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Trend in the Garden for 2021

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Trend in the Garden for 2021

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“Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right!” Oprah Winfrey

HELLOOOOOOO 2021! We have been holding our collective breaths for the past ten months desperately anticipating a new beginning with a new year. 

Are you feeling a renewed enthusiasm for living? Are you ready to dig in? 

Every year the Garden Media Group releases information on what trends are formulating for the next season of horticulture. 2021 has been dubbed “The Great Reset”, which is aptly titled given that we are still sheltering-in-place, connecting with loved ones and friends mostly online and by phone. The world is connected through this shared experience of a global pandemic as we impart information to help one another cope and prosper.

2020 was deemed the year where gardens, open spaces, and nature, in general, became a priority for maintaining wellness in body, mind, and spirit. Roomier homes with large backyards or acreage were in high demand as social distancing developed into the norm. Gardens became the bridge to building confidence and resilience while connecting communities and neighborhoods.

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In 2021, the great outdoors will become even more critical as classes of all creeds move outside. Expect to experience yoga, dance, workouts, art, cooking, entertainment, and activities for kids scheduled in outdoor spaces.  It is no longer necessary to be tethered to the high cost of living in big cities as working remotely allows employees to be closer to family and fresh air.

Research indicates that over 16 million people started gardening for the first time during the pandemic and many of them are under the age of 35. More than half of American adults are spending at least two additional hours outside today than before the outbreak started. In 2021, gardening will become a part of everyday life and will infiltrate school curriculums. Currently, 67% of adults are growing or plan to grow edibles. Berries are the most prevalent plus 52% of people are growing vegetables, 33% growing herbs, and 31% growing fruit. 

What’s trending up for 2021?

  •  Increased online sales of plants and garden products which offer convenience, speed, and safety.
  •  Parks, trails, and open spaces will become an integral part of daily life.
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  •  Interiorscaping will become a new buzzword as stores and businesses bring the outdoors in.
  •  Greater demand for houseplants for every room, especially home offices.
  •  Tropical plants will grace new “garden rooms” indoors.
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  •  Certified wildlife habitats and pollinator gardens are spreading.
  •  Educational courses, how-to-videos, and garden consultants will become routine learning tools.
  •  A surge in home cooking and the fear of food scarcity means growing one’s own fruits, vegetables, and herbs is a necessity.
  •  Canning and preserving food for the future will be re-popularized.
  •  Children will be introduced at a younger age to the treasures of nature.
  •  Miniature plants to grow on windowsills, under grow lights, or under glass for those living in small apartments without yards will be more readily available.
  •  We will live with nature and protect our eco-systems to save lives.

The benefits of gardening are innumerable and will grow even more fashionable. Increased health, decreased stress, improved wellness, and stronger bodies through garden chores will lead to happier more balanced lifestyles. 

In 2021, we will embrace nature as part of our being. Nature is not something “out there” in the wilderness. Nature will thrive in our backyards, on rooftops, balconies, porches, and windowsills. Our very existence will depend on creating a sustainable balance between humans and all creation.

My hope is that we will all finally understand that there are no mistakes in the garden. Failure is fertilizer to grow anew. Just garden.

Happy New Year with revived cheer. Let’s get it right!

Cynthia Brian’s Garden Guide for January

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DETACH ornaments, lights, and tinsel from your Christmas trees and leave them on the curb on your garbage pick-up day. Flocked trees can be cut up and put in the green bins. 

BEWARE of wild boars on the rampage. Boars are causing major damage to landscapes and are a danger to people and pets. Fish and Game offers information. For local assistance with wildlife control including boars, coyotes, turkeys, deer, and more, contact licensed and insured Full Boar Depredation, https://www.fullboar-llc.com.  

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LOWER your anxiety with the Japanese practice of shrinrin-yoku or forest bathing. Take a walk in nature and you’ll immediately experience relaxation.

REMOVE wrapping from any holiday gifted plants to allow for drainage.

PRUNE deciduous fruit trees, bushes, flowering shrubs, and cane berries. Roses can be heavily pruned towards the end of the month.

SPRAY your second application of a dormant spray aimed to kill the many overwintering insects and diseases after you have pruned.

PICK a few sprigs of narcissus to perfume an entire room.

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PLANT all bare root fruit trees, perennials, berries, and vines.  They cost less and will adapt quickly to their new home.

ADD acanthus to your landscape for lush greenery and interesting spring floral spikes.

BUY healthy meal kits with farm-fresh ingredients from Sun Basket if you aren’t growing your own. https://bit.ly/2DipPsT

BUILD a river rock dry creek to direct run-off rainwater. 

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ORDER bare-root roses from your local nursery or find beautiful, fragrant cultivars at www.DavidAustin.com.

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BRIGHTEN your winter landscape with sweet peas, society garlic, and guara (which looks like floating butterflies).

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CONTINUE wearing your mask, social distancing, and washing your hands. 

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Happy Gardening! Happy Growing! Cheers for 2021!

Read more and see photos: Read more and see photos: https://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue1423/Digging-Deep-with-Goddess-Gardener-Cynthia-Brian-Garden-trends-for-2021.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. Receive a FREE inspirational music DVD.

Cynthia Brian'Growing with the Goddess Gardener book copy.jpg

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




Home (and garden) for the Holidays!

Posted by presspass on
Home (and garden) for the Holidays!

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By Cynthia Brian

“I will honor Christmas in my heart and try to keep it all year!” Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol

One sentiment was universal this season in the holiday cards and emails…hope for a safe, healthy, prosperous future. 2020 has been a year of enormous challenges, chaos, and crisis amid a frightening pandemic that rendered many people feeling hopeless and helpless. Even with shelter-in-place mandates and Zooming taking the place of “being there”, resilience will rule the roost as we celebrate at home during the holidays.

