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Joy to the World

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Joy to the World

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cuban plants that make great houseplants in California:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cuban plants to grow in your garden:

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

Happy Gardening. Happy Growing. 

Feliz Navidad y Feliz Jánuca!

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Read more: 

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

Cynthia Brian

Cynthia Brian, The Goddess Gardener, raised in the vineyards of Napa County, is a New York Times best-selling author, actor, radio personality, speaker, media and writing coach as well as the Founder and Executive Director of Be the Star You Are1® 501 c3. http://www.BethestarYouAre.org

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

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

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Hire Cynthia for projects, consults, and lectures.

Cynthia@GoddessGardener.com

www.GoddessGardener.com

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

Halloween Spooktacular, Trick or Treat for Literacy

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Halloween Spooktacular, Trick or Treat for Literacy

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The season of screams and scares is officially here! Halloween is the time to embrace your inner ghoul. Health Matter’s Heather Brittany keeps you safe during her favorite spooky holiday with tips and tricks.
Legend has it that garlic repels vampires and wards off the evil eye. Popularized by Bram Stoker’s Dracula, garlic not only is effective against the blood-sucking princes of the night, but also fends off the undead, including witches, warlocks, and werewolves.  Goddess Gardener, Cynthia Brian tells us how to plant, store, and use this miracle vampire repellent.

Special guest, Be the Star You Are!® Teen Ambassador and Host of Express Yourself!™ Teen Radio, Henna Hundal joins the conversation to talk about Trick or Treat for Literacy, her Halloween favorites, and making a difference with her BTSYA volunteerism.

For some spooktacular holiday inspiration, Starstyle®-Be the Star You Are!™ will shoot you into the spirit of Halloween faster than you can say BOO!
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Listen at VoiceAmerica 

Listen at StarStyle Radio with photos and descriptions

Help Be the Star You Are!® without spending a penny. If you’ve ever purchased a TV or computer screen, just 3 minutes of your time is needed to fill out the simple form and click submit. Every unit qualifies for a donation of about $20 to Be the Star You Are!®. You will receive a tax receipt once the donations have been dispersed. PLEASE do this today. Thanks from Be the Star You Are!®

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Check out the online fundraiser for BTSYA
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The award winning positive talk radio program, StarStyle®-Be the Star You Are!® broadcasts on the Voice America Empowerment Channel LIVE every Wednesday from 4-5pm Pt/7-8pm ET..  Cynthia Brian and Heather Brittany are the Mother/Daughter dynamic duo who have been co-hosting this program live weekly since 1998 bringing upbeat, life enhancing conversation to the world. With Cynthia’s expertise in interviewing the trailblazers, authors, and experts and Heather’s healthy living segments, these Goddess Gals are your personal growth coaches helping you to jumpstart your life while igniting your flame of greatness.
Brought to the airwaves under the auspices of the literacy and positive media charity, Be the Star You Are!®, each program will pump your energy to help you live, love, laugh, learn, and lead.

Tune in the Power Hour every Wednesday from 4-5pm PT/7-8pm ET and join our empowerment party.
For photos, descriptions, links, archives, and more, visit StarStyle Radio.
Get inspired, motivated, and informed with StarStyle®-Be the Star You Are!®
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Make a donation today to Be the Star You Are!® charity

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Digging Deep-Gardening with Cynthia Brian

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Digging Deep-Gardening with Cynthia Brian

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Christmas trees come very close to exceeding nature.  ~Andy Rooney

When my children were youngsters, cutting a tree was the big event of the season. We’d don our Santa hats, grab a bundle of rope to tie the tree to the top of the car, put film in the camera, and off we’d go, singing Christmas carols while plotting our adventure. It could take hours walking through a farm, checking out tree after tree, debating the merits of each. Sometimes we’d visit two or three farms before finding the perfect one. Afterwards, at home with our freshly cut treasure, we’d light a fire, drink hot cocoa and eggnog, eat persimmon pudding and Italian panetone, put on the Christmas music, and dance around the house as we spruced the fir with popcorn and cranberry strings, homemade ornaments, tinsel, and of course, plenty of twinkling lights.

