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Are the Kids Alright?

Posted by Cynthia Brian on
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Empowerment
Are the Kids Alright?
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MIRACLE MOMENT®

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us.” Marianne Williamson 


PEAR AND WINE FESTIVAL, SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 24TH&

Welcome pear festivalOur teen radio host and reporter, Sharayna Roy, is busy chairing the involvement of Be the Star You Are!® in the Pear and Wine Festival to be held Saturday, September 24th at the Moraga Commons Park in Moraga, not far from St. Mary’s College. Our booth will have a variety of super fun activities for kids including making pin wheels, planting seeds for literacy, reading circles, and spin the wheel. She is also organizing a lottery for great prizes, and a bargain book bin. Several of our hosts and reporters from Express Yourself!™ Teen Radio will be in attendance to talk to attendees. Cynthia Brian will be autographing the new picture book, No Barnyard Bullies along with her other bestselling books and there will be more surprises. The festival itself promises food, music, games, jump houses, inflatables, pie eating contests, and of course wine! Come play from 11-3pm for a day of family fun and love. Many thanks to our sponsors, The Lamorinda Weekly, www.LamorindaWeekly.comand MB Jessee Painting, www.MBJessee.com

More info at https://www.bethestaryouare.org/events-1/2022-pear-and-wine-festival-a-day-of-free-family-fun

Sharanya-STAR


SIMPLE KINDNESS

kindness quote 2It’s often the little things that brighten our moments.  We may wonder how a simple nod of the head or a good morning smile could make a difference.  But if someone is depressed or even feeling a bit down, that simple gesture can be a reminder that they are valued.

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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


See You At the Pear and Wine Festival!

We invite you to get involved, volunteer, make a difference and donate.

Thanks for being YOU!
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Be the Star You Are!® 501 c3

PO Box 376

Moraga, Ca. 94556
Are the Kids Alright?


A MESSAGE FROM FOUNDER/EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, CYNTHIA BRIAN

2021 Pear Festival-covid-masks down (1) 2Tattooed on seven time Formula 1 world champion, Lewis Hamilton’s chest is the phrase “Powerful Beyond Measure”. As a dyslexic Black kid in a predominantly white school, he struggled academically, was bullied by classmates, and told by teachers that he would never be anything. With determination, grit, and stamina, he proved everyone wrong to become one of the most famous athletes on the planet. 

Lewis’s trajectory is an admirable success story. He’s a role model with a lesson about believing in yourself, no matter the odds.

Today’s youth are in crisis with soaring rates of depression and anxiety. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1 in 10 high school students attempted suicide in 2021. Between 2010 and 2020 suicide rates rose 53%. Suicide is now the second leading cause of death for teenagers.

This is alarming.

At Be the Star You Are!®, the majority of the people we work with are adolescents, many of whom are immigrants or children of immigrants from numerous countries, creeds, and cultures. On our unedited and uncensored teen radio broadcast, Express Yourself!™, our young reporters and hosts tackle and debate issues that concern them. The Supreme Court’s unpopular decision to overturn Roe vs. Wade has many high school seniors, both male and female, deciding not to apply to colleges in states where bodily autonomy and freedom of choice is not guaranteed. The political turmoil, sexism, racial intolerance, white supremacy increase, anti-immigration fervor, conspiracy theories, unabated lies, gun violence, Russia’s war, and the rise of autocracy have these young people understandably worried. Climate change and global warming instill a fear that our future Earth may not be hospitable to humans. By talking about these realities and sharing their opinions, our thoughtful and intelligent teens shine a light on how we can be powerful beyond measure when we embrace democracy, peace, and love. Select a topic and tune in at 

https://www.voiceamerica.com/show/2014/express-yourself . When teens talk, the world needs to listen.

As parents, teachers, and guardians we strive to understand, to guide, to be truthful. We need to be role models, share experiences, provide love, and show approval. The new children’s picture book, No Barnyard Bullies,addresses these and other complex issues in the hope of instilling kindness and inclusivity in children from a young age. No one likes a bully, not even in the animal kingdom. Read more: https://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue1615/New-childrens-book-addresses-complex-issues-of-kindness-and-inclusivity.html

For a joyful family day, come join us at the Pear and Wine Festival on Saturday, September 24th in Moraga. Our teen chairperson, Sharayna, has a multitude of free, fun activities to entertain kids.

Remember we don’t have to dim the light of others to have our own shine brightly. Be the unapologetically star you were born to be and be powerful beyond measure. 

Let’s help our kids be alright!

With gratitude,

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


NEW CHILDREN’S BOOK COMBATS BULLYING!

FRONT COVER-sm-NoBarnyardBullies copyBe the Star You Are!® is excited to announce the launch of a new children’s picture book series, Stella Bella’s Barnyard Adventures, authored by Executive Director, Cynthia Brian, with proceeds benefiting Be the Star You Are!®. Each book is based on a true story that happened to adopted animals in Cynthia’s menagerie. Debuting in October will be NFT’s related to the series with exclusive experiences and empowerment events.

The animal kingdom is filled with timely and timeless tales that are relatable to humans. The animal family of Stella Bella’s Barnyard Adventures experiences complex encounters that challenge their integrity, individuality, and character while amplifying diverse expressions and original viewpoints to co-exist as a group. The barnyard animals address critical issues facing children including bullying, nature, power struggles, adversity, adoption, homelessness, creativity, justice, health, kindness, ethnicity, and being different through a cultural lens of hope and resolution. With visually rich illustrations, each picture book moves a child to appreciate all animals while learning the lessons the natural world teaches humans.

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Each book is 32 pages peppered with lively conversations between the species. Glorious, colorful animated illustrations of the characters by the talented Jensen Russell bring the prose and poetry dialog to life.  Read more: https://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue1615/New-childrens-book-addresses-complex-issues-of-kindness-and-inclusivity.html

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Illustrator, Jensen Russell

No Barnyard Bullies follows a pampered piglet who lives in an apartment as she is re-homed to a barnyard filled with happy critters. Thinking that she is the Queen, she bullies the other animals until she is stopped by a tiny bunny who defends a three-legged goat from her attacks. Everyone is equal in Stella Bella’s barnyard where bullies are not tolerated and inclusiveness is paramount .  Advance purchases at a discount available in our online store. https://www.cynthiabrian.com/online-store/No-Barnyard-Bullies-COMING-SOON-PRE-ORDERS-ONLY-AT-A-DISCOUNT-p486474870

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Hot, Hot, Hot!

Posted by Cynthia Brian on
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Empowerment
Hot, Hot, Hot!

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By Cynthia Brian 

 

“What dreadful hot weather we have. It keeps one in a continual state of inelegance.” Jane Austen

 

In July 1808 when Jane Austen was thirty-three, the Central England Temperature series which dates back to 1659, recorded the 2nd hottest month on record with temperatures around the country reaching between 97-105 degrees. Following this oppressive heat wave, a thunderstorm so violent that hail stones were up to a foot long, destroyed structures, and killed people and livestock.

 

I normally adore hot weather. In the past, I was one of those people that liked it hot! Then Labor Day weekend 2022 happened! Wow! Throughout the many years that I’ve lived in Lamorinda, I don’t recall a time when temperatures reached 109. Friends in Southern California reported temperatures of 119 degrees. This excessive heat strained the power grids as people attempted to keep cool.

