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Severe Storms + Additional 2023 Garden Trends

Posted by Cynthia Brian on
Severe Storms + Additional 2023 Garden Trends

“Hope and faith flower from the cheerful seeds of the old year to the sprouting garden of the new year’s dawn.”

~Terri Guillemets

For the past three-plus weeks, Californians have endured intense storms (bombogenesis) with strong winds and extreme precipitation. Substantial atmospheric rivers caused flooding, mudslides, debris flows, and power outages. Rock-filled dry creeks are raging, trees have been uprooted, and many residences required sandbags as protection from the heavy showers.


I am grateful for the rain and only wish I had personal reservoirs and underground cisterns to capture the run-off as my barrels and buckets are overflowing. Despite the torrents, the drought is not over. We need more rain.

Weeds and seeds are sprouting everywhere. On my hillside, orange and yellow self-seeded calendula plants are blooming while poppy plants are peaking through the soggy soil.


I have begun weeding daily, even in the downpours, as the small seedlings are so much easier to pull. A regular reader and an Ambassador for the Fire Adapted Community program wrote me to encourage gardeners to start pulling out non-native, invasive, flammable, and difficult-to-control Brooms including Cystisus, Gentista, and Spartum while the soil is soft. For those big broom plants that are difficult to eradicate, local fire departments have a special tool available to lend to the public which will pull out these unwanted invaders, including the taproot.

The Garden Media Group’s Trend Report for 2023 suggests that age 100 will be the new 50. I like that idea, although it does seem to be a bit of science fiction at the moment. In any case, gardening at age one hundred will require raised beds to avoid having to bend over as well as provide a manageable height for wheelchairs.

This year, classic columns, statues, boxwood hedges, and iconic Greek gardens offer inspiration, especially with Gen Z.


Stone walls, archways, and olive trees are in demand. For a timeless arrangement, roses, agapanthus, cyclamen, and water-wise succulents are included in designs as key plants. A staple of Greek design is gravel gardens, excellent choices for large and small spaces, requiring minimal maintenance in drought times.

Arbors have graced gardens throughout history. They provide shade and add a focal point to any landscape design. Although Greek decor will be progressively popular, when considering an arbor, select one that will complement the style of your home and garden. Choose durable materials that will withstand the weight of vines.

Climate action is also addressed in the trend report. The first hardiness zone map was drawn in 1960 by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The country is half a zone warmer since the last map was updated in 2012 indicating that the climate velocity of heat will increase 13 miles per decade. Our earth’s climate is projected to warm by an additional 11 degrees Fahrenheit by the end of this century. Planting climate-resilient trees will be one way to combat this warming planet. Reforestation produces clouds that cool the climate. Trees sequester and store carbon, conserve energy through their shade, decrease stormwater runoff, filter air pollutants, and reduce urban heat. It is critical to plant the correct trees in the correct places to increase biodiversity and resilient ecosystems. Hiring a gardening coach or arborist for specific zip codes will become increasingly important.

Orange is the designated color of the year. Orange has spiritual connotations deeply rooted throughout history. In Buddhism, it is the color of perfection and illumination. In Confucianism, it is the color of transformation. In Hinduism, Krishna’s dresses are orange. In Western culture, orange is considered earthy, amusing, exciting, and warm. It is also the preferred pigment for prison apparel. Showcasing plants with orange or terra cotta hues will be the rage in garden centers this year.

Although we don’t need to implement suggested trends, it’s always beneficial to understand what is happening in the world. With a new year ahead of us, we can plan how we want to spend the next eleven months and how we want our landscapes to look and operate.

Attract wildlife, especially birds, to your property by enticing them with native plants, trees, shrubs, and flowers. These will provide a consistent source of food throughout the year. Hang feeders, nesting boxes, fountains, and birdbaths to welcome these avian guests who will pollinate and protect your yard.

What’s happening on my property right now? Listening to the cascading waterfalls, thunderous creeks, and croaking frogs brings joy to my heart.


Watching the birds find shelter throughout my landscape indicates these feathered friends call my garden home. Newts and salamanders are frequenting my pond. My camellia tree is full of buds and blooming.