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One day my son had the bright idea that we should grow our own Christmas trees in order to have a never-ending supply of Yuletide enchantment. With the best planting season for evergreens between January and March, as soon as the small containers of conifers went on sale for $1.00 post holiday, we nabbed twenty for our forthcoming Christmas tree farm. We chose a prime spot at the top of our hill, prepared the plot, cleared the weeds, planted the seedlings, protected them with wire from marauding munchers, maintained soil moisture, and waited. The kids were very attentive to their trees. By year three, pruning and shaping the trees into conical forms began. Who knew that “Christmas trees” didn’t automatically grow into perfect Christmas specimens? By year seven, they cut their first glorious imperfect tree and by year thirteen all of the trunks were too large for any tree holder. Instead of cutting another tree, we potted a large Norfolk pine, added it to our entrance, where this oxygen producing, carbon dioxide absorber has served as our beloved arbre de Noel.

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History, legend, or a combination of the two chronicles the tales of 16th century Germans bringing evergreens into their homes as holiday decor after Protestant reformer, Martin Luther, witnessed the stars sparkling through the forest trees and cut a tree to enjoy indoors. In 2014, Christmas trees are as significant to American culture as apple pie. But it wasn’t until 1848 that Puritanical America embraced the idea of the “pagan” Christmas tree.  The ever-popular Queen Victoria and her German Prince Albert were sketched with their children gathered around a decorated Christmas tree and East Coast society adopted this new fashionable trend. Currier and Ives jumped on the bucolic family festivity bandwagon by immortalizing vintage America in historic lithographs of cozy Christmas scenes including sleigh rides, crackling fires, candle lit chapels, snowmen, and tree decorating.

Yet, the love of winter evergreens was celebrated long before the arrival of Christianity. In ancient Egypt, the sun god Ra was honored on the longest night of the year,December 21, and the shortest day, December 22 with palm frond decorations to symbolize life over death. The Romans marked the solstice with evergreen boughs in anticipation of a prosperous spring. The Druids used greens as symbols of eternal life while the Vikings believed that evergreens were the chosen trees of their sun god, Balder.

With the advent of electricity, Thomas Edison presented the possibility of twinkling tree lights without as much fire danger from branch tied candles. Europeans preferred small trees of four feet, Americans sought plants that would reach the ceiling. Decorations in the early days included strands of nuts, berries, apples, and popcorn. Today, a fortune can be spent on accessories and unique ornaments fit for a king from hand carved Nativity scenes to hand blown glass angels.

When to buy, cut, and trim the tree vary from country to country. Many American families get into the December spirit immediately following Thanksgiving while many Europeans wait until Christmas Eve to launch their rituals. Evergreen garlands, boughs, ivy, mistletoe, wreaths, poinsettias, and holly join the enticing kitchen aromas of gingerbread, marzipan, and hot mulled wine making our Christmas castles merry and bright.

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Grown in all fifty states, Christmas tree farming is big business, although it is mostly small farmers who do the growing, planting as many as two thousand trees per acre. Seventy seven million trees are planted annually as American consumers purchase approximately 30 million farm grown trees valued at more than $1 billion.  Fresh trees (to me the only way to play) outsell artificial trees three to one. Young families who are starting their own traditions often prefer to cut-their-own at a Christmas tree farm, enjoying a day in search of the perfect tannenbaum, as our family did in years past.

As you banish the blues with the greens of a pine, fur, spruce, redwood, cedar, or cypress, you’ll be rewarded with the fresh fragrance of the wild woods. Remember to keep your cut tree watered as most farmed trees are chopped down in October or early November then trucked to the retailer. While they won’t dry out outdoors, once indoors, your specimen will need a quart to a gallon of water per day depending on the size.

This year, whether your tree was grown on a plantation or in your backyard, bring the botanical brilliance of a live tree into your seasonal festivities and celebrate the magic.

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O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree,

Your branches green delight us!

Wishing you seasonal sparkle, glow forth to enjoy being home for the holidays.

 

Cynthia Brian’s Mid Month Reminders

COOK with either fresh or dried herbs. You’ll need more when you use fresh. Dried are more potent. For every tablespoon of fresh herbs in a recipe, substitute 1 teaspoon of dried.

CREATE a stunning DIY holiday table arrangement using a combination of ornamental cabbage, lilies, evergreen branches, white roses, and pinecones.

