Tag Archives

10 Articles

Drought Design

Posted by Felix Assivo on
0
Empowerment
Drought Design

succulent-fountain grass.jpegby Cynthia Brian

“That which surrounds you is within you.”

 

~ Karl Schmidt

Days of heat followed by days of near-freezing cold! Out of nowhere, a beautiful hailstorm covers the ground in white pebbles. The weather forecasts sunshine or cloud cover, but no rain in future days. According to the New York Times, the seven hottest years on record globally were experienced in the last seven years. The atmospheric river of December provided a respite and a hopeful prospect for drought relief. January, February, and March are traditionally the wettest months here in California, but this year, January and February were the driest in years and March isn’t looking much better. Maybe the Irish leprechauns will exert their magical powers to make it rain on St. Patrick’s Day!

DESIGNING FOR DROUGHT:

As I gaze upon my peach tree blossoms intermingled with crabapple buds blooming much too early, I admit that I am basking in this early spring. Although I am an eternal optimist that imagines positive outcomes, if we want our gardens to survive and thrive, we need to design for the drought. Here’s how to get started now to be ready for whatever transpires as the months warm.

peach and crabapple blossoms merged.jpeg

CHECK FOR LEAKS

Make sure that your outside pipes are insulated against freezing. Water expands when it freezes causing pipes to burst. Even a tiny 1/8 crack could spew 250 gallons of water per day. If you witness wet spots, water running along driveways, or puddles, investigate for a leak. Check hose bibs for drips, replace washers, and routinely inspect automatic sprinklers and connections.

Cal lilies.jpeg

AMEND THE SOIL

The foundation of every garden is the soil. The ideal soil drains quickly while storing water. For drought toleration, add several inches of rich, organic compost to encourage deep root formation while trapping moisture. Make your compost by adding kitchen scraps, eggshells, coffee grinds, tea leaves, shredded newspaper, leaves, lawn clippings, fish bones, aged manure, non-diseased weeds, and other organic matter to a bin or pile. Do not use human, dog, or cat feces. Don’t disturb the lower levels of the ground to allow worms and micro-bacteria to do their jobs of aerating and feeding the earth. In a drought, double and triple digging techniques are not recommended.

cream-yellow daffodils.jpeg

WATER WELL

            To stay healthy, most plants need at least one inch of moisture per week. The best way to save your plants as well as conserve water is to water deeply and infrequently.

The penetration of the water encourages deeper roots that are more resistant to drought conditions. A good rule of thumb is to water until the dirt has a hint of shine. Lawns and bedding plants require a drink to a depth of six inches while perennials, trees, and shrubs need closer to twelve. Plan to irrigate either early in the morning or evening when absorption will be maximized, and evaporation minimized. Just as humans rejuvenate from a good night’s rest, plants do most of their growing at night. Traditional overhead sprinklers can lose half of their effectiveness to evaporation, run-off, and overspray. Drip and soaker hoses are the best bets for deep soaking to the root zone. Soaker hoses may be covered with mulch making them invisible. When water is restricted prioritize rationing by watering: 

  1. Newly planted trees, shrubs, and perennials.
  2. Newly seeded or repaired lawns.
  3. Plants with exposure on windy sites or in sandy soils.
  4. Flowering vegetables. 

rosemary in bloom.jpeghttps://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue1601/Digging-Deep-with-Goddess-Gardener-Cynthia-Brian-Designing-for-drought.html

MULCH

            Three inches of much will insulate your plants from the heat, cold, and elements. Mulch keeps the ground cooler, maximizes water retention, reduces evaporation, and improves the appearance of your landscape. Mulch includes pine needles, straw, leaves, wood chips, bark, and even gravel. As it decomposes it becomes compost and enriches the soil. When that happens, it is time for a new top layer of the mulch of your choice.

 

WEED

            Weeds steal moisture and nutrition from neighboring plants. Pull or cut down unwanted weeds.

red chinese lantern.jpeg

STOP FERTILIZING

            If you plan to fertilize this season, do it now while the weather is still cool, and dew is apparent. Feeding while it is raining is the best prescription for plant wellness. If you fertilize without sufficient water, the roots will burn, and the plants will die. Fertilizing encourages new growth and new growth will stress your already stressed specimens. As the weather warms, refrain from fertilizing again until rain is forthcoming.