Gardening has seen a rise in popularity throughout this year as people craved fresh air while social distancing. Farm fresh food graced the city tables after fruits, vegetables, and herbs were planted by first time gardeners. Green thumbs were grown!

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Every day those who tend gardens work hand in hand with Mother Nature. As the Grand Dame, she is always in charge. Gardeners are her faithful stewards, nurturing the land that feeds our bodies while clothing our spirits with beauty, fragrance, and spiritual wellness. As the earth settles down for its winter nap, we also slow our pace in our outdoor spaces with preparations for the at-home holiday celebrations and a new year.

Being in a garden provides relief from stress and lowers blood pressure. Gardening transports us to another realm where nature charts the course. Even looking at a beautiful photograph of nature will enhance your mood and elevate your joy. 

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I have spent more hours in my garden these past few months than ever before. No matter how well I know my landscape, it is ever-changing, never ceasing to amaze and awe me. My body is getting extra exercise from hauling redwood chips to my barren hillsides to stop erosion and enrich the soil.

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When it began to rain, I fertilized and planted more perennials including guara and golden breath of heaven plus more bulbs for next season. Jonquils are already blooming with their heady fragrance wafting through the chillier air. Azaleas and rhododendrons have burst into bloom and the cyclamen pops with luminous colors.

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The delicate orange persimmons dangling from the almost leafless branches and the glimmering red pomegranates masquerading as ornaments hanging on the tree fill me with wonder at their annual holiday display. Both delicious and nutritious, they are my December garden gifts. 

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This is a good time to cut branches from redwood, pine, fir, or other low-hanging conifers to swag staircases and doors with fresh garlands. This practice accomplishes two goals: 1) you get free, fresh holiday greenery and 2) you are preventing future fire-laddering by removing the branches.

For those unable to celebrate in person with families scattered far and wide, this will be a quieter, less ebullient Christmas. Yet the magic of the season will buoy hearts as we anticipate a vaccine allowing us to gather in 2021. 

Devote a few hours to hoe, hoe, hoe and the melancholy of the past ten months will help you carol ho, ho, ho even while you observe the holidays home alone. 

Waving a magical virtual wand over your home and garden, I wish you a blessed, safe, and healthy holiday.

We’ll be together again next year with faith, hope, and love!

Happy gardening. Happy growing. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Cynthia Brian’s Gardening Guide for December

  •  FERTILIZE trees, shrubs, and ground covers.
  •  APPLY snail bait to areas where slugs and snails do damage.
  •  SPREAD elemental sulfur to citrus, azalea, rhododendron, camellia, and hydrangea to lower the soil PH.
  •  DEEP feed smaller shrubs to accelerate growth in the gaps of hedges.
  •  ADD a swath of fluorescent red, white, or pink cyclamen to add pops of color to the winter landscape.
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  •  DEADHEAD roses to extend blooming until heavy pruning in January or if you prefer, allow the rosehips to form. Rosehips are a source of vitamin C and can be harvested for tea.
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  •  STUFF stockings with gardening goodies including a hand trowel, gloves, seeds, and a garden guide. Growing with the Goddess Gardener offers twelve months of helpful advice and comes with free seed packets and a relaxing CD. https;//www.CynthiaBrian.com/online-store
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  •  CUT branches of berries from heavenly bamboo, cotoneaster, holly, or pyracantha to add to mantels and wreaths. 
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  •  RAKE leaves from lawns to keep them from matting.  
  •  MOVE mower to a higher cutting level and don’t mow when the ground is too wet.
  •  PROTECT tender plants from frost and freeze by moving potted plants inside or close to the house. 
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  •  BUY camellias now in the colors to suit your landscape décor while they are stocked as blooming specimens in nurseries.
  •  CUT back chrysanthemums to six inches after blooms fade.
  •  PLANT any remaining spring-blooming bulbs.
  •  CELEBRATE your home and garden for the holidays!
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Photos and more: https://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue1422/Digging-Deep-with-Goddess-Gardener-Cynthia-Brian-Home-and-garden-for-the-holidays.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. 

Cynthia Brian books banner.jpg

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




Tiny Sprouts!

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Tiny Sprouts!

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“The lesson I have thoroughly learnt, and wish to pass on to others, is to know the enduring happiness that the love of a garden gives. I rejoice when I see anyone, and especially children, inquiring about flowers, and wanting gardens of their own, and carefully working in them. For 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

Watching the wide-eyed wonder of children during the holidays is an additional dividend of the magical season of Christmas. The twinkling lights, the tantalizing aromas of cinnamon and nutmeg, the joyful caroling tunes, and most of all, red-nosed Rudolph prancing through the night sky leading his herd of reindeer to the chimneys of good little girls and boys. 

December is a great month to spark children’s enthusiasm for gardening. The rewards go far beyond reaping a harvest of fruits, flowers, and vegetables. Not only do kids get to dig in the dirt, but it is also a plus if they get dirty.

Since families usually erect a Christmas tree or Hannukah Bush, it is fun to let each child grow her own tree. When my kids were young, we bought one-gallon pines, spruce, and firs to plant a Christmas tree farm. They watered, pruned, protected, and prepared the trees to be cut for our festivities. Although the trees never matched the symmetry of ones purchased from a lot, once they were festooned with all the homemade ornaments, they were uniquely beautiful. Most of all, the children were proud that they had grown this special tree all by themselves. They also each decorated a small growing Christmas tree for their bedrooms with sparkling lights on a timer that went off at bedtime. After the holidays, the tree went out to the patio, to be tended by them. 

