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Grounded!

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Empowerment
Grounded!

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“I rejoice when I see anyone, and especially children, inquiring about flowers, and wanting gardens of their own, and carefully working in them. For the love of gardening is a seed that once sown never dies, but always grows and grows to an enduring and ever-increasing source of happiness.” Gertrude Jekyll

It’s not only the airlines and cruise ships that are grounded! Young people everywhere are also enduring the sheltering-in-place mandate. As we embark on our eleventh week of staying-at-home and on-line learning, adults and children are naturally a bit antsy.

When I was a kid and school was closed for whatever reason, my very first instinct was to get outside and explore. I wanted to be on the tractor plowing the fields with my Dad, tending the vegetable garden with my Mom, or leading the rest of the ranch kids on an adventure through the creeks and hills to identify flowers, plants, amphibians, and insects. 

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I’m certain that my love of the natural world began as a child. As an adult, I have always felt it was important to share this passion with youth. Gardens offer a crucial way for people to access and experience the natural environment. Nature is a public health resource that is available to everyone. Since its springtime and we are all grounded, why not employ some fun activities that the entire family can enjoy together while practicing social distancing?

Here are a few ideas that I’ve implemented with my family and students over the years.

  1. 1. Begin a nature journal. Use a spiral binder, a notebook, or design a beautiful unique diary. Go outside and observe. Use crayons, markers, or paints to illustrate and chronicle what you see.
  2. 2. Record nature sounds. You’ll hear different sounds at various times of the day. Crickets chirping, frogs croaking, birds singing, water tricking, wind whistling, squirrels chattering, bees buzzing. Make a personal meditation recording on your smartphone.
  3. Bird houses on Moraga-Lafayette Trail.jpg
  4. 3. Underground exploration. The earth is crawling with activity. Underneath the surface of the soil, countless critters are busy at work. Go to a corner of your garden and gently dig up a trowel full of soil. What do you see? Earthworms? Millipedes? Sowbugs? Slugs? Are there spiders or other insects crawling? Note your findings in your nature journal.
  5. 4. Make a “stained glass” window. One of my favorite projects as a kid was picking pretty flowers to press. Instead of making a book, we made “stained glass” windows by pressing an arrangement of petals between two sheets of wax paper and ironing the wax paper. Make sure to place a thin dishcloth on top of the wax paper before ironing. The wax paper seals the flowers together creating a colorful window. Choose brightly colored flowers and dark green foliage that will lay flat. California poppy, bougainvillea, pansy, violets, rose petals, and nasturtium work especially well. Hang them with ribbon by a window to reflect the rainbow of hues.
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  7. 5. Decorate your mailbox. Plant a climbing rose or trumpet vine at your mailbox to brighten your street. You’ll need to keep it shaped and pruned.
  8. Bonica roses and cornflags cover a mailbox.jpg
  9. 6. Grow a vegetable garden. Besides the ease and rapid sprouting of beets, radishes, and carrots, one of the most rewarding combinations to do with kids is to plant a Three Sisters Garden. If possible, give your child her own little plot so she will feel proud of being a farmer. The Iroquois Native Americans planted corn, beans, and squash for a balanced diet. Corn is a source of carbohydrates, beans offer proteins, and squash is filled with vitamins. The corn is the pole for the beans to climb while the squash grows low to the ground providing shade and keeping the soil moist. There is nothing tastier or more nutritious than home-grown food. Make sure to plant tomatoes and peppers now.
  10. 7. Plant herbs and flowers in containers. In several containers, sow seeds of your favorite herbs for seasonings. Dill, cilantro, parsley, basil, thyme, or mint. Sprinkle a few flower seeds for color. Cover with wire to keep the critters and birds out, using Christmas clips to secure the wire. Decorate with rocks, shells, or other trinkets that your kids have found.
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  12. 8. Go on a tasting adventure. For this experience, an adult must know with 100% accuracy that a plant is edible because there are many toxic flowers and leaves in nature that can make us very sick or worse. This is an educational encounter that kids truly savor. Some unexpected plants that can be sampled include rose, nasturtium, fennel, calendula, dandelion, wild mustard, miner’s lettuce, and the berries of Oregon Grape. Leaves and flowers of all herbs can be sampled. Make sure there are no pesticides or insecticides on any of these specimens. Record the flavors in the journal. Do you find something sweet, sour, bitter, or something else? Emphasize the importance of knowing what is edible and what is poisonous before tasting anything. 
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  14. 9. Scavenger Hunt. Animals are always building, hunting, gathering, and scavenging. Take a walk around your backyard or a hike in the neighborhood to collect a few of nature’s discarded treasures. What did you find? An empty bird’s nest, twigs, acorns, feathers, bark, pinecones, or nuts? Design a natural art piece together.
  15. 10. Introduce animals. Children are naturally drawn to animals. Since grounding, I’ve noticed a huge uptick in people who have decided to buy newborn chickens, rabbits, birds, potbelly pigs, goats, dogs, and cats to familiarize their children or grandchildren with animal husbandry. As someone who was born and raised on a farm and has always been surrounded by animals, I’m a huge proponent…with this caveat. Remember that these adorable babies grow up to be adult animals who aren’t always so cuddly. They require food, water, grooming, shelter, and constant care throughout their lives. Raising any animal teaches discipline, responsibility, patience, kindness, gentleness, interdependence, and love. These are all magnificent virtues. Are you ready and prepared for the long haul?Cynthia teaching poultry to child.jpg

Gardening has many benefits for the physical and mental health of everyone in the family. According to the Centers for Disease Control, we burn approximately 330 calories per hour of gardening. Gardening lowers our blood pressure, it reduces depression, anxiety, and stress while increasing our wonder, happiness, and satisfaction. 

For the foreseeable future, we are all grounded, but we don’t have to endure a perpetual Groundhog Day. Expand the quality of daily living by proposing the joys of gardening and being one with nature to your children, teens, and community. Go outside and meander.

Stay healthy. Stay safe. Stay sane. Cynthia Brian-sefie in the trees.jpg home.

Happy Gardening. Happy Growing. 

Photos and more at https://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue1407/Digging-Deep-with-Goddess-Gardener-Cynthia-Brian-Grounded.html

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 best-selling books, including, Chicken Soup for the Gardener’s Soul, Growing with the Goddess Gardener, and Be the Star You Are! Millennials to Boomers at www.cynthiabrian.com/online-store. 

Cynthia Brian books banner.jpg

Cynthia is available for virtual writing projects, garden consults, and inspirational lectures.

Cynthia@GoddessGardener.com

www.GoddessGardener.com

#coronavirus, #activitiesforkidsm#nature,#edibleplants,#tresaurehunts,,#ross,#hikes,,#stayhone, #spring,#chicens,#covid-19, #gardening, #cynthiabrian, #starstyle, #goddessGardener, #growingwiththegoddessgardener, #lamorindaweekly

Cultivating Artful Gratefulness

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Empowerment
Cultivating Artful Gratefulness

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Cultivating Artful Gratefulness

By Cynthia Brian

“My garden is my most beautiful work of art” – Claude Monet

A vase filled with cascading jasmine sits on my nightstand just inches from my bed, its heady scent perfuming the entire room. Not only is it beautiful, but it is my sentinel alerting me when I awake that I still have my sense of smell. Since one of the symptoms of contracting Covid-19 is the loss of taste and smell, I appreciate the fact that I can smell the roses as well as all the marvelous fragrances breezing through my garden. I have always been filled with gratitude for the simple things in life, but now, more than ever, I am cultivating artful gratefulness with increased urgency.