yellow osteorspernum.jpeg

PLANT FOR DROUGHT

I’m a big believer in bulbs. In our temperate climate, you dig a hole, plant, forget, then be awed when bulbs pop up and bloom. Daffodils, calla lilies, freesia, hyacinths, Dutch iris, and many others are all excellent spring-blooming bulbs that require minimal care and reap huge bloom benefits. For summer flowering, plant gladiolus, Naked ladies, agapanthus, Asian lilies, tuberous begonias, dahlias, iris, and canna. Succulents offer a magnificent maintenance-free drought investment.  Succulents come in many shapes, sizes, and colors with beautiful blooms and little water requirements. Sedums are spectacular as groundcovers or upright attracting bees and butterflies. Jade, echeveria, Senecio, haworthias, aconitum, and ice plant all have varied textures and attractive flowers. Unlike cactus, succulents don’t have thorns, making them a favorite for rock gardens.

purple freesia.jpeg

Don’t forget to plant edibles. A small four-foot by eight-foot bed can be planted with plenty of nutritious vegetables and herbs to feed a family of four. Decide what you enjoy eating and plant only those to avoid watering vegetables that you won’t consume. 

 

Surrounding me now is plenty of sunshine and within I feel sunny and bright. Yet, I’m counting on the luck of the Irish to bring a bit of Emerald Isle precipitation to the shores of California this St. Paddy’s Day! In case there isn’t that pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, I’m designing for drought. 

yellow sedumsucculent.jpeghttps://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue1601/Digging-Deep-with-Goddess-Gardener-Cynthia-Brian-Designing-for-drought.html

Goddess Gardener Cynthia Brian’s Gardening Guide for March

ü  FERTILIZE hungry lawns to strengthen roots, resist cold, heat, and high traffic when weather is wet. This feeding will help combat the stress of drought.

ü  AERATE your lawn. The soil is compacted from winter rains and foot traffic.  Leave the plugs to add nutrients back into the grass.

ü  CONTINUE to protect frost tender plants

ü  POUR chamomile tea around the base of newly planted seedlings to eliminate fungus growth.

ü  CUT boughs of camellias to use in a bowl or arrangement. 

ü  PAMPER yourself with an exfoliating and moisturizing facial from your garden. Squeeze lemon juice from your Meyer lemon tree into a bowl and mix with lavender petals and ¼ cup olive oil.  Home brewed spa experience in 20 minutes.

ü  CONTINUE to compost, compost, and compost. This is the single most important ingredient of growing a great garden. Buy an inexpensive compost bin from your local waste service.

ü  SPADE six inches of rich compost into your vegetable garden in preparation for the next season’s plantings.

ü  SCATTER a canister of California poppy seeds for a carefree, drought-tolerant golden showstopper.

Happy Gardening. Happy Growing. Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Photos: https://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue1601/Digging-Deep-with-Goddess-Gardener-Cynthia-Brian-Designing-for-drought.html

Cynthia Brian- Camellias.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.

BTSYA 3 book series.jpg

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

Cynthia@GoddessGardener.com

www.GoddessGardener.com

Water Works

Posted by Felix Assivo on
0
Empowerment
Water Works

Ranch lake before drought.jpeg

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

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

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

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

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

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

What is a gardener to do? 

Naked Ladies Blooming.jpeg

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

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

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

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

crocosmia firecracker.jpeg

  1. 11. Summer is not the time to plant but to plan. Any specimen planted in August will require regular and concentrated watering to establish strong roots. Late fall before frosts will be optimal for sowing.
  2. 12. Recycle your household water. Keep a bucket in your shower and bowls in your sinks to catch the water from your faucet. Use it on your houseplants or pour it into your garden. When you steam or boil vegetables, allow the water to cool, then use it on your plants. 
  3. 13. Minimize your personal water usage. Turn off the water when brushing teeth or when soaping up in the shower. For toilets, we may be approaching the former drought mantra “if it’s yellow, let it mellow. If it’s brown, flush it down.”  This is obviously a personal choice.
  4. 14. Adjust your expectations for your garden. Accept the fact that your garden may not be as green, lush, and colorful as it would normally be if water scarcity was not an issue. Plants wilt to conserve energy. Many plants are resilient and can deal with hot weather. They will bounce back with winter rains.
  5. rhubarb.jpeg

During the past two months, I have been busy personally repairing broken PVC pipes, valves, sprinklers, and hoses as hiring anyone to assist has been impossible. Between the marauding deer, shifting soils, and invading roots, the work is endless, arduous, intensive, and necessary. I have also implemented the tips that I am suggesting. 

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

summer apples.jpeg

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

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

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

rose.jpeg

MARK YOUR CALENDARS!

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

Happy Gardening. Happy Growing. 

