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I’m a Flower Child! By Cynthia Brian

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I’m a Flower Child! By Cynthia Brian

“If you’re going to San Francisco…Be sure to wear some flowers in your hair” written by John Phillips of The Mamas & the Papas, sung by Scott McKenzie

In the summer of 1967 over one hundred thousand young people descended upon San Francisco, Golden Gate Park, and the Haight-Ashbury area to experience a season of love, peace, sex, drugs, and rock ‘n roll.  The Summer of Love, as this counterculture revolution was called, celebrated with free concerts, performances, protests, and flowers.

I was never a hippie, but I’ve always been a flower child. This month as we reminisce about fifty years of the “make love not war” movement, I put on my beads, headband, rose-colored granny glasses, and wore flowers in my hair as I planned the July Gardening Guide.  No drugs are necessary to enjoy a euphoric trip down memory lane when the garden is brimming with colorful and edible specimens…magic mushrooms excluded. A romp on the wild side was a fun diversion as I plucked my first juicy tomatoes while watching the iridescent wings of the yellow swallowtails flutter between the violet blossoms of thyme and the budding tomatillos.

Bees are swarming the lavender and rosemary gathering nectar for their honeycombs. Because of the heat, I continue to rescue bees and ladybugs that have landed in my fountains. My clematis is chock full of large deep amethyst hued blooms glittering in the sunlight. Pink and white striped morning glory zigs and zags through the golden euphorbia, opening with the sunrise and closing at sunset. Not to be outdone, deep pink sword lilies, commonly known as gladioli, have unfurled their ruffled one-sided spikes amidst the blush Bonica and Dolly Parton roses. The kaleidoscope combination of forms, textures, shades, and scents throughout the landscape add a mesmerizing jolt of joy to each moment.

When I’m ready to relax, I only have to venture into my orchard where the daisy-like florets of the chamomile make for a calming tea, especially enhanced with a squirt of juice from my tangelos. Another excellent medicinal tea is made from foraging for red clover, a wild perennial rich in magnesium, potassium, vitamin C, and calcium. The red or pink flowers have a mildly sweet flavor and are often used to ease stomach discomfort or menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes. The leaves taste like alfalfa sprouts and can be tossed into salads along with dandelions, sautéed, or added to soups. If I’m in the mood for something a bit stronger, it’s always fun to muddle the mint into a mojito or mint julep!

Soon the fireworks of the Fourth of July will be flaring filling the night sky with the exploding whirls and swirls circa a 1960’s acid-dropping experience. Go into your garden, pick a few blooms, and wear flowers in your hair. If you are a gardener, you are a flower child. Welcome to s beautiful summer of love! Cynthia Brian’s Gardening Guide for July

⎫ MINIMIZE back strain by keeping your back straight not hunched while planting or weeding. Avoid twisting and reaching overhead. ⎫ CREATE walking paths with gravel, stepping stones, or bricks throughout your landscape so that you never compress the soil of your planted beds by walking in them.

⎫ SUPPRESS weeds, retain moisture, and keep a consistent temperature in your soil by adding four inches of compost or mulch around your plants. No need to turn under the compost or mulch.

⎫ PICK tomatoes just as they form a hint of color allowing them to ripen on your countertops. This prevents them from being eaten by birds and insects. Never refrigerate tomatoes as they lose their flavor.

⎫ GET FREE recycled water, up to 300 gallons per trip, from Central San. Visit www.CentralSan.org. You’ll need to fill out an application and bring your own containers. Central San notes that water is very heavy at eight pounds per gallon and is not to be consumed or allowed into storm drains.

⎫ CLEAR away weeds, grasses, dead vegetation, limbs, pine needles, leaves, and debris from all areas around your house to safeguard your home from embers. It’s fire season and we need to be vigilant to reduce fire fuel laddering.

⎫ CUT a bouquet of roses for a punch of stimulation. Sunset colors are perfect for summer.

⎫ DECORATE your dinner parties with edible flowers including pansy, elderberry, calendula, chamomile, clover, daisy, nasturtium, rose, snapdragon, and violets. Most herb and fruit tree blossoms are also edible including apple, banana, basil, chives, citrus, peach, pea, pear, pineapple guava, pumpkin, radish, rosemary, sage, squash, sunflower, and thyme.

⎫ IRRIGATE early in the morning or late evening. Remember to water deeply and less frequently.

⎫ DEEP soak redwoods and magnolias before signs of stress appear or their roots will surface.

⎫ EMPLOY successive planting techniques to continue your crops of lettuce, radish, carrots, and greens. Every three weeks, plant more seeds as you clip and harvest for continual fresh eating through autumn.

⎫ REPEL pests and predators while attracting beneficial pollinators by planting aromatic herbs including rosemary, basil, cilantro, sage, fennel, and thyme.

⎫ ORGANIZE a flower power photo scavenger hunt. Provide a list of ten unusual specimens growing in your garden. Invite friends to find and photograph them for a special prize, perhaps a pot of petunias or a basket filled with gardening tools.

⎫ CONGRATULATE yourself on being a gardener. You are an authentic flower child. Enjoy a safe and electrifying Independence Day! Happy birthday America! Embrace your free spirit, dance under the stars, and salute the sunshine as you relish a stellar summer of love. Happy Gardening and Happy Growing!