Throughout the United States and the world, horrific environmental tragedies are occurring including floods, fires, droughts, famines, heat waves, disappearing glaciers, and so much more with global warming and climate change accelerating. Scientists at U.C.L.A. and elsewhere are predicting a mega-storm in California in the next few decades that will be unlike anything anyone has ever experienced. They are calling it “the other BIG ONE” as it will be as destructive, deadly, and costly as any earthquake dumping over 100 inches of precipitation in non-stop atmospheric rivers throughout the state.

Yet today, suffering from extended heat and water scarcity, viewing our parched gardens, it’s hard to imagine a winter super storm. As a lover of nature and Goddess Gardener, I am acutely aware of the crisis we face. It is prudent to prepare.

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I am watering twice a week, less than the district water mandate of thrice per week. As I do my best to never waste a drop of H2O, buckets are maintained in showers and sinks, sprinklers have been checked, leaking valves repaired, my garden has been mulched, trigger nozzles are attached to every hose, and the driveway and patio are swept. Despite these earnest efforts, the month has been challenging to keep landscaping alive.

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You are not alone if your lawn is brown and crunchy. Mine is as well. I suggest applying enough water to keep the roots alive. When the rains come this winter (and let’s pray we get them without the torrential atmospheric rivers that we experienced last season), and with a bit of fertilizer later in the fall, your lawn will bounce back. It is ugly now, so patience is required. If you are tired of battling growing a beautiful green lawn in a drought, make sure to contact the water district as there are rebates for replacing turf with sustainable, drought-resistant landscaping.

Proven Winners has just asked me to trial two of their newest developments, 

Estrellita Little Star™ Bouvardia and

Chicklet™ Orange Trumpet Bush. I am always thrilled to test any new cultivar but because of the heat, I’ve asked them to not send the plant samples for a couple of weeks until the weather, hopefully, is cooler. If you are waiting to transplant, my suggestion is to postpone putting anything in the ground until the days are nippier, nights are warm, and rain is on the horizon. I currently have four big containers consisting of two avocado trees, a banana tree, and a red rose that need to be moved to their forever spot, yet I dare not attempt to replant them now. Last spring, I transplanted three avocado trees which perished during the summer heat even though I was attentive. Trees take three to five years to acclimate to their new environs. Timing the transition is tricky, yet imperative.

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My “hot” news is that my first children’s picture book, No Barnyard Bullies, based on true stories from growing up on a farm and adopting and rehoming animals, is published. I will be selling and autographing the first edition at the Pear and Wine Festival at Moraga Commons Park in the Be the Star You Are!® booth on Saturday, September 24 from 11-3 pm. Proceeds will benefit the arts, culture, and literacy charity empowering women, families, and youth. Our gratitude to Lamorinda Weekly and MB Jessee Painting for sponsoring the booth. Hope to see you there. For more information, visit Events at https://www.bethestaryouare.org.

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Read about No Barnyard Bullies:

https://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue1615/New-childrens-book-addresses-complex-issues-of-kindness-and-inclusivity.html 

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In this late summer weather, we may feel inelegant and perhaps a bit dreadful. It’s hot, hot, hot. But it could be worse…like a flash flood or hail stones as big as a football-. Stay cool, hydrated, and shaded.

Cynthia Brian’s Mid-September Gardening Guide

ü  Autumn is less than two weeks away. It is time to buy the spring bulbs you wish to plant. Visit your local nursery or order from catalogs for your favorite blooms:

Van Engelen Dutch bulbs: www.vanengelen.com

John Scheepers beauty bulbs: www.johnscheepers.com

White Flower Farm: www.whiteflowerfarm.com

Spring Hill Nursery: www.springhillnursery.com

Breck’s Direct from Holland: www.brecks.com

ü  Save Energy from 4 pm-9 pm as extreme heat is straining California’s grid.

ü  Water containers daily if the soil is dry. Test by putting a pencil or stick a few inches into the pot. If the pencil comes out dry, it’s time to water. If moist, skip it.

ü  Climate emergencies are on the rise. Heed these warnings offered by Lamorinda emergency services:

o   Sign up for alerts on your smartphone with the Contra Costa County Community Warning System- https://alerts5.athoc.com/SelfService/CCCCWS/Register

o   Include the CWS emergency notification number (925-655-0195) in your favorite contacts so you will receive messages when your phone is set to “do not disturb”. For directions on how to do this visit- https://www.lamorindacert.org/resource/cell-phone-do-not-disturb/

o   Know Your Zone! Contra Costa County is divided into evacuation zones. Knowing your zone will allow you to quickly identify your neighborhood’s evacuation status and know when it’s safe to return home. Find your zone here- https://cwsalerts.com/know-your-zone/  Don’t forget to save the information where you can find it in an emergency.

o   Review the Lamorinda Resident’s Guide to Wildfire Preparedness and Evacuation.  https://lamorindacert.org/evacuate/documents/LRGWPE.pdf

ü  Contact the water district to inquire about a rebate if you decide to replace your lawn with drought-resistant landscaping.

ü  Deep-soak established trees, especially if signs of distress are evident. Deep-soaking prevents roots from rising to the soil surface.

ü  Irrigate deeply early in the morning or as late as possible in the evening when the temperatures are cooler to minimize evaporation.

ü  Refrain from planting any new plants during a heatwave. Wait until mid-fall or whenever the days become cooler, yet the soil is still warm.

ü  Stay hydrated. Make sure your animals have plenty of water, too. 

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Happy Gardening. Happy Growing.

Photos and more: https://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue1615/Digging-Deep-with-Goddess-Gardener-Cynthia-Brian-Some-like-it-hot.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. Her newest children’s picture book, No Barnyard Bullies, is available now.. Buy copies of her books, www.cynthiabrian.com/online-store. Receive a FREE inspirational music DVD and special savings. For an invitation to hang out with Cynthia for fun virtual events, activities, conversations, and special perks, buy a StarStyle® NFT at https://StarStyleCommunity.com 

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

Cynthia@GoddessGardener.com

www.GoddessGardener.com

Garden of Eating

Posted by Cynthia Brian on
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Empowerment
Garden of Eating

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By Cynthia Brian

“The gathering of salads, radishes, and herbs made me feel like another about her baby–how could anything so beautiful be mine?” Alice B. Toklas

The final month of summer is the most delicious time of the season when summer crops, especially tomatoes and squash are at their tastiest. Throughout the year I look forward to this moment when I can pluck sun-ripened heirloom tomatoes right off the vine, pinch a basil leaf or two, and devour the combination while working in my potager.

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Since medieval days, the French have been combining flowers, herbs, and vegetables in kitchen gardens called potagers. Still popular today, according to government surveys, at least 25% of consumed vegetables in France are home-grown. With the cost of fresh fruit and vegetables at an all-time high, many Americans are following suit and smartly growing their own groceries. 

Growing up on our farm, our edible gardens were expansive. Everything we consumed we either grew or raised, except for dairy products. Whenever we visited friends or relatives, we always brought vegetable garden platter.jpega box of freshly harvested goodies. Our meals were colorful, flavorful, and nutritious, making me a life-long advocate of continuing the tradition of growing my own organic crops and sharing the bounty with others.

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Everyone benefits from enjoying a little patch of earth; however, most people don’t live on farms with acres of land. The good news is you don’t need a hectare to grow your own herbs and vegetables. With limited space, window boxes, balconies, doorsteps, and porches become your personal, edible Eden.