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

photos of cyn by jim scala.jpeg

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

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

Cynthia Brian books banner.jpg

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

Cynthia@GoddessGardener.com

www.GoddessGardener.com

Home Security, Forever Young, Plant it Now! By Cynthia Brian

Posted by Editor on
0
Empowerment
Home Security, Forever Young, Plant it Now! By Cynthia Brian

wheel of fortune- cyn, nonie, heather – Version 3

According to a recent FBI study, daytime crimes accounted for 66% of all burglaries nationally. Do you know how to keep your home and property safe while you are present as well as on vacations? In T42, Cynthia Brian and Heather Brittany offer concrete tips based on research that will help you be secure.
Cyn-Heather-portofinoHeather-Snapchat pics
We live in a youth oriented society. Once over thirty, everyone yearns to be younger.  How can we stay young as we age? Surround yourself with love and joy and find out how to be forever young.
ruth-bancroft-gardens-2
With the West Coast drought still on high alert, Cynthia Brian visits the Ruth Bancroft Garden for lesson in bold dry gardening. Find out what succulents are easy to grow for the present and for posterity.

barrel-cactuses

Listen at Voice America

Listen at StarStyle Radio with photos and descriptions

Press Pass:  

Check out our online fundraiser
and our “Strikingly Blog and Literacy Page”

Read our BTSYA August Newsletter

What’s happening? Want to party? Visit our Event page 

Make a DONATION through PAYPAL GIVING FUND:

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!®

Read about our SUCCESSFUL VOLUNTEERS: READ AT PRESS PASS

Catch up with all broadcasts on ITunes

Buy books by Cynthia Brian 
Amazon Store
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!®, (http://www.BetheStarYouAre.org) each program will pump your energy to help you live, love, laugh, learn, and lead.
For photos, descriptions, links, archives, and more, visit .
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

Cynthia Brian talks about the empowering outreach programs offered by Be the Star You Are!® charity.
Embed StarStyle® Be the Star You Are!® Radio
If you are a fan of the authors, experts, celebrities, and guests that appear regularly on StarStyle®-Be the Star You Are!® radio, you can now be sure to never miss an episode. Embed this code into your WordPress site or any site and you’ll always have Cynthia Brian, 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!®
<Iframe src=”http://www.voiceamerica.com/jwplayer/HostPlayer.html?showid=2206″ frameborder=”0″ scrolling=”auto” width=”420″ height=”380″></Iframe>
Be the Star You Are!® charity. Every Season is for Giving Make a donation today. 

Links you can use for Be the Star You Are!®
Positive Results
About Us
Programs
How to Help
Blog
Contact us

Romp in Ruth Bancroft Gardens By Cynthia Brian

Posted by Editor on
0
Empowerment
Romp in Ruth Bancroft Gardens By Cynthia Brian

 

ruth bancroft 108 years, cynthia brian

“Who cares if I’m not around? If I don’t plant it, then nobody will get to see it!” Ruth Bancroft

Since as long as I can remember I have always said that I wanted to live to be 108 years old. Why I chose that number I have no idea as I had never met anyone who lived to be 108…until this week when I met Ruth Bancroft, creator of the Ruth Bancroft Gardens in Walnut Creek. Ruth turned 108 years young on September 2nd and I was privileged enough to celebrate her birthday with bubbly and her favorite chocolate cake in her masterpiece dry gardens that she began planting in the 1970’s.

Ruth’s gardening passion began as a child in Berkeley. When she moved through the tunnel to Walnut Creek she became a collector. Her efforts, trials, tribulations, and experiences along the way are chronicled in the new Timber Press book, The Bold Dry Garden, penned by Johanna Silver, the garden editor of Sunset Magazine, and photographed by Marion Brenner. With the entire West coast on drought alert, the Ruth Bancroft Gardens are a model for low-water plantscaping. If you have ever been curious about succulents, cacti, yuccas, and other desert plants that will flourish in the East Bay, this beautiful book will become an essential reference guide.
pond-ruth-bancroft-gardens
Our local water company states that water use was 24% less in 2015 than it was in 2014, saving enough water to fill the Oakland Coliseum seventy one times! As homeowners rip out lawns in favor of xeriscaping, we’ll focus on the benefits of adding low maintenance, low water use plants, and planting them NOW to your garden.
cycad
Although I have a lifetime of gardening experience, I’m not sure that I will ever become an expert in any one area of horticulture, as gardens are living, breathing, evolving, growing entities that are constantly changing.  What I adore about Ruth’s garden is this consistent evolution. Each time I visit a new vista or display greets me, even from the same specimens as the first visit. The colors, textures, and sizes are in perpetual motion from California natives to the canopy of trees, the rosettes of terrestrial bromeliads to the swords of the yuccas.
ruth-bancroft-gardens-2
Here are a few of Ruth’s prized collection that you can grow in your garden for your benefit and that of your great grandchildren’s children .

Aeoniums: One of the most popular plants of all of the succulents, aeoniums have lovely fleshy rosettes that will reach towards the heavens, mound in purgatory, or cascade towards hell. They prefer a bit of shade and are easy to cultivate and grow in the ground and in containers.