LOOKING for a last minute gift that will be unique and useful? Check out your local garden retailers for holiday ideas, including a pot of drought resistant kalanchoe or a Christmas cactus in bloom.

TRIM low hanging branches of redwoods, pines, firs, and other evergreens to use in wreaths, garlands, and holiday ornamentation.

CARE for your land and your land will care of you. Our good earth is Mother Nature’s Christmas gift to us.

Happy gardening, happy growing, fa la la la la!

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Cynthia Brian

Read more Lamorinda Weekly.

©2014

Cynthia Brian

The Goddess Gardener

Starstyle® Productions, llc

Cynthia@GoddessGardener.com

www.GoddessGardener.com

925-377-STAR

I am available as a speaker, designer, and consultant.

Cynthia Brian is a New York Times best selling author, speaker, coach, and host of the radio show, StarStyle®-Be the Star You Are!® broadcasting live every Wednesday from 4-5pm PT on the Voice America Network.. She also is the creator and producer of Express Yourself!™ Teen Radio and Executive Director of Be the Star You Are!® 501c3 charity.

Holiday Feasts, Green Prints 25th Anniversary, November Garden Guide

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Holiday Feasts, Green Prints 25th Anniversary, November Garden Guide

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Welcome to Starstyle®-Be the Star You Are!® with your hosts Cynthia Brian and Heather Brittany on the Voice America Empowerment Channel.  We strive to be useful, informative, interesting, entertaining, and unique as we seed, stimulate, and support space for positive, meaningful conversations. Instead of waiting for something better, we hope to help you create it now.  

What’s on your menu for the holidays? Are you roasting, barbecuing, deep frying? Do you offer plenty of leafy greens and vegetables to your guests? Heather Brittany and Cynthia Brian set the table with a healthy feast that doesn’t bust your britches.

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Pat Stone was the Garden Editor of Mother Earth News Magazine for twelve years before he established GreenPrints, the Weeder’s Digest to share the joys, heart, and soul of gardening. The winter issue of GreenPrints marks the 25th anniversary.  Cynthia Brian interviews her co-author of the New York Times best seller, Chicken Soup for the Gardener’s Soul, to talk gardening and twenty-five years of GreenPrints.

What is there to do in the November garden? The leaves have turned their bright sunset colors, many trees are already bare, and we gear up for the Thanksgiving holiday. Goddess Gardener, Cynthia Brian strolls through her autumn yard with gratitude and grace.  Listen at Voice America and at StarStyle Radio with photos and descriptions. 

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SPECIAL BOOK SALE FOR THE HOLIDAYS: Buy Be the Star You Are!®, Be the Star You Are!® for Teens, or The Business of Show Business for the ULTRA DISCOUNT (55% off) PRICE  of $9.99 plus shipping through December 31. Buy ONLY at our STORE and ask for personalized inscriptions. 

Catch up with all broadcasts on ITunes

Buy books by Cynthia Brian

Congrats to everyone who volunteers and supports Be the Star You Are!®. BTSYA has been named a 2014 TOP NON PROFIT for the 6th straight year and is one of the first to be awarded this honor by Guidestar and Great Non Profits. Read more at Press Pass.

The award winning positive talk radio program, StarStyle®-Be the Star You Are!® broadcasts on the Voice America Empowerment Channel LIVE every Wednesday from 4-5pm Pt/7-8pm ET. Cynthia Brian and Heather Brittany are the Mother/Daughter dynamic duo who have been co-hosting this program live weekly since 1998 bringing upbeat, life enhancing conversation to the world. With Cynthia’s expertise in interviewing the trailblazers, authors, and experts and Heather’s healthy living segments, these Goddess Gals are your personal growth coaches helping you to jumpstart your life while igniting your flame of greatness.

Brought to the airwaves under the auspices of the literacy and positive media charity, Be the Star You Are!®, each program will pump your energy to help you live, love, laugh, learn, and lead.

Previous guests and fans of the program on World Talk Radio will always be able to access the archives.

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Tune in the Power Hour every Wednesday from 4-5pm PT/70-8pmET and join our empowerment party. For photos, descriptions, links, archives, and more. Get inspired, motivated, and informed with StarStyle®-Be the Star You Are!®

Lend us Your Ears!!!