Pink Bergenia brightens the understory of shrubs. The thirty-seven-year-old olive tree boasts big black olives, although I am not planning on harvesting them.


The hillsides are carpeted with sprouts of wildflower seeds scattered in the fall. Sage and Madeira are dazzling companions.


The grass is emerald with new growth. Deciduous trees fascinate with branches of architectural interest. Lemons, limes, and tangerines knocked out of trees by the rains are gathered daily to use in the kitchen.


The ground is saturated and unable to drain quickly. Retaining walls, gravel walks, and sandbags are protecting my home from the deluge. Thousands of narcissi blossoms scent the air. The heavy pruning of rose bushes will commence soon.


Indeed, with the stunning storms, hope and faith flower from the cheerful seeds of the old year to the sprouting garden of this new year’s dawn.

I am grateful. Stay safe and weather the storms.

Happy Gardening. Happy Growing. Happy January!

Photos and more: https://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue1624/Digging-Deep-with-Goddess-Gardener-Cynthia-Brian-Stunning-storms-and-2023-Garden-Trends-Part-two.html

Raised in the vineyards of Napa County, Cynthia Brian is a New York Times best-selling author, actor, radio personality, speaker, media and writing coach as well as the Founder and Executive Director of Be the Star You Are!® 501 c3. Tune into Cynthia’s StarStyle® Radio Broadcast at www.StarStyleRadio.com. Her newest children’s picture book, No Barnyard Bullies, from the series, Stella Bella’s Barnyard Adventures is available now at www.cynthiabrian.com/online-store  For an invitation to hang out with Cynthia for fun virtual events, activities, conversations, and exclusive experiences, buy StarStyle® NFTs at https://StarStyleCommunity.com

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


The Garden of 2023!

Posted by Cynthia Brian on
The Garden of 2023!

“To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow.” Audrey Hepburn

Where did the year go? It seems like only yesterday that I was writing gardening goals for 2022, and it is already 2023. Time to start anew!

Happy New Year!


Every year, the Garden Media Group releases trends for the forthcoming year. The Garden Trends Report for 2023 is aptly named, I Believe in Me! Individuality and access to critical resources will be in vogue throughout these next twelve months. As an Empowerment Architect, I resonate with this craze outlined for 2023 and hope that personal expression and self-reliance will become a style, not just a fad. Our choices and lifestyles need to reflect who we are as individuals so that we become our unapologetically authentic selves in service of others.

When it comes to designing any interior or exterior place, I have always believed that to fully function for the family, the space must be personalized, reflecting the colors, shapes, objects, and souvenirs that are meaningful to the individuals living in the location. We need to feel comfortable, secure, relaxed, and rejuvenated. Home is where our heart resides. Cookie-cutter installations may be magazine-worthy, but they won’t necessarily showcase the depth, passions, and character of the dwellers.

As we begin to plan for 2023, learn about the forthcoming trends, but decide what resonates with you. Just because something is au currant, it doesn’t mean that it will empower everyone. In part one of my interpretation of the Garden Media Report, I’ve chosen a few gems that may trigger a positive possibility for you.

The report shares the smart benefits of the garden green industry which has gone electric or battery-powered more quickly than any other industry, including electric vehicles. Mowers, leaf blowers, chain saws, and other electric equipment accounted for 17% of the gardening sales in the United States in 2022. Smart garden tools are becoming as critical to gardening as shovels and picks, especially for those who are just entering the gardening arena. Although I have not tried it yet, there is a new smart device on the market that is a weeding robot. Solar-powered, it lives in the garden chopping weeds. Now that is an innovation I will be checking out as weeding my landscape requires grueling work for months on end.

Another huge trend will be shopping online for garden products. Many companies are offering not only plants for sale but identification and information for various plants. It is as easy as taking a photo of a flower, leaf, tree, or other specimen and clicking a button. Several matches will appear on the app, but it is up to you to determine which is the correct one. Other garden apps provide tips on how to plant, when to plant, and where to plant as well as healthy recipes for harvesting crops.