Yuccas: These sword shaped plants are native to the Americas and the Caribbean and like hot, dry regions. In their natural habitat they are pollinated by the yucca moth.  Although yuccas are grown mostly for ornamental use, many species use the seeds, flowers, stems, and sometimes the roots for food and medicine.

Echeveria: Many of the most beautiful small succulents are echeveria, often confused with aeoniums because of their rosettes. Their leaf colors are brilliantly hued and they boast flowers in red, orange, white, yellow, purple, and pink.  They grow well between rocks and are a terrific ground cover or garden filler.
Most echeveria species hail from Mexico.

Sedums: A hardy perennial with thick, fleshy leaves and stems and clusters of pretty flowers, sedums are most popular for ground covers, borders, and rock gardens.  They require minimal to no care at all, are easy to propagate from cuttings, and are drought resistant.

Aloe: The best friend plant for anyone with a sunburn, cut, or bite, aloe is known as nature’s soothing succulent. Aloes relieve itching and irritation on the skin, reduce redness and swelling by inhibiting the body’s release of histamine. In a garden, aloes bloom in bright colors of red, orange, and yellow with over 500 species ranging from tiny to tree height. These unfussy favorites are a “must have” in any garden or container.

Agave: With over 200 species native to the Americas, agaves are diverse in colors, shapes, sizes, and spines.  Agaves are sculptural. They can be a focal point in a landscape or can mix well with other plantings. Before planting an agave, make sure to read the label to determine the final size of the plant. Some agaves have a full- grown diameter of 13 to 14 feet while others remain small and compact.  
barrel-cactuses
Barrel Cactus: Always armed with heavy spines and prominent ribs, barrel cacti are known as the “fierce or wild cactus”.  Flowers always grow at the top without spines. Native Americans boiled the flowers to eat like cabbage. The fruits are considered inedible. Barrel cacti add a fascinating form to any landscape when planted in circles or artistic ways.
prickly-pear
Prickly Pear Cactus: Optunias, commonly called prickly pear cactus have yellow, red, purple, or orange fruit that is delicious and sold in stores as tuna. The paddles are called Nopales and used in many ethnic recipes.  The soluble fibers of both the fruit and the paddles are considered to stabilize blood sugar. These cacti make a great fence to keep out human and animal invaders as the spines are tiny and very sharp. My sister surrounded her property with optunias which bear enough fruit for a weekly farmer’s market booth.

Although I’ve concentrated on the desert plants, the Ruth Bancroft Garden reveals a softer side with riffs of bulbs, wildflowers, grasses, and California natives. A visit to the Ruth Bancroft Garden is a must-do for anyone interested in learning more about dry and drought tolerant gardening. We are fortunate to have one of the nation’s most renowned public gardens literally in our back yard with a collection of rare specimens available for sale that will enhance your landscape while saving precious water. www.RuthBancroftGarden.org.

Embrace your sense of curiosity. Employ a few of Ruth Bancroft’s dry gardening specimens. Gardens are a legacy to our future and the time to plant is today.  In 108 years, who will be enjoying your garden?

brians-nursery-at-ruth-bancroft
Happy Gardening and Happy Growing!
Read more
©2016
Cynthia Brian
The Goddess Gardener
Starstyle® Productions, llc
Cynthia@GoddessGardener.com
www.GoddessGardener.com
925-377-STAR
Tune into Cynthia’s Radio show at www.StarStyleRadio.net
I am available as a speaker, designer, and consultant.  