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If you are wondering what is a potager or kitchen garden, the best description is that it is a place where you grow your own garden of eating. In other words, what do you want to bring into the kitchen? Fruit, herbs, flowers, and vegetables are all welcome in a kitchen garden. Kids are instilled with better eating habits as well as a love of gardening by giving them a small plot or pot to grow foods they want to eat. Whether you are a green thumb or a non-gardener, growing edibles in a container on your patio or deck next to the grill make the ingredients easier to use in your meal planning. Most people don’t want to hike out to the back forty to harvest a handful of chives. Ornamental edibles are gorgeous and entertaining as herbs, flowers, and vegetables flow seamlessly together, attracting beneficial insects to keep the garden healthy and in balance.

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Although it is too late this year to plant a kitchen garden for summer harvesting, the forthcoming fall offers the opportunity to plant winter crops. And by salivating now over the luscious summer offerings of tomatoes, peppers, zucchini, cucumbers, eggplant, and more, you can plan next spring’s planting.

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What do you need to grow a mini garden of tasty delights?

Containers: Anything that can hold soil and water will work well. You can purchase decorative containers in a variety of sizes, shapes, colors, and textures or you can recycle unlikely items for more of a unique design statement. I grow herbs and plants in old cowboy boots, coffee mugs, shells, wine boxes, teapots, toys, and even hats.  Drainage is critical, especially for any vessel without a bottom hole.  Add an inch of gravel or packing pebbles to the bottom of any containers to improve the drainage. Water damages surfaces. Provide saucers to prevent runoff staining.

Soil: Synthetic “soils” are best suited for growing vegetables and herbs in pots. Purchase pre-made bags or make your own by mixing sawdust, wood chips, peat moss, perlite, vermiculite, fertilizer, compost, or other organic mediums. Mixtures must be free of disease and weed seeds, be able to hold moisture and nutrients, be lightweight, and drain well.  Before planting, water the new soil thoroughly.

Sun: Growing herbs or vegetables requires sunshine. Make sure to position your planters in a non-drafty area receiving five to six hours of sun daily. A south, southeast, southwest, or west location is ideal. Most containers are easily moved from place to place. If very large or extra heavy, utilize the assistance of a hand truck!

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Seeds: Whether you choose seeds or small plants, you’ll want to choose herbs or veggies that won’t grow too tall or too wide and don’t have a deep rooting system. My favorites are parsley, mint, basil, chives, sage, thyme, dill, strawberries, and lavender. I have had success in growing tomatoes, eggplant, lettuce, cabbage, and peppers in containers on my patio. If you have vertical space on a balcony or porch, pole beans are fun while cucumbers and squash can be trained to trail. For great barbecue flavors, keep a wagon of herbs, specifically rosemary, within rolling distance.

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Water: Herbs and vegetables drown when water-logged. Water sparingly. Once a week during cooler seasons or in hot weather, once a day is sufficient. Poor drainage kills plants while wet leaves encourage disease. Be diligent. Feed once a month with a fertilizer designed for edibles. 

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My Asian pear and apple trees are overflowing with fruit this year as are all my citrus trees including lemon, lime, tangerine, and tangelo. Grapes are ripening and will be harvested next month. Miniature or dwarf fruit trees are available at local nurseries allowing you to grow your favorite treats in troughs or containers. Berries can be grown in barrels to boost your antioxidant quotient to fight disease and keep you healthy. 

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There is nothing better than plucking a few leaves from your aromatic herbs, ripe fruit from your tree, tangy berries from the bush, or any veggie growing in your personal plots to add flavor and health to your cuisine. Growing in the ground or pots near your cooking environment will decrease stress and improve your happiness quotient.  Your botanical babies are beautiful!

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Plant your own garden of eating today.  Enjoy paradise on a plate. Bon appetite!

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Happy Gardening. Happy Growing.

Photos and more: https://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue1614/Digging-Deep-with-Goddess-Gardener-Cynthia-Brian-Garden-of-eating.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. Her newest children’s picture book series, Stella Bella’s Barnyard Adventures, will be available soon. Buy copies of her books, 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

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Pets, Plants, and Poisons

Posted by Cynthia Brian on
0
Empowerment
Pets, Plants, and Poisons

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Digging Deep with Goddess Gardener, Cynthia Brian
Colorful African daisies. Photos Cynthia Brian

“Flowers have an expression of countenance as much as men or animals. Some seem to smile, some have a sad expression, some are pensive and diffident, others again are plain, honest, and upright.” ~ Henry Ward Beecher

And may I add . some are very poisonous!
Since I was a child growing up on a farm, I have adopted and raised every type of creature, both domesticated and wild. Dogs, cats, rabbits, squirrels, chickens, ducks, geese, cows, horses, sheep, ponies, deer, birds, pigs, goats and more roamed our barnyards. My family never allowed indoor pets, yet many of our animal friends followed us around our expansive gardens as we did our chores, sometimes nibbling on roses or gnawing on low voltage wires, but never getting sick. It seemed that our animals had an innate knowledge of what plant was poisonous and they stayed clear of the oleander, digitalis, hemlock, and hundreds of other toxic specimens.
Recently I was hired by a lovely client to provide a colorful garden design for the family’s backyard. The caveat to the project was that their sweet puppy ate anything growing. While we walked around the yard, the pooch did indeed sample everything. When I submitted my suggested planting list, I was confident that my choices would be fine with a plant-eating pet.
I was wrong. Several of my choices could have caused health issues depending on the amount consumed, potential allergies, or other matters.
In general, plants that are considered toxic or poisonous to people are poisonous to most animals. For example, although humans enjoy many types of mushrooms, there are numerous lethal mushrooms when ingested. If your pet nibbles on a mushroom in the wild, it must be treated as toxic. There have been instances where a plant that is safe for humans has been poisonous to an animal. Often, animals eat larger amounts of the plant resulting in a greater problem.
As I went back to the drawing board to research a list of non-ruinous flowers, it became apparent that contradictions and confusion reign. In one report, a specimen was listed as safe, and in another, it was listed as dangerous. It became important to investigate the Scientific name as well as the Family name. For example, 1,000 species and over 10,000 hybrids of begonia, Scientific name: Begonia spp., Family: Begoniaceae are toxic, while climbing begonia known as Rex Begonia, Scientific name: Cissus dicolor, Family: Vitaceae are fine. The health, age, and size of the pet as well as how much they devour is a factor in whether your pet will be affected. A website that is helpful as a guide for plants that are toxic to dogs is the ASPCA. Visit https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/animal-poison-control/dogs-plant-list.
After examining numerous sources and talking to experts, my recommendation is to check with your personal veterinarian before landscaping as your doctor knows your pet best. Many plants with no known toxicity could still cause an allergic reaction under the right conditions. The juice or sap from some plants contains oxalate crystals which are shaped like tiny needles that could result in irritation of the mouth, or in severe instances, cause swelling of the throat and breathing difficulties. Exposure to selected juice or sap could cause itching or burning dermatitis. Minor toxicity plants may not cause any symptoms or induce mild vomiting or diarrhea. Major toxicity plants could have serious effects on body organs such as the heart, liver, or kidney. Just as each human reacts individually to stimuli, so do animals. For this reason, a consultation with your veterinarian is advised.
Of course, there are other circumstances as well. Roses are considered healthy to eat for people and pets if they have not been treated with pesticides, insecticides, or other chemicals. However, a puncture wound from a thorn could cause irritation and pain in both humans and animals. Does this mean that we don’t plant roses?
It’s summer and tomatoes, peppers and beans fill many potagers. I’ve witnessed several friends’ pets navigating the garden munching the ripe juicy veggies straight from the vine. The leaves of tomatoes, peppers, and potatoes contain solanine which can cause gastrointestinal distress and a slow heart rate. The beans could cause additional gas while potatoes need to be cooked before eating. Do we not plant vegetables?
What about garlic and onions? Plants in the Allium family can cause anemia in animals. Certain literature indicates that plants in this family should not be given to pets. Yet, garlic has been a medicinal food for centuries. It is rich in nutrients that boost immunity to numerous ailments. Our family feeds our animals small amounts of raw garlic as an agent to deter worms and repel ticks. Our pets are always healthy. The level of danger must be weighed by you, individually for your animals in concert with the expertise of your veterinarian.
I’ve always considered goats environmentally correct weed-eating and fertilizing animal machines. If you’ve ever witnessed hundreds of goats clearing a hillside of blackberry bushes, poison oak, and a variety of tall grasses, it’s easy to believe that these ruminants can and will consume anything . and everything. Yet, there are over 700 species of plants that could cause toxicity in goats. Fortunately for them, their internal antenna steers them away from the poisonous plants unless starvation is a factor.
This is a curated list of “safe plants for pets” culled from numerous research. With that being written, remember that you and your vet know your pet the best, so make sure to double-check that your beloved friend won’t eat something harmful at home or while traveling.
alstroemeria
aster
petunias
bee balm
orchid
statice
rosemary
thyme
pot marigolds (calendula)
sage
catnip
basil
lemon balm
canna lilies
camellias
fuchsias
lilac
nasturtium
magnolia bushes (need full sun, purple, pink, white)
snapdragons
star jasmine
ginger lily
viburnum
African daisy
cornflower (Bachelor Buttons)
rabbit’s foot fern
sword fern
celosia
chervil (French parsley)
heuchera (coral bells)
daylilies
Easter lilies
gloxinia
grape hyacinth
baby tears (stonecrop)
hollyhock
ice plant
jasmine
crape myrtle
mahonia (Oregon grape)
plumbago
rose
scabious (pincushion flower)
stargazer lily
stevia
strawberry
sunflower
sweet potato vine
coreopsis
torch lily (red hot poker)
impatiens