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Teaching kids to garden instills responsibility, patience, love, creativity, tolerance, hope, and imagination. Their minds expand and they learn a deep appreciation for living organisms. By introducing them at a young age to the natural world, we are showing them how to respect and honor the environment. When we scrape vegetable scraps, eggshells, coffee grinds, fish bones, and other biodegradable items into a pail that we add to our outdoor compost bin, we are demonstrating the value of enriching the soil with natural, nontoxic substances. Ask your child to help you shovel woodchips into a wheelbarrow to add to the yard before winter storms arrive to prevent erosion, keep the soil warm, and provide an appealing appearance to your landscape.

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Every child needs to learn where her food comes from. Healthy eating habits are learned from the ground up. Add packets of seeds to a Christmas stocking with instructions for a private pot or plot to be planted in the spring. Stuff in a small field guide about growing vegetables, fruits, and herbs. Encourage dreaming of what crops to plant in the spring. You’ll be amazed at what kids will eat when they put in the effort of growing it. Brussel sprouts? Check! Broccoli? Check! Spinach? Check!

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Children are naturally curious and by keeping your nature talks short and fascinating, you’ll develop a gardener for life. Gardening is fun and it’s an excellent way to keep our bodies and spirits in optimum shape. While you are sowing the seeds of growing in the minds of young sprouts, you’ll also be planting resilience and acceptance. Failure is fertilizer. When something doesn’t grow, we throw it on the compost pile to grow a new garden next season. As a metaphor for life, our children are all going to flounder and fail. The teachable moment from Mother Earth is that there are no mistakes if we learn the lesson and fertilize for the future. 

Whether you are a big or tiny sprout, my gift is to pass on my love and knowledge of gardening with you. Dig it with your kids! 

Wishing you a jolly December of magic and marvel!

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Cynthia Brian’s Goddess Gardener Tips for Gardening with Kids

GIVE each child a pot or a plot of land to grow whatever they desire. When you give them the responsibility, they will rise to the task.

BUY size-appropriate tools. A hand trowel, rake, shovel, wheelbarrow, and bucket expressly for gardening chores gives a child a sense of accomplishment. Don’t forget the garden gloves!

SUPPLY seeds that are easy to grow. Include vegetables such as carrots, radishes, beets, and lettuces, and some pretty flowers like sunflowers, zinnias, marigolds, and calendulas.

MAKE it fun by showing them how to use chopsticks to plant seeds.

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BUY small two-to-four-inch containers of herbs for a windowsill garden. Dill, mint, sage, parsley, and oregano are simple to grow and can be snipped for pizza, spaghetti, and soups that put smiles on their faces.

GROW thornless succulents including ice-plant, aloe vera, echeveria, and jade that require very little water or care.

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PLANT theme gardens with your kids. Everyone loves butterflies and a Butterfly Garden will encourage kids to watch the evolution of nature from creeping caterpillar to graceful flyer. Include alyssum, butterfly bush, coreopsis, asters, salvias, Lamium, milkweed, penstemons, lavender, and snapdragons. Other ideas include a Pizza Garden with everything except the pepperoni and cheese, a sensory garden of plants with texture, taste, smell, sound, and beauty. Or how about a 24-Hour Garden where each of the plants blooms at a different time? Use morning glories for the A.M., four o’clock for the afternoon, evening primrose for early evening, and moonflowers for the night.  If you have the room, one of my favorites is a Pie Orchard with peaches, apricots, cherries, pears, and a berry patch. Or two gardens my own kids loved were the Christmas Tree Farm which they left-over small pots of live trees, spruce, pine, and fir, and the Halloween Cemetery of various types, colors, sizes, and textures of gourds and pumpkins.

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SHARE plant and seed catalogs with your little sprouts. Let them select photos they find enticing and read to them the descriptions. Follow up with a socially-distanced, masked-wearing field trip to a nursery or garden center to investigate the various specimens.

ALLOW kids to experiment and design their own spaces. Rows don’t have to be in straight lines. Eliminate adult ideas of perfection and instead shoot for enthusiasm and curiosity.


GIFT a magnifying lens to your child so she can get up close and personal with leaves, flowers, stamens, and bugs.

MARVEL at the soil workers. Examine the worms and insects. 

WALK around your fall landscape to choose colorful leaves for festive displays and to press into Christmas cards. 

HELP them decorate for the holidays with natural berries and branches. Pyracantha, cotoneaster, and holly are filled with red berries. Wear gloves and offer help with the prickly holly and pyracantha.

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BE CREATIVE by making garden art from steppingstones to scarecrows! My daughter painted a funny face on a broken rake that still guards our vegetable garden.

DOWNLOAD FREE coloring books to let kids color their world. There are 7 different ones, all with botanical art that is simple and appropriate for little sprouts. https://bit.ly/39CnSDv

Happy gardening. Happy growing. Happy December. 

Photos and more: https://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue1421/Digging-Deep-with-Goddess-Gardener-Cynthia-Brian-Young-sprouts.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.

Cynthia and her garden helper young sprout.jpeg

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. Receive a FREE BONUS of an inspirational music DVD.

Cynthia Brian books banner.jpg

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




Fall Fireworks

Posted by presspass on
Fall Fireworks


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“Let the beauty we love be what we do.” 


Sitting on my balcony, watching the ginger orb of the sun shoot sparkles and glitter throughout the dusky sky, I am besotted with the fireworks of fall foliage on the horizon. The colors and intensities change daily as I attempt to capture the essence of their beauty in my camera lens.

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A red-branched Japanese maple is glimmering gold one day. Four days later it is pumpkin spice orange. My liquid amber tree leaves are progressing from buttery blonde to tangy tangerine to burning scarlet. Even the green vegetation on my lamium has turned magenta. My garden is a display of fall fireworks. 

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It’s been a busy year. Since the onset of the pandemic, every day I have worked many hours to improve my landscape: pruning dead limbs, repairing stairs, rebuilding arches, eradicating weeds, planting new specimens, fertilizing, firescaping, re-seeding, and adding amendments. After re-seeding my lawns, I covered the grass with enriched soil which will bolster root establishment. My back aches from the yards of amendments I’ve wheelbarrowed to the garden beds and there is still more to shovel.