Make a donation today to Be the Star You Are!® charity 

Be the Star You Are!® Radio

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

Congratulations to Cynthia Brian and Heather Brittany for 12 years of weekly LIVE broadcasting of StarStyle®-Be the Star you Are!® on Voice America/World Talk Radio. Tune in Wednesdays 4-5pm PT/7-8pm ET. Archives, photos, descriptions and more are available at all times. The program is brought to the airwaves as an outreach program of Be the Star You Are!® charity. Lend us your ears!

Cynthia Brian’s Gardening Guide for November By Cynthia Brian

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Cynthia Brian’s Gardening Guide for November By Cynthia Brian

Garden

“There is a harmony in autumn, and a luster in its sky.” Percy Bysshe Shelley

With the approach of Thanksgiving, it is finally feeling like autumn with cooler and crisper air, changing of the leaves, and chrysanthemums blooming. I picked my first bouquet of narcissi of the season on October 10, a full month earlier than last year. Our climate is changing and as gardeners we struggle to keep pace. November is the best time to begin planting spring blooming bulbs. Once the ground chills to about 55 degrees, start the process of planting naturalizing narcissi as well as other bulbs in well-drained sandy loam where they’ll receive at least six hours of sunlight daily. With our dense, nutrition lacking clay soil, we need to amend with sand, peat moss, and compost before digging the holes. All flower bulbs require neutral PH soil around 7.0 in order to develop a strong root system that supports flowers. Mother Nature is busy spreading her wild seeds via the wind, birds, animal fur, and even our stocking feet. Most flowers need the next few colder months to rest and germinate. Before the geese head south, walk around your yard to ponder what you’ll want to improve, include, edit, or change for the spring. Our year of outdoor work is winding down as our celebration of gratitude approaches. Get ready for a respite!

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⎫ PROTECT plant roots by mulching your garden.

⎫ GRIND fallen leaves with a mower to reduce particle size and increase decomposition time.

⎫ TURN the soil in your vegetable garden, pull out any unwanted growers such as mint, add buckets of compost, and plant a nitrogen rich cover crop like fava beans or clover. Blanket the ground with straw and continue mulching until planting time in spring.

⎫ SUPPRESS weeds while enriching the soil by laying newspaper (three or four sheets) on your bare earth. The newspaper will biodegrade and the zinc in the inc adds nutrients to the mulch. Cover with straw, leaves, or wood chips to continue adding nutrients.

⎫ DIG up bulblets of mother bulbs with numerous offshoots. Separate and replant in other areas.

⎫ SOAK ranunculus and anemone tubers in tepid water overnight or for at least three or four hours before planting three inches deep and six inches apart in well-draining soil in full sunlight.

⎫ PLANT spring bulbs beginning this month. Tulips and crocus need to be refrigerated for at least four weeks before being dug. Make sure to remove all fruit or vegetables from the fridge to discourage rotting from ethylene gases. Keep all bulbs away from sunlight and in a dark place before planting. For blooms that last throughout the spring season, stagger planting days for daffodils, Dutch iris, muscari, scilla, and galanthus.

⎫ CHECK out an attractive alternative to downspouts with the solid copper Rain Chains. With several styles and sizes to suit every home, you now have the ability to direct water to your garden and at the same time enhance the beauty of your exteriors. Visit www.rainchainsdirect.com or call855-843-7246 for more information.

⎫ FORCE hardy flower bulbs of amaryllis, freesias, and paperwhites for Christmas blooming by potting them in sterile, neutral PH potting soil in an area where they will enjoy a temperature of 72-82 degrees Fahrenheit with good air circulation and low humidity. Give them a big drink of warm water, tamp down the soil, do not water again until green sprouts. Amaryllis sprout spectacular shows within eight weeks.

⎫ DEER proof your bulb garden with a collection of allium, fritillaria, English Bluebell, brodiaea, narcissus, crocus, anemone, hyacinth, and peony for a floral display that lasts from April through July.

⎫ CUT stalks of peonies to ground level and discard the cuttings as they are not good for compost. If your peonies didn’t bloom, they may be planted too deep. Dig them up this month, rework the soil, and replant ½ inch higher than soil level.

⎫ WASH patio furniture, pads, pillows, and accessories before covering or storing to avoid mildew, mice migrations, rust, and rot.