Currently, my landscape is full of a stunning sea of swaying naked ladies. In the Amaryllis genus, this flowering bulb contains a variety of toxic alkaloids with the most prevalent being lycorine. Again, the lethality posed by pet ingestion is contradictory and the medical literature contains no pet-related cases reported. Fortunately, my pets are not interested in this flower, but if you have animals that are nature nibblers, exercise caution, not only in your garden but when out on walks or hikes with your animals.
Do your homework. Keep your plants and pets safe from poisoning. And in case I didn’t write this enough, talk to your vet!
Happy Gardening. Happy Growing.
Blue plumbago is eye-catching and safe for pets in the garden. Photos Cynthia Brian
Roses and snapdragons grow well together, yet roses have thorns. Photos Cynthia Brian
Sword ferns are excellent for shade gardens. Photos Cynthia Brian
Hollyhocks come in numerous colors and are hummingbird magnets. Photos Cynthia Brian
Canna of all hues adds a tropical flair.
The spectacular pink naked ladies grow in any soil condition.
Mahonia, AKA Oregon grape.
Muscari, also called grape hyacinth.
Cynthia Brian and bunny are blessed by a garden angel!
  Cynthia Brian, The Goddess Gardener, is available for hire to help you prepare for your fall 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. Her newest children’s picture book series, Stella Bella’s Barnyard Adventures, will be available soon. Buy copies of her books, 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@Star-Style.com www.GoddessGardener.com

Back to School and Exciting Announcements

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Empowerment
Back to School and Exciting Announcements

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MIRACLE MOMENT®

“Learning is acquired by reading books; but the much more necessary learning, the knowledge of the world, is only to be acquired by reading man and studying all the various editions of them.”  Lord Chesterton



A MESSAGE FROM FOUNDER/EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, CYNTHIA BRIAN


cyn feed noel
When I was growing up, summer vacation lasted until the week after Labor Day. Of course, we didn’t get out of school until mid-June, but that seemed reasonable since August is always such a hot month. Today, our kids are back in the classroom in August and for some school districts, the curriculum is completed by the end of May.

Many schools are struggling with getting enough supplies to enrich their students. If you have the means, consider what our Kindness Coordinator, Karen Kitchel, does annually. Donate a few items that teachers can use to your local schools. Everyone wins.

And with school back in session, remember to drive safely and slowly through areas when children are present. Actually drive safely and slowly at all times!

This past week, I spent over 40 hours on tech support for a variety of issues, plus my Linkedin account was hacked. Linkedin doesn’t have chat or phone support. It was infuriating and exhausting trying to find a remedy to a deleted account with blocked emails/passwords when the only way to access any support is by logging in. Twitter to the rescue. I found a Linkedin support person on Twitter who opened a case within 3 days and re-instated my hacked account. This made me ponder the safety of our youth who use their phones for their livelihood. Encourage 2 step verifications, changing passwords, and not sharing personal information. I found the Linkedin hacking to be very disruptive, intrusive, and upsetting. We don’t want our kids to experience weirdos online.

On a very exciting and positive note, my newest book is a children’s picture book, No Barnyard Bullies. The series is titled Stella Bella’s Barnyard Adventures and it is going to delight little ones (and maybe big ones, too). This series is based on true-life stories that I’ve learned from my adopted animals over the years since growing up on a farm. The book will be available before the end of the year and we will start pre-sales soon with a discount for you plus gifts of extra goodies. Best of all, the proceeds benefit Be the Star You Are!® 501 c3, where we really care about kids. More information below.

Also, come meet BTSYA volunteers and radio reporters in person at the Pear and Wine Festival to be held on Saturday, September 24th. We welcome sponsorships and appreciate donations to continue our vital empowerment work embedded in our mottos, 

“To be a leader, you must be a reader. Read, lead, succeed. Communicate, collaborate, innovate!”

School is back in session. Here’s to a safe and fabulous learning experience for everyone.

Happy School Year!

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


SCATTER KINDNESS WITH SCHOOL SUPPLIES

 
Blackboard-School is Backby Karen Kitchel

As prices for basic school supplies have greatly increased, we can only imagine the challenge faced by families with many children who all need supplies.  This presents a simple and easy opportunity for us to come to the aid of our neighbors everywhere.

Teachers often choose to purchase extra supplies rather than to see a child go without. If asked what is needed, they will quickly provide a short list of things like crayons, pencils, markers, folders, etc. which can all be purchased either in-store or online and delivered to a home or school.

Each year I enjoy bringing an assortment of school supplies to Partnership Academy in Richfield, Minnesota where I volunteer to assist a Kindergarten teacher.  The response always makes me smile.

If you want to help children get off to a great start, consider donating supplies to your local schools. They will be greatly appreciated and give everyone a smile.

 

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


NEW CHILDREN’S PICTURE BOOK SERIES COMING!

FRONT COVER-NoBarnyardBulliesWithin the next few months, Be the Star You Are!® is excited to announce the launch of a new children’s picture book series, Stella Bella’s Barnyard Adventures, authored by Executive Director, Cynthia Brian, with proceeds benefiting Be the Star You Are!®. Also coming will be NFT’s related to the series and events of empowerment.