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To provide a respite from the labor, I added a bench on my hill overlooking my recently cleared oak tree meadow. The creek will flow during the winter but for now, it’s relaxing to sit for a bit to watch the deer munching on the shoots sprouting after the recent rains and the squirrels scampering about collecting acorns. Peace and serenity increase my gratitude for living in such bucolic surroundings where I can breathe fresh air and listen to the sounds of silence. It’s quiet that is until the wild turkeys descend and start a raucous. Several Toms started fighting with the hens squawking a few feet away. Thanksgiving has arrived!

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When I planted the three vines of wisteria, grape, and pink bower on my pergola, it was an experiment in competition. All three are aggressive growers, but I was certain that the victor would be the wisteria who would choke the other two. I’m glad that I’m not a betting woman, or I would have lost. 

Much to my sheer delight, after fifteen years of cohabitation, the three have become symbiotic siblings supporting one another’s expansion. The three vines have intertwined and mingled in the magnolia, fruitless pear, and loquat tree creating a beautiful privacy screen that frames my backyard. Each boasts distinctive features. The wisteria and the grape are deciduous and will shed their colorful autumn leaves soon while the bower vine is evergreen with blooming pink flowers. In winter, the shiny bright green foliage of the bower vine covers the bare branches of the other two. In spring, the wisteria bursts into glorious purple blooms followed by the bud break of the grapevine. Throughout the summer months, their leaves cover the pergola with much-needed shade and in September, I harvest grapes. What a fruitful collaboration of nature.

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Today as I was doing a final edit of this column, the sky clouded gray and the waterworks flowed. How thrilling to finally have rain! I put on my rain boots, hoodie, and slicker to fertilize the grass and I finished covering the patio furniture. Winter is a mere four weeks away, yet I still have a few more autumn tasks to accomplish including planting additional bulbs on the hillside. Daffodils from previous years have already sprouted and will begin blooming in December. With the ground moist, digging is easier.

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After three hectic seasons of heavy garden exertion, I am looking forward to listening to the rain as I read a book in front of a blazing fireplace with a cup of hot chocolate. For now, I’ll savor the fireworks of the glowing fall leaves from my balcony.

Happy gardening. Happy growing. Happy Thanksgiving. 

Cynthia Brian’s End of November Garden Guide

PROTECT patio furniture by covering with machine-washable covers or clear plastic or put away for the winter in a storage shed.

DIG bulbs now. Bulbs that do well in our area, including tulips, crocus, daffodils, are available in nurseries and garden centers.


PHOTOGRAPH the changing colors of the autumn trees and shrubs.

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RAKE leaves and add to your compost pile.

TOP DRESS garden with mulch and amendments.

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PULL out dead annuals.

DEADHEAD roses to continue the blooming season.

ADD solar-powered, weather-resistant garden lights to illuminate paths for winter darkness.

CLEAN gutters and make sure downspouts are unclogged. 

FIX vent screens, broken foundation, and roof shakes and remove brush and wood piles from the perimeter of your house to deter mice and rats from building their winter abode.

REPAIR garden tools and equipment before storing. 

MOVE containers of frost-prone plants to a covered area near the house or wrap with burlap.

THANK YOU for being such dedicated readers of Digging Deep. I wish you a very healthy and happy Thanksgiving.

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Photos an more: https://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue1420/Digging-Deep-with-Goddess-Gardener-Cynthia-Brian-Fall-fireworks.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's books.jpg

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



#autumn,#leaves,#amendments,#outdoors,##nature,#gardening, #cynthiabrian, #starstyle, #goddessGardener, #growingwiththegoddessgardener, #lamorindaweekly

As the Leaves Turn

Posted by presspass on
As the Leaves Turn

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“A friend may well be reckoned the masterpiece of nature.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

It’s only five in the evening and the darkness of night has arrived. I’ve been out in the garden prepping the soil as the sun sets and the moon rises. Normally by this time of the year, I would have had all my spring bulbs and perennials planted and my lawn re-seeded. But we have had no rain and the daytime temperatures are still too warm to guarantee any success with these normal autumn chores.

My clay soil is clod dry and needs amending. I originally bought several bags of nutrient-rich soil, but soon realized that my garden required a truckload. I had ten yards of a high nutrient amendment comprised of compost, green waste, rice hulls, and chicken manure delivered to replenish the earth before planting. Although it will take me some time to add this fertility to my soil, my lawn, trees, established and new plants will be thanking me.

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As the world turns the leaves on our deciduous trees to reds, ambers, and golds, this is a perfect time to replenish your mulch and enrich your soil. If your garden is small, you can buy bags of amendments at your garden center or hardware store, but if you have a large property as I do, it is best to order a truckload. Most bags of mulch or compost are comprised of one to three cubic feet. Truckloads are sold by the yard. One cubic yard is 27 cubic feet making a truckload massively less expensive, although more wheelbarrow and muscle intensive. A variety of mixtures are available including aged wood fines, grape compost, sandy loam, red lava, and fir bark. All will help loosen clay soils and all will provide moisture retention, erosion control, and fertilization to landscapes before winter arrives. Be aware that when used in containers, runoff may cause stains. 

I consider these special soils to be the best friends in my garden. As with building a house, the strength of the foundation of your garden will ultimately determine the success of your plantings. Besides spreading this mulch throughout my property, my plan is to mow my lawn, water it deeply, scatter lawn seed, and cover with a layer of this rich amendment. By adding these nutrients now, my garden will be ready for a winter nap and re-emerge in spring in full glory.

