plant growth.
  6. 5. Water early in the morning or early evening when moisture will be retained.
  7. 6. Refrain from fertilizing in the summer months as feeding promotes thirsty hyper-growth.
  8. 7. Mow your lawns without using the bag. Grass clippings supply nutrients to the lawn with less water usage. 
  9. 8. Don’t worry about keeping your lawn super-green. Just keep it alive and it will re-green when the weather is wetter.
  10. 9. Use soaker hoses around plants to eliminate evaporation. Trees can be especially vulnerable during a drought.  Use a deep soaker wand to supply water to the roots.
  11. 10. Don’t put your irrigation on a schedule. Instead, check your soil moisture and monitor your plants. Turn your system on when it is necessary but do make sure to run it to keep the system free of invading insects, roots, and stagnant water.

For both firewise and waterwise gardening, permeable surfaces in your hardscape such as decomposed granite, gravel, stones, and mulch are advisable. They provide a fire-safe zone and allow rainwater to percolate into the soil without runoff. For a list of plants that are both fire and drought resistant, re-read my article located at https://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue1508/Digging-Deep-with-Goddess-Gardener-Cynthia-Brian-Fire-retardant-and-fire-resistant-plantings.html.

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  1. 11. Summer is not the time to plant but to plan. Any specimen planted in August will require regular and concentrated watering to establish strong roots. Late fall before frosts will be optimal for sowing.
  2. 12. Recycle your household water. Keep a bucket in your shower and bowls in your sinks to catch the water from your faucet. Use it on your houseplants or pour it into your garden. When you steam or boil vegetables, allow the water to cool, then use it on your plants. 
  3. 13. Minimize your personal water usage. Turn off the water when brushing teeth or when soaping up in the shower. For toilets, we may be approaching the former drought mantra “if it’s yellow, let it mellow. If it’s brown, flush it down.”  This is obviously a personal choice.
  4. 14. Adjust your expectations for your garden. Accept the fact that your garden may not be as green, lush, and colorful as it would normally be if water scarcity was not an issue. Plants wilt to conserve energy. Many plants are resilient and can deal with hot weather. They will bounce back with winter rains.
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During the past two months, I have been busy personally repairing broken PVC pipes, valves, sprinklers, and hoses as hiring anyone to assist has been impossible. Between the marauding deer, shifting soils, and invading roots, the work is endless, arduous, intensive, and necessary. I have also implemented the tips that I am suggesting. 

Taking a long, relaxing shower used to be my reward after a day of digging, weeding, pruning, repairing, building, and planting, but for the past few years I’ve resorted to three-minute scrubs to save water.

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Living in Lamorinda, we are fortunate to be able to turn on our faucets and have water. Farmers throughout the state are not so lucky. Continue to grow edibles as growing your own groceries will become more critical as the drought continues. 

As for now, on our family ranch and vineyards we are buying water.  Last year’s grape harvest was 100% destroyed by smoke taint. Because of the three-digit temperatures experienced thus far, we have already lost 20% of our Cabernet. I pray for a winter of maximum snowfall.

Water is life. It’s precious. Don’t waste, conserve. 

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MARK YOUR CALENDARS!

Saturday, September 25th, Be the Star You Are!® will participate in the first live event at the Pear and Wine Festival with a booth sponsored by the Lamorinda Weekly. Details at https://www.bethestaryouare.org/copy-of-events

Happy Gardening. Happy Growing. 

Photos and more: https://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue1512/Digging-Deep-with-Goddess-Gardener-Cynthia-Brian-Water-matters.html

photos of cyn by jim scala.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 books, including, Chicken Soup for the Gardener’s Soul, Growing with the Goddess Gardener, and Be the Star You Are! www.cynthiabrian.com/online-store. Receive a FREE inspirational music DVD and special savings.

Cynthia Brian books banner.jpg

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

Cynthia@GoddessGardener.com

www.GoddessGardener.com

10 Summer Blooming Perennials

Posted by Felix Assivo on
0
Empowerment
10 Summer Blooming Perennials

daylilies close-up.jpeg

“When the sun rises, I go to work.  When the sun goes down, I take my rest. I dig the well from which I drink, I farm the soil which yields my food, I share creation. Kings can do no more.” Chinese proverb

In the sizzling heat of summer, many annuals go to seed and flowers fade. Thankfully there are plants besides cacti and succulents that enjoy the higher temperatures. Most of my favorite summer bloomers are perennials that once established require minimal irrigation. 