The animal kingdom is filled with timely and timeless tales that are relatable to humans. The animal family of Stella Bella’s Barnyard Adventures experiences complex encounters that challenge their integrity, individuality, and character while amplifying diverse expressions and original viewpoints to co-exist as a group. The barnyard animals address critical issues facing children including bullying, nature, power struggles, adversity, adoption, homelessness, creativity, justice, health, kindness, ethnicity, and being different through a cultural lens of hope and resolution. With visually rich illustrations, each picture book moves a child to appreciate all animals while learning the lessons the natural world teaches humans.

 

Format

Each book is 32 pages peppered with lively conversations between the species. Colorful, animated illustrations of the characters by Jensen Russell bring the prose and poetry dialog to life. 

No Barnyard Bullies ​follows a pampered piglet who lives in an apartment as she is re-homed to a barnyard filled with happy critters. Thinking that she is the Queen, she bullies the other animals until she is stopped by a tiny bunny who defends a three-legged goat from her attacks. Everyone is equal in Stella Bella’s barnyard where bullies are not tolerated and inclusiveness is paramount. 

Price of the book is $14.95. Pre-order NOW to get the discount and first editions as soon as they are published. https://www.cynthiabrian.com/online-store/No-Barnyard-Bullies-COMING-SOON-PRE-ORDERS-ONLY-AT-A-DISCOUNT-p486474870

More information at https://www.cynthiabrian.com/books. Premium and bulk sales available at deeper discounts.

Meet the talented illustrated, Jensen Russell

Jensen is an illustrator based out of Savannah, Georgia. She is currently finishing her last year as a student at Savannah College of Art and Design working towards a BFA in Illustration with a concentration in Publication. She currently works within children’s book illustration and editorial/commercial freelance. She have always had a taste for the strange and unusual and strives to incorporate this into her art in a way that is comforting and touches upon inner-child healing. Her goal in my art is to exaggerate the human experience and encourage others to feel emotions all the way through.

instagram@nowherejen

ensenRussellBiographyPhoto Back Cover No Barnyard Bullies


MARK YOUR CALENDARS FOR THE PEAR AND WINE FESTIVAL

2021 Pear Festival-covid-masks downIt sure feels great to have in-person events occurring again. Join us at our Be the Star You Are! booth at the Pear and Wine Festival on September 24, 2022 from 11-3pm in the Moraga Commons Park. BTSYA volunteers and radio reporters will be offering crafts  for kids, a reading circle, and we’ll plant seeds for literacy. We’ll have several free give-aways as well. The festival features food, pie eating contests, wine, live music, arts and plenty of activities for kids, including inflatables. The event is FREE and the location is beautiful. Enjoy a wonderful day of fun with the family. Sponsorships available. More info: https://www.bethestaryouare.org/events-1/2022-pear-and-wine-festival-a-day-of-free-family-fun

Sincere gratitude to MB Jessee Painting and to the Lamorinda Weeklyfor sponsoring Be the Star You Are!® again. For expert painting with integrity and care, visit www.mbjessee.com and for the latest local news delivered with love, visit www.Lamorindaweekly.com 


HELP CONTINUE THE POSITIVE WORKS! DONATE TODAY!BTSYA-Banner-Logo copy


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Both Radio showsBe empowered, motivated, energized, informed and amused.

Truthful, heartfelt, and engaging topics and guests!

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.
 
VISIT https://www.StarStyleRadio.com for our line-up of topics and guests.

SIMPLE WAYS TO HELP!

We have suggestions for you to shop, save, and stay safe. Please use these web sites for all of your shopping essentials.
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“I have never let my schooling interfere with my education.”

                                                       ~ Mark Twain


Learn Every Moment!

TSHIRT_design-2Best of success to students going back to school.

Discover new opportunities, educate yourself.
Learning=Earning!
 
Happy August!
 
Be the Star You Are!® 501 c3 charity
PO Box 376
Moraga, Ca. 94556


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Shade Made

Posted by Cynthia Brian on
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Empowerment
Shade Made

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“Gardens are not made by sitting in the shade.”  Rudyard Kipling

Gardens may not be cultivated while we are sitting in the shade, but on a hot summer day, there is nothing better than sipping an ice-cold lemonade while resting in one of my shadowy gardens.

This year the world has been experiencing the hottest weather on record. In the United Kingdom, July temperatures were as high as 25 degrees Fahrenheit more than normal. According to data from the U.S. Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the United States sweltered through 92 of the highest recorded heatwaves while worldwide, records were broken 188 times during this same period. Scorching fires are raging throughout Europe as well as the United States as firefighters battle the blazes and populations evacuate minutes ahead of blistering disasters. The influence of global warming is dire as this rapid climate change portends a hotter future.

As much as I adore the sunshine, it is critical to make room for shade in our landscapes to shield our bodies and our plants from the scorching weather. Although most colorful plants prefer sunshine, we still can create a retreat from the rays that will be beautiful and restorative. 

All plants need sunshine to photosynthesize. Most gardens enjoy the sun at certain times and shade at other times. It’s important to watch when that time is for your garden. Any area that does not get direct sunlight may be considered shade. When you read a label and it says, “Plant in full shade”, this means you must plant in an area that gets less than three hours of direct sunlight with only filtered sun the rest of the day. If the label reads “Plant in partial shade”, find a spot where there is more shade than sun. If you plant a specimen that requires full sun, it will not thrive in the shade.  “Partial sun” means four to six hours of sunlight. 

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Most shade-loving plants are understory plants that grow under the forest or jungle canopy. In areas where redwoods provide acidic leaf litter, ferns succeed. Shade-loving plants appreciate rich organic matter. Plants grow more slowly in the shade because the lower amount of light they receive causes photosynthesis to be slower. The good news is that shade plants usually require less water.

Trees are the anchors of any shade garden. They can be evergreen or deciduous adding beauty and privacy to the landscape with interesting bark, flowers, fruit, and potential vibrant fall foliage while blocking the hot sun and keeping our homes cooler. Oak, magnolia, maple, redwood, weeping willow, birch, horse chestnut, pistache, walnut, and many other species are possibilities depending on the size of your site, long-term expectations, soil conditions, height considerations, and watering needs. A tree is an investment in the future that may outlive several generations. Before planting any tree, do your homework while getting input from your family on what the desires and needs for a tree are. For example, do kids want to climb or build a treehouse, do you want to hang a hammock, are you looking for seasonal flowers and fruit, is autumn color essential, are you seeking a privacy screen, is year-round interest important, or are you seeking a tree that accents your home’s theme? 

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Once you have an established shade area, it’s time to fill it with plants that will not only survive, but thrive in dappled, partial, or full shade. 

Here’s a list of groundcovers, shrubs, perennials, herbs, and annuals that fit the requirements. As always, read labels before purchasing to determine necessary growing conditions and size at maturity.

Ajuga

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Fern

Hellebore

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Heuchera

Golden Creeping Jenny

Pachysandra

Tiarella Foam Flower

Vinca Minor

Hydrangea

Bleeding Heart

Begonia

begonia (1).jpeg

Dogwood

Impatiens

Astilbe

Coleus

Caladium

Bee Balm

Hosta

Primrose

Foxglove

Aquilegia (columbine)

Arum Italicum

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Azalea

Rhododendron

Fuchsia

Daphne

Heavenly Bamboo

Heavenly Bamboo-nandina.jpeg

Chinese Yew

Boxwood

Abelia

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Japanese Pittosporum (mock orange)

Photinia

Tree Peony

Viburnum

Parsley

Chives

Thyme

Lemon Balm

Mint

Lawns: Growing a lawn in the shade is tricky. Fine fescue grasses will sprout in the shade. When installing a lawn make sure the seed mixture states, “for shade”.

boxwood hedge.jpeg

Finally, once you have designed your shade shelter, install a bench, swing, hammock, or chair where you can take a breather to cool off during a sweltering afternoon or recuperate from digging deeply. Drink plenty of water, hydrate your plants, and admire your horticultural accomplishments.