Cynthia Brian’s October Gardening Guide

Posted by Editor on
0
Empowerment
Cynthia Brian’s October Gardening Guide

cynthia brian-pelagoniaums, dahlias

“Go forth under the open sky, and listen to Nature’s teachings.”
~ William Cullen Bryant
cosmos, bachelor buttons 4'oclocks
Autumn is with us. The sun is still scorching our soils with heat during the days while the nights offer chilly dew. October is the best month of the fall season to take care of garden chores before winter arrives. With the drought a forever threat, we are all seeking ideas for a low-maintenance garden that will thrive with little care and less water. It is clear that we need to stand under the open sky to listen and look at what Mother Nature is telling us about our future in the outdoors.
waterfall
Visit your favorite nursery or garden center and talk to the professionals. Choose plants appropriate for your soil and sun requirements. Determine whether you have a shade or sun garden, how much moisture your area needs, then pick the plants that will flourish in those conditions. For example sun-loving specimens such as canna, lamb’s ears, sweet alyssum, geraniums, salvia’s, fountain grass, and boxwood planted densely will out-compete weeds while providing you with an elegant, low maintenance area. Plant the clump forming fountain grass and the evergreen shrub, boxwood, towards the back, with the fragrant sweet alyssum as a border in colors of pink, cream, purple, and white in the front. The wooly silver evergreen lambs-ear with its spikes of purple looks great with the salvia and tall spikes of the robust perennial canna in red, yellow, or orange. Geraniums are available in color clusters of red, pink, white, purple offering continuous blooms above bright green leaves spring through mid winter, when it’s time to prune them to the ground.
red bachelor button queen anne's lace
Other low maintenance plants for full sun include Russian sage, rosa rugosa, daylily, and rudbeckia. For a shade garden, consider hosta, Lenten Rose, and ferns. If your soil is extremely dry, succulents including hen-and-chicks, lavender, sedum, and St. John’s Wort are easy choices while astilbe and Japanese iris will prosper in wet soil. A re-circulating water feature, waterfall, or pond will keep the pollinators around while adding a calming resonance in your environment.
purple veined sorrel
Halloween will be upon us soon. Allow your sunflowers, cornstalks, and pumpkins to continue in the garden until it’s time to decorate.
pumpkins on vine
⎫ MOVE baskets and pots to a shady area when Indian summer is hottest.
⎫ PRUNE your berry vines hard after you have harvested the fruit for easier picking next season.
⎫ ORDER spring bulbs from catalogs now for planting in November
⎫ PICK sorrel to add to salad, sauces, and soups.
⎫ DEADHEAD spent annuals.
⎫ PROPAGATE geranium and pelargonium by cutting back no-blooming stems and planting in damp soil.
⎫ DESTROY invasive star thistle that may have taken root in your garden. Animals and birds will not eat it and it must not be added to the compost pile.
⎫ BUY trees boasting autumn colors now.
⎫ VISIT nurseries to check out the fall selection of plants and bulbs. Suggestions in the tulip category include Greigii, single or double early blooming, triumph, Giant Darwin hybrid, lily flowering, parrot, peony, heirloom, viridiflora, fringed, crispa, single or double late blooming. Amazing how many varieties there are.  Make sure to cool them in the refrigerator for six to 10 weeks before planting. Other bulbs to buy include narcissi (and there is an equal amount of varieties, sizes, shapes, and colors), amaryllis, paperwhites, crocus, galanthus, scilla, iris, freesia, hyacinths, muscari, anemone, fritillaria, Dutch iris, allium, peonies, and Asiatic lilies….for starters.
⎫ CHECK around your house for fire hazards and flammable materials. October is the height of fire season.
⎫ FERTILIZE begonias and roses for more blooms.
⎫ GATHER seeds from bachelor buttons, cosmos, 4 o’clocks to dry and save for spring planting.
⎫ FEED your citrus.
⎫ TRANSPLANT calendulas, Iceland poppies, dianthus, forget-me-nots, primroses, Shasta daisies, agapanthus, and daylilies.
⎫ FREEZE or can your extra harvest of fruit and vegetables for winter health.
⎫ EAT the flowers of chives, garlic, basil, mint, dill, and other flowering herbs. Delicious and pretty in salads, sandwiches, and soups.
⎫ HARVEST the last of your grapes. Add the colorful leaves and twine the vines to form a spectacular autumnal arrangement.
⎫ RAKE your leaves into a compost pile. Add lawn clippings, eggshells, food scraps (no meat), and coffee grounds. Stupendous soil will be ready to use before the holidays.
⎫ Re-seed tired lawns using low-water loving clover for less maintenance, and fast, healthy growth.
⎫ DECORATE your front porch with sunflowers and cornstalks from your garden at the end of the month.
⎫ SAVE sunflower seeds to feed the birds as well as to sow for next season.
⎫ PICK your pumpkins at the end of the month and make a family day of carving Jack O’Lanterns.
⎫ SEE you at the Pear and Wine Festival on September 26th at Moraga Commons. Visit the Be the Star You Are!® booth to receive a FREE brand new book as part of the literacy outreach project, “Read, Lead, Succeed!”  Thanks to our sponsors, Children’s Success Unlimited, Michael Verbrugge Constructions, and The Lamorinda Weekly for making this giveaway possible. Pick up FREE seeds, bookmarks, and potpourri for all of our garden readers.
sunflowers
Happy Gardening and Happy Growing.

READ MORE
nook with geraniums
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.
black eyed susan-lilies
©2015
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.
Tune into Cynthia’s Radio show at www.StarStyleRadio.net

star thistle

Body Talk, Kate White & The Wrong Man, Drought Garden Guide

Posted by Editor on
0
Empowerment

2015 top non profit badge

with Cynthia Brian and Heather Brittany on StarStyle®-Be the Star You Are!® Radio brought to the airwaves under the auspices ofBe the Star You Are!® 501 c3 charity, LIVE, since 1998.
This hour is fun, informative, and lively. Join us!

