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Pivots for the Planet with the Goddess Gardener

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Empowerment
Pivots for the Planet with the Goddess Gardener

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“I should like to enjoy this summer flower by flower as if it were to be the last one for me.” Andre Gide

Summertime and the living is easy! Or is it? 

This year will be a year like no other highlighted by the frightening health pandemic and sorrowful civil unrest. As the economy slowly re-opens, people are clamoring to shop, dine, socialize, get haircuts, and have their teeth cleaned. The line of masked individuals waiting outside reopened stores for their turn to enter is a testament to the yearning to gather. Protesters fill the streets across the country demanding needed national changes. It’s time to listen, re-evaluate, and educate ourselves. Connecting with the natural world is one prescription for finding healing and balance. 

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While I was researching grants to assist the literacy charity, Be the Star You Are!® (www.BetheStarYouAre.org) financially survive during this crisis, I marveled at a constant question: How have you pivoted?  At first, I had no idea what that question meant. What did we have to do to pivot? Where were we supposed to pivot to? After many Zoom conferences, meetings, webinars, and phone meetings, I finally understood. 

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But how can pivoting apply to gardening? The entire world is experiencing chaos.  People who have spent minimal time with nature, who have never thought of growing anything, have become interested in planting and protecting. I’ve had emails from individuals from many walks of life who want to get their hands in the dirt as they are sheltering at home. As they decide to pivot, nature is a salve. When times are stressful, gardens become a refuge. Shoveling, digging, pruning, planting, and watching seedlings grow into something to admire or eat are therapeutic endeavors. 

Whether you decide to grow a few herbs on a windowsill, tomatoes on a balcony, or an abundance of your favorite vegetables, flowers, and fruit in a large garden, there is nothing better than a summer of flavor and colors grown in your personal paradise. When you pivot to your garden, you’ll slow down a bit and feel appreciation. Research consistently indicates that being around growing plants benefits you physically, psychologically, and emotionally. You’ll decompress, gain more muscle mass, increase aerobic endurance, reduce stress, and experience more joy. 

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Summer has always been my most favorite season because of the delightful warm weather and bountiful baskets of fresh fruit, vegetables, and herbs that I harvest from my orchard and potager. The plethora of glorious blooms constantly changes keeping my elation peaked. Unlike most people, I prefer not to travel in the summer months to other destinations. Instead, the beauty of my backyard becomes the playground for family and friends where we barbecue, engage in lawns games, watch the flamboyant sunsets, and wander the grounds watching the parade of wildlife.

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Flowering plants are hummingbird, bee, and butterfly magnets while the seeds attract the birds. Agastache, echinacea, hollyhock, and roses enchant for months. In my orchard, the loquats, mulberries, tangelos, citrus, and plums are ripe. The birds, deer, turkeys, squirrels, and I skirmish for our fair share. Soon apricots, prunes, and peaches will be ready for harvesting and the wrangling will begin again. I adore these encounters with nature. There is abundance for all.

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My field of chamomile is richly fragrant and the petals when plucked and dried will make a comforting tea. The seeds from nigella (love in the mist) have scattered throughout the orchard creating a sea of blue. Bumblebees race from star-shaped blossom to blossom grabbing the sweet nectar. Roses mixed with osteospermum (African daisy) will provide continuous blooms into the fall with frequent deadheading. Lovely on the shrub, the blue hydrangeas are almost as stunning in a dried arrangement.

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An intriguing plant is arum italicum, also known as Italian Lords and Ladies. In late spring, the creamy-white flower is cupped at the base of the plant resembling its relative, Jack-in-the-Pulpit. In mid-summer, striking red-orange berries rise in a columnar formation where the foliage has died back. This tuberous perennial plant self-sows and can become invasive if your yard is small. If you have a woodland area where bergenia, heuchera, or hellebores thrive, it is quite stunning. Beware, all parts of the plant are poisonous. Don’t let it grow in your vegetable patch!

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This summer is destined to be unusual. I plan on adhering to Covid-19 directives to shelter-in-place while refraining from attending large gatherings or even small ones. I’m working from home, wearing a mask and gloves whenever I venture out, constantly maintaining a minimal six feet distance between others, and am continuing to sanitize everything. Hopefully, we won’t go back to what was considered normal in the past and instead take better care and be more aware, of one another and the health of our planet.