The changing of the colors of autumn leaves is later this year than any previous year. My trees usually begin their transformation in October, but this year, I began witnessing the stunning procession in November. The deep reds we witness are a result of an increase in the sugar content while the yellows are a diminishment of chlorophyll due to the sunny days of autumn combined with the cooler evening temperatures. Most people believe it is the changing of seasons that cause the leaves to turn. Although the chilly nights do deserve some credit for the rapid foliage change, the true reason that the leaves change color is dependent on species and environment.  Japanese maples, dogwoods, liquid ambers, and some species of crepe myrtle appear flaming while redbud, ginkgo, birch, apple, wisteria, and larch shimmer in yellows and gold. Oaks change to russet, Chinese pistache herald pumpkin orange hues. 

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My personal favorite is to watch the veins on the leaves of my grape vines change from deep greens to multi-hued magnificence.

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Also, Boston ivy and Virginia creeper offer dazzling autumn shades. They secrete calcium carbonate which creates an adhesive pad that allows them to attach to walls.  If you wander the creeks or hillsides, beware of poison oak as it is one of the most gloriously colored vines of autumn melding crimson, sienna, and scarlet. As the days grow shorter and the nights linger longer, the biochemical process paints nature’s landscape with a sunset palette. Cut a few branches from your favorite specimens to create indoor autumn displays. I also dry Japanese maple and liquid amber leaves and add them to my fall potpourri mixes. 

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As leaves fall to the ground, rake them into your compost pile. The decomposition replenishes the nutrients in your soil. Dispose of diseased or bug-infested leaves, such as those that have peach leaf curl, rust, or aphids.  

As the growing season comes to an end, collect the seedpods from companion flowers to attract beneficial insects for next season’s plantings including dill, caraway, anise, alyssum, marigolds, calendulas, sunflowers, zinnias, hollyhock, and nasturtium. Dry them on cookie sheets or in plain brown paper bags providing plenty of air circulation. Store in paper bags, labeling with name and date. You’ll be ready to plant the seeds next spring. The goal is to attract beneficial insects, bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds and keep them alive and healthy.

To crank up the curb appeal to your home, include colorful containers of mums or design an autumn arrangement of gourds and pumpkins at your front entrance. Thanksgiving is fast approaching and even if we won’t be hosting our normal festivities, our neighbors will enjoy the picture-perfect personality. 

curbside appeal-mums.jpeg

Discover your nature friends and applaud them as masterpieces. 

Cynthia Brian’s Digging Deep Gardening Guide for November

BUY soil amendments by the bag or by the yard to enrich your soil before winter rains.

VISIT your local nursery to choose shrubs, trees, and bushes with colorful deciduous leaves that you want to showcase in your garden. 

wisteria vine turning yellow.jpeg

DEADHEAD rose blooms to encourage a couple more budding flourishes before January pruning.

DIVIDE daylilies, bearded iris, and plant spring-blooming bulbs.

PRUNE dead branches from small trees and call an arborist to check larger specimens.

FERTILIZE roses, citrus, and begonias,

RAKE leaves into a compost pile or bin. 

RESEED tired lawns.

top dressing on lawn.jpeg

HARVEST apples. 


ADD shredded newspaper to your compost pile. The zinc in the ink adds nutrients and the paper will decompose.

ROOT winter crop seedlings. I planted Brussel sprouts, Swiss chard, sugar snap peas, and kale and sowed seeds of arugula, greens, and lettuce. 

©THROW seeds of a cover crop over vegetable gardens to restock nutrients for next season. Vetch, clover, mustard, beans, and peas are excellent choices. 

MAINTAIN fire precautions around the perimeter of your property and home as fire season is still with us. 

PREPARE your birdhouses for overwintering feathered friends. 

See Photos and more: https://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue1419/Digging-Deep-with-Goddess-Gardener-Cynthia-Brian-As-the-leaves-turn.html

History is Made: https://blog.voiceamerica.com/2020/11/11/history-is-made-healing-is-necessary-have-hope/

Happy Growing. Happy Gardening.

Cynthia Brian


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 cyntha brian with books SM copy.jpg. 


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




Halloween, Nature’s Way

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Halloween, Nature’s Way

Alley of pumpkins.jpeg

“Listen to them–the children of the night. What music they make!” Bram Stoker

During this season, life is about the kids. This is a time of magic, wonder, and things that go bump in the night. Halloween has always been a favorite holiday for most children in the United States but this year, Halloween, the way it has been celebrated for decades, is canceled. 

kaylee in cantealope Halloween costume-monster.jpeg

No random trick or treating, no gatherings, no haunted parties.

Since school has been online, kids yearn to get together to socialize with a bit of raucous fun and CANDY. With Covid-19 isolation, this year’s Halloween is going to be different…very, very different.

For weeks families have been brainstorming innovative ideas to provide a safe, yet enjoyable experience for their children. Although most everyone has probably decided how to celebrate, I’d like to add a bit of nature to the mixture.

When I was raising my two children, Halloween was always a major event, but not in the way that most kids participate. Every year our family would join with two other families to enjoy a full weekend of scary festivities in a circa 1900 Victorian in the middle of an isolated mountain forest that had been in the family of our friend for over 80 years. The drive to get to our destination was on a bumpy, winding, pot-holed road, with gnarled trees that jutted out of nowhere and deep canyons that could be perilous to the amateurish driver. The ride alone was frightening! 

The house had no electricity (unless we used a generator) and the water was pumped from the creek. We always began our adventure with a hike to pick wildflowers and gather feathers, branches, colored leaves, and grasses to make decorations. Sometimes, we’d saddle the horses on the property to carry our bounty,

The landscape boasted a big vegetable garden that enthralled the kids. “What do you want for dinner?” we’d ask. Each child would grab a basket to pick their favorite vegetables. The fun began with the children helping to prepare our evening meal. On Halloween, we’d start the day picking apples in the orchard. We’d take the apples to the barn where we’d press them into apple cider, saving some to make apple pies. We would also play a fun game, Bobbing for Apples, giving prizes to the winner. (Not a recommended activity during this pandemic!)