Because of the housing crisis with buying a home being out of reach for numerous people, ADUs (accessory dwelling units) have become popular in the past year and will continue to be in demand. Container gardening will linger as a major trend as gardens and patios become smaller. Vertical gardening, trellises, fences, and living green walls will be integral to adding privacy and protected places to enjoy nature.  Millennials and Boomers are embracing vintage and mid-century patio furniture including wrought iron, retro lawn chairs, and pagoda umbrellas.

In the section called Super Agers, the Garden Trends Report boldly states that “In 2023 and beyond, 100 is the new 50!”  I’m not so certain that this is a truism, but it does bode well for gardeners who want to continue being active with tilling, filling, and thrilling with nature long into their golden years. Accessibility options such as raised beds, wider paths for wheelchairs, and plants at levels that don’t require bending will allow anyone to enjoy the outdoors.


When it comes to plants, tropical and exotic are the favorites for all age groups. Orchids, bromeliads, anthuriums, birds of paradise, cordylines, Ficus, palms, philodendrons, and peace lilies are only a sampling of specimens that are attractive to Gen X, Y, Z as well as Boomers.

I speculate that water features, especially creative fountains based on individual themes, will be a big focus this year. Besides the health benefits of the negative ions that running water provides to humans helping us refocus and recharge, birds and wildlife rely on them in the backyard garden for bathing and drinking.

These are just a few of the projections for our outdoor enjoyment for 2023. In my next column, I’ll offer more suggestions. Believe in tomorrow. Plan to plant a garden.

Live to 100?

What’s on your list?


Happy Gardening. Happy Growing. Happy 2023!

Raised in the vineyards of Napa County, Cynthia Brian is a New York Times best-selling author, actor, radio personality, speaker, media and writing coach as well as the Founder and Executive Director of Be the Star You Are!® 501 c3. Tune into Cynthia’s StarStyle® Radio Broadcast at www.StarStyleRadio.com. Her newest children’s picture book, No Barnyard Bullies, from the series, Stella Bella’s Barnyard Adventures is available now atwww.cynthiabrian.com/online-store 


For an invitation to hang out with Cynthia for fun virtual events, activities, conversations, and exclusive experiences, buy StarStyle® NFTs at



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


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Be a Giver

Posted by presspass on
Be a Giver


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December   30, 2019
We have the whole world in our hands.

MESSAGE FROM CYNTHIA BRIAN Founder/Executive Director

cyn-xmas hat-treeBeing the Executive Director of a non-profit was not my dream. I never intended to start a charity.

My life was full, fun, and fanciful in the 1990s boasting a happy young family, a beautiful country home, glorious gardens, and a barnyard of rescued animals. As a successful actor, coach, and interior designer, my varied careers fulfilled my creative urges as well as increased my bank balance. Life was beautiful.

Since I was a little girl, volunteering was a part of life. Giving back was ingrained in us and it continued into my adulthood as I worked in my children’s classrooms, spearheaded events for worthy organizations, lead Girl Scouts, 4-H projects, sports activities, and lectured at church.  In my mind, it was other people who founded and created organizations and I had zero interest in becoming one of them.

Then my beloved Dad was diagnosed with a rare incurable cancer.  He was given three weeks to live and I became his champion to save his life, scouring the world for treatment in days before the internet. With excellent medical intervention and his positive attitude, our family enjoyed his earthly company for three additional years. When I asked him on his deathbed if there was anything more I could do for him, he smiled widely to exclaim, “I am dying a happy man. I married the woman I loved, we were blessed with five great children, and I worked in a profession that was my passion. I have lived my dreams.”

Something clicked inside me at that moment. My epiphany screamed pay it forward. My Daddy was a not a college-educated man, nor was he president of anything. He read books and did on the job training to learn what he needed as a farmer and a volunteer firefighter.  Dad was my hero, a man of his word, a pillar of strength, a person who helped everyone. Daddy was a giver. Although he was dying young, he felt that he had lived a life of purpose because he had loved, been loved, and fed people through his daily work.

It took many starts, stops, detours, and U-turns, but by 1999 I did pay it forward by establishing a charity, becoming a non-profit Founder and Executive Director. Be the Star You Are!®was created from my heart to empower those who needed it most—women, families, and kids.

