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Season’s Greetings By Cynthia Brian

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Season’s Greetings By Cynthia Brian

“Winter is in my head, but eternal spring is in my heart!” Victor Hugo
Season's Greenings

The festivities of holidays are almost over, winter has arrived, and our hills are once again the lush emerald that we, and the cattle adore.  Congratulate yourself on a year well-spent growing your own food and tending to your plants. Now it is time to put your gardens to bed and give yourself a bit of respite. With the colder weather, we are fortunate that lemons, grapefruit, and tangelos are ripe to help us stay healthy.
There is still time to plant bulbs through the end of January for a late spring show. All bulbs need well-drained soil, full sun, or partial shade. Avoid planting in soggy soils where the bulbs will rot. Instead of lining bulbs up in a row, scatter them in clusters for a more natural look. Since deer, squirrels, raccoons, and rabbits enjoy eating many bulb flowers, experiment with planting narcissus cultivars, snowflakes, and snow drops (galanthus) as these repel the critters with their toxicity.
rubber plant with kalanchoe blooming
Speaking of critters, our readers enjoyed the article on keeping unwanted guests from taking refuge in homes. From the response, it is apparent that this season of green has indeed brought the rodents to our doorsteps in increasing numbers. Excellent advice came to me from Jenny Papka of Native Bird Connections. With her permission, I am printing her edited suggestions here:
“What you term as “vermin” actually misleads people, since rodents, skunks, wasps and even mosquitoes are necessary in Nature. Yes they are annoying in many cases, but it is important to be respectful of why they can actually be good. Rodents are like chocolate for almost all young wild animals, and often are a life-long food source for many. The advice given about getting rid of ivy, etc is helpful, yet other animals will also be impacted. For example, Barn owls nest in palm trees, especially the dead frond areas just under the green crown. Barn owls are the BEST rodent controllers around and other than applauding their presence we do not have to do anything. Obviously we don’t want rodents inside our houses or out buildings, yet annihilation is not ideal for anyone. The advice listed is excellent particularly about what we are responsible for doing around our houses.
wild fushcia
In Contra Costa County, skunks are officially considered rabies vectors. This is NOT true in other counties. Obviously caution should always be utilized but seeing a skunk, even in the daytime, does not automatically indicate that it is sick. Skunks are omnivores and will eat many of the bothersome creatures we dislike, snails, slugs, rodents, fruit, and yellow jacket larvae. Skunks look for mates in early spring (Feb usually) otherwise they are solitary and crepuscular. So most of the year they are not obvious. This year is a “rebound year” as well, especially for rodents since last year was so dry. The rain this year promises more grass/food so rodents are producing large families. Information and education really increases tolerance and better, more humane choices. Thank you for a good article.”
Garden gnomes

Jenny also mentioned that it is illegal (and inhumane) to trap and relocate any wildlife. She also does not suggest acquiring cats as rodent control because cats are responsible for the deaths of millions of birds daily, another contentious subject.
Other ways to eliminate the rodents is to install barn owl boxes to encourage owls to your yard. Areas with heavy Great horned owl presence usually will not support barn owl populations (Great horned eat barn owls) but any owl is good for rodent control. Native Bird Connections has boxes available at Wild Birds Unlimited in Pleasant Hill for a $100 donation. Also of importance is to not use the sticky traps as they can entangle other animals creating suffering and a lingering death. Ninety percent of wildlife in the San Francisco Bay Area has rodenticides in their tissues including coyotes, bobcats, and foxes according to WildCare in Marin. This means that the use of poisons for all applications move through the food chain and should be avoided. My advice is to contact Vector Control at 925-771-6142 or visit www.ContraCostaMosquito.com when you have questions or concerns.

meyer lemons in rain
Enjoy the cold nights, the rainy days, and the season’s greening. Thanks for allowing me to be your gardening guide on the side. Get ready for great new year of horticultural joys.
Cynthia Brian’s January New Year Gardening Tips:

⎫ BRING health inside with power plants of ferns, palms, spider plants, and other air-cleansing specimens. Tropical houseplants absorb indoor toxins and add humidity to the air saving you dollars on heating.
⎫ BUY a copy of “Great Garden Quotes”, a coloring book with wit, wisdom, and heart from the editors of GreenPrints, the Weeders Digest. Pat Stone, the editor, was a co-author with me on Chicken Soup for the Gardener’s Soul. You’ll love this new coloring book with inspiring garden axioms. www.GreenPrints.com
⎫ ALLOW the organic matter of chopped leaves and lawn clippings to decompose on the soil during the dormant season.
⎫ ADD a cover crop to keep soil healthy, avoid erosion, and help with fertility.
⎫ PICK Meyer lemons and use for juicing, cooking, and baking. This rich citrus will help fend off colds.
⎫ PROTECT tender plants from frost by covering with burlap or cloth. Do not use plastic as it will maximize the freeze.
⎫ PRUNING for dormant fruit trees and shrubs begins this month.
⎫ TIDY your yard by cutting back your chrysanthemums to six inches above the ground, and removing dead foliage from plants.
⎫ SPRAY your peach trees with a concoction of fixed copper or lime sulfur after all the leaves have fallen from the tree to control peach leaf curl. Repeat this process in late January and February for best results.
⎫ PLANT bareroot stock such as grapes, berries, artichokes, roses, and several fruit trees.
⎫ PRUNE roses, vines, and berry bushes to encourage new growth.
⎫ CUT bouquets of geranium flowers for indoors and snip pieces to plant in other areas.
⎫ DONATE $100 to Native Bird Connections and receive an owl box for your garden.
⎫ REMOVE all ornaments, lights, and tinsel from your Christmas trees before placing on the curb for composting pick-up.
⎫ EXPRESS gratitude for all the green that nature is bestowing on us!
moss on brick

botanical gardens-st. lucia
Happy Gardening and Happy Growing! Happy, Healthy, Auspicious New Year!
See the photos and READ more
Cynthia Brian
The Goddess Gardener
StarStyle® Productions, llc
Tune into Cynthia’s Radio show at www.StarStyleRadio.net
I am available as a speaker, designer, and consultant.  

Mood Matters, St Patrick’s Day, March Garden Guide, Pricing Wars by Cynthia Brian

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Mood Matters, St Patrick’s Day, March Garden Guide, Pricing Wars by Cynthia Brian

St. Patrick's Day

with Cynthia Brian and Heather Brittany on StarStyle®-Be the Star You Are!® Radio brought to the airwaves under the auspices of Be the Star You Are!® 501 c3 charity, LIVE, since 1998.

This hour is fun, informative, and lively. Join us!

Mood Matters, St Patrick’s Day, March Garden Guide, Pricing Wars,

Do happy people live longer? Does our health benefit from being in a good mood? Does being mindful reduce body fat? Shocking new research is unveiled to help your avoid risks with our health specialist, Heather Brittany.
Cyn-Heather-wheel of fortune- cyn, nonie, heather – Version 3
Every year on March 17, the Irish and the Irish-at-heart across the globe observe St. Patrick’s Day. What began as a religious feast day for the patron saint of Ireland has become an international festival celebrating Irish culture with parades, dancing, special foods, and plenty of green beer.

Spring is almost here and we have an itching to get into the garden. Learn what to do in your March garden with Goddess Gardener, Cynthia Brian.
crabapple-rosemary blooms
It’s tempting to want to lower your fees to attract business. But are you setting yourself up for failure by offering discounts. Win your clients over with great service and care and learn how to resist the lure of low pricing.

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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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Buy books by Cynthia Brian
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.
For photos, descriptions, links, archives, and more, visit StarStyle Radio.
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Cynthia Brian talks about the empowering outreach programs offered by Be the Star You Are!® charity.

The Gift of Green

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The Gift of Green

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  • Every week, Express Yourself!™ will bring you a stimulating program based on a chapter from our award winning book Be the Star You Are!® for Teens.

    Remember Kermit, the Frog moaning about the difficulty of being green? In today’s show, host Asya Gonzalez looks at what it means to be green in a variety of ways. She kicks off the program reading the chapter, The Gift of Green by Cynthia Brian from the book, Be the Star You Are!® for TEENS and follows up with numerous ways to be pro-active stewards of our earth.


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Economics Tune-Up Reporter, Alex Pawlakos looks at being environmentally astute from the viewpoint of our wallets. Save the environment and save cash. “Go green to save green.” Our special guest, Good Morning America producer, Mary Pflum Peterson, shares her love of Kermit with her compassionate and eye opening memoir, White Dresses, an exploration of a complex family history. She discusses her deep bond with her intelligent mother who was a former nun, and gives us a peek into the underlying ailment of hoarding.

“For in the true nature of things, if we rightly consider, every green tree is far more glorious than if it were made of gold and silver.”
Mary Pflum
Mary Pflum Peterson may have endured a difficult childhood, but she persevered and excelled. She was valedictorian of her high school class in Beaver Dam, WI, and graduated Summa cum Laude from Columbia University, where she broke into the competitive world of TV news. She is currently a multi-Emmy Award-winning producer at ABC’s Good Morning America, the nation’s number one morning program, and lives in New York with her husband and four small children. Her memoir is White Dresses. www.Facebook.com/marypflumpeterson
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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. Dare to care!

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

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

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Bug Out!


Digging Deep-Gardening with Cynthia Brian

Bug Out!