My top ten summer flowering favorites include acanthus, agapanthus, bougainvillea, bower vine, crape myrtle, crocosmia, daylily, hollyhock, hydrangea, and rose. I also am a huge fan of the Naked Lady, but it sprouts its neck later in August, lasting through the fall months.

Acanthus:
 

Also known as Bear’s breeches, Acanthus can be deciduous or evergreen growing from rhizomes. It is drought tolerant with shiny oval leaves lobed with spines and spires of flowers that are purple, white, pink, cream, or green. It doesn’t like full sun when it is hot, so it may be best to grow Acanthus in partial shade. The flower spikes can grow to five feet. I like it as a back border plant or to line a path. The good news: butterflies flock to it. The bad news: deer devour it. Cut it to the ground in the fall and it will re-emerge in the spring. Greek Corinthian column capitals were and are modeled after the Acanthus plant.

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Agapanthus: 

Another rhizome spreader that is hardy in drought times, yet pretty in bloom is the Lily of the Nile or African Lily that we know as Agapanthus. The rhizomes retain water and divide easily to plant in other locations. They prefer a sunny location, although I’ve seen many beautiful specimens growing in the shade. The sky blue, midnight blue, or white trumpet-shaped flowers bloom June through the end of August with stalks that reach four feet high. The elegant strap-like leaves are evergreen. When planting work compost and organic matter into the soil and continue to fertilize during the growing season. Deadhead when the flowers fade and toss them on the compost pile. Wear gloves when working with this plant as it is poisonous and could cause an allergic reaction in those who are prone to plant allergies.

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Bougainvillea:

A gorgeous tropical vining shrub, bougainvillea flowers are modified leaves called bracts blooming in colors of yellow, orange, white, and my personal favorite, fluorescent pink. Native to arid climates, bougainvillea thrives in hot weather and needs full sun while requiring a minimum of H20. On our ranch, bougainvillea covered one full side of our two-story farmhouse delighting our family year after year with a spectacular showcase of hues. Plant bougainvillea on a strong structure or well-made fence. It can be pruned when it starts to rain or after flowering. Since it is susceptible to frost, cover with burlap in the winter to protect it if your plant is small enough.

bougainvillea.jpeghttps://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue1511/Digging-Deep-with-Goddess-Gardener-Cynthia-Brian-Perennial-favorites.html

Bower Vine:

This is the most perfect flowering evergreen vine for pergolas, arbors, and trellises. Grow bower vine over awnings, around windows and doors, or as a gate climber. It is easy to care for, doesn’t invade a roof or siding, and is a swift grower.  Blooming throughout spring, summer, and fall, flowers are pink and white with deep-throated trumpets attractive to hummingbirds. I grow bower vines in full sun and partial shade. Once established they don’t require much water while providing year-round beauty with their shiny green leaves. Prune whenever the vine needs a bit of TLC as this vine is not fussy. Cut stems to add to indoor arrangements.

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Crape Myrtle:

The crape myrtle is hands-down one of my very favorite specimens because of its beauty and interest in every season. In summer the bush or tree is covered in showy flowers, in fall the leaves change to gorgeous red, umber, and gold, in winter the leaves fall off showcasing beautiful bark, and in spring the shiny green leaves sprout. All crape myrtles bloom on new wood and come in colors that include watermelon, red, white, pink, lavender, and purple. I prune my purple shrubs in early winter to twelve inches from the ground and by summer they have grown to three feet high. Prune trees periodically to keep them shaped. Although crape myrtles prefer acidic soil, they will grow in sand, clay, or loam. The Chinese Lagerstroemia indica crape myrtle is prone to powdery mildew so look for a cross with the Japanese L. fauriei to enjoy glorious blooms, attractive bark, and leaves without any issues. They are drought resistant, too!

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Crocosmia:

This firecracker plant boasts a tropical origin with bright blazing orange, yellow, red flowers that light up the summer garden. In our region, they start blooming right in time for the fireworks of Independence Day and continue until autumn. Their sword-like foliage offers spikey interest to the landscape. Hummingbirds and butterflies are especially attracted to the trumpet-shaped blooms while deer and rabbits stay away. The corms naturalize and the stalks make excellent floral displays. After the flowers are spent, the seedpods provide additional appeal. 