It’s been a struggle to keep the vision alive. Thank goodness I didn’t have a crystal ball to see the many hurdles or I would never have started on this journey. Yet, now, working with teens and young adults, witnessing the slow yet steady progress to improve lives, I realize that this is the path I am meant to travel. Like my Daddy, I am a giver.

As I scroll through the hundreds of pages of volunteer sheets each filled with over a hundred names and positions, I am grateful for the experiences and the people who have grown with Be the Star You Are!® . We have planted pride, grown leaders, and reaped readers.

There comes an hour in all of our lives when we get turned upside down, meet disaster, sadness, loss, or regret face to face.  This is the opportunity to step up, put a smile on our faces, and make a difference.  Life offers choices. We can become bitter or we can become better. Better is best.

My Dad died many years ago in December. I miss my Dad and still hear his cheerful encouraging voice in my mind. His mentoring taught me how to live in the moment to recreate dreams, live with passion, welcome the possibilities, and see the potential in our world. His example showed me that I am enough and that each of us is unique with a special gift to share with our neighbors.

As 2019 ends and 2020 commences, I take this opportunity to thank you for being part of our collaborative community. Be the Star You Are!® volunteers are leading the way with empowerment, educational, communication, and literacy efforts that help others have a happily ever after. If you have the resources and believe in our mission, I encourage you to make a year-end tax-deductible donation, or better yet, sign up to donate regularly. You can donate via PAYPAL Giving Fund with no fees https://www.paypal.com/fundraiser/charity/1504 or send checks to BTSYA, PO Box 376, Moraga, California, 94556.

As we complete our first four months in our 21st year of being an all-volunteer charity with no paid staff, with your help,BTSYA will be able continue to make a difference in the years ahead for those in need. We must be doing something right to be around this long! Thank you for believing in our work to increase literacy and positive media messages.

Remember to shine brightly and smile widely. Be the star you were born to be. You can live your dreams.

Wishing you a very happy, healthy, and prosperous New Year!

Be a Giver! It will make you happy. 🙂

Cynthia Brian

Founder/Executive Director

Be the Star You Are!®

PO Box 376

Moraga, California 94556




DONATE: https://www.paypal.com/fundraiser/charity/1504



2019-platinum-seal-guidestarBefore you donate this holiday season or anytime, it is always a great idea to make sure the charities that are asking for your dollars are legitimate. You want to be generous but you don’t want to be scammed. Here are a few tips to help you navigate.

  1. Locate your states charity regulator at www.nasconet.org
  2. To ascertain that your donation is tax-deductible, a charity must qualify as a 501 c 3 organization. Look up eligibility at https://irs.gov/charities-non-profits/tax-exempt-organization-search,
  3. Visit Great Non-Profits and read reviews. Be the Star You Are!® consistently receives 5 STAR reviews.  http://greatnonprofits.org/reviews/be-the-star-you-are-inc/
  4. Check the watchdog of non-profits at GUIDESTAR: Search for your non-profit. Non-profits are rated as bronze, silver, gold, and platinum. Be the Star You Are!® receives a platinum rating.: https://www.guidestar.org/profile/94-3333882
  5. Go directly to the charity website and read about the mission and outreach programs. This will help you identify any bogus charities that are approaching you with a similar name.
  6. Don’t donate over the phone or through people you don’t know. Some solicitations made over the phone or on the internet could be scams.
  7. Be the Star You Are!® has been working faithfully to help those in need since 1999. Don’t be a scrooge and donate now either directly via www.BetheStarYouAre.org or Make a DONATION through PAYPAL GIVING FUND with 100% going to BTSYA with NO FEES:  https://www.paypal.com/fundraiser/charity/1504


by Karen Kitchell

I believe gifts are meant to be tokens of appreciation or recognition of the role someone plays in our life. We can’t dictate what the receiver does with our gift, though we can enjoy knowing we have given our time and thought into choosing a meaningful gift. Instead of waiting to see or hear how very much someone likes what we have given, we can remind ourselves that we are a giver. And the world loves givers! It’s also important to remember that gifts can come from unexpected places and are not always things.