Next was the pumpkin carving. Each person was given a pumpkin to carve or decorate. We saved seeds for roasting and some for planting in the spring. Again, the kids would go to the vegetable garden to pick their favorite vegetables. We’d craft with our found nature treasures and decorate the “haunted house”. Everyone would get dressed in their home-made costumes, followed by our Halloween feast.

Decorated with glitter pumpkin.jpeg

Of course, the best was yet to come. The kids, all decked out in their Halloween regalia, couldn’t wait. 

Trick or treating! 

All the lights would be extinguished except for lanterns and candles. Darkness dropped with the haunting sounds of the night and a bit of help from the hidden boombox. One parent corralled the kids on the porch as the rest of the costumed parents hid behind doors of the house with bags of candy. On “go”, the kids ran door to door knocking, shouting “trick or treat”.  An adult would jump out with a trick and fill their Halloween bag. After all the treats were distributed, like all kids, the trading and negotiating for candy began.

And, after the youngsters were totally exhausted, (and probably on a sugar high), we adults would celebrate Halloween, too.

The fond memories of these sacred Halloween traditions can be easily translated to our current situation with Covid-19 to ensure a safe and memorable Halloween. This year Halloween is on a Saturday. Make a weekend of it!

If you have a pod of people that you are already socializing with because you are all social distancing, one family could host the Halloween party. Or, make the Halloween event virtual to include more people. 

  •  Plan and prepare a meal together. 
  •  Dress in costume. 
  •  Buy a few bales of hay to create a maze. (The hay can be used in the garden afterward as top dressing.)
  • pumpkins-hay.jpeg
  •  Carve or paint pumpkins. 
  •  Save seeds for roasting and spring planting. 
  •  Bake bread with menacing faces. 
  • PumpkinsCarved-Bread -Halloween - 4.jpeg
  •  Make a candy shoot out of PVC to send candy from one person to another yard. 
  •  How about a slingshot to catapult candy across the street to your friends? 
  •  For those with gardens, employ the kids to pick vegetables and fruits that are festive and fun. For example, guavas are self-harvesting now, so if someone has a guava tree, try a new recipe. 
  • self harvessting guavas.jpeg
  •  Have a nature scavenger hunt followed by a mask making shindig with found elements: feathers, bark, twigs, flowers, acorns, pebbles, leaves, and more. 
  •  Press apples to make a brew of witch cider.
  •  Visit a pumpkin patch with social distancing.
  •  Add a tiny pumpkin to an autumn floral bouquet.
  • Bouquet with pumpkin .jpeg
  •  Howl at the moon with the coyotes!  
  •  Hoot with the owls.

Adults can hide in closets, bathrooms, or behind any doors. Just make sure to have the treats and a few tricks! Make sure to include the spooky tunes. 

Finally, don’t forget the candy swap. Whether it is in person or virtual, swapping candy is an age-old tradition that every kid adores. Don’t forget the toothbrushes! 

Wearing a mask is always appropriate on Halloween and this year it takes on special meaning. Be creative and safe.  Make masks!


Shake your broomsticks. A ghoulish, ghostly midnight jamboree may be right outside in Mother Nature at the witching hour. It’s time for some hocus pocus. 

Have a secure and joyful nature’s Halloween.

Happy gardening. Happy growing. Make sure to VOTE!

Nature’s Halloween: yellow mums.jpeg


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

Buy copies of her best-selling books and receive extra freebies, 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.jpghttps://www.cynthiabrian.com/online-store.

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



#october,,#pandemic,,#outdoors,#halloween,#nature,#ghouls,#ghosts,  #gardening, #cynthiabrian, #starstyle, #goddessGardener, #growingwiththegoddessgardener, #lamorindaweekly

The Leaf

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The Leaf

The Leaf

Fly CatcherI had several choices of where to go and what to do, but I was drawn to the river that day. I was going fishing. At least that was what I had in mind when I headed down to my favorite stretch of the Musconetcong.

The “Musky,” as it is called by the locals, is a sweet little river with riffles sparkling in the sun. It had been a while since I’d cast a fly rod, since in the recent past I’d only been Spey fishing. Technically speaking, a Spey rod is also a type of a fly rod but it is a totally different, two-handed system. The singlehanded rod felt light and vaguely unfamiliar in my hand and I feared I might be a tad rusty.

On this particular day, the sky was dotted with clouds so the light through the trees was intermittently sun dappled and then diffuse. It was early spring with chartreuse leaves unfurling in the trees. The air was still and the soothing sound of water played in the background of my senses. The water is still cold at that time of year, so I was geared up with polar fleece and heavy socks underneath my waders and boots.

Quietly I moved down the gentle sloping bank until I stood in the river at about knee depth. Line pulled off the reel, an attractive little fly attached, I made my first cast…and then the next and the next, as I rhythmically made my way downstream, one step at a time with only the wildlife to mark my passing.

A fox eyed a pair of Canadian geese, sizing them up for a potential meal. Birds flew about the canopy, and a merganser duck swam upstream. It was too early in the season for the duck to be trailed yet by a dozen or more chicks.

As I made my way down to the farmhouse stretch, a cheerful little riffle where the water dances its way over rocks before emptying into a pool, I caught in my periphery a small leaf hanging from a high branch, fluttering in the wind.

How odd, I thought. There isn’t any breeze today.
I looked more closely.
Is that a bird? Is it snagged up somehow?…Yes –Yes it is!