I am so thankful for my lush landscape. I live in what I call my “private botanical garden” where every day I am greeted by surprising sprouts, sounds, and sights. It’s been eight weeks since I’ve worn any make-up. My daily wardrobe consists of my grubby garden garb, tool apron, hat, sunglasses, sunscreen, and boots. Splinters, scratches, bites, and itchy poison oak are a blight to my body, yet I am so joyful to spend my days weeding, seeding, and feeding as I witness the magnificence unfolding in this labyrinth of blossoms. Rose entwined arches, mustard growing fifteen feet into the trees, clematis bowered on trellises, a mosaic of colorful floral layers dazzling on the hillside, a parterre of bearded iris, cornflags, daylilies, and roses hemmed by clipped boxwood, butterflies flitting from flower to flower, bees humming in the citrus…nature is a living painting!

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My garden is my most spectacular artwork. Some of it is messy and wild, other parts are formal and civilized. As my camellias wane, my florescent pink rhododendrons take center stage. Azaleas in containers, as well as those planted in the ground, are on a continual blooming cycle.

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A variety of trees, both deciduous and evergreen, fruiting and flowering, screen and define the property. I’ve been pruning, thinning, and cutting deadwood in anticipation of fire season.

My goal during this coronavirus crisis is to keep our immune systems strong by eating as many fresh vegetables, herbs, and fruits from my garden as possible. Artichokes are almost ready to be harvested. My citrus crop has been supplying my family and friends with daily doses of Vitamin C.  After delivering lemon limes to my neighbor, she offered me a goji berry plant which I am excited to grow as a living fence. Also called the matrimony vine, goji berry plants can be pruned and shaped to keep them small so that the red fruit which will ripen from July to October can be easily harvested. The berries contain more vitamin C than oranges, more potassium than a banana, and more iron than a steak. In addition, I learned that goji berries contain a high concentrate of vitamins B1, B2, B6, C, E, and eighteen different amino acids and zinc. I am so thankful to grow this new specimen that will enhance our health.

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Gardening is not a hobby; it is an essential part of my creative being. Gardening is a survival skill and an art form. It is gratifying to sow a seed, water, fertilize, prune, and nurture that tiny seedling to full bloom. No matter how small a home is, we can always grow herbs in a pot on a windowsill or fill containers with vegetables and flowers displayed on a balcony or porch. With a garden, we bring beauty into our lives. Especially in troubling times, beauty is critical to grow our hopes and dreams. This lockdown has sparked an increased appreciation for the solitude and splendor of gardening.

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Let your garden be your most attractive work of art. Plant a painter’s palette of exquisite color. A garden is a refuge, a sanctuary, a quiet, safe place. Propagate positive possibilities and cultivate artful gratitude.

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Stay healthy. Stay safe. Stay home. Stay grateful. 

Cynthia Brian’s Mid-Month Gardening Guide for May

SCATTER snail and slug bait before they destroy all your sprouts.

PREPARE for fire season. Cut out the deadwood from bushes and trees, prune limbs, and clear brush.

CLEAN leaves from gutters.

CUT tall wild grass to the ground.

CHOP leaves and flowers from wild mustard for salads and sandwiches.

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WATER deeply and when needed.

PULL daffodil and other bulbs spears as they dry.

DEADHEAD roses, calla lilies, and calendulas as blossoms fade.

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CLEAN greener this spring by using friendlier ingredients found in your garden such as lemon juice to remove grease, mildew, and stains

WALK a nature trail for exercise, beauty, and curiosity satisfaction, keeping your distance from others, and bringing a mask.

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PLANT beans, squash, cucumbers, corn, gourds, melons, and pumpkins directly into the garden now. Because of their tender taproots, they do not transplant well.

BUY tomato seedlings to plant anytime.

COMPOST your coffee grinds, eggshells, vegetable peelings, and tea leaves.

BAG your lawn clippings only every other mow. It’s best to leave the clippings on the lawn as feed for the roots, but many people find the extra grass too messy.

TUCK edibles into your flowerbeds. Parsley and garlic chives look especially handsome as a border. 

REGROW scallions by sticking the root ends in water after snipping. You’ll get a fresh crop very quickly.

THIN apples and stone fruit to ensure a bigger, healthier harvest. Leave two to three fruit per cluster. 

HARVEST artichokes, arugula, and Swiss chard.

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Happy Gardening. Happy Growing. 

Photos and article: 

http://lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue1406/Digging-Deep-with-Goddess-Gardener-Cynthia-Brian-Cultivating-artful-gratefulness.html

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.

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Buy copies of her best-selling books, including, Chicken Soup for the Gardener’s Soul, Growing with the Goddess Gardener, and Be the Star You Are! Millennials to Boomers at www.cynthiabrian.com/online-store. 

BE StarYouAre_Millennials to Boomers Cover.jpeg Cynthia Brian'Growing with the Goddess Gardener book copy.jpg

Cynthia is available for virtual writing projects, garden consults, and inspirational lectures.

Cynthia@GoddessGardener.com

www.GoddessGardener.com

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Gardening is NOT Canceled!

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Empowerment
Gardening is NOT Canceled!

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By Cynthia Brian 

“We have it in our power to begin the world again.”

Thomas Paine

What a difference a day makes! Who could have ever predicted that as the vernal equinox approached in the Northern Hemisphere the entire world would be mandated to stay home, pause, and practice social distancing?

Are you in compliance? As adults, we have the ability and the responsibility to be role models in keeping ourselves and our families safe and healthy whilst we are housebound. Thankfully, spring has sprung and our garden can be our protective sanctuary and our personal oasis. Although we can’t share our gardens personally with others, we can go outside to exercise, dig in the dirt, and enjoy the beauty that surrounds us.  It’s time to develop our green thumbs as gardening is open and we have the time.

In the weeks since I’ve closed my StarStyle® Productions LLC office to shelter-in-place, my garden has been my refuge and my workplace. Although I won’t be consulting or coaching in person, I am working for hire via SKYPE, ZOOM, and phone to offer assistance when needed. I’ve decided to reframe this crisis as a positive time-out to rebalance, readjust, rejuvenate, and rest. Instead of rushing to cross items off my to-do list, I can pace myself and enjoy the process of weeding, sowing, planting, pruning, cleaning, and repairing. The fruit trees in my orchard are gloriously full of blooms, while spring-flowering trees and shrubs are triumphant in their abundance of pretty petals. It’s been a joy to stroll through the landscape shooting photos of the emerging rebirth. Every day something new sprouts and I am so grateful to be able to witness Mother Nature in action. Taking snips of branches in bloom and flowers unfurling, I am filling my indoor spaces with hope for a healthy future.

When one of my girlfriends, Nancy Roetzer, retired from school teaching, she began taking flower arranging classes through the adult center. Her bouquets and arrangements are inspired by her hikes in the woods, and especially by the many waterfalls, she has experienced. Her waterfall style floral design shows movement, flow, and layering. Featured in this issue is a spectacular showstopper using tulips, roses, carnations, cushion spray chrysanthemums (Dendranthema), cone bush (Leucadendron), ferns, vines, and moss. 

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What a terrific idea to experiment with creating floral displays during these dark days! Whether we cut a few stems and add them to a whimsical vessel or decide to be more formal with our innovations, this is an opportune moment to get our ingenuity fueled and fired. 

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We do have it in our power to begin the world anew. Listen to and abide by the mandates of the experts. We may not be able to predict the course of the virus, but we do have agency over our actions and reactions. My April Gardening Guide provides a plethora of ideas to keep you occupied, safe, happy, and healthy as we navigate the next month together and apart. 