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Daylily:

Sometimes called “ditch weed”, daylilies will grow anywhere! Their botanical name is Hemerocallis from the Greek word hemera meaning day and kallos meaning beauty. They tolerate every kind of soil, are extremely low-maintenance, and require minimal irrigation once established. They are not a true lily as they have fleshy roots as opposed to bulbs. The leaves grow from a crown and the flowers form on a leafless stem called a “scape”. Most do not self-sow. Divide the roots every three to five years to create more plants. Each flower blooms for only a day, but each scape will have a dozen or more buds that will continue to open. A variety of colors and shades are available with butter yellow being the most ubiquitous. Every part of the daylily is edible. Sauté the buds in butter, garlic, and a little white wine for a delicious veggie treat that tastes like asparagus mixed with peas.

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Hollyhock:

Happy memories surround the legacy of my hollyhocks. I can’t remember a time when hollyhocks were not growing in my mother’s or grandmother’s gardens. My seeds are heirlooms from several generations of family gardeners with a history that goes back over a hundred years. Hollyhocks are the classic cottage garden staple that every gardener should include for spikey tall stalks of pink, white, magenta, and red blooms that will continue until winter. A member of the hibiscus family, this self-seeding China native grows best in full sun in rich, well-drained soil. Because they grow to fifteen feet or more, plant towards the back of the garden or near a fence. By deadheading when the flowers fade, you will encourage continuous bloom production. Prune to the ground by winter and save the seedpods to share.

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Hydrangea:

Another favorite plant for generations of gardeners, hydrangeas produce abundant blooms in partial sun. They are thirsty plants and need mulch around them to improve the soil texture and maintain moisture. Pruning hydrangeas is tricky because it is necessary to know what type you have as different hydrangeas require different pruning times and methods. The most common hydrangeas are Bigleaf, Oakleaf, Mountain, and Climbing which are pruned after summer blooming. They rebloom on “old wood” which are the stems from the previous season. Panicle and Smooth hydrangeas bloom on new wood (the stems from this season) and must be pruned before the buds form. I’m looking forward to trialing new Panicles from Proven Winners which will include Limelight Prime and a space-saving Fire Light Tidbit that will have cream-colored flowers covering the plant in summer, then turning to pink and lasting through frost.

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Rose:

No introduction is necessary for the fabulousness of the rose. Roses are the most versatile, beautiful, and coveted plant in every garden. When gardeners proclaim roses to be the bedrock of their landscape, they are not exaggerating. Roses come in every color, shade, petal, and size to suit every desire. Roses are a diverse group of plants that include shrub roses, carpet roses, floribundas, hybrid teas, climbing, old roses, rambling roses, and tree roses. Their shapes and structures differ. Some look like peonies, others have a single floral pattern. There are rosettes, cups, doubles, pompons, button-eyed, incurved, recurved, and quartered.  My favorites are David Austin roses with intoxicating fragrance, fine foliage, disease resistance, and stunning flowers.  Over a hundred roses grace my landscape and I am constantly adding more. As Emma Goldman stated, “I’d rather have roses on my table than diamonds on my neck.”

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When the sun rises, I go to work, spending as much time in nature as feasible. Consider planting some of my perennial favorites to enjoy elegance and exquisite allure throughout the summer months. 

Stay cool, hydrated, and share creation.

Happy Gardening. Happy Growing.

Cynthia-Summer picnic.jpeg

Photos: https://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue1511/Digging-Deep-with-Goddess-Gardener-Cynthia-Brian-Perennial-favorites.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.

cyntha brian with books SM copy.jpg

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

Cynthia@GoddessGardener.com

www.GoddessGardener.com

Bee Diligent

Posted by Felix Assivo on
0
Empowerment
Bee Diligent

bees on clover.jpeg

“The keeping of bees is like the direction of sunbeams. Henry David Thoreau

Barefoot and wearing our bathing suits, my daughter was teaching me Bar Method exercises out on our lawn on a beautiful summer afternoon. Partway through the practice I was stung on my foot by a honeybee dining on the clover. Clover is a wonderful addition to lawns as it adds natural nitrogen to the soil, however, when playing on the grass we must remember to be cautious as both red and white clover provide favorite nectar to our honey friends. 