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Sometimes gardens are made in the shade.

Happy Gardening and Happy Growing!

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Photos and more: https://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue1612/Digging-Deep-with-Goddess-Gardener-Cynthia-Brian-Made-in-the-shade.html

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.

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

Cynthia@GoddessGardener.com

www.GoddessGardener.com

#climatechange,#fires,#shade,#trees,#rest,#water, #cynthiabrian,#starstyle,#goddessgardener,#voiceamerica, #gardening

Animal Gardening

Posted by Cynthia Brian on
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Empowerment
Animal Gardening

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Digging Deep with Goddess Gardener, Cynthia Brian

 

Animal Plants

by Cynthia Brian

Photos and Text © 2022 Cynthia Brian

“We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals.” Immanuel Kant

Our family has enjoyed an affinity for the animal kingdom for as long as I can remember. We loved creatures so much that we often named a pet for an animal of another species that they resembled. We’ve had dogs named Bear and Wolf, cats named Panther and Tiger, and even a horse named Spider, although he didn’t look like an arachnid. 

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In the plant world, botanists and taxonomists who name plants also look to the realm of animals using zoographical Latin or Greek-based names for various genera and species. Sometimes a part of the plant will remind them of an animal, or sometimes it is the marketing department of a plant breeder that comes up with the fun, and often humorous name for a new cultivar. 

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I walked through my garden giggling at the numerous “animals” that are growing. Trees, flowers, wildflowers, and even weeds bear the names of creatures. If you are looking for an amusing gardening endeavor to do with children this fall, ask them if they would like to plant an animal garden. Discuss their favorite critters, then research specimens to fit the bill.

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Edit your list grouping plants that will demand the same soil, watering, and sun/shade conditions together in one plot or pot. Mix annuals and perennials for an ongoing animal parade that will last throughout the year. Engage in a creative craft project making nametags for each plant. (Popsicle sticks are traditional favorites) Because the weather is too hot and dry to plant in summer, it’s advised to wait for the cooler days of autumn to start digging a new garden. However, if you want to plant a few species in containers now, let the animal party begin. Make sure to follow directions on the plant tags and water frequently as containers lose moisture quickly.

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Here is a partial list of the excitement to come with animal plants:

Lambsquarter

Cats Ear 

Chickweed

Coyote Bush

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Buzzard Breath

Duck Salad

Cockle Bur

Fleabane

Henbit

Goosefoot

Turkey Mullein

Horseweed

Pigweed

Prickly Oxtongue

Goose Grass

Foxtails

Cattails

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Swine cress

Birdseye Pearlwort

Goosefoot

Fat hen

Dogwood

Elephant Ears

Catnip

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Deerweed

Wolfsbane

Dogbane

Foxglove

Henbane

Horse Chestnut

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Leopard’s Bane

Bee Balm

Monkey Grass

Donkey Tail

Butterfly Bush

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Locust Tree

Cockscomb

Gopher Plant

Hen and Chicks

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Pussywillow

Skunk Plant

Snake plant

Starfish Flower

Zebra plant

Lambs Ears

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Bear’s Breeches

Trout Lily

Cardinal Flower

Deer fern

Deer tongue

Pigsqueak (Bergenia)

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Dragon lily

Snapdrago

Catchfly

Foxtrot

Horsetail

Goats beard

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Lion’s Tail

Lobster Claws

Mouse plant

Ox-eye daisy

Panda wild ginger

Pig butt

Rabbit’s foot fern

Porcupine Agave

Tickseed

Toad lily

Wormwood

Cranesbill geranium

Lion’s Ear

Turtlehead

Spider plant

Crabgrass

Scorpions tail

Flamingo flower

Kangaroo paw

Bunny Tails

Butterfly weed

Partridge Berry

Fishtail palm

Leopard’s bane

Zebra grass

Spiderwort

Squirrel cup

Wake robin

Dinosaur tree

Hedgehog echinacea

Cynthia Brian’s Mid-Month Gardening Tips

ü  SPREAD a blanket on the lawn and look towards the heavens to see animal shapes in the clouds.

ü  DRY herbs by hanging bunches upside down in a dry place, like a garage or shed. Dry lavender, sage, thyme, rosemary, and oregano.  Store the dried leaves in a jar.

ü  DOUSE weeds with a concoction of white vinegar and liquid dish soap. To a gallon of the vinegar, add a capful of dish soap, shake in a spray bottle, and use proactively.

ü  GATHER the seeds of fennel and cilantro after the flowers are spent. Dry the seeds on a cooking sheet. Cilantro seeds are called coriander. Both add flavor and texture to both sweet and savory recipes.

ü  PRESERVE flat-leaf parsley, basil, and chives by freezing them in ice cube trays. Put a spoonful of the chopped leaves in each cell, add water, and freeze. When you want a dash of fresh flavor, pop an ice cube.

ü  PLANT edamame and sweet potatoes, both warm-weather crops. The soil needs to be warmer than 60 degrees. Plan on harvesting edamame in 90-100 days when the pods are plump but still green for a heart healthy omega 3 boost. To make potassium-rich sweet potatoes sweeter, store at 90 degrees for two weeks after harvesting, 

ü  DEADHEAD roses, annuals, and perennials as blooms fade to keep them coming through frost.

ü  GROW celery by rooting the base of your store-bought vegetable. Put the stub in a glass jar filled with water in a sunny location, then transplant the root to a container or garden.

ü  HARVEST cucumbers and make an easy spicy summer snack as well as a soothing eye pack. Peel, slice, add red onions, rice vinegar, and marinate for one hour in the refrigerator. Save the peels to place on your eyes to eliminate puffiness after swimming.

ü  WATCH butterflies pollinate your flowers as they flutter from blossom to blossom on monarda, tithonia, sunflowers, zinnias, butterfly bush, cosmos, alyssum, marigolds, thyme, oregano, and marjoram.

ü  EXTEND your garden’s production with a second season planting of beets, scallions, kohlrabi, chard, broccoli, lettuce, peas, and carrots to carry your fresh offerings into late fall.

ü  TOSS a salad comprised of edible herbs, tender leaves, and fruit from your garden including basil, sage, thyme, lovage, fennel, arugula, spinach, chives, chard, tarragon, kale, beet tops, lettuce, cilantro, parsley, sorrel, apples, and plums dressed with lemon juice and olive oil for a tasty jolt of mineral rich nutrition.

ü  SHARE your excess vegetable and fruit harvest with the neighborhood and take the extras to the local food bank for those in need to savor.

Treat your animal plants with care. 

Amuse yourself, your family, and your friends with your garden barnyard!

Photos and more: 

https://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue1611/Digging-Deep-with-Goddess-Gardener-Cynthia-Brian-Animal-plants.html

Happy Gardening and Happy Growing!

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.

BEST-cyn-pig,goat,rooster.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.

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

Cynthia@GoddessGardener.com

www.GoddessGardener.com

Kindness is King!

Posted by Cynthia Brian on
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Empowerment
Kindness is King!