Enjoy the blossoms, bouquets, and the colorful photos of our developing spring, a reminder that life goes on. Gardening is NOT canceled.

Cynthia Brian’s Gardening Guide for April

  • SOW seeds that will attract birds to your garden. Suggestions include coneflower, anise hyssop, bachelor’s button, Mexican sunflower, cosmos, and black-eyed Susan.
  • SHOOT photos of the abundant flowering trees including tulip magnolia, crabapple, peach, plum, prune, cherry, pear, and apple.
  • cu-tulip tree.jpg.jpghttps://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue1403/Digging-Deep-with-Goddess-Gardener-Cynthia-Brian-Blossoms-and-bouquets-gardening-is-not-canceled.html
  • CLEAN debris from berms and drainage ditches to prevent flooding. The soil and leaves can be added to your compost pile.
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  • PULL weeds while the ground is soft.
  • PLAN your vegetable garden for the foods you love the most. 
  • PLANT seeds of greens, beets, carrots, and turnips now.
  • CUT a branch or two from your favorite flowering trees or shrubs. Redbuds, crabapple, plum, and peach are glorious in vases.
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  • INTRODUCE plants that will make you smile. I planted sunflowers, sweet peas, nasturtiums, and purple hyacinth bean. 
  • TAKE a garden class on-line or watch YouTube videos with gardening tips. 
  • MAKE teas and cocktails from herbs you grow including mint, rosemary, sage, and fennel.
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  • REPOT houseplants.
  • BOOST your immune system with a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, leafy greens, nuts, and fatty fish. Adopt a Mediterranean style of eating.  
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  • WALK around your garden to admire the spring growth.
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  • BUILD a planter box.
  • ORDER gardening books to read. Be inspired and motivated by Chicken Soup for the Gardener’s Soul, Growing with the Goddess Gardener, and Be the Star You Are! Millennials to Boomers available at www.cynthiabrian.com/online-store. 
  • Cynthia Brian'Growing with the Goddess Gardener book copy.jpg BE StarYouAre_Millennials to Boomers Cover.jpeg Chicken Soup for the Gardener’s Soul.jpg
  • INHALE the perfume of fragrant plants. Roses are blooming and fruit blossoms are delightful.
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  • LOWER your stress by strolling alone in the outdoors amongst trees and on trails.
  • MEDITATE in your garden, or on your balcony, patio, or porch.
  • LISTEN to the birds, frogs, and insects as they begin their spring songs.
  • NOURISH your spirit by sitting by a fountain or pond. 
  • EAT plenty of fresh citruses, especially homegrown, to increase your vitamin C intake. Oranges, tangelos, tangerines, grapefruit, and lemons are ripe and ready for picking.
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  • EXERCISE includes all gardening chores: raking sweeping, weeding, lifting, pruning, planting, digging, fertilizing, and chopping wood. Workout outside.
  • TAKE a nap and on a warm day, get your z’s outside in the fresh air.
  • SHARE your garden skills with your children. Let them plant seeds of vegetables and herbs they want to eat. 
  • FERTILIZE lawns. Lawn food is available at your local hardware store.
  • GROW your own bouquets. Create a stunning arrangement with a variety of roses, stock, tulips, iris, calla lilies, and mock orange. 
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  • BEE friendly by planting three or four types of native wildflowers to attract the honey gatherers as well as pest-resistant varieties of flowers, shrubs, trees, and vegetables, thus eliminating pesticides. I’ve sown California poppies, lupines, bee balm, and morning glories.
  • WATCH the blossoms in the breeze float to the ground like snowflakes. 
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  • PREPARE your garden patches to sow seeds of potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant by rotating these crops. For best production, do not plant these in the same place every year.
  • ENJOY a peaceful Passover and Easter without an in-person gathering.
  • STAY informed about Covid-19 depending only on reliable information. Visit Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at https://www.cdc.gov; 

The World Health Organization at  https://www.who.int; 

State Department: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/traveladvisories/ea/covid-19-information.html; 

Contra Costa County Health Department at https://www.coronavirus.cchealth.org; 

Contra Costa County Office at https://www.contracosta.ca.gov/

  • STAY POSITIVE!
  • STAY SAFE! 
  • STAY HEALTHY!
  • STAY HOME! 
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Happy Gardening. Happy Growing. 

Photos and more: https://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue1403/Digging-Deep-with-Goddess-Gardener-Cynthia-Brian-Blossoms-and-bouquets-gardening-is-not-canceled.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 upbeat StarStyle® Radio Broadcast at www.StarStyleRadio.com.

Buy copies of her best-selling books, including, Chicken Soup for the Gardener’s Soul, Growing with the Goddess Gardener, and Be the Star You Are! Millennials to Boomers at www.cynthiabrian.com/online-storeCynthia Brian books banner.jpg. 

 

Hire Cynthia for writing projects and virtual garden consults or lectures.

Cynthia@GoddessGardener.com

www.GoddessGardener.com

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Spring Ahead

Posted by presspass on
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Empowerment
Spring Ahead

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“Spring drew on…and a greenness grew over those brown beds, which freshening daily, suggested the thought that Hope traversed them at night, and left each morning brighter traces of her steps.” From Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

With the World Health Organization declaring the coronavirus Corvid-19 a pandemic, daily living as well as travel is interrupted. While we need to be alert and prepared, we can not panic. My method of staying healthy while diminishing anxiety during these very troubling times is to avoid crowds by going into my garden. 

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The vernal equinox is only three days away, yet we have been experiencing spring since the first days of February. The cows are munching on the green grass in the hills, the frogs are croaking their mating calls, and gardens are bursting with color. Other than the copious dancing daffodils, nothing spells spring more than abundant camellia blooms, the eye-catching Chinese fringe shrub, and the fragrance of both freesia and hyacinth. Garden chores performed in the fall is paying dividends now.

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In the South, camellias are known as the “belles” of the plant world. There are over 30,000 cultivars with blooms in many shades of red, pink, purple, and white. Some feature double petals, others look like roses or peonies. Most species prefer shade to semi-shade thriving in well-drained acidic soil. They are drought-tolerant and best of all, depending on the species, blooms can begin in the fall continuing through the beginning of summer. Float blooms in a shallow bowl for a pretty centerpiece. Make sure to pick up fallen blossoms.

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A fabulous foundation plant for any garden is the Chinese fringe flower, a fast-growing shrub that provides evergreen foliage and a strong structure to the garden.  In spring, showy, frilly fringes of pink cover the plant. Prune the plant to keep it the size you desire knowing that it can grow to 20 feet. A great perk is that you can propagate with stem cuttings and even make a border or a wall of fringe. Did I mention the flowers boast a sweet aroma as well? 

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Freesias are bulbs that are grown for their beautiful scent as well as their gorgeous variety of colors. I happen to adore the upward-facing bells of the blue or purple freesia but the yellow, white, pink, and red produce gorgeous presentations as well. These bulbs multiply and come up just as spring springs forward year after year. They are deer and rabbit resistant and very easy to grow. Cut a handful for a long-lasting indoor arrangement that provides beauty and perfume.

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Hyacinths are dramatic with rich, deep blooms in many colors. Like freesia, they make excellent cut flowers, can be grown in containers, are deer resistant, and bee magnets. Their heady scent exudes from both their flowers and their leaves. Plant them along pathways, stairs, and in the front part of your garden to savor their elegance and aromatic character. They, too, will surprise you each year, sprouting as the sunshine warms the earth to delight the senses.

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Consider adding any of these favorite garden specimens to your environs for perennial spring enchantment.