We all want to attract pollinators to our gardens. The more flowers you grow equals the more food for the habitat of the pollinators. Bees, butterflies, beetles, hummingbirds, bats, and bids are responsible for 35% of our food crop and 75% of the world’s flowering plants. Every three bites of food eaten can be directly thanks to the pollination from these garden friends. By helping plants reproduce, pollinators sustain our ecosystem and produce our natural resources. Sadly, the pollinator population is in jeopardy on a global level.

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In 2006, the honeybee population substantially declined in a phenomenon that became known as Colony Collapse Disorder or CCD. When the worker bees disappeared, they would leave behind a queen and a few nurse bees to care for the queen and the remaining immature bees. There were rarely dead bees around the hives. Hives cannot sustain themselves without worker bees which resulted in the loss of the colony. There were many theories advanced on why the problem arose including new diseases, parasites, mites, pesticide poisoning, habitat changes, poor nutrition, and stress. Although an actual cause has never been determined, most scientists believe that CCD is related to this combination of causes. 

Honey bees reflect the health of the environment. Our agriculture depends on the pollination of honey bees. If bees continue to die, consumers can expect increased food prices and more scarcity. As gardeners, we can do our part to provide habitat and food for all pollinators and beneficial insects, including bees. 

Here are some ways individual gardeners can make a difference while creating harmony in the landscape:

  •  Support the pollinator population all season by including plants that bloom spring until the beginning of winter. Bumblebees need early-season nectar and pollen while bees need late-season blooms for winter hibernation.
  • bumblebee on bottlebrush.jpeg
  •  Add easy-to-grow natives and native hybrids to your garden.
  •  Replace barren areas with wildflowers and perennials.
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  •  Include clover in your lawn.
  •  Avoid using any pesticides or herbicides.
  •  Provide a source of water by including a fountain or even a shallow birdbath with a landing pad of stones or pebbles.
  • bees drinking water .jpeg
  •  Pollinators need a sheltered habitat of rocks, trees, shrubs, and ornamental grasses.
  • Bumble Bee on Greanium.jpeg

In general, bees tend to enjoy plants that have flat flower clusters, short tubular shapes, and single flowers which allow them to access the nectar and pollen easily. 

Attract and Feed Pollinators, especially bees and Bumblebees by planting a selection of these specimens:

Anise

Aster

Bachelor Button

Bee Balm

Black-Eyed Susan

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Blazing Star

Bottlebrush

Calendula

Chamomile

Clover

Cleome

Cosmos

Daisy

Delphinium

Echinacea

Fennel

Four O’Clock

Foxglove

Gladiola

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Hollyhock

Iris

Lupine

Lavender

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Magnolia

Marigold

Milkweed

Morning glory

Nasturtium

Nigella

Oregano

Poppy

Rosemary

Salvia

Sedum

Sunflower

Sweet Pea

Yarrow

Zinnia

Another great addition to any pollinator garden is the bearded iris. Irises spread as they mature, with old rhizomes producing new ones to form rhizome clumps. These clumps need to be divided every 3–5 years to avoid overcrowding and reduce the likelihood of soft rot. You may want to designate an area specifically for an iris plot. Divide and replant the rhizomes to grow your garden. To divide irises do the following:

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https://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue1510/Digging-Deep-with-Goddess-Gardener-Cynthia-Brian.html

  1. 1. About four weeks after the flowers fade, cut down the foliage by about two-thirds.
  2. 2. Carefully dig up the clumps and gently separate individual rhizomes by hand or with garden shears.
  3. 3. Discard damaged or discolored rhizomes. Also, toss out any with soft spots.
  4. 4. Freshen soil with compost and replant the newly separated rhizomes 15–24″ apart.
  5. 5. If you have too many, share with friends and family. 

Bees are critical to the well-being of the planet. My daughter and her husband have become home beekeepers and are enjoying the delicious honey that their bees create from the many flowers growing in their garden. The bees are sunbeams of beauty and productivity.  It’s up to humans to “bee” careful with how we manage our biologicals to promote the health and longevity of all pollinators.

Just don’t exercise barefoot on the clover!

Photos: https://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue1510/Digging-Deep-with-Goddess-Gardener-Cynthia-Brian.html

Happy Gardening. happy growing!