⎫ GROUP gaillardia and chrysanthemums along with grasses in a barrel for fabulous fall color. The National Garden Bureau has named Gaillardia “the” perennial to grow for 2015.

⎫ LOWER mower height as lawn growth slows. Reduce irrigation time, but continue to water until the rains arrive as grass needs the strength to be healthy for winter. If you didn’t fertilize in October, fertilizer now with an organic fall blend.

⎫ GUARD against an unexpected frost by watering deeply and covering susceptible shrubs with burlap, fabric, or blankets the afternoon before the cold arrives.

⎫ COLLECT rainwater in barrels or large garbage cans to use on your plants. (Fingers crossed that it does rain soon)

⎫ REDUCE your garden work out by seeking out plants that are identified as “compact”. Look for tags that say dwarf, patio, knee-high, tiny, or baby in the variety name. If a plant tag says “perfect for cut flowers” it will grow to be too large for a small space.

⎫ ADD artistic value to your landscape with hanging baskets, mirrors, lighting, antique wrought iron furniture, statuary, and water features.

⎫ CELEBRATE a month of gratitude with an arrangement of roses and anemones in warm sunset shades.

⎫ DECORATE for Thanksgiving with pumpkins around your outdoor seating areas.

Garden

Happy gardening and happy growing!

Cynthia Brian

Read article at Lamorinda Weekly 

 

Cynthia Brian

Starstyle® Productions, llc

The Goddess Gardener

Starstyle® Productions, llc

Cynthia@GoddessGardener.com

www.GoddessGardener.com

925-377-STAR

I am available as a speaker, designer, and consultant.

Halloween Spooktacular, Ghouls, Gourds, Garlic, Henna Hundal

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Halloween Spooktacular, Ghouls, Gourds, Garlic, Henna Hundal

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Welcome to Starstyle®-Be the Star You Are!® with your hosts Cynthia Brian and Heather Brittany on the Voice America Empowerment Channel.  We strive to be useful, informative, interesting, entertaining, and unique as we seed, stimulate, and support space for positive, meaningful conversations. Instead of waiting for something better, we hope to help you create it now.  

The season of screams and scares is officially here! Halloween is the time to embrace your inner ghoul. Health Matter’s Heather Brittany keeps you safe during her favorite spooky holiday with tips and tricks with fun information on costumes, decor, candy, fire hazards, houses to visit, and more.

Henna Hundal-6-14

Legend has it that garlic repels vampires and wards off the evil eye. Popularized by Bram Stoker’s Dracula, garlic not only is effective against the blood-sucking princes of the night, but also fends off the undead, including witches, warlocks, and werewolves.  Goddess Gardener, Cynthia Brian tells us how to plant, store, and use this miracle vampire repellent.

Special guest, Be the Star You Are!® Teen Ambassador and Host of Express Yourself!™ Teen Radio, Henna Hundal joins the conversation to talk about Trick or Treat for Literacy, her Halloween favorites, and making a difference with her BTSYA volunteerism.

For some spooktacular holiday inspiration, Starstyle®-Be the Star You Are!™ will shoot you into the spirit of Halloween faster than you can say BOO!  Listen at Voice America and Listen at StarStyle Radio with photos and descriptions. 

Catch up with all broadcasts on ITunes. Buy books by Cynthia Brian.

Congrats to everyone who volunteers and supports Be the Star You Are!®. BTSYA has been named a 2014 TOP NON PROFIT for the 6th straight year and is one of the first to be awarded this honor by Guidestar and Great Non Profits.

Express Yourself!™ Teen Radio is produced by Cynthia Brian of Starstyle® Productions, llc as an outreach program of Be the Star You Are!® charity. For information on being a guest email caiekelley@gmail.com. To make a tax-deductible donation to keep this positive youth programming broadcasting weekly to international audiences. Thanks for supporting teens!

Be the Star You Are!® charity. It’s the Season of Giving Make a donation today. Buy books and shirts.

Trick or Treat for Literacy:

Give to Trick or Treat for Literacy. Instead of collecting candy, collect donations to give a child a book treat.

pumpkin carving

The award winning positive talk radio program, StarStyle®-Be the Star You Are!® broadcasts on the Voice America Empowerment Channel LIVE every Wednesday from 4-5pm Pt/7-8pm ET. Cynthia Brian and Heather Brittany are the Mother/Daughter dynamic duo who have been co-hosting this program live weekly since 1998 bringing upbeat, life enhancing conversation to the world. With Cynthia’s expertise in interviewing the trailblazers, authors, and experts and Heather’s healthy living segments, these Goddess Gals are your personal growth coaches helping you to jumpstart your life while igniting your flame of greatness.