By Cynthia Brian
“Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life’s coming attractions.” ~ Albert Einstein

If 60 is the new 40, golden is the new green, and driving a dirty car is the sign of being environmentally correct, it’s time to talk about what’s really bugging us. With the drought many homeowners are experiencing an invasion of uninvited insects and varmints hungry to eat what’s left of our crops while some are dining on us as main courses.

vetch with euphorbia

Although many of the insects such as lady beetles, ground beetles, lacewings, praying Mantis, and predatory nematodes that visit our gardens are beneficial biologicals, the ones that we want to bug out are the bugs (arachnids, arthropods, and other entomological species) that bother, interfere, destroy, and traumatize.

Ants in the garden are actually dining on the sweet honeydew made by mealybugs and aphids. Although some species of ants feed on soft plant tissue or seeds, you’ll usually find ants crawling up and down plants where they are herding colonies of aphids or mealybugs. If you grow artichokes, you’ve probably witnessed ants infesting the chokes.  Armies of ants on the kitchen counter in summer are scream-able. Make a tea of cayenne pepper, lemon rind, mint, rosemary, and clove. Spray on the soil…and in your kitchen.

Stone fruit like apricots, peaches, plums, prunes, and nectarines are ripe and ready right now. Whether you buy them at the farmer’s market or grow them in your backyard, if left in the fruit bowl, fruit flies will appear. The eggs could be in the fruit, or the flies could be flying in through an open window or door. Fruit flies are just a nuisance doing little harm except being annoying. Keep your compost bucket outside and covered during the summer. If they are bothering you indoors, add vinegar, wine, and a piece of any fruit to a bowl. Cover tightly with foil. Punch holes in the foil and watch them drown!
Garden statues
Ticks are not going to damage your garden, but they could cost you a trip to the emergency room or hospital. Ticks attach themselves to the fur and feathers of animals and birds. Often they reside on grasses or brush and hop onto a warm-blooded creature where dinner awaits. As gardeners, hikers, or animal lovers, ticks are a common problem. Wearing long sleeves, removing clothing, and washing hair after being outdoors may help in the prevention of tick bites, however, because of the possibility of Lyme disease or a severe allergic reaction it’s best to see a medical professional immediately when bit. If you remove the tick, make sure to save it in a jar for identification.

Buzzing blood-suckers, these tiny vampires wreak havoc on humans. They are considered “public enemy number one” in the fight against global infectious diseases. Interestingly, only the female has the mouthparts to suck our blood homing in on exhaled carbon dioxide, certain body odors, heat, and movement. The itchiness you feel after a bite is an allergic reaction to the saliva. The only good news about these vectors is that birds, frogs, bats, turtles, and dragonflies eat them in the garden. Empty any standing water as they breed rapidly, slather on the DEET, and when outdoors, plug in a large fan to blow them away. Planting citronella on the patio may help.
pelagonium close up-pink
These true bugs puncture plant tissue and suck the juice, attacking our peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots, and many flowering plants. They prefer to be upwind in a garden and often are herded by ants. Overfeeding with nitrogen encourages aphid infestation as they eat new growth. Aphids multiply rapidly. Spray with water mixed with dishwashing detergent and use row covers on crops.

It’s a myth that the name was derived because these pinchers drilled into the ears of sleeping humans, burrowing into their brains. They are omnivores who tunnel into fruit and bulbs as well as dine on lettuce, potatoes, roses, zinnias, artichokes, corn, and many other plants. Make traps out of small cardboard boxes baited with a piece of meat and oil. They’ll hide at night and you’ll get them in the morning. Despite nibbling on plants, they do help gardeners by devouring other predatory insects.

With the California drought a reality, expect more intruders into your landscape pillaging, biting, and sucking. Get creative with natural tonics and use your imagination to keep the stinging, nibbling, and gnawing at bay.  Enjoy the coming attractions of summer!

Happy Gardening and Happy Growing!
garden cloche

Cynthia Brian’s Mid Month Tips for July

• ⎫ PERUSE bulb catalogues for the varieties of tulips and daffodils that you’ll want to buy this fall for November-January planting.
• ⎫ PLANT succulents and cactus for the most effective waterless garden.
• ⎫ DISCOVER the benefits of Miniclover® as a lawn alternative. I have found that Miniclover® stays green when the rest of my lawn is “golden” and it is very low maintenance.  Although I mow, it probably would be fine without mowing.  Check out www.outsidepride.com for more information.
• ⎫ SPEND a morning at your local Farmer’s Market and load up on veggies and fruits that you are not growing in your garden.
• ⎫ HARVEST beans, eggplants, greens, and peppers before they reach their full size. Smaller vegetables are tender and tasty.
• ⎫ BEAUTIFY your landscape with pavers or crushed granite paths. Plant creeping time between the stones.

Read it all at Lamorinda Weekly

• Read July Garden Guide at Lamorinda Weekly
• Read Press Pass

Cynthia Brian
The Goddess Gardener
Starstyle® Productions, llc
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.

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