Karen Kitchel penned two chapters in the book, Be the Star You Are! Millennials to Boomers Celebrating Gifts of Positive Voices in a Changing Digital World, and is a dedicated volunteer with BTSYA. She serves meals to the homeless and is a volunteer teacher, writer, job coach, and mentor. www.scatteringkindness.com

Cynthia Brian books banner 2

Thank you from everyone at Be the Star You Are!®

BTSYA High Res Logo CCI.Make sure to make a year-end tax=deductible donation if you are able. Visit https://www.BetheStarYouare.org
GIVE PLENTY IN 2020!happy new year.jpg




It’s not how much you have, it’s how much you give”  

Crown Royal slogan


Other easy ways that assist our mission and don’t cost you a penny!

1. AmazonSmile donates .5% of purchases https://smile.amazon.com/ch/94-3333882

2. Discounted books at Amazonhttp://www.amazon.com/shops/be_the_star_you_are_charity

3. Giving Assistant: Shop. Earn. Give! Use Giving Assistant to earn cash at 3500+ popular online stores, then donate a percentage to BTSYA:https://givingassistant.org/np#be-the-star-you-are-inc.

4. GoodShop: Choose Be the Star You Are as your charity to support. You can log in with Facebook, too, https://www.goodshop.com/nonprofit/be-the-star-you-are

5. Shop at over 1300 stores on IGIVE: http://www.iGive.com/BTSYA

6. BTSYA Logo Store: http://btsya.rylees.net

7. Buy or Sell on EBAY:http://givingworks.ebay.com/charity-auctions/charity/be-the-star-you-are-501-c-3/1504/?favorite=link

8. Designer Clothes to Buy or Sell: https://www.unionandfifth.com/charities/be-the-star-you-are-moraga-ca/shop

9. Buy “Read, Lead, Succeed” T-shirts and tanks $19.99 at StarStyle® Store: https://www.CynthiaBrian.com/online-store

10. Are you a gamer, lover of new software, or other digital content? Buy all of your favorites at Humble Bundle. http://ow.ly/cYs130iN6n4

We appreciate a direct donation most of all via PAYPAL GIVING FUND at https://www.paypal.com/fundraiser/charity/1504

Checks can be sent to PO Box 376, Moraga, California 94556


Direct Links you can use for Be the Star You Are!®

Positive Results: http://www.bethestaryouare.org/positive-results

About Us: http://www.bethestaryouare.org/about_us

Programs: http://www.bethestaryouare.org/programs

How to Help: http://www.bethestaryouare.org/how-to-help

Blog: https://www.bethestaryouare.org/blog-1

Events: http://www.bethestaryouare.org/events

Contact us: http://www.bethestaryouare.org/contact

GREAT NON PROFITS REVIEWS: http://greatnonprofits.org/reviews/be-the-star-you-are-inc/

GUIDESTAR: https://www.guidestar.org/profile/94-3333882

We invite you to volunteer, get involved, or make a donation. Make a DONATION through PAYPAL GIVING FUND and PAYPAL with 100% going to BTSYA with NO FEES:  https://www.paypal.com/fundraiser/charity/1504

Classified Ads

If you’d like to advertise your service or product while supporting Be the Star You Are!®, we are now accepting approved ads that will benefit readers. Contact info@BetheStarYouAre.org for details.




Our two Be the Star You Are!® radio broadcasts provide entertainment, information, and empowerment in every hour of power.

Listen LIVE to StarStyle® every Wednesday from 4pm PT at http://www.voiceamerica.com/show/2206/be-the-star-you-are or catch us on iTunes at https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/starstyle-be-the-star-you-are!/id669630180?mt=2

For a young adult look at life, listen to Express Yourself!™ Sunday’s at 3pm PT  at https://www.voiceamerica.com/show/2014/express-yourself or on iTunes at https://itunes.apple.com/podcast/express-yourself!/id481894121?mt=2

Read all about the Be the Star You Are!® Radio broadcasts, guests, reporters, hosts, and more at https://www.StarStyleRadio.com.

New Year's ChampagneMay you enjoy great health, peace, friendship, love, and joy now and forever. We have the whole world in our hands. Let’s take care of it.

With gratitude for you and your support from BTSYA volunteers!



Be the Star You Are!® 501 c3
PO Box 376
Moraga, California 94556

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