BEST cynthi-BEESUIT.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

Honoring Dads

Posted by Felix Assivo on
0
Empowerment
Honoring Dads

Drone family pic !.jpeg

Happy Father’s Day
June 2021

MIRACLE MOMENT®

“A good father is one of the most unsung, unpraised, unnoticed, and yet one of the most valuable assets in our society.”  Billy Graham


1985-Al Aburrini-Dad-POPPA (dad)A MESSAGE FROM FOUNDER/EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR,CYNTHIA BRIAN 

My Dad was my hero and my champion. My great fortune was to be born into a family where my parents deeply loved and respected one another and their five children. We were farmers, working the land from daybreak to dusk to feed others. At the time, as far as monetary means, we had little but we always were surrounded with love, encouragement, and home-grown fruits and vegetables. When my Dad came in from a day in the fields, we kids would fight over who got to dust him off with a broom. He was a humble, self-educated man who knew how to fix anything. We always felt safe when we were with Daddy. He’d saddle our horses, tighten our ski bindings, build our chicken coops and sheep pens, and take us on the control burns to mitigate fire danger. My Mom was his girlfriend and he treated her like a Queen. When he walked his girls down the aisle to be married, his gentle eyes shed tears of joy. He made everyone he met feel like the most important person in the world. When he died young, over 1500 people came to his funeral to honor this simple farmer who treated everyone with dignity and love.

My hands are rough and calloused from the years of driving tractors, cutting fruit, raising animals, and digging dirt. I wouldn’t have it any other way.  By growing up on a farm under the tutelage of my Mom and Dad, I learned the importance of family, hard labor, responsibility, caring, and integrity. My Dad inspired me to live my dreams and help others reach theirs. He is the reason that I founded Be the Star You Are!® 22 years ago.

This week we honor fathers, those wonderful men who give so much of their talent, time, and treasures to help their children become the stars they were born to be.

Reach out to the Dads who make a difference every day in big and small ways. Show your appreciation. You can pay homage by making a donation in the name of your special father through Be the Star You Are!® In recognition donations can be made by check to Be the Star You Are!®, PO Box 376, Moraga, Ca. 94556. A card honoring your wonderful man will be sent as well as a receipt. If you prefer to use Paypal or GiveButter, here are the links:

GiveButter: https://givebutter.com/be-the-star-you-are-charity

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

I will be forever grateful to my amazing Daddy for being outstanding in his field! He was the best of mankind and a role model for what a good person can be. Thank you, Daddy, for shining your light on me and so many others.

Happy Father’s Day to all the magnificent men who make this world a better place. We love and bless 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

DONATE: https://www.paypal.com/fundraiser/charity/1504 Cyn wedding with dad 1975


Ranch-vineyards-garden


WANT TO BE IN A SURVEY OF  “Experiences of Children and Teens During the COVID-19 Pandemic”?

A group of researchers from NYU, University of Vermont, University of Ottawa, and University of Colorado Boulder is studying the experiences of school-aged children and teenagers during the COVID-19 pandemic. If you are the parent of a child or teen ages 5-17 or are 18 years old, we would love for you to participate! The survey should take less than a half an hour and you can close and return to it at a later time if needed.

Here is the link for parents of children ages 5-10 to complete the survey: https://qualtrics.uvm.edu/jfe/form/SV_4VGIYrj7OZgW9T0

Here is the link for children and teens ages 11-18 to complete the survey with their parent’s permission (if under 18): https://qualtrics.uvm.edu/jfe/form/SV_6JS2H1zV4M87DDM

Feel free to pass the link along to those in your network with children and teens ages 5-17 or other 18-year-olds who may be interested in participating.

Please reach out to Gabriella Meltzer at gm2477@nyu.edu if you’d like more information or if you have any questions.


REMEMBERING DAD

All Saints CemeteryI wish I could more vividly remember the afternoons when we ate popsicles together. Or the evenings drying dishes when I wore your slippers.  A photo taken in the parking lot of an amusement park reminds me of the day I won a big plush dog, and how I couldn’t wait to show you.  You were the most important person in my life.

Because you’ve been gone for more than 35 years, it’s hard to picture what I know were many days when you made me very happy.  I didn’t know how I would go on without you in my life.  But I did. And when I look up into the beautiful blue sky, I can almost imagine seeing your kind smile.

Happy Father’s Day Dad!

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. www.scatteringkindness.com


ARE YOU AN ORGANIZATION THAT NEEDS BOOKS?