New Fire Code on the Horizon that Affects Landscapes

Moraga-Orinda Fire District Chief Dave Winnacker has a plan to declare all areas in our district as Wildland Urban Interface in the fire code to prevent insurance companies from canceling policies since Lamorinda is designated a fire zone. When it comes to landscaping, the proposed code would require a two-foot area away from current structures and three feet on new construction to be cleared without any combustible materials. These materials include wood bark, mulch, and plants that are growing taller than two feet. Ground coverings that would be allowed would be green grass, river rock, gravel, crushed granite, or even bare earth. Some trees will need to be removed, especially eucalyptus, pine, bamboo, and junipers if they are within six feet of the structure. This new code is not yet in effect, but with spring on the horizon, this is a great time to start cleaning up your landscape to make it more fireproof. 

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Cynthia Brian’s Gardening Guide for March

  • START seeds as soon as the soil is warm enough. If you are anxious, start your crops indoors near a south-facing window or use a fluorescent light for 12 or more hours per day.
  • CLEAN out perennial beds now and prepare the soil for replanting.
  • WELCOME home the migrating birds with fresh water in the fountain and seed in the feeder. 
  • PLANT edibles amongst your ornamentals. Lettuces, parsley, dill, and basil are pretty as well as delicious. 
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  • DIG out and replace older woody lavender bushes. Lavender thrives for about 5 or 6 years then is ready for the compost pile.
  • ADJUST your lawnmower to a higher setting and allow the clippings to nourish the soil.
  • PLANT host plants for the butterflies such as milkweed and dogwood.  Leave a patch of dense vegetation for protection from inclement weather and a small mud puddle to quench their thirst.
  • INVEST in a well-made wheelbarrow or hand truck to haul heavy bags of soil, rocks, or pots of plants.
  • RESEED lawns with the people, pet, and planet-friendly Pearl’s Premium lawn seed available in 5 or 25-pound bags of a sunny mix, shade mix, or sun/shade seed blend. The roots go to 4 feet needing 50-75% water making for a better drought-tolerant lawn. To order, visit www.PearlsPremium.com. Use discount code STAR20. 
  • EMPTY all vessels that contain water as mosquito larvae is already hatching. 
  • PICK up fallen camellias and dispose of them. Camellia blooms are abundant this year and they drop daily. Do not allow the decayed petals to stay on the ground to avoid damage to the mother plant. If you notice dark brown veins in the petals, your camellia may be suffering from petal blight. Treat weekly with a foliar fungicide.
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  • PRUNE the new wood on your woodland or panicle hydrangeas down to 18-24 inches now to encourage fuller blooms later.
  • STAY informed about Covid-19 only via reliable information. Visit Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at https://www.cdc.gov or The World Health Organization at  https://www.who.int for updates. State Department: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/traveladvisories/ea/covid-19-information.html
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May hope traverse our nights and bring us all a brighter morning free of woes. Take a breath and inhale spring.

Stay healthy, be well, and be safe.

Happy Gardening. Happy Growing. Happy Spring.

Photos and more: https://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue1402/Digging-Deep-with-Goddess-Gardener-Cynthia-Brian-Spring-ahead.html

 

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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 best-selling books, including, Chicken Soup for the Gardener’s Soul, Growing with the Goddess Gardener, and Be the Star You Are! Millennials to Boomers at www.cynthiabrian.com/online-store. 

cyntha brian with books.jpg

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

Cynthia@GoddessGardener.com

www.GoddessGardener.com

Let the Sun Shine In!

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Empowerment
Let the Sun Shine In!

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“The sun does not shine for a few trees and flowers, but for the wide world’s joy” 

Henry Ward Beecher 

It’s been at least seven years since we’ve enjoyed a warm, sun-filled February. Being accustomed to cold, dreary, gray days in the months of Aquarius and Pisces, this year buoyed my spirits immensely even though I know that we need rain. I admit I thoroughly lapped up those 70 plus degree days spending hours in the garden weeding, pruning, and planting with a break to Bodega Bay to ride a bike on the beach, inhale the salt air, and watch the glorious sunset. If winter is going to be mild and bright, why not enjoy it?

The tulip magnolias, peach, plum, and pear trees are in full bloom. The bees are busy buzzing their business in the blossoms. Sweet scents of narcissi, stock, and freesia fill the air. Oxalis, also known as shamrock, carpets vineyards, trails, and roadsides. Wisteria and lilac are budded, ready to burst any day. Early spring erupted in mid-February, a full month ahead of schedule. In many Northern California areas, temperatures have been in the mid-80s. If it wasn’t for water shortages and the rising trajectory of global warming, we could all be rejoicing. Instead, we may need to chant and dance for rainfall to ward off another summer drought.

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Compost will be your most important gardening ingredient this season. By turning organic waste into humus, you will be feeding your plants in the same manner that Mother Nature has been nurturing the planet since the beginning of time. Compost will help your plants retain moisture, curtail erosion, maintain a constant temperature, and it will enrich your soil. It’s so simple to make that everyone can easily do it. 

Recipe for Compost

In an open pile or composting bin, add both green and dry plant matter plus eggshells, coffee grinds, tea leaves, and fish bones. Green matter includes grass clippings, vegetables, weeds without seeds, peelings, and green leaves. Dry matter includes paper, straw, twigs, fall leaves, and dried stalks. Don’t add any animal feces, diseased plants, or meat products. Moisten everything without soaking it and turn with a pitchfork at least weekly. Worms may be added for speedier results. The compost will cook and steam. Add water as necessary if the pile is too dry. Your compost is ready to return to your garden when it smells earthy, sweet, and looks like a crumbly chocolate cake. I recommend creating two or three different piles as they will finish at different times and you can always have a batch cooking. Making your own compost is an excellent way to recycle with almost zero waste. As an added bonus it is FREE plant food!

Cynthia Brian’s Gardening Guide for March

CREATE simple arrangements with branches cut from blooming peach, pear, or plums. Add a few daffodils or freesias.

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BLOW the “angel” seeds of dandelions if you want dandelions growing in your garden. (This was a favorite past time as a child, although we weren’t allowed to blow “angels” into the lawn.) Dandelions are nutritious and delicious in salads and sautés and they attract quail.

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PICK lettuce, parsley, arugula, Swiss chard, and baby mustard to add to meals.

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MAKE an artful wall-hanging using a variety of succulents.

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ADMIRE the tulip magnolias as they emerge or cut a stem to enjoy indoors.

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WATCH for aphids, moths, slugs, and snails on artichoke plants as they mature. Blast the leaves with water if you see any infestation.

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TALK to your doctor if you are experiencing pollen-related allergies. Pollen fertilizes plants but causes misery for sufferers. Acacia trees are beautiful in bloom but may trigger hay fever or asthma.

AERATE and de-thatch lawns if necessary. Be prepared to scatter seeds and fertilizer before a rain.

SHOOT lots of photos of spring unfolding. 

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BEFORE recycling empty milk cartons, fill with water to use on houseplants. The residual calcium is good for the plants and it also rinses clean the cartons for the bins.

BUY your favorite seed packets in anticipation of sowing.

SPREAD alfalfa pellets mixed with diatomaceous earth around your rose bushes to promote large blooms and healthy plants.

The vernal equinox is still three weeks away. The sun is shining on our gardens and for all of us. It’s playtime. 

Happy Gardening. Happy Growing!

 

Photos and more: https://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue1401/Digging-Deep-with-Goddess-Gardener-Cynthia-Brian-Let-the-sunshine-in.html

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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 best-selling books, including, Chicken Soup for the Gardener’s Soul, Growing with the Goddess Gardener, and Be the Star You Are! Millennials to Boomers at www.cynthiabrian.com/online-store. 