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This year I am happy and grateful to enjoy the summer flower by flower. My planet pivot is to play in my personal garden paradise.

What’s your planet pivot?

Stay safe. Stay healthy. Stay strong. Wash your hands. Cover your face!

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Cynthia Brian’s Gardening Guide for July

PIVOT for stress relief to your garden sanctuary.

PREVENT grubs (the larvae of June bugs) by treating your lawn with an organic granular treatment to get rid of larvae. Raccoons, skunks, and moles enjoy grubs as a source of protein.

BOND with children or a partner by planting edibles you will enjoy together. 

DRESS for the dirt by donning gloves, sunscreen, hat, and an apron. If you are doing heavy weeding, wearing overalls is a win.

DRY three to five sprigs of blue hydrangeas for a long-lasting summer arrangement.

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COLLECT the white blossoms of chamomile for a soothing tea.

PLANT Lilliputian miniature roses in a container for a moveable dash of color.

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PICK a basket of mulberries if you are lucky enough to have a tree.

GROW citrus to maintain a constant supply of vitamin C. Dwarf varieties of lemons, limes, tangerines, tangelos, oranges, and grapefruit are available to be grown in half barrels.

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PREVENT fires by removing debris, dead branches, and refuse from around your home and yard. 

CUT all tall grass and keep lawns and shrubs watered.

SAVE rose petals to make bath balms and rose water splashes.

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SUCCESSION planting is the key to a plentiful supply of summer greens including lettuces, arugula, beets, carrots, and radishes. Sow your favorite seeds every three weeks as you consume.

CHECK yourself for ticks after every outdoor excursion. (To date, I’ve removed three!)

ADD hydrogen peroxide to fountains to purify the water without harming the birds.

MAINTAIN social distancing and wear a mask when you leave your home.

TAKE care of Mother Earth. 

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BE SAFE on Independence Day. 

Photos and more at https://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue1409/Digging-Deep-with-Goddess-Gardener-Cynthia-Brian-Planet-pivots.html

Happy gardening. Happy growing. Have a flowerful 4th of July!

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. 

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

Cynthia@GoddessGardener.com

www.GoddessGardener.com

 

Plant a Victory Garden 3.0

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Empowerment
Plant a Victory Garden 3.0

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https://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue1408/Digging-Deep-with-Goddess-Gardener-Cynthia-Brian-Victory-Gardens-30.html

Digging Deep with Goddess Gardener, Cynthia Brian 

Victory Gardens 3.0

By Cynthia Brian 

“In every adversity there lies the seed of an equivalent advantage. In

every defeat is a lesson showing you how to win the victory next time.” Robert Collier, Writer and Publisher

In March 2017, a month before the United States entered World War I, Americans across our lands were asked to plant produce to help feed the Allies fighting in Europe. It wasn’t only farmers who were solicited to start planting. President Woodrow Wilson declared that “food will win the war,” as he encouraged city folks to plant in vacant lots, fields, parks, and pots. So began the “war garden” to sow seeds of victory. 

During World War II, food shortages prevailed once again. Victory Gardens sprouted throughout America, Europe, Canada, and Australia supplying over thirty-three percent of the necessary food for our country. Eleanor Roosevelt even dug up part of the White House lawn to plant a vegetable garden. Turnips, tomatoes, lettuce, peas, beets, beans, cabbages, carrots, squash, onions, potatoes, and many other vegetables were easy to grow and preserve by canning for the winter months. By 1943 there were approximately eighteen million Victory gardens throughout the United States, twelve million of them in cities, and six million in rural areas. 

Today we face major adversities from different kinds of conflicts. The Covid-19 pandemic combined with racial civil unrest throughout our cities, our country, and our world have the potential to increase food scarcity and shortages. We have already witnessed throngs of people emptying grocery store shelves of staples and canned goods. It is easier than ever to grow our own food no matter what our space limitations. If you have a yard, you can choose a small area to plant the vegetables, fruits, and herbs that you love. If you only have a porch or balcony, use pots to grow tomatoes, lettuces, basil, parsley, and peppers. According to the U.S.D.A., 15% of the world’s food supply is now grown in cities.

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Ready to get started?