Fly Catcher with FlyThe branch with the frightened bird was hanging over the far side of the stream, too high for me to reach. I waded ashore, leaned my fly rod on a bush and picked up a stick. Wading back out beneath the limb I used the stick to snag the branch, pulling it down until it was within my grasp. Snapping the entire thing off, I turned my attention to the little creature that was fluttering wildly now. The bird appeared to be a small flycatcher of some sort: gray with a black head and tan sides. But I didn’t take much time to gather details as it quickly became apparent the source of its plight.

Someone else had obviously been to this fishing hole before me. Not surprising, of course, as this stretch of the Musky is part of the fishing club to which I belong. The angler that came before me had also been fishing with a single-handed rod and had clearly made a “bad” cast as his fly had landed in the trees rather than in the spot that was his intent. It’s easy to snag a tree or bush when the limbs hang over the river unless you make your cast just so. I’ve been to some places where the trees look ready for Christmas all year round, decked out with bright colored lures and flies left by anglers over the years.

By this point the little bird was understandably in a panic, flapping and flittering it’s heart out in an attempt to get away. Of course from his perspective I was a huge predator. Gently I closed my hand around him smoothing his frantic wings against his sides so that I could get a closer look at how he was trapped against this branch – at what was preventing his escape. The problem was tiny, oh-so-tiny, yet-oh so-strong.

The angler who came before me had left a little “trico” upon the limb, likely on a size 22 hook, so small as to be almost unseeable, with minuscule translucent white wings that imitate a trico fly. The bird had obviously been fooled by this imitation as he had attempted to catch a meal and had been caught instead.

I could feel the frantic beating of the fly catcher’s tiny heart as I gently eased the hook from his beak. I flung the offending branch and fly into the bushes and looked into the eye of the wild creature and as I opened my hand, he took wing.

By now it was dusk, the magic time when trout often surface to catch a meal. But I had thoroughly disturbed the pool where I was standing and no rising fish were in sight.

That’s alright, I realized as I waded ashore to retrieve my rod. Today’s catch and release wasn’t about trout. I had just thought I was going fishing. If I hadn’t been there to see the “leaf” fluttering when there was no wind, that little bird would have died.

Breathing deeply as day turned to night I headed for home, feeling quietly satisfied at an afternoon well spent.

Since 1987, internationally acclaimed authors, seminar leaders, podcast/radio show hosts and business consultants Ariel and Shya Kane have acted as guides, leading people through the swamp of the mind into the clarity and brilliance of the moment. Find out more about the Kanes, their seminars in NYC, Germany and Costa Rica, the Say YES to Your Life! Meetups their work has inspired, their Being Here podcast or join their email newsletter. Also get information about their award-winning books. Their newest book, Being Here…Too, is available on Amazon.comBarnesandNoble.com and everywhere books are sold.

Books by Ariel & Shya Kane

Photo Safari Day

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Photo Safari Day

Photo Safari Day

For our July Article, we offer you some of the details of a photo safari day we had during a recent visit to Costa Rica. The impressions of our day were recorded from Ariel’s point of view. In our experience, observing minutiae – small moments – can be wondrous when you are there to experience them. We hope that you find yourself inspired to discover the details of your day – wherever you are – from the pictures and “word pictures” we offer. Enjoy!

The monkeys we heard at dusk, murmuring in the canopy above, definitely were Howlers. The following day, they began again, greeting the morning with a gusty serenade. As I passed under the awakening troupe spread out among the branches, I heard a suspicious “blop…blob, blop” all around me and I quickly advised Shya to take an alternate route to the dining area. I was fairly sure the sounds I was hearing wasn’t a random, morning bathroom call but rather a marking of territory against intruders, monkey style.

There was clearly more than one dominant male in the group as they howled in counterpoint, lusty overtones sung to the lightening sky. Deep chesty resonance, a crescendo of sound was offered to the heavens – a salute to the sun, the trees, the dawn of day.

After breakfast, we gather our things and the captain picks us up for the short ride down to the boat. Soon we motor away from the dock. The day is fresh before the heat arrives heavy-handed to press the air until it became difficult to breathe. Sun slanting through a high canopy of clouds, crickets setting a background hum, birds flitting, a young caiman scuttling away from our boat, reptilian eyes flashing. We motor up the canal, as dragonflies sketch random patterns overhead and vines trail in the water casting vague wakes.

We arrive at the lagoon and its glassy surface glitters with a profusion of bait. Soon, as if raining, the surface begins dimpling as the watery world awakes and the little sardines began to feed. The slightest sound – a cough, a shuffle of our feet or the anchor shifting on the bottom of the boat – causes a wave of response, tiny fish going airborne, fanning out from our position. A lone cormorant fans its wings. The clouds cast gauzy reflections and the distant purple haze of mountains flanks us.

Then as the day sharpens, Ms. Tarpon began to feed – lazily porpoising, displacing water, teasing us with her tantalizing presence as Shya stands, fly rod at the ready, poised in the bow of the boat. Our world is quiet but alive. The clear water of the lagoon mixes with the chocolate colored current of the canal. Great arcing leaps of baitfish sketch the path of feeding tarpons under the surface.

Shya casts, strips in the line. Casts again. The captain quietly repositions the boat with an electric motor designed to minimize noise. More casting. The sun rises higher. Heat. Sweat. Waiting. Cast again. The water erupts. 100 pounds of contained fury leaps to the sky, spraying droplets, large scales flashing in the sun. A breathless dance. Shya pulls her in, the guide hoists her up to be seen and then releases her back to her home.

Most people think that when Shya and I go fishing, it is all about catching fish. In truth, it is all about Being Here – whatever we are doing. And it is all about being here for the minute details of the experience. For it is in the details that the richness of life is revealed.


Since 1987, internationally acclaimed authors, seminar leaders, podcast/radio show hosts and business consultants Ariel and Shya Kane have acted as guides, leading people through the swamp of the mind into the clarity and brilliance of the moment. Find out more about the Kanes, their seminars in NYC, Germany and Costa Rica, the Say YES to Your Life! Meetups their work has inspired, their Being Here podcast or join their email newsletter. Also get information about their award-winning books. Their newest book, Being Here…Too, is available on Amazon.comBarnesandNoble.com and everywhere books are sold.