Cynthia Brian books banner.jpg

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

Cynthia@GoddessGardener.com

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www.GoddessGardener.com

Stars of the Garden

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Empowerment
Stars of the Garden

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“Won’t you come into my garden? I would like my roses to see you.” –Richard Sheridan

It’s only mid-February, yet it feels like spring. As I write this article, the thermometer in the shade reads 71 degrees. The sun is shining, the skies are clear, and it’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood. Historically the average daily temperature in our area for February is 46.4 degrees. I’m accustomed to dreary Februarys, yet this year is full of cheer. Although we still need more rain, I am delighting in this weather as I finish pruning my roses and grapevines.  

Roses are the ultimate garden stars, complementing classic and contemporary landscapes. Many varieties are repeat bloomers, extravagantly fragrant, and easy to maintain. The thorns are a nuisance, yet, sometimes we have to endure a bit of pain to savor the pleasure. As I’m pruning, I’m wearing two pairs of thick gloves. The thorns still pierce the leather and I find myself extracting tiny pieces of barbs with tweezers from my fingers after an afternoon amidst these stellar actors. 

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If you haven’t started or finished your annual heavy pruning, you’ll have about two more weeks to accomplish the task to have blooms by mid-April.  Roses anchor a landscape offering unrivaled diversity of colors, shapes, and sizes. From ten-inch miniature roses to twenty-five-foot rambling and climbing roses, there is a variety for every preference. The scents that emanate from these stunners can be musky, fruity, sweet, and indescribably powerful. In our region, once established, roses will bloom a full ten to eleven months as long as they are regularly deadheaded. Although roses prefer a sunny location, shade and even poor soil are tolerated.

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It’s best to plant roses from January through May and make sure the root has plenty of space to grow. Re-hydrate bare root roses in a bucket of water before planting. If planting from a quart or gallon container, remove the plant carefully. Sprinkle roots with Mycorrhizal Fungi to stimulate root growth. Place the stems of bare root roses about two inches below the top of the hole, and for a potted rose, position the plant level with the ground.  Backfill with the original soil and lightly tap it with your foot. Water deeply. My secret to rose success is to scratch a scoop of alfalfa pellets in the soil around each bush in March. Every morning, I stir my used coffee grounds into a carafe of water to nurture a different rose daily. They love their jolt of java. Feed your roses according to the instructions that you receive when purchasing. Never over-fertilize. Add mulch or compost to retain moisture. Contrary to popular belief, roses are not fussy. Feed, mulch, water, deadhead, and enjoy.

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A shining star of the winter garden is the daffodil. Every year daffodils signal that spring is around the corner as they salute the skies with their bright trumpets. Daffodils belong to the genus Narcissus. The over 50 species come in all sizes with colors ranging from the ubiquitous butter yellow to pure white, peach, and combinations of yellow and orange. They are perennials, popping up to surprise us just when we need a boost of encouragement. Many varieties will naturalize when planted in a sunny place with slightly acidic soil and plenty of mulch. The deer and wildlife won’t eat them, so they are great bulbs to plant everywhere the deer and rabbits roam. Bulbs planted in fall are now blooming. There is no need to remove the bulb after the flowers fade. Cut back the stems when the foliage is yellow and potato chip crispy. If you insist on digging out bulbs, wipe the dirt off, store in onion bags or pantyhose, and hang in a cool location. Bulbs require air circulation to survive or they will rot. Many of the smaller daffodils, also called narcissi are very fragrant. They make marvelous cut bouquets brightening any room.

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The heart-shaped cyclamen is a tuberous perennial that is honored with garden star status. Shades of pink, red, salmon, and white flowers with silver-marbled leaves adorn winter borders and indoor rooms. Cyclamen require almost zero care and very little water. They go dormant when temperatures rise towards summer and return in glory when winter arrives. When grown outdoors, like the daffodil, when you are least expecting to see a riot of color, the cyclamen unfurls its pretty petals. Hardy cyclamen sold in nurseries are to be planted outdoors. Tropical cyclamen for décor as a houseplant won’t tolerate temperatures above 68 degrees or below 40 degrees. 

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Our shining garden stars may only twinkle during certain times of the year, yet they are always here. Planting and appreciating them helps us grow into kinder humans. Saunter into the garden to say hello.

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Cynthia Brian’s Mid-Month Gardening Guide for February

  • TAKE 15% off all orders of David Austin Roses before March 6, 2020 with CODE UKA at www.DavidAustinRoses.com or call 1-800-328-8893.
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  • CARE for your trees. With the recent heavy winds, limbs and trees have toppled. Make sure to prune dead branches, mulch to suppress weeds and pest infestations, deep soak when the weather is hot, and protect shallow roots from lawnmowers. Call an arborist for help when in doubt.
  • INSPECT lawns for dandelions. When you see the yellow flower, snip it off to avoid the flower going to seed. Dig out the roots if possible but be aware that dandelions have long taproots. Do not put in the compost pile.
  • CHECK irrigation systems for broken or damaged pipes. Weeds and lawns often cover sprinkler heads. This is a good time to prepare and repair for spring.
  • WATER lawns and gardens as needed. This is the first February in decades that I’ve had to turn on sprinklers. Rain is not forecast until March. Global warming? 
  • CUT a branch from flowering pear or peach trees to use as an indoor decoration. Pear trees are in full-bloom, peaches are in bud.
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  • PLANT summer bulbs including gladiolus, cannas, dahlia, and caladium towards the end of the month as the soil dries.
  • WALK barefoot on a blanket of soft moss to connect with Nature.

Happy Gardening. Happy Growing!

Photos and more: https://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue1326/Digging-Deep-with-Cynthia-Brian-Stars-of-the-garden.html

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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.

cyntha brian with books.jpg

Buy copies of her best-selling books, including, Chicken Soup for the Gardener’s Soul, Growing with the Goddess Gardener, and Be the Star You Are! Millennials to Boomers at www.cynthiabrian.com/online-store. 

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

Cynthia@GoddessGardener.com

www.GoddessGardener.com

 

Love Grows in the Garden

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Empowerment
Love Grows in the Garden

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 “The beauty of the season will grow wherever seeds of love are planted. “ ~ Euripides

February derives from the Latin word februa, which means “to cleanse”. The Romans fêted Februalia, a month-long purification and atonement festival, annually occurring during the wettest and dreariest of days of the year. In California, February opens the floodgates of rain with weather that is overcast and cold. Thankfully, not everything is dreary and gray. We attribute love to February with the celebration of Valentine’s Day and what better place to savor the “amour” than in the garden?

Take a walk in a garden where natural aromatherapy originated. Feel the spongy softness of cool moss as you step off the stone path. Admire the cymbidium orchids beginning to bloom. Sink your nose into a patch of narcissi or heavenly gardenias, inhaling the intoxicating perfumes. Cut a few stems of Angel Face roses with their heady musky scent to give to your partner or friend. 

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If you are stressed at work, a visit to the intensely fragrant flowers of jasmine will instantly settle your nerves. Is indigestion bothering you after meals? Munch on peppermint leaves with your lunch. Do your children need to focus more on homework?  Make a sachet of grapefruit peels, eucalyptus leaves, and rosemary sprigs to promote concentration. Are you having trouble sleeping at night? Pick a stem of fresh lavender, roll the leaves and flowers between your palms, and breathe in the vapors. All of these delightful therapies are available in the February landscape. 