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MIRACLE MOMENT®

Kindness is the highest form of intelligence.

Wayne Teasdale

 


A MESSAGE FROM FOUNDER/EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, CYNTHIA BRIAN

Cynthia Brian-flagstoneSummertime reminds me of a favorite classic Disney film, The Parent Trap, where British actress Hayley Mills played the dual roles of twins Sharon and Susan as she tried to reunite her divorced parents. She sang a catchy song “Let’s Get Together” that I often sing in the shower when the world seems in turmoil. 

I’ve been singing those verses often these days. 

Somehow, people have forgotten how to be kind. Don’t we all remember our mother’s advising us “If you can’t say something kind about someone, don’t say anything at all?” It is hard for me to understand the nasty vitriol that consumes our politics today, dividing families and friends to create foes. 

If you haven’t tuned in to our two upbeat, positive message radio broadcasts, this is the year to start listening. StarStyle®-Be the Star You Are!® airs LIVE every Wednesday from 4-5pm PT featuring inspiration, lifestyle information, successperts, and entertainment at https://www.voiceamerica.com/show/2206/be-the-star-you-are. On Express Yourself!™, teens talk while the world listens. Uncensored, unedited discussions hosted by amazing BTSYA young people showcasing fascinating guests from around the globe broadcast 3pm PT on Sundays. https://www.voiceamerica.com/show/2014/express-yourself.  Both programs broadcast on the Voice America Network, the largest radio network in the world, on the Empowerment Channel. It’s our goal at Be the Star You Are!® to encourage and empower you to be your best selves. And get together! You can find more information for both shows at https://www.StarStyleRadio.com.  The radio programs are also available wherever you listen to your podcasts including iTunes, Tunein, Stitcher, IHeartRadio, and Spotify.

Remember that love always wins. Kindness always prevails. Smiles will keep us happy. Love, be kind, and smile on!

Enjoy your summer! Let’s get together…ya, ya, ya! Volunteer to spread kindness and joy!

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


SUMMER OF KINDNESS

scatter kindess petunias by Karen Kitchel

What better way to end your summer day than knowing you scattered a bit of kindness.

 

Need ideas?  Here are a few:

 

  • Make handmade greeting cards for sick kids – cardsforhospitalizedkids.com
  • Decorate a paper bag and add an item or two each time you shop to donate to a local food bank. Find a food shelter near you – feedingamerica.org/foodbank-results.aspx
  • Plant a small tree and plan to visit it when fully grown
  • Bring a used book to a little free library – littlefreelibrary.org
  • Leave a thank you note in your mailbox addressed to your mail carrier
  • Take treats to your local fire station
  • Just smile at someone 
  • Keep a kindness journal to remember all the wonderful things you did

 

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


WHERE TO FIND MORE KINDNESS! 


2shows

Be the Star You Are!® broadcasts two award-winning programs StarStyle®-Be the Star You Are!® and Express Yourself Teen Radio, where you’ll be inspired, motivated, informed, entertained, and awed. They are family-friendly shows where we get together. Check them out at https://www.StarStyleRadio.com.

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expressyourself with Sunday


READ, LEAD, SUCCEED!

MOLLY REQDING TO ALESANALooking for great books for your kids to read this summer? Visit our Book Review site where youth volunteers read books and write first-hand reviews what they like and don’t like. This is a great resource for youth, parents, teacher, guardians, and anyone who wants to encourage reading for children and teens. http://www.btsya.com/book_reviews

Also check out more reviews at our reading partner, The Reading Tub at https://thereadingtub.org/books/be-the-star-you-are/


“To be a leader, you must be a reader!” 


SPREAD KINDNESS!
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Hummingbirds are Pollinators

Posted by Cynthia Brian on
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Empowerment
Hummingbirds are Pollinators

hummingbird from Julie Stagg.jpeg

By Cynthia Brian

 

“Like the hummingbird sipping nectar from every flower, I fly joyfully through my days, seeing beauty in everything.”– Amethyst Wyldfyre

 

After tucking a hibiscus plucked from my mother’s garden behind my ear, I was immediately the object of desire for a hungry hummer. The iridescent red crown identified the hovering nectar hunter as a male Anna’s hummingbird. The females and young have green crowns. What a photo op, but alas, no camera or iPhone in sight. 

Of the known 331 species of hummingbirds, 27 types are found in the United States, and 14 reside in California. Hummers only live in North and South America. When most people think of pollinators, bees, butterflies, bats, beetles, birds, and moths may come to mind. Yet, hummingbirds are some of the greatest pollinators as they can visit one to three thousand flowers in a single day. As they whiz from flower to flower, pollen from the stamen sticks to their long bills and forehead as they feed. They prefer plants with tubular-shaped flowers and many plants have evolved (some with the help of human intervention) to be more attractive to hummingbirds with brighter colors, higher nectar counts, and daylight blooms. Because they have long, slim bills, hummingbirds can feed deep into chambers and cannulas that bees or other pollinators cannot reach. They also eat tiny insects and spiders that are detrimental to flower beds and vegetable gardens. 

Hummingbird Paradise.jpeg

Native and navitar plants that are red, blue, orange, yellow, and purple are favorites. What is the difference between native and navitar plants? 

Native:
• highly adapted to the climate and soil they are naturally growing in
• requires less babying (within their particular climate) than non-natives
• promotes biodiversity throughout your garden
• naturally resistant to local pests
• attract beneficial pollinators

Navitar:

• combination of the words ‘native’ and ‘cultivar’ (result of careful selection and crossbreeding by humans)
• wider variety of flower colors, shapes & forms
• incorporate different sizes of plant
• heightened insect or disease resistance
• select preferred hardiness
• main concern for – and argument against – is their lack of genetic diversity

Plants Attractive to Hummingbirds

Petunia

petunias.jpeg

Calibrachoa

Catmint

Sage

Salvia

salvia-blue.jpeg

Penstemon (beardtongue)

Bee balm

bee balm.jpeg

Daylily

Fuchsia

Cardinal flower

Blazing star

Garden phlox

Lobelia

Weigela

Oregon grape

Azalea

azaleas.jpeg

Currant

Flowering quince

Trumpet vine

scarlet trumpet vine on a fence. - 3.jpeg

Trumpet honeysuckle

Bleeding Heart

Butterfly bush

Cardinal Flower

Columbine

Rose of Sharon

Rose of Sharon-Hibiscus syriacus.jpeg

Hibiscus

Lupin

Purple Rhododendron

Zinnia

zinnia with bee - 2.jpeg

Lantana

Red hot poker (torch lily)

Echinacea

Delphinium

Crocosmia

Hollyhocks

Pink Bower Vine

lantana & lavender in rock garden.jpeg

Hummingbirds remain in landscapes that provide all the supplies they need to survive and thrive. Besides planting species that will feed them, there are other things you can do to encourage hummingbirds to hang around.

Bathing Fountain: Due to the sticky nature of the nectar, hummingbirds need to bathe frequently. They prefer running water in a shallow area. Bubbling fountains or misters are an important investment in their healthcare. They even will frequent sprinklers!

Nests: Hummingbirds do not nest in birdhouses. They build tiny, usually around 1 inch in diameter, nests camouflaged with lichen, moss, and spider webs. This makes them hard to discover. They can be 3-60 feet from the ground and sometimes as much as ½ mile from their favorite food sources. 