Brought to the airwaves under the auspices of the literacy and positive media charity, Be the Star You Are!®, each program will pump your energy to help you live, love, laugh, learn, and lead.

Previous guests and fans of the program on World Talk Radio will always be able to access the archives. Tune in the Power Hour every Wednesday from 4-5pm PT/70-8pmET and join our empowerment party!

StarStyle® Be the Star You Are!® Radio

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

Be the Star You Are!® charity. Every Season is for Giving Make a donation today.

Congratulations to Cynthia Brian and Heather Brittany for 12 years of weekly LIVE broadcasting of StarStyle®-Be the Star you Are!® on Voice America/World Talk Radio. Tune in Wednesdays 4-5pm PT/7-8pm ET. Archives, photos, descriptions and more are available at all times. The program is brought to the airwaves as an outreach program of Be the Star You Are!® charity. Lend us your ears!

brian-2014-StarStyle-empowerment

Cynthia Brian’s Gardening Guide for June

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Cynthia Brian’s Gardening Guide for June

“Nature. Cheaper than therapy.” ~ Source unknown

Cyn green

Why is it when we surrender our “busyness” to get outside in nature, we feel better?  Researchers have found that going into the garden, hiking, biking, or strolling in the countryside, bird watching, or animal petting triggers the release of endorphins and oxytocin that activate the pleasure center in our brain. When you spend time in the outdoors you experience a deep feeling of wellbeing and relaxation. Close contact with nature improves health while increasing self-esteem and confidence. Mother Nature is the ultimate teacher providing a foundation for life-long learning that nourishes the senses. Indulging in “green activities” reconnects us to ourselves,  one another, our kids, and the natural world. Nature soothes, restores, and heals.  Our stressed, depressed, or anxiety-ridden moods are elevated to refreshed, peaceful, and balanced. The next time you are feeling blue, go green and talk to a plant.  We can all use a little Vitamin N (as in Nature)!

Candycane amaryllis Hippeastrum

  • ⎫ EMPTY all standing water from containers to stop mosquitoes from invading in this dry year. If the bloodsuckers are biting, check out the Thermacell products, including a portable protector. A copy of the natural insecticide found in chrysanthemums is vaporized to create a 15×15 ft zone of protection. www.thermacell.com 

  • ⎫ BOOST your immune system and stave off diseases including diabetes, heart disease, and cancers by growing and eating leafy greens, broccoli, apples, beans, onions, garlic, leeks, and tomatoes.

  • ⎫ PULL ivy from trees as ivy strangles and kills. Ivy also is a haven for rats and mice.

  • ⎫ ELEVATE your palate by including home grown fennel, also known as sweet anise, into your recipes. The aromatic feathery fronds are pretty in the garden while the thick bulbs are delicious! If flower stalks begin to form, pinch them off to direct the plant’s energy to the bulb.

  • ⎫ SAVE our pollinators by creating habitats that support and nourish them.  

  • ⎫ MAKE noise before putting your hand into a hidden space such as your irrigation controls as snakes are slithering about in this dry, warm weather, including rattlers.

  • ⎫ DON’T overlook the common petunia for lasting beauty and deer resistant lantana. Both are available in luscious pink, purple, orange, red, and white. Butterflies will swarm to the bright yellow and gold lantana.

  • ⎫ PRUNE butterfly bush after the blossoms fade to encourage another round of blooms for fall.

  • ⎫ STIR fried, sautéed, or just toss in a fresh salad, the green tops of radishes, carrots, turnips, and beets are pleasantly earthy, peppery, and most of all nutritious!

  • ⎫ PINCH spent petunia petals to enable repeat blooming through fall.

  • ⎫ REFILL birdfeeders weekly to ensure that the flyers spend the summer with you.

  • ⎫ CREATE unique bouquets and arrangements for your graduation and Father’s Day festivities with natural elements from your personal flowerbeds.

  • ⎫ SWING on a hammock under a tree for a soothing dose of relaxing nature therapy.