11034395_10203488824893573_3251824497599069933_o

Brittle fingernails? Dry,stringy hair? Or maybe it’s persistent acne or red patches on your skin? What ever it is, your body may be trying to tell you something. Heather Brittany looks out the outside to see what’s going on in the inside in Health Matters.
Kate WhiteKate White-The wrong man
Kate White, former editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan magazine and New York Times bestselling author of acclaimed stand-alone novels Hush, The Sixes, and Eyes on You, chats about her newest exhilarating novel, The Wrong Man.

A drought can be a gardener’s worst nightmare. When a hot, dry weather pattern settles in, it affects your landscape in a variety of ways. There’s nothing you can do to prevent a drought, but there are some strategies you can enact to help minimize the effect it has on your yard. Goddess Gardener, Cynthia Brian, gives us hope for a thriving garden throughout the worst drought in California history.
fireworks dahlia
Listen at Voice America 

Listen at StarStyle Radio with photos and descriptions

Press Pass

Read about our SUCCESSFUL VOLUNTEERS: READ AT PRESS PASS

Catch up with all broadcasts on ITunes
mexican primrose
Buy books by Cynthia Brian
Check out the online fundraiser for BTSYA
Amazon
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/70-8pmET 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!®
Lend us Your Ears!!!
Make a donation today to Be the Star You Are!® charity

Cynthia Brian talks about the empowering outreach programs offered by Be the Star You Are!® charity.

The Gift of Adapting

Posted by Editor on
0
Kids

Express Yourself! brings you a stimulating program based on a chapter from our award winning book Be the Star You Are! for Teens.

Asya Gonzalez-stinking feet - 4 henna hundal-CU fair
Life is full of conflict and challenges, yet we humans are full of resilience. Whenever we find ourselves in trying times, we grow, we change, we acclimate, we adapt. Hosts Henna Hundal and Asya Gonzalez navigate the topic of adapting to change with Global Talk reporter, Ryan Sim who uses the current California drought as an example of adapting to different scenarios.

RyanSim-2012-1

 

Henna and Asya also interview author Sandy Goldsworthy with her books Aftermath and Aftershock, as she talks about how adaptation has registered in her writing and her personal life. Henna and Asya share an in-depth look at what it means to be ready and willing to accommodate new conflicts and challenges by offering concrete tips including:
a. keep a gratitude journal
b. pay attention to your life
c. be a victor, not a victim
d. choose positive attitudes and actions
e. learn to relax and breathe
f. set smart goals
Change is important, it teaches us new lessons in life. How can we grow if we don’t experience change? Strategies that allow us to adapt to change help us live happier, healthier lives. Give yourself the gift of adaptability.

Sandy Goldsworthy

Guest Bio:

Sandy Goldsworthy was born and raised in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh. Her passion for putting pen to paper began when her high school English teacher inspired her to be more descriptive in her work. Ever since, Sandy has dabbled in creative writing, searching for that perfect shade of red.

Aftermath-Novel =Sandy goldsworthy
Sandy’s first novel, Aftermath, was signed by Clean Teen Publishing, in 2014.

When not writing, Sandy enjoys traveling, cooking, reading, and hanging out with friends and family. She resides in southeastern Wisconsin with her husband, Mike, two children, Brittany and Kyle, and their English Mastiff, Miles. www.sandygoldsworthy.com

Listen at VoiceAmerica Kids Radio

Photos, descriptions, links, and listen 

Mark your calendars for the BTSYA BOOK BASH BLOW OUT on Sat. April 25th from 11-4pm at 5 A Rent a Space in Moraga. http://ow.ly/K3zXG
Meet authors and get autographed copies.

Listen to all broadcasts at ITUNES

Express Yourself! Teen Radio is produced by Cynthia Brian of Starstyle Productions, llc as an outreach program of Be the Star You Are! charity. To make a tax-deductible donation to keep this positive youth programming broadcasting weekly to international audiences, Click HERE. Dare to care!
Thanks for supporting teens!

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

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

Sulfates, Romancing the Stone, Money & Happiness By Cynthia Brian

Posted by Editor on
0
Categories
Sulfates, Romancing the Stone, Money & Happiness By Cynthia Brian

pond and dry garden

Welcome to Starstyle®-Be the Star You Are!® with your hosts Cynthia Brian and Heather Brittany on the Voice America Empowerment Channel.  Our goal is to seed, stimulate, and support space for positive, meaningful conversations that will get you talking around the dinner table.

What is the truth about sulfates. Lots of shampoos advertise “sulfate free”. What is it? Is good or bad for you? Ask our Health Hero, Heather Brittany as she uncovers the details in Health Matters. 