Feeders: Place feeders in areas where you’ll be able to watch the frenzy. It’s best to have multiple feeders to reduce territoriality. Hang them high enough to be safe from cats or predators which include snakes, squirrels, and larger birds. Recommended height is at least 4 feet from the ground. 

Crocosmia , firecracker, roses,.jpeg

Recipe for homemade nectar:

*Boil 4 quarts of water and let it cool. Tap water is fine. Do not use distilled water.

*Dissolve 1 cup cane or beet sugar in the cooled water. Do not use any other type of sugar, artificial sweetener, or honey. 

*Fill feeder ¾ full or however much is used within a few days.

*Store unused remainder in a closed container in the refrigerator for a week.

Maintenance of feeders: It is important to change the mixture every 4-5 days. If the weather exceeds 90 degrees, the nectar will ferment. Change it more often if it gets cloudy. Clean feeders between refilling without topping off. Many feeders can be safely sanitized in the dishwasher. Otherwise, use mild detergent, wash, and rinse thoroughly. Monthly sterilize the feeders in a solution of bleach and water. 

Other Tips: To entertain all pollinators, maintain an organic landscape free of pesticides, insecticides, and chemical fertilizers. Your garden is their dinner table, and their daily dining provide the ingredients for your dinner table. 

Indigo daylily.jpeg

My garden is buzzing with every type of pollinator. As I sit in my office writing this article, a beautiful, black-chinned hummingbird with its shimmering purple and white collar was busy outside my window investigating my roses. Again, I couldn’t get an appropriate photo through the window screen and shutter, but the visit was enchanting. 

See the beauty in everything and thrill to the metallic humming of the wings of these living hovercrafts. Fly joyfully through your day!

Happy Gardening. Happy Growing.

Photos and more: https://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue1610/Digging-Deep-with-Goddess-Gardener-Cynthia-Brian-Humming-along.html 

Cynthia Brian ferns-roses.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.

cyntha brian with books SM copy.jpgHire Cynthia for writing projects, garden consults, and inspirational lectures.

Cynthia@GoddessGardener.com

www.GoddessGardener.com

Water-Wise Landscaping

Posted by Cynthia Brian on
0
Empowerment
Water-Wise Landscaping

olive trees.jpeg

Digging Deep with Goddess Gardener, Cynthia Brian

Growing Water-Wise

By Cynthia Brian

 

“Water is the driving force of all nature.” – Leonardo Da Vinci

 

Welcome to Summer! It’s going to be a hot one. 

If the newest studies reviewing tree rings are correct, we are currently in the worst drought since 800 A.D. The first three months of this year registered the least rain and snow on record. While we plunge into pools to cool off, our gardens will struggle to survive. Conserving water is top of mind as our climate becomes warmer. It’s time for all of us to plan to grow water-wise.

I recently attended a seminar sponsored by Monrovia and came away with increased awareness of how to maintain healthy landscapes during the dry seasons. There are numerous plants besides cacti and succulents that have low water requirements. When we re-think drought-tolerant landscapes, we may continue to enjoy our gardens with colorful and interesting trees, grasses, shrubs, and flowers. 

Perennial Sweetpea-everlasting.jpeg

Drought-tolerant perennial contenders include:

Salvia

Blanket flower,

Catmint

Agastache

Guara

Milkweed

Penstemon

Verbena

Mallow

Coreopsis

Red hot poker

Kangaroo paw

Geranium

Spanish lavender

African daisy

Lantana

Yarrow

Statice

Everlasting sweet pea

Echinacea

Sage

Sea holly

Rose

Feverfew

red bottle brush.jpeg

Shrubs with minimal water needs are: 

Ceanothus,

Bottlebrush

Pride of Madeira

Heavenly bamboo

Pittosporum

Smoke tree

Cotoneaster

Butterfly bush

Hydrangeas that are three to four years old will do fine. Younger specimens will require more water.

Pink bonica roses.jpeg

Vines that I recommend are:

Bougainvillea

Honeysuckle

Jasmine

Climbing and rambling roses. 

Agastasche-zinnia.jpeg

Annuals don’t have roots that go as deep as perennials. They focus energy on flowering which requires increased moisture. 

These annuals usually require only weekly watering to one inch as opposed to daily drinks:

Zinnia

Marigold

Cleome

Portulaca

California poppy

Globe amaranth

Vinca

Chamomile

chamomile chair.jpeg

Cosmos

Sunflower

Wax begonia

To minimize water waste, prioritize planting drought-tolerant perennials, shrubs, and trees and augment with color spots of annuals. Established plants do better in a drought than in a newly planted landscape. A plant is considered established when its roots have taken hold and spread in the soil. Perennials take a year to be established plants. A shrub could take two to three years, and most trees need three or more years. For this reason, it is always recommended to plant a garden in spring and fall when the weather is milder. 

feverfew.jpeg

In a drought, paying attention to our trees is critical.  Give established trees a deep soak every three to four weeks to keep roots from rising to the surface. Trees will experience leaf drop in the heat, but the tree will survive. If your trees are two years old or younger, an easy way to give them a good drink is to drill holes in a five-gallon bucket to allow water to slowly trickle to the roots. When you use a soaker wand, make sure to position it six feet or more from the trunk of the tree or at the end of the canopy as that is where the roots are. Roots are not at the base.

pomegrante tree.jpeg

A sampling of California native trees that will be beautiful and survive in a drought include:

Olive

Pomegranate

Fig

Marina strawberry

Desert willow

Pistache

Mimosa

Manzanita

Crape myrtle

Redbud

Keep an eye on your oak trees. They tend to topple over without any wind when they either have too much moisture or not enough. 

As much as we love our vegetable gardens, this season only grow what you will eat or share with family and friends. Because of the lack of water, it is not prudent to overplant. Herbs are mostly drought-tolerant, especially rosemary. 

rosemary.jpg. - 2.jpeg

To grow in water-wise knowledge, we need to embrace varied techniques for watering.

1.     Water early in the day before the temperature warms.

2.     Test your soil to determine its dryness. Only water when the soil is dry two to four inches down.

3.     Even on the hottest days, don’t be tempted to give your plants an extra drink.

4.     Group plants with similar watering needs in one area.

5.     Check irrigation systems for leaks.

6.     Inspect drip systems to make sure the hoses are not strangling plants.

7.     Watering deeply twice a week will keep your plants alive.

8.     Mulch, mulch, mulch with layers of at least three inches. 

9.     When adding to your garden in the summer, do so on a cool or cloudy day.

10.  Include water-conserving measures indoors by taking shorter showers. Keep a bucket in your showers and sinks to use for containers or outside. 

In the water restriction days during the extreme drought of the 1970s, the slogan was “If its brown flush it down. If it’s yellow, let it mellow,” as each flush wasted seven gallons. 

salmon geranium.jpeg

June 20- 26 is designated as pollinator week. Bees, butterflies, birds, bats, beetles, wasps, and moths as well as smaller mammals transport pollen to various species to make our gardens grow. Without our pollinators, we would have no food. Honor these hard-working garden helpers by making your garden pollinator friendly. 

Guara with pink flowers.jpeg

Take the plunge and grow water-wise this summer. Have a safe and healthy Independence Day!

Happy Gardening. Happy Growing.

Kangaroo paw-red.jpeg

Photos and More: https://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue1609/Digging-Deep-with-Goddess-Gardener-Cynthia-Brian-Growing-water-wise.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.

cynthia brian-salmon roses.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.

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

Cynthia@GoddessGardener.com

www.GoddessGardener.com

cyntha brian with books.jpg

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