  • ⎫ GIVE dad a green gift on Father’s Day that he’ll enjoy for years to come. Perhaps a blueberry bush for healthy antioxidant eating or a beautiful bougainvillea to enliven the backyard fence.   

  • ⎫ PRINT personalized coupons to help with the weeding, watering, and digging as another great gift idea for all gardening dads.  Mother Nature will thank you.

  • ⎫ PLANT cilantro, lettuces, and basil in containers for easy reach for your culinary treats.

  • ⎫ CHECK your irrigation timers to make sure they are working properly and set to early morning or evening, but not during the day. Twice a week watering is sufficient for most gardens and will help you conserve our H20.

  • ⎫ PROTECT your plants from hungry hunters as food gets scarce during the dry summer months by installing wire cages, netting, or repellents. No plant is 100% deer or rabbit proof.

  • ⎫ TREAT diseases with organic remedies. Neem oil and plant based cures are recommended.

  • ⎫ CELEBRATE summer by encouraging children to sow easy-to-grow sunflowers. Press the seeds into the soil, add water, and watch the wizardry that can surpass 16 feet!

  • ⎫ PULL onions for salads and grilling.

  • ⎫ TOLERATE minor aphid infestation to allow lady beetles (aka ladybugs) and “aphid lions” lacewing larvae to do their beneficial pest control. The good bugs only stick around when they have an infested buffet to feed on.

  • ⎫ USE the lily pad shaped petals of nasturtiums as serving dishes for appetizers as they are deliciously edible.

  • ⎫ THINK ahead to Halloween and Thanksgiving now by sowing your pumpkin seeds directly into the enriched, fertilized ground before mid June.

  • ⎫ DRIVE carefully through neighborhoods as school is out for the summer and kids are enjoying the outdoors.

snake

Congratulations to our Lamorinda graduates of all ages and the beautiful June brides and grooms. Wishing the men a joyful Daddy’s Day too! Enjoy a warm, fun filled June!

Happy Gardening and Happy Growing and read more at The Lamorinda Weekly. 

Cynthia Brian is the Founder and Executive Director of Be the Star You Are!® charity, producer/host of the radio program StarStyle® Be the Star You Are!®, producer of Express Yourself!™, and editor/teen coach of Teen Scene.

©2014

Cynthia Brian

The Goddess Gardener

StarStyle® Productions, LLC

Cynthia@goddessgardener.com

http://www.goddessgardener.com Cynthia is available as a speaker and consultant. 

 

Digging Deep with Cynthia Brian By Cynthia Brian

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Digging Deep with Cynthia Brian By Cynthia Brian

Garden

I Can See Clearly Now The Rain Has Gone

“Do I dare disturb the universe?” The Love Ballad of Alfred J. Prufroc

Scientists have speculated the possible return of El Nino in 2015. Even if the storms do return, the forecast predicts only moderate precipitation for Northern California. Fortunately enough rainfall in April greened the golden hills, yet as we approach summer, we must be extra diligent in our conservation methods. The fire danger is enhanced because of our dry winter. In fact, the fire season of 2013 was still in progress as we entered the beginning of the 2014 fire season this month. As humans we have altered the climate and stressed our great globe. It’s not too late to begin being better stewards. In my past two Digging Deeps, I’ve outlined how we can prepare our garden for the forthcoming drought. This is the third installment of the Drought Gardening Series with a list of plants that can thrive with little water.

 Garden1

If you missed Part 1 and 2, you can find them on-line at Lamorinda Weekly at these links:

Part 1: Singing in the Rain- https://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue0801/Digging-Deep-Gardening-with-Cynthia-Brian-Singing-in-the-Rain.html

Part 2: don’t Doubt the Drought-https://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue0803/Digging-Deep-Gardening-with-Cynthia-Brian-Dont-Doubt-the-Drought.html

 

Part 3-Drought Gardening Series

Drought Tolerant Plants from Goddess Gardener, Cynthia Brian

Enriched, compost amended soil is the most important foundation element to growing any garden. Apply three inches of mulch to maximize water savings, maintain moisture, reduce run-off, and shield the soil from direct sunlight. Group plants with similar water needs together, stop fertilizing, eliminate weeds, deadhead before seed pods form, build wind barriers, create shade, and water appropriately, infrequently, yet deeply. Choose a sampling of these drought resistant, low maintenance specimens.