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One of the season’s wondrous luscious gifts is the orange. Its folk name is “love fruit” because the orange is sweet and sensuous. The orange warms your heart, restores your sense of humor, bringing out your brighter personality. When you need a boost of confidence before an interview, presentation, or audition, smell the peels from any citrus, especially orange or lemon. If you are feeling depressed or sad, inhaling the peels works as a mood-elevator to restore a sunny disposition. Despite the dismal weather, every time I hike up my hill to pick a radiant navel, I am renewed and refreshed with the sweet and tangy juices. Oranges offer a concentrated Vitamin C shower that pollinates a dampened spirit.  Oranges and tangerines are my elixirs. I cook with them, use the leaves, rinds, and piths in teas as well as the flowers in salads.  I create love sachets and toss the peels in my bathwater when my muscles are aching after a hard day’s work. 

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Since we have more time to dream indoors about gardening in February than actually going outside, this is a perfect month to do like the Romans: clear the clutter, cleanse your body, mind, and soul, and tidy your garden in anticipation of spring. Peruse garden books and catalogs. Make a list of what you want to sow for your family’s enjoyment. When you start growing fresh healthy food, you’ll be showing your heart some love while saving trips to the grocery store. February is Heart Health Month, so experience increased vitamins, flavor, and color while munching from your private Garden of Eden.

Life and love began in a garden. Love is not only in the air. Love is growing in your backyard. Discover the benefits of your personalized, organic Love Potion #9 and be blessed with the beauty and seeds of this season.

May cupid’s arrow remain in your heart all year and fill your days and nights with passion. Happy Valentine’s Day!

Cynthia Brian’s Gardening Guide for February

LOVE your heart by eating healthy fresh greens, berries, and fruits combined with exercising, and thinking positively.

PULL weeds as they sprout. It’s easier to eradicate the weeds in soft, damp soil when they are four to six inches high. 

PRUNE fuchsias, roses, and any still dormant shrubs or trees. Do not prune spring-flowering specimens such as tulips, forsythia, lilac, or magnolia.

HOUSEPLANTS need a refresher this month. Repot with fresh potting soil, prune any dead leaves, give a jolt of fertilizer, and a spritz of H2O.

CLEAN and sharpen tools to be ready for March madness.

FLOAT pink camellias in a bowl on Valentine’s Day.

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∞PLANT bare root roses. Expect blooms by summer.

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∞IDENTIFY mushrooms as edible before picking and consuming. Mushrooms growing in your lawn are most likely poisonous.

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∞ADD moss to areas around steppingstones for a romantic, ethereal sensation.

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∞NAME a rose after your special someone or celebration. Find out prices from a rose breeder or develop your specific rose. The American Rose Society serves as the International Cultivar Registration Authority for Roses following rules set forth by the International Code of Nomenclature for Cultivated Plants in the registration of new rose varieties. https://www.rose.org

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MAKE a simple arrangement of mums, baby’s breath, alstroemeria, and stock to bring a bit of sunshine into a dreary February day. 

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HIBERNATE at home. Enjoy the luxury of reading a good book on a rainy day. Check out my best sellers at www.cynthiabrian.com/online-store .

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CLEAR the clutter, cleanse and purify. When in Rome…

CELEBRATE Valentine’s Day with a pocket of posies picked from your garden.  Give the gift of a bare root rose that will yield years of adoration.

Read more: https://www.lamorindanews.com/archive/issue1325/Digging-Deep-with-Cynthia-Brian-Love-grows-in-a-garden.html

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

Tune into Cynthia’s StarStyle® Radio Broadcast at www.StarStyleRadio.com.

Buy copies of her best-selling books, including, Chicken Soup for the Gardener’s Soul, Growing with the Goddess Gardener and Be the Star You Are! Millennials to Boomers at www.cynthiabrian.com/online-store. 

cyntha brian with books SM copy.jpg

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

Cynthia@GoddessGardener.com

www.GoddessGardener.com

Cynthia-Pink bower vine.jpg

 

Dream Green

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Empowerment
Dream Green

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“A dreamer dreams that everyone else in his dream must awaken before he can awaken.”

~ Ramana Maharshi

After my column, the Power of RE was published, I received numerous positive comments about how readers were implementing RE into their lives. It is gratifying to know that people read my articles, but I’ve always wondered what people do with the information they receive. 

Orinda resident, Kathy Boyle, showed me. She wrote: “I was intrigued by your ideas in your Lamorinda Weekly article about the Power of REhttp://lamorindanews.com/archive/issue1323/Digging-Deep-with-Cynthia-Brian-Garden-Trends-for-2020-Part-1-The-power-of-RE.html As I was reading your article, I was envisioning those ideas in the context of gardening and recycling in my everyday life.  But then that wonderful Cervantes quote inspired me to amplify the ideas to how I am trying to live my life, especially during these very odd times.” (“Take a deep breath of life and consider how it should be lived.” ~Miguel de Cervantes) 

An elementary school Resource Specialist for forty years, Kathy had learned the power and effectiveness of ideas being created as colorful bulletin boards for kids. Now in retirement, she uses doors, walls, windows, mirrors, and even the shower door as her special bulletin boards by designing colorful visual pages to inspire herself. She also crafts pocket cards to carry with her on her hikes in nature. Her innovations helped me re-imagine my dream for this 2nd part in the 2020 Trends series. Thanks, Kathy for sharing your talents and for reaching out. Your art has reinvigorated me.

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Green careers are on the rise. From Boomers to Generation Z, people are finally understanding the call of the wild. From watering vacation gardens to talking to struggling plants, jobs are waiting to be filled. Horticultural therapy and plant blogging can become full-time careers. As our climate warms and more natural disasters occur, it is time for everyone to wake up to dream green.

Growing up on our farm, to be “dirt poor” meant that we had plenty of land, but not enough money. I remember the first time I visited New York City when I was nineteen and witnessed tiny bags of “dirt” being sold for $5.00 and more. I telephoned home and told my Daddy that we could be rich if we packaged and sold our acres of dirt. He responded that there was a big difference between soil and dirt in our century. Healthy soil is rich in vitamins, minerals, and organic matter. Dirt doesn’t have any nutritional value and isn’t valuable for growing anything. Unfortunately, today soil has been stripped of its nutrients.  Erosion and deforestation have washed away one-third of the world’s topsoil. Crops are planted for yield, not for nutrition. According to the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization, if this negative trend doesn’t retreat soon, organically rich soil will be eliminated by 2050.

We have to dream green.

By embracing regenerative gardening practices, changing methods of farming and forestry, we can mitigate carbon and reverse the damage. We need to rebuild soil with organic matter, restore degraded soil, and reduce runoff. By composting, cover cropping, and no-tilling practices we can conserve wildlife and return to native soil. People are waking up to sustainability and the importance of caring for our environment. Composting reduces household waste by 40%. By growing organically, we revitalize the soil naturally. Planting cover crops of alfalfa, clover, beans, and mustard will control weeds and add nutrients to the soil. When planted in lawns, clover adds nitrogen to the earth, eliminating the need for additional fertilizer. 

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What about the greening of indoor spaces? Houseplants are connecting people with nature while cleaning the indoor air. Many young people have less income and live in smaller spaces. Succulents, bromeliads, peace lilies, snake plants, aloes, and fiddleleaf fig are easy to grow and long-lasting. Taking a class, attending a seminar, or watching how-to videos on YouTube are all terrific ways to learn more about growing nature inside.