Read more at https://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue1109/July-Gardening-Guide-Be-a-Flower-Child.html Cynthia Brian, The Goddess Gardener, 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. Tune into Cynthia’s Radio show at www.StarStyleRadio.com Her new book, Growing with the Goddess Gardener will be available soon! Hire Cynthia for your next project.   Cynthia@GoddessGardener.com www.GoddessGardener.com 925-377-STAR

Digging Deep with Cynthia Brian – Salute the Season

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Digging Deep with Cynthia Brian – Salute the Season
“The law of living is giving
The nature of nature is giving
The clouds are giving rain
Trees are giving fruit
Earth is giving grain
Moon and stars are giving light
With gifts of nature’s giving, we are living to complete the cycle of living, and giving
Let us give from our mind, hands, and heart to the world.” Chitrabhanu
Like a middle child, July emerges with a bang, fireworks, parades, and the celebration of our American independence. Sandwiched between the end of school, graduation, and Father’s Day month of June and the vacation, travel, back-to-school month of August, July must grab our attention swiftly, less it be lost between it’s frenzied siblings. And capture our interest it does with an abundance of luscious fresh fruits, vegetables, herbs to nurture our bellies, and a profusion of sizzling hot hued plants to seduce our spirits.
Summer is in full swing in the garden.  This is the season of plenty.  For a gardener, the shed becomes a playhouse, and shears the tool of choice as we trim, cut, prune, and fill our baskets with food and flowers to share. Containers are overflowing with pretty petunias and spilling lobelia as we welcome our visitors to a party on the patio.
We witness the bud burst of agapanthus into brilliant blue blooms within days. Gladioli spires shoot for the stars, their cherry throats contrasting spectacularly with the grays of the dusty miller.  Honeybees dance on the magnolias, hollyhocks, penstemons, and flowering succulents, sucking the nectar and pollinating surrounding specimens. Fences of scarlet trumpet vine herald the arrival of butterflies and hummingbirds. Asiatic lilies in colors of the rainbow poke their heads above the crowd making sure they are recognized. Hydrangea blooms are as big as beachballs, mandevilla and pink bower vine enliven arbors and pergolas. The garden is alive, vibrant, and waiting to be enjoyed.
Like all celebrations, there are always a few inconveniences that need to be addressed.  Here are my favorite ways of eliminating the pests.
Yellow Jackets:  If you have yellow jackets plaguing your summer barbecues, you need to follow the yellow flyers back to their nest. Yellow jackets live and hatch in holes in the ground. While it is advised to hang a trap only on the day of your event, contrary to popular belief, the more yellow jacket traps you set, the more yellow jackets you’ll have to contend with because when a soldier dies, the Queen doubles her duty to produce more warriors for the colony. The hard part is finding the nest. Once you’ve located it, instead of buying a spray, call Vector Control.  A professional will come free of charge, dress in a bee keepers suit, and go to work spraying the nest with long hoses to kill the queen. The problem with commercial repellents is that they can’t get far enough into the tunnels. When my yellow jacket issue arose, Vector informed me that the underground nest was probably at least thirty feet of winding chambers filled with thousands of yellow jackets. 
Mosquitoes: Plant lemongrass, the main repellent ingredient in citronella candles. Crush or dry the leaves, mix with alcohol or oil and apply to your body, clothing, or make a spray for outdoor areas as a deterrent. Set out citronella candles and torches. Buy Dunks for your fountains, which don’t hurt wildlife but kill the mosquito larvae, and call Vector Control again to get mosquito fish if you have a pond.  The ThermaCell Mosquito Repellent Patio Lantern sold at hardware  and home stores is another great resource. 
Snails and Slugs: If snails and slugs are munching your seedlings, handpick at night when they are feeding, wrap copper strips around perimeters of the problem area, or trap in pans of beer. Coffee grinds and wood ash are also deterrents.  Make sure to remove garden debris and look under rocks and flowerpots.  Since they are hermaphroditic, they will fertilize themselves producing thirty to 120 offspring that begin eating the moment they hatch.
With the irritants under control, focus your attention on pleasant summer guests. Quail, robins, finches, and orioles brighten the landscape with their song and their antics. Provide birdbaths, fountains, and feeders to keep them frolicking in your yard.  Fill a clay saucer with water for the butterflies and if you have a swimming pool, rescue the bees that attempt a drink but are doomed to drown.  Don’t confuse bees with yellow jackets. Bees don’t hover around food, only yellow jackets do.
The feast begins in the orchards, potagers, vegetable, and herb gardens. Plums, apricots, peaches, apples, nectarines, and cumquats are at their peak.  Berries of many varieties ripen this month including blackberries, elderberries, blueberries, raspberries, fuchsia berries, and strawberries.  With the exception of the elderberry, pick and eat straight from the vine or tree or make heavenly pies, smoothies, jams, jellies, and sorbets.  Bulb fennel boasts sprays of yellow flowers, tomatoes, peppers zucchini, and cucumbers are sweet and prolific.  Home gardener’s are privy to their own customized produce aisle.
The season of plenty is upon us. Stand, salute, and raise the flag. The greatest reward is sharing the treasures from our own soil. A garden is to give. A garden is to grow. 
Happy gardening and happy growing to you!
Cynthia Brian
The Goddess Gardener
Cynthia Brian and Heather Brittany are excited to announce that their long running radio show, StarStyle®Be the Star You Are!® is moving to the Voice America Network. Live broadcasts begin Wednesday, July 3 from 4-5pm Pt/7-8pm ET at http://www.voiceamerica.com/show/2206/be-the-star-you-are.  You will still be able to access all our previous shows through June 2013 at our World Talk Radio site as well here http://www.voiceamerica.com/worldtalkradio/vshow.aspx?sid=764.  All shows are archived with photos, descriptions, links and more at http://www.StarStyleRadio.com. Come join our power party on Voice America.

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