Be the Star You Are!® has boxes of brand new books to donate to shelters, organizations, or charities in need. The books retail for $15-20, but to increase literacy, they are FREE to qualified groups. Shipping cost is $25 per box. There will be 10-12 books per box. If your group is interested, email info@bethestaryouare.org. We do not provide a list of the titles but will discuss with you the type of books that would be most beneficial. We have non-fiction and fiction, soft cover and hard cover.  The shipping charge can be paid via PayPal or GiveButter. Details will be emailed to you.
OSH booksalemontage copy BTSYA High Res.2019logo RLS


GIFTS FOR DAD!

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

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

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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

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

T-shirts

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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


EDU_TAINMENT WITH BE THE STAR YOU ARE! RADIO

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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.
 
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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.
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DIRECT LINKS


CELEBRATE DAD!

Thank you logo 2Stay healthy and safe as you venture out this summer. Honor your father and have a wonderful Father’s Day. Thanks for being part of our Be the Star You Are!® galaxy.

Be the Star You Are!® 501 c3 charity, PO Box 376, Moraga, Ca. 94556

What Plants are more Fire Resilient?

Posted by Felix Assivo on
0
Empowerment
What Plants are more Fire Resilient?

Bonica shrub roses.jpeg

Normally the sound of weed-whackers disrupts the tranquility of living the soulful country life, but this year, I am grateful to hear their constant buzzing. With a summer of historical dryness in front of us bringing a looming fire danger, cutting the grasses on hillsides, paths, and in backyards is imperative. I’ve been working on my property since early February weeding, cutting, pruning, mulching, repairing, and planting in preparation for a hot, dangerous year. You are encouraged to walk through your landscape and make sure you are also ready for whatever may transpire. We want to keep our community picturesque as well as safe. We all play a part in protecting our precious land and lives.

Flammable grass on hillside..jpeg

My articles on creating an Emergency Go-Bag (https://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue1507/Packing-an-emergency-Go-Bag.html) and Wildfire Protection through Landscaping

(https://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue1507/Digging-Deep-with-Goddess-Gardener-Cynthia-Brian-Wildfire-protection-through-landscaping.html) elicited numerous emails and comments. The number one request was to supply a list of plants that would be fire-retardant and fire-resistant.

When planning a new garden or adding plants to an existing landscape, it is essential to be reminded that no plant is fire-proof. Everything can and will burn if the temperature is hot enough. Also, even if a plant tag indicates that it is fire-resistant, it must be properly maintained, pruned, irrigated, spaced, and positioned in the correct locations to thrive. Plants that have been infested with pests, are too old, or are stressed will be more flammable. Plants that are not nurtured could create a problem for other vegetation. Inspect your botanicals carefully. 

GARDEN ZONES

ZONE 1: DEFENSIBLE ZONE

Plants within 30 feet of a structure need to be considered for fire-retardance. This is Zone 1, the defensible space of your garden which will be able to withstand extreme heat and flying embers. Plants need to be watered thoroughly, trees are preferably deciduous, and the leaves of plants will be moist, fleshy, and broad.

Groundcovers for this area include:

Lawn grasses

Ajuga

Isotoma

Gazania

Alyssum

Moss

Nasturtium

Vinca

Dwarf Plumbago

Chamomile

Zone 1 Perennials include:

Acanthus

Agapanthus

Artemisia

Bergenia

Canna

Dusty Miller

Shasta Daisy

Chrysanthemum

Coreopsis

Foxglove

Ferns

Geranium

Daylilies

Impatiens

Hosta

Heuchera

Penstemon

Pelargonium

New Zealand Flax

Lamb’s Ear

Calla lilies

Bird of Paradise

Zone 1 Shrubs include:

Rose

Privet

Boxwood

Camellia

Photinia

Mock Orange

Gardenia

Hibiscus

Pittosporum

Azalea

Rhododendron

Lilac

Viburnum

Oleander

Zone 1 Vines include:

Clematis

Trumpet Vine

Grape

Jasmine

Bower Vine

Wisteria

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Zone 1 Trees include:

Fruit trees

Magnolia

Maple

Redbud

Birch

Pineapple Guava

Dogwood

Crape Myrtle

Liquid Amber

Ornamental Pear

Pepper Tree

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ZONE 2: FUEL BREAK

From 31 feet to 70 feet from a structure, and even further up on slopes, is the greenbelt area which is designed to halt the fire. Plants in this area are the most fire-retardant with low fuels and high moisture content. These plantings can withstand neglect, freezes, droughts, and even insect infestations and still be fire-retardant. Ground covers don’t grow over 18 inches. Trees and shrubs have space between them. In general, although succulents and cactus may not survive a fire, they are the best at retarding one.