Books by Ariel & Shya Kane

Bug Magic By Ariel & Shya Kane

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Bug Magic By Ariel & Shya Kane

Bug Magic
By Ariel Kane

One night I pulled into our local Pilot station to fill up our Prius with gas. To my surprise, as I stepped out of the car there were hundreds of Mayflies dancing in the overhead lights and alighting on my windshield, hood and top of the car. I am used to seeing Mayflies near rivers as they are aquatic insects whose life cycle is one that fisher folk follow closely since these delicate flying insects are a major food source for trout. I was unaware that the Pilot station was located anywhere near water but it must have been because the air was thick with Pale Evening Duns, the light yellow Mayflies that hatch in the spring and summer.

The young man who fills the tanks stepped over and I offered my credit card and asked him to fill it up with regular. He began swatting the air grumbling, “I hate bugs! They’re everywhere.”

His comment took me aback. Mosquitos, sure, I hate those, too. But Mayflies? As I stood there with the gas meter ticking in the background I realized how one is enculturated to hate some things and accept others. How we are taught to get the heebee-jeebees about certain things and how we learn to take others in stride. And often how, once we learn to “hate” something, we hate it forever without really taking another look.

As a country girl, growing up in Oregon, we didn’t have the video games and other diversions that kids have nowadays so when my sisters and I played outside we invented games with leaves and insects, salamanders and mice. Being toted up the hill on the back of a tricycle cost a handful of leaves. Soup served in the playhouse consisted of wild peppermint in water. Little field mice were trapped under up-side-down berry cartons and inspected at our leisure through the green plastic mesh. And grasshoppers were caught at Grandma’s house. We could be heard shrieking and squealing our childish delight as their feet tickled our hands and as they bounded away in unpredictable trajectories.

My grandfather had also taken me fishing in my youth, to a little river just below Mt. Hood. The Zig Zag River was a source of wonder and he introduced me to “Periwinkles”. These creatures hung onto the underside of rocks in the river, their shells a cocoon of tiny pebbles. We would peel them and use the “worm” inside to bait our hooks to catch hungry trout. I now know that Periwinkles were just a name my Grandpa made up and that these bugs are actually the larval stage of a Caddis Fly, also a favorite of trout. But when I was a child I knew nothing of bug magic. Periwinkles were just one of the small details of daily living taken for granted and filed away in the recesses of one’s childhood memories, seldom dusted off or reexamined in later life.

As my husband Shya and I became more interested in the art of fly fishing, particularly on rivers, we were introduced to entomology, the science of bugs. I learned that Mayflies, for instance, mate in the air and the female lays her fertilized eggs on the water, which then float down to the riverbed where they gestate and turn into the larval stage. Eventually the larva swim to the top of the water column, where they shed their case and emerge to fly away and start the cycle once again. That’s why trout will eat the larva, the immerging flies as they swim toward the sky or the flies as they dance on top of the water, dropping their eggs. They will also key in on the spinners, spent bugs who have mated and fall back to the surface to be eaten or reabsorbed into the river itself.

There have been days on the river when I have seen a patchy fog of gnats, a smoky winged haze as millions undulate millimeters above the water’s surface skin as far as the eye can see. At times there are Trico spinners masquerading as gossamer tree fluff floating weightlessly down toward the water’s slick surface. It is easy to watch their effortless descent only to be surprised as they abruptly change direction and dance skyward on translucent white wings.

As I stood by my car, I watched the buttery colored Mayflies, dainty ballerinas, wings erect, waiting to make their entrance on a watery stage. I did so with a sense of wonder, of childlike innocence.

When my tank was full and the pump clicked off, the attendant returned. “Damned bugs,” he said as he removed the nozzle, replaced my fuel cap and closed the fuel door. No, I thought. It’s magic. Bug Magic.


Since 1987, internationally acclaimed authors, seminar leaders, radio show hosts and business consultants Ariel and Shya Kane have acted as guides, leading people through the swamp of the mind into the clarity and brilliance of the moment. Find out more about the Kanes, their seminars in NYC, in the UK, Germany and Costa Rica, the Say YES to Your Life! Meetups their work has inspired, their Being Here radio show or join their email newsletter. Also get information about their award-winning books. Their newest book, Practical Enlightenment, is now available on Amazon.com.

More Here!

The Gift of Simplicity By Cynthia Brian

Posted by Editor on
The Gift of Simplicity By Cynthia Brian


Teens talk and the world listens every Tuesday NOON PT on the Voice America Kids Network. Produced by StarStyler® Productions, LLC and Cynthia Brian, these young adults know how to rock and express their unique views. Join the fun!

Life is better when it’s simple. Hosts Asya Gonzalez and Brigitte Jia read Jacqueline Tao’s chapter from Be the Star You Are!® for Teens then interview Jacqueline about her views today on simplicity. Reporter Katelyn Darrow encourages a more minimalist lifestyle. Listen for tips to help you enjoy more balance. Take a moment and drop all the materials from your hands. Temporarily abandon your computer, smart phone, TV, iPod, etc. Go to an open space outside, and observe all the simple privileges and joys that are available to you: the fresh air, good weather, nice view, quietness/excitement, food to eat, and a place to call home. Relish nature. Take note of these things and learn to appreciate the simple things. Life is simply super when we eliminate the complexities and enjoy the simple gifts.
“The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak.” Hans Hoffman

Listen at Voice America Network :  hhttps://www.voiceamerica.com/episode/96124/simplicity

View Photos, Descriptions, & More at Express Yourself!™ Teen Radio: http://www.starstyleradio.com/expressyourselfteenradio


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