Garden2

Annuals                                                         Shrubs                                                           Vegetables

Amaranthus                                                    Abelia                                                              Armenian Cucumber

Cosmos                                                           Holly                                                               Artichoke

Cleome                                                            Hibiscus                                                          Bean

Dusty Miller                                                   Hydrangea                                                       Beet

Lupine                                                             Palm                                                                Corn

Marigolds                                                        Nandina                                                           Chile

Poppy                                                             Oleander                                                          Eggplant

Portulaca                                                         Pomegranate                                                    Garlic 

Verbena                                                           Viburnum                                                        Lettuce                                                                                                                                                                                    Mustard

Perennials                                                     Herbs                                                              Onion

Agastache                                                        Anise                                                               Pea

Bush Sage                                                        Bay                                                                 Peppers

Blanket flower                                                 Catmint                                                           Radish

Cactus                                                             Catnip                                                             Rhubarb

Currant                                                            Chives                                                             Spinach

Daylily                                                             Dill                                                                  Squash

Echinacea                                                        Fennel                                                             Swiss Chard

Fern                                                                 Feverfew                                                         Tomato

Geranium                                                        Lemongrass                                                     Turnip

Ginger                                                             Marjoram                                                        Zucchini

Helleborus                                                       Oregano

Ice Plant                                                          Parsley                                                                  Grasses

Lamb’s Ear                                          `           Purslane                                                          Blue Oatgrass

Lamium                                                           Rosemary                                                        Fountain Grass

Lavender                                                         Sage                                                                 Japanese Bloodgrass

Russian Sage                                                   Spearmint                                                        Leatherleaf Sedge

Sedum                                                             Savory                                                             Maiden Grass

Succulents                                                       Stinging Nettle                                                Pampas Grass

Yarrow                                                            Thyme                                                               Reed Grass

Yucca                                                              Wild Garlic                                                      Zebra Grass

 

This is not a complete list of plants that will grow with minimal moisture and maintenance. Talk to your nursery professional for more advice and local recommendations. Visit garden centers to see the specimens that will work best with your landscaping requirements. Remember that all plants need water. Natives, succulents, and cacti fare the best in dry conditions and may add beauty and texture to your existing garden with less care. Bulbs are always excellent choices providing perennial color, form, and fragrance. Consider xeriscaping as it conserves 50-75% of water utilizing creative landscaping techniques.

Until next time, remember that to build a better future we must nurture nature. We are blessed to live on planet Earth. Care for the land and all of God’s creatures and will reap the benefits. Never forget that love always wins when kindness prevails, plus gardens make us happy. Read a book in May-it’s a garden in bloom. Stroll through the garden to actually smell the roses! They are glorious this year.

Happy Gardening! Happy Growing!

Cynthia Brian’s Mid Month Reminders

ü  PLANT flowers in drifts of several colors to enable bees and butterflies to see them better.

ü  CREATE a wide defensible space perimeter around your home to protect your family from fires.

ü  CONTINUE succession planting of beets, carrots, turnips, radishes, and other root edibles for uninterrupted harvests all season.

ü  COLD hardy peonies are popping up creating waves of color in the garden. Peonies make sophisticated floral arrangements.

ü  PULL weeds that are zapping your water, especially teasel rosette. This roadside weed is a biennial and quite prickly to touch. Nonetheless, many people use the dried flower heads in arrangements because of their interesting shape and size (they can grow up to 2m tall!). This widely adapted plant is native to Eurasia.

ü  EAT the pea like flowers of the fava bean plant as well as the leaves. Fava leaves are nutty tasting while the flowers have a mildly sweet flavor akin to spring peas.

 

©2014

Cynthia Brian

The Goddess Gardener

Starstyle® Productions, llc

Cynthia@GoddessgGrdener.com

http://www.GoddessGardener.com

925-377-7827

Cynthia is available as a speaker and consultant. Listen to her radio show on the Voice America Empowerment Network Wednesdays 4-5pm PT LIVE or visit http://www.StarStyleRadio.com

Read at https://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue0806/Digging-Deep-with-Cynthia-Brian-I-Can-See-Clearly-Now-the-Rain-Has-Gone.html

 

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