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Pollution, pesticides, UV radiation, and climate change are all leading to the destruction of habitat for amphibians and wildlife. If your garden is silent, it is not healthy. We need the croaking of the frogs, singing of the birds, and the hooting of owls. They keep our gardens vital by dining on mosquitoes, beetles, snails, rats, gophers, and other pests. Plant ferns near water sources to protect frogs, toads, and turtles. Submerge water lilies to oxygenate the water while providing cover.

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Mushrooms are the trendy super-food of 2020.  Some species of fungi eat plastic and could help with rapid plastic decomposition. Edible mushrooms can prevent or treat hundreds of conditions. Although you don’t want to forage unless you are certain that a mushroom is not poisonous, if you want to grow mushrooms, inoculated logs can be purchased.

Being “woke” is a popular refrain these days. If we are going to dream green, we have to wake up to smell the roses. 2020 is the year that we must conceive unique sustainable ideas so that we achieve a world where we can breathe, live, and enjoy.

Implement the power of RE and dream green.

water lily.jpghttps://www.CynthiaBrian.com

 http://lamorindanews.com/archive/issue1324/Digging-Deep-with-Cynthia-Brian-2020-Garden-Trends-Part-2-Dream-green.html

Happy Gardening. Happy Growing.

Cynthia Brian’s Gardening Guide for January

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BE AWARE of coyotes. I have had numerous reports of coyotes jumping backyard fences or digging under them to grab cats, chickens, rabbits, and small dogs. Since the autumn fires, food is sparse. and the coyotes are roaming neighborhoods. 

READ this Asbestos and Natural Disasters Guide that covers the impact of wildfires on structures made with asbestos:
https://www.asbestos.com/asbestos/natural-disasters/

California-specific: https://www.asbestos.com/states/california

DRY branches from tree trimmings for kindling.

BRIGHTEN your landscape, porch, or balcony by planting primroses which come in a variety of colors. 

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REPAIR broken pipes and irrigation systems while you have time.

PLANT bare root roses and fruit trees. Follow instructions on the packaging. Soak roots for a full 24 hours and cut off broken roots.  Plant the bud union 3 inches above the ground.

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REPOT potted plants you received as gifts of the holiday.  Remove wrapping to allow for good drainage.  Trim spent blossoms, water, and fertilize regularly.

REEDUCATE yourself about mulch: https://www.akhomeshow.com/mulch-information-guide.php

REREAD The Power of RE and incorporate RE into your personal, business, and gardening goals and resolutions for the year. http://lamorindanews.com/archive/issue1323/Digging-Deep-with-Cynthia-Brian-Garden-Trends-for-2020-Part-1-The-power-of-RE.html

REST. It is winter and time for a break. Sit by the fire on non-Spare the Air days. Drink hot cocoa or hot mulled wine. Dream a green dream. 

Cyn-fireplace.jpghttps://www.CynthiaBrian.com

Photos and more: http://lamorindanews.com/archive/issue1324/Digging-Deep-with-Cynthia-Brian-2020-Garden-Trends-Part-2-Dream-green.html

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

Tune into Cynthia’s StarStyle® Radio Broadcast at www.StarStyleRadio.com.

Buy a copy of her books, Growing with the Goddess Gardener and Be the Star You Are! Millennials to Boomers at https://www.CynthiaBrian.com/online-storecyntha brian with books.jpg. 

 

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

Cynthia@GoddessGardener.com

www.GoddessGardener.com

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The Power of RE

Posted by presspass on
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Empowerment
The Power of RE

Winter in the Sieras.jpg

LAMORINDA WEEKLY | Digging Deep with Cynthia Brian Garden Trends for 2020, Part 1

Digging-Deep-with-Cynthia-Brian-Garden-Trends-for-2020-Part-1-The-power-of-RE.pdf[1/6/2020 6:49:00 PM]

 

Cynthia Brian

Published January 8th, 2020

Digging Deep with Cynthia Brian

Garden Trends for

2020, Part 1

By Cynthia Brian

“Take a deep breath of life and consider how it should be

lived.”

~Miguel de Cervantes

 

A new year, great cheer, time to eliminate the fear

of getting dirty and starting a garden. So many people

confide to me that they have “brown thumbs.” I don’t

believe it is possible. There are only those who have not

tried, tried again. There is no failure in the garden.

Failure is fertilizer. Every time I have a plant that does

not do well, I send it to the compost pile where it will

renew my garden. Pledge to get down in the dirt this

year and experiment with plants. Once you have

success, you’ll be hooked on gardening, and your

vivacity will soar.

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To help you get into the swing of things, I’m

offering you the top trends that are predicted for 2020

that have been formulated by the Garden Media Group.

These trends help you choose plants, products, and

services that assist you to survive and thrive in the

outdoor world of Mother Nature. Who knows, with so much information you may become an influencer, or

even a trendsetter yourself.

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Dive in. Read the research and have some fun with regreening our Earth.

Currently, more than 50% of the world’s population resides in cities. By 2050, that number will grow

to 70%. With so much connectivity and urban living, people are hungry for nature. Because of urbanization,

it will become increasingly imperative for cities and businesses to design tranquil, plant-filled spaces for

people to refresh and enjoy. We live in the age of social media, and parks, forests, water elements and

sustainable edible gardens are critical not only for recreational purposes but to get away from the hustle and

bustle of urban living. People with knowledge of plants are in demand.

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More trees will be planted as a cost-saving strategy to improve the health of communities while

controlling stormwater runoff, reducing air pollution, and mitigating the heat. Green environments will

become the norm with green businesses assisting in the education of the public about the necessity of

becoming stewards of our planet.

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We currently live in a throw-away society of major consumption. Many of us remember the days when

appliances lasted 20 to 30 years. My mom’s washing machine lasted 45 years! Today, we are lucky to get

seven to 10 years before replacement. When I was a girl, I learned to sew and made all my clothes. Today I

mend torn clothing and alter my wardrobe to replicate current fashions. I don’t toss them. Since 1970,

global consumption tripled with only 9% of consumed materials reused. This material “mismanagement”

contributes to 67% of global greenhouse gas emissions. It’s easy to reuse, repurpose or re-engineer items

we already have to create new items we need.

 

Just today I was rereading a letter from my cousin who wrote to me about how he called my dad

“Superman” because he was one of those farmers who always stopped to help anyone in distress and could

fix anything and everything with baling wire and electrical tape. Daddy did more with less and he taught his

growing family to do the same. Repair, reuse, recycle, repurpose, remake, renew! We were all doing these

things before it was in vogue. Now the “re” everything is trending. It’s the power of RE.

When you buy a plant, either return the plastic container or reuse it. A major goal for 2020 is minimal

waste.

Are you looking for a great job or second career? Consider horticulture. Did you know that in 2018,

gardening in America grew to an industry of $40.6 billion according to Euro Monitor? By 2023, gardening is

expected to reach $49.3 billion, meaning that more labor will be necessary.

 

The next generations will need to learn to grow more food. Encourage children to seek an education

that will offer them expertise in urban agriculture, environmental sustainability, or garden installation. Start

on the job training now at home, in your backyard. Give your kids seeds to plant, weeds to pull, and areas

to irrigate. Allow them to grow a few vegetables to make a pizza. They’ll be happier, healthier, and will

become automatic stewards of our soils.

 

As we begin 2020, take a deep breath and walk around your neighborhood. Consider the importance

of the flora around you. What can you do personally to be more sustainable and regreen our planet?

I’ll have more information for you in my next column. Until then, remember that failure is fertilizer and

do your part to implement the power of RE.

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Cynthia Brian’s Gardening Guide for January

RECYCLE unflocked Christmas trees without any stands by the curbside on your regular garbage service day. Remove all lights, ornaments, tinsel, and trimmings. For trees over 8 feet, the collection company requests that you cut them in half. 