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Zone 2 Groundcovers include:

Succulents

Ice plant

Yarrow

Artemisia

Morning glory

Coreopsis

Santa Barbara Daisy

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Wild strawberry

Gazania

Primrose

Osteospermum

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Clover

Verbena

Zone 2 Perennials include:

Yarrow

Dusty Miller

California Poppy

Iris

Gaura

Euphorbia

Chrysanthemum

Coreopsis

Statice

Candytuft

Lupine

Red-Hot Poker

Sage

Yucca

Zone 2 Shrubs include:

Succulents

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Cactus

Oleander

Pomegranate

Rockrose

Zone 2 Vines include:

Virginia Creeper

Lady Banks Rose

Honeysuckle

Nightshade

Senecio Confusus

Zone 2 Trees include:

Carob

Strawberry Tree

Redbud

Honey Locust

Chinese Pistache

California Black Oak

Sumac

Yucca

Joshua Tree

GENERAL FIRE-RESISTANT PLANTS

Although no plant is 100% fire-proof, these plants are less likely to burn. Several are already listed for Zones 1 and 2.  

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

California redbud

Sage

Penstemon

Heather

Fuchsia

Columbine

Thyme

Poppy

Wild strawberry

Common yarrow

French lavender

Lantana

Lilac

Coreopsis

Ajuga

California lilac

Society garlic

Jasmine

Periwinkle

Alliums

Dianthus

Yellow or Purple Ice Plant

Creeping Phlox

Lamium

Sedum

Succulents

Veronica

Armeria

Agapanthus

Trumpet Vine

Daylily

Heuchera

Hosta

Red-Hot Poker

Lupine

Delphinium

Echinacea

Lamb’s ear

Yucca

Rose

Salvia

Evening primrose

Daphne

Boxwood

Rhododendron

Spirea

Dogwood

Mock orange

Azalea

Currant

Viburnum

Aloe

Primrose

Candytuft

African Daisy

Calendula

TREES:

Horse Chestnut

Liquid Amber

Honey Locust

Crabapple

Purple Robe Locust

Fruit Trees (varieties of cherry, plum, pear, peach, apricot, pomegranate, fig)

Black Oak

Hawthorne

Birch

Aspen

Poplar

Maple

Manzanita (prune without deadwood)

Walnut 

California Bay Laurel

California Pepper

Remember that deciduous plants are less flammable than evergreen. Gray and silver plants have a high mineral and ash content which makes them more fire-resistant. Vegetation with needles or fine, thin leaves is flammable. The more stored moisture a plant has, the more it can withstand a fire. Use less-flammable types of mulch, such as gravel or decorative rock, or a combination of wood bark mulch and decorative rock to dress your garden, retain moisture, and deter weed growth.

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To burn, fires need fuel. By removing debris, planting and maintaining a fire-retardant and fire-resistant landscape, cutting down dead trees, thinning dried branches, spacing, pruning, watering, and keeping trees away from roofs, you will dimmish the chance of ignition, lower fire intensity, and reduce the spread of a blaze. Your home will have a better chance of surviving a wildfire. 

Best of all, you can still create a gorgeous oasis where you can entertain, relax, and socialize.

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You don’t want fires to crawl fueled by unkempt low-lying vegetation, high grasses, or mounds of leaves.  Get out the weed whackers and go to work.  Be fire safe and enjoy a wonderful summer. 

Happy Gardening. Happy Growing. Congratulations to the graduates and Happy Father’s Day to all the great dads.

Photos and more:

https://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue1508/Digging-Deep-with-Goddess-Gardener-Cynthia-Brian-Fire-retardant-and-fire-resistant-plantings.html

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

cyn-exhausting garden day.jpeg

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

cynthia brian's books.jpg

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

Cynthia@GoddessGardener.com

www.GoddessGardener.com

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

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

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

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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

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Empowerment
TIME TO GO! Emergency Prep

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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

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Courage to Continue-Good Things are Coming!

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Empowerment
Courage to Continue-Good Things are Coming!
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May 17, 2021
Covid-19 Vaccine
Courage to Continue!
Get Vaccinated. Life is Precious.
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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!

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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

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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

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

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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

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

T-shirts

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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.

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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

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EDU_TAINMENT WITH BE THE STAR YOU ARE! RADIO

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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.
 
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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.
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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

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