There is not enough water to subsidize our landscapes and many people are wondering how we can win the fight to minimize our usage of H2O and still have an attractive garden. One solution is to romance the stone. Goddess Gardener Cynthia Brian will show you how to build an arroyo seco or dry creek.

dry creeks-arroyo seco - 2

Does money make you happy? Statistics prove that wealthier people, communities, and countries are happier. Cynthia Brian investigates the link between happiness and increased income. Feel free to Listen at Voice America and Listen at StarStyle Radio with photos and descriptions. Also 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 from the Great Non Profit Article.

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.

brian-2014-StarStyle-empowerment

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 at  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 

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. 

Cynthia Brian’s Gardening Guide for August

Posted by Editor on
0
Categories
Cynthia Brian’s Gardening Guide for August

bouganinvilla


“I long to accomplish a great and noble task,

but, it is my chief duty to accomplish small tasks

as if they were great and noble.  ~ Helen Keller

There are many ways to tackle a task.

With a drought in full swing, those of us with lawns are investigating every avenue to keep our playgrounds verdant. In Los Angeles, lawn painting has become a new lucrative business using non-toxic permanent dye applied to stressed grass. The green application lasts about twelve weeks without color fade or run-off. When the rains come, most lawns grow back on their own.

On a different path to encourage continued love of gardening, a client of mine decided to take things into her own hands.  Her three-year old grand daughter was distressed that the pebbles the tyke planted in “Granny’s garden” hadn’t sprouted. Using twigs, broken jewelry pieces, shiny rocks from her floral arrangements and a glue gun, Grandma fashioned flowers to “grow” and planted them in the plot. The next day the excitement when the toddler witnessed the stone blooms was beyond priceless.

The entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well in California, yet another sign that no matter what the climatic changes, gardeners will find a way to survive the elements to accomplish small tasks as if they were great and noble.

roses & dark blue agapantha

  • ⎫ DIG technology with the Easy Gardening Tips app from Suntory®. It’s a digital magazine with tips on designing decks, summer canning, palette picking, and more. Download free at the App Store.
  • ⎫ STAKE tall gladiolus before they topple in the wind and protect from the deer who love to nibble the blooms.
  • ⎫ TASTE summer by mashing mint for garden fresh mojitos. Grow all mints in containers as mint is invasive.  Can you and your friends can drink that many juleps or mojitos?
  • ⎫ LEARN the difference between bees and yellow jackets. Bees feed all year long on the lavender and rosemary which require only rainwater, while the yellow jackets feed on your picnic or barbecue. Save the bees, call Vector Control for the yellow jackets. (925) 685-9301
  • ⎫ PERUSE spring bulb catalogues to get your order in this month for fall delivery.
  • ⎫ DEADHEAD roses weekly to elongate the blooming season.
  • ⎫ FILL hummingbird feeders with a homemade concoction of boiled water with sugar. No need to add food coloring.
  • ⎫ REPOT indoor plants in a one size larger container when they begin to droop. Roots need fresh potting soil to thrive.
  • ⎫ PRUNE clematis sparingly after blooms are finished. Save the dark stems, cut away the light stems. Depending on your variety, clematis bloom on new, old, or a combination of the two woods.
  • ⎫ ENROLL in a free composting class through Central Contra Costa Solid Waste Authority at http://www.wastediversion.org/app_pages/view/1723
  • ⎫ ENHANCE your interior space with an easy to care for plant that blooms for months. The “moth orchid”, phalaenopsis likes bright indirect light and temperatures in the 65-80 degrees range-perfect for summer indoors.
  • ⎫ FERTILIZE your vegetable garden as edible plants are hungry for nutrients. Without the help of fertilizer their appetites will exhaust the soil, producing a poor harvest. Read labels carefully as too much fertilizer can be worse than too little!
  • ⎫ REMOVE the silks from corn before cooking. Steam or grill with or without husks. Store corn in its husk in the refrigerator in open bags after picking to maintain freshness. Shuck immediately before using.
  • ⎫ CULTIVATE a continuous crop of colorful beans, one of the most economical sources of protein rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
  • ⎫ ASK a trusted neighbor or friend to water your container plantings and hanging baskets when you go on vacation. August is traditionally a very warm month and unless you have a drip system installed, pots need daily monitoring.
  • ⎫ GROOM your annuals and perennials by taking the time to deadhead the spent blooms or dead leaves, helping them to flower into fall.
  • ⎫ PRUNE summer flowering hedges and shrubs after they have finished blooming, removing any dead or damaged branches.
  • ⎫ CLEAR brush and vegetation to create a 100 foot defensible space around your home if you have not already done so. Fire season is with us until the rain pours. For any questions on abatement, call 925-258-4525 ext. 533.
  • ⎫ CONTINUE weeding. With warm weather, weed seeds germinate faster, zapping the moisture necessary to nurture other plants.
  • ⎫ WATER deeply, thoroughly, and infrequently in the early morning or early evening to prevent rapid evaporation and water wasting.
  • ⎫ CUT a bouquet of dahlias to enjoy inside. Spiky, long blooming dahlias come in all sizes, colors, and shapes guaranteed to dazzle. If you don’t grow dahlias, buy tubers for fall planting.
  • ⎫ CONSERVE water by pouring gray water from kitchens and showers in your outdoor yard. Every drop helps.
  • ⎫ SAVE seeds of fennel, arugula, onions, leeks, tomatoes, beans, marigolds, calendula, zinnia, sunflower, and cosmos to share with friends for next spring.
  • ⎫ HARVEST pears, blackberries, blueberries, apples, and elderberries. August is the perfect month to can jams, jellies, pickles, whole fruits, and vegetables.
  • ⎫ LIGHT the night with inexpensive solar lights available at garden centers to save on electricity.
  • ⎫ ENJOY the crayon colors of summer with the effervescent bougainvillea, the perky naked ladies, the sunburst firecracker plants, and the calming agapanthus.
  • ⎫ REFRAIN from worrying about a brown lawn. Grasses go dormant in hot weather when not watered regularly, but they are not dead. Raise the blades of the mower higher to protect the roots and wait for winter greening. (Unless of course you prefer painted grass!)