RETURN grass clippings to your lawn. Grass mulching can fertilize the soil and minimize the amount of water needed to keep your yard green and healthy.

PRUNE roses and crape myrtles throughout this month.

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REVISIT the wonders of winter in the Sierras, in the vineyards, or public gardens. 

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RE-BOOST your vitamin C with fresh fruit from citrus trees. Ripening for the next two months you will enjoy sweet navel orange, lime, lemon, grapefruit, and Clementine.

REDEEM a planting offer from David Austin roses for 15% off with Offer code UKA or UKB before March 6 at www.davidaustinroses.com

PERUSE spring catalogs for ideas on planting then regift them to a fellow gardener. 

PROTECT plants from frost or freezing by covering with burlap or tarps.

HARVEST potatoes and beets.

REPLENISH bird feeders with nutritious seeds keeping our avian visitors nearby while supplementing their dietary requirements during the cold season.

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REFRESH your vitamin D requirement by spending 15 minutes outdoors daily.

RESOLVE to utilize the power of RE in 2020.

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Happy Gardening. Happy Growing. Happy New Year!

Photos at: http://lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue1323/Digging-Deep-with-Cynthia-Brian-Garden-Trends-for-2020-Part-1-The-power-of-RE.html

Cynthia Brian.jpg

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

Tune into Cynthia’s StarStyle® Radio Broadcast at www.StarStyleRadio.com.

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

Cynthia Brian books banner.jpg

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

Cynthia@GoddessGardener.com

www.GoddessGardener.com

Starry, Scary Night

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Empowerment
Starry, Scary Night

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“Starry, starry night

Flaming flowers that brightly blaze

Swirling clouds in violet haze.” Don McLean

In 1889, post-impressionist, Vincent Van Gogh, painted one of his most memorable paintings, The Starry Night, as he looked out of his asylum east window. On October 10, 2019, when I looked out our east window, the starry night was aglow with flames and they were not the brightly blaze of flaming flowers. Normally, I look forward to the month October because of the frivolity of Halloween. Costumes, candy, scarecrows, black cats, ghosts, ghouls, jack o ’lanterns, and trick or treating offer children a scary evening of amusement. It was a scary, scary night, but it was not Halloween.

The power was off and a fire erupted racing down the hill to a neighborhood fast asleep. Firefighters were swift and efficient evacuating the community and containing the inferno. Police officers assisted in maintaining peace and safety. Fortunately, all structures were saved and no injuries were incurred, thanks to the professional first responders. Gardens and landscapes survived the blaze with only a few fences being torched. 

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What homeowners need to know to be more fire-safe:

The area where I live in Northern California is rural, wooded, with minimal escape routes. Many of the plants and trees growing throughout our area are highly flammable including pines, cypress, cedar, fir, bamboo, acacia, juniper, Pampas grass, rosemary, ivy, arborvitae, miscanthus, and eucalyptus. Coyote brush, although moderately fire-resistant when it is young and green, is highly combustible as it grows. It depends on fires to regenerate and grows everywhere in our hills.  All of these plants need to be removed or carefully supervised. Since heat moves up, fire speed and severity is stronger on slopes where vegetation management is crucial.

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Autumn is a prime time to prepare your landscaping for the next season and create a defensible space around your property. A defensible space is an area around a structure that has been cleared of ignitable debris and botanicals that may cause a public safety hazard. No plant is fireproof. Under the right conditions, every plant will burn, especially those that are drought-stressed or not maintained.  A “fire-safe” plant means that it tends not to be a significant fuel source in itself with a chemical composition that resists heat and combustion. It is critical to keep plants around our homes well tended and pruned as a fire protection tool. The closer plants are to the house, the more care is needed. Every homeowner is responsible for managing their vegetation to meet Fire District requirements. 

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Neighborhoods are encouraged to form a committee to receive advice from local fire professionals on how to be Fire Wise. Being Fire Wise is dependent on the diligence of everyone in a neighborhood to keep property fire safe. Fires do not honor property lines. All properties become indefensible when one neighbor has overgrown bushes, brush, or low hanging trees.

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What makes flora highly flammable?

  • ϖ Dry and dead leaves, twigs, branches
  • ϖ Abundant, dense foliage
  • ϖ Needles
  • ϖ Low moisture foliage
  • ϖ Peeling, loose bark
  • ϖ Gummy sap
  • ϖ Leathery or aromatic leaves
  • ϖ Content of terpene, oils, or resin
  • ϖ Dry uncut grasses

What makes flora reasonably fire-resistant?

  • ϖ Hardy, slow-growing plants that don’t produce litter or thatch.
  • ϖ Drought tolerant natives with internal high water content. Generally, but not always, California natives are more tolerant of fire and deer.
  • ϖ Trees with thick bark that restrict the growth of invasive shrub species and hardwood trees such as walnut, cherry, maple, and poplar are less flammable. Deciduous trees and shrubs are more fire resistant because they have higher moisture content when in leaf, lower fuel volume when dormant, and usually do not contain flammable oils.
  • ϖ Supple, moist leaves with little to no sap or resin residue.
  • ϖ Low growing ground covers.
  • ϖ Bulbs with dried leaves cut to the ground.

What can you do now to create a more fire-resistant landscape?

  • ϖ Include pavers, bricks, pavement, gravel, rocks, dry creek beds, fountains, ponds, pools, and lawns. 
  • ϖ Select high moisture plants that grow close to the ground with a low sap and resin content
  • ϖ Plant the right plant in the correct location. Leave space between plants.
  • ϖ Minimize the inclusion of evergreen trees within thirty feet of structures. Clear the understory. Keep trees twenty feet away from chimneys. 
  • ϖ Remove invasive species or swaths of flammable plants including ivy, rosemary, broom, coyote brush, chamise, and juniper.
  • ϖ Keep mulch moist. Create zones of rock, brick, or gravel. Bark and leaves are not mulches recommended near structures.
  • ϖ Prune trees 6-10 feet above the ground to hinder fire laddering.
  • ϖ Keep appropriate clearance to reduce the threat of burning embers from decorative features such as gazebos, fences, sheds, porches, and junk areas.  
  • ϖ Irrigate and maintain all flora, lawns, and hillsides. Clover, groundcovers, and grasses that are kept low and green are excellent alternatives. 
  • ϖ Due to soil erosion, bare ground is not recommended.
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Helpful Websites

Sign Up for Alerts

Having had warning of the looming PGE blackout, I had deeply irrigated my entire garden and hillside. An alert from EBMUD instructed that in a power outage, water must be used judiciously, so as a pre-emptive measure, I watered my landscape thoroughly, soaking the grass, shrubs, mulch, trees, and fences. Throughout the summer, thrice, I had weed-whacked the tall grass surrounding my property and that of neighbors, pruned low hanging tree branches, and a week before the fire I had, thankfully, cut the dry perennials to the ground. These are steps I encourage all homeowners to undertake. Maintaining our landscaping is a never-ending task mandatory for both our pleasure and protection. 

Let’s participate in keeping the fire-breathing dragon away! Enjoy a safe and scary evening of Trick or Treating under the starry skies!

Happy Gardening. Happy Growing. Happy Halloween!

Read more: https://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue1318/Digging-Deep-with-Goddess-Gardener-Cynthia-Brian-Scary-scary-night.html

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

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Tune into Cynthia’s StarStyle® Radio Broadcast at www.StarStyleRadio.com.

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

 

cyntha brian with books.jpg

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

Cynthia@GoddessGardener.com

www.GoddessGardener.com

 

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