Feed your eyes, ears, nose, and soul with a stroll in nature. The garden is a warehouse of nourishment beyond food. LOVE summer!  Happy gardening and happy growing!

Cyn in the tropical sun

Cynthia Brian is the producer and host of  LIVE program, StarStyle®-Be the Star you Are!® broadcasting on Voice America/World Talk Radio. Tune in Wednesdays 4-5pm PT/7-8pm ET. Read more at The Lamorinda Weekly. 

Making a Splash this Summer

Posted by Editor on
0
Categories
Making a Splash this Summer

CA

The 10% Water Challenge

By Andrew Wang and Edited by Cynthia Brian

Drought severity in Palmer Drought Severity Index. California is at record drought level.

Source: Western Regional Climate Center

For teens, the coming of summer means long days, hiking trips, vacations and (finally!) sleeping in, but nothing shouts out summer like being able to dive into a cool, refreshing pool to refresh both mind and body. But this summer, with our reservoirs drying up, and a statewide drought emergency in effect, teens might have to look elsewhere for fun in the sun.

Call it a dry season. From January to June, the Lafayette Reservoir has collected a meager 14 inches of rainwater, a mere half of the historical average in that time period. With rainfall reaching its lowest levels in almost a century, East Bay Municipal Utility District has been forced to tap into Sacramento River water supplies for the first time, and is calling on our community to save water by 10% from last year. Fortunately, local teens are coming up with practical ways to help make a difference!

Lamorinda teens are taking up the challenge to cut their water usage. Kelly Williams and her family invested in water-conserving equipment: “We put in low-flow faucets and shower heads. We also installed a valve system for the hoses so they wouldn’t leak.” Rising senior Nick Lum has switched to taking shorter showers. Every gallon makes a difference!

Brian Davis, recent Campolindo graduate and a member of Campo’s Lorax/Global Student Embassy environmental club, has made some big sacrifices in his household to conserve water: “We removed half the lawn, and let the other half go dormant. This cut down our water use from 200 gallons per day to 120.” As a starting point for water conservation, Brian has some common-sense tips worth paying close attention to: 

  1. 1. Turn off the faucet and don’t let water run when you don’t need it.
  2. 2. Take shorter showers.
  3. 3. Use sprinklers in the early morning or late evening to minimize evaporation.
  4. 4. Run the dishwasher and washing machine only with full loads. 

Teens are making important contributions to our local conservation effort. As of June, creative solutions by community members have helped our county achieve a 3% reduction in water usage, according to EBMUD. With the collective effort of teens and our families, we can make it all the way to our goal of 10%, and do our community’s part in helping survive the drought!

Andrew Wang, the Director of Concerts for Be the Star You Are! charity, is a rising senior at Campolindo High School. Besides writing and reporting, he enjoys programming, playing the piano and violin, and tossing a good Frisbee.

andrew wang

As the editor and teen coach for Teen Scene for the newspaper, Cynthia Brian has had the opportunity to work with talented teens with attitude and opinions. She shares selected published works. To read numerous articles shepherded by Cynthia, visit www.BTSYA.com. Cynthia Brian also produces Express Yourself!™ on Voice America Kids Network heard Tuesdays NOON PT or for photos, descriptions, links, and more!

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 info@BetheStarYouAre.org. To make a tax-deductible donation to keep this positive youth programming broadcasting weekly to international audiences, Thanks for supporting teens!

Read more at The Lamorinda Weekly. 

Enjoy this blog? Please spread the word :)

RSS
Follow by Email