FIRST

Only five things are needed to grow your Victory Garden 3.0: 

  1. 1. A patch of land, raised bed, or pots that are two gallons or larger
  2. 2. Bags of high-quality garden soil
  3. 3. Healthy plants
  4. 4. Mulch
  5. 5. Water

SECOND

  1. 1. Find an area that will get at least six hours of sunlight per day.
  2. 2. If you are working a patch or raised bed, pull out any weeds and prepare the ground by adding new garden soil. If using pots, wash the pots, make certain there is a drainage hole at the bottom, add a few pebbles, or cracked pottery to help with drainage and fill the pots with your purchased soil. Vegetables need organic matter including compost or manure to thrive because the organic matter decomposes the essential nutrients of Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium to enrich the roots. 
  3. 3. Buy healthy plants from your local nursery or garden center. Check for vibrant green leaves. Look for any insect or snail infestation. Plant according to instructions.
  4. 4. Top with peat moss or other mulch. Peat moss adds aeration, retains moisture, and reduce the leaching of the nutrients. It is a great mulch and can also increase the efficiency in a compost pile.
  5. 5. Water thoroughly and maintain moisture while growing.
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Before planting your Victory Garden 3.0, research the maturity date for the crops you wish to grow as harvest dates vary greatly. If you plant from seeds, you’ll have lettuce and radishes within two weeks. If you are planting zucchini or corn, the time frame is longer, perhaps 100 days. Don’t overlook a nutritious staple that is super easy to grow…potatoes.  Spuds are ready for eating in 70-100 days. Try cutting egg-sized pieces of a potato with two or three eyes. Plant in a two to five-gallon pot, bucket, or in a raised bed. Mound the dirt into little hills as the spuds grow on stems. Pile mulch or straw on top as the tubers grow to keep the stems in total darkness. Don’t eat green potatoes as they can be poisonous. Citrus, apples, and peaches can be planted in large containers.

We are living through a frightening, complicated international crisis. If we have learned any lesson from history, it is that we can win the victory when we work together with empathy, caring, and intelligence. Growing even a portion of our own food will help us be healthier while creating a more sustainable lifestyle. We’ll get exercise, sunshine, fresh air, and have fun growing with our families. Plus, butterflies, bees, and birds will pollinate and entertain as our garden reduces stress and offers soul fulfillment. Don’t forget to plant some “pretties” like Asiatic lilies, gazanias, trumpet vine, and hydrangeas. Annual and perennial flowers add fragrance, structure, and beauty to our lives. 

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Stay safe. Stay healthy.  Plant your Victory Garden 3.0 today!

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Cynthia Brian’s Gardening Guide for June

PLANT tomatoes, peppers, lettuces, eggplants, arugula, cucumbers, beans, corn, and pumpkins. Herbs to plant now for summer harvesting are basil, parsley, and cilantro. 

STAKE or provide a wire cage to support tomatoes so the fruit won’t touch the soil and rot.

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APPLY snail bait to newly planted seedlings and wherever you witness slugs or snails.

FERTILIZE trees, shrubs, and ground covers before the summer heat.

SPRAY crape myrtles to prevent powdery mildew with a natural fungicide such as neem oil extract, jojoba oil, or potassium bicarbonate.

CHECK irrigation systems and readjust sprinkler heads as needed.

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TACKLE aphids with ladybugs or for a small infestation, spray with a mixture of water and dish detergent. 

CUT dead canes of hydrangeas to the ground (anything without a green bud on it). Don’t prune hydrangeas in spring or fall or the flowering buds will be cut off. 

BUY a shorter variety or move a too tall hydrangea as they cannot be pruned to reduce height. Hydrangeas always replace their height. If a hydrangea is drooping on a hot day, it doesn’t need water. It will rebound as the evening cools. Hydrangeas grow great in containers. 

ADD Sulphur or aluminum sulfate to acidic soil to get blue hydrangeas. Rusty nails or copper do not work.

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TREAT both upper and lower leaves of roses with organic Sulphur for fungus problems including black spot, rust, and powdery mildew.

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PRUNE azaleas immediately after spring flowering.

DEEP SOAK trees with a soaker wand when you see the leaves wilting. 

PULL out the dried fronds of spring bulbs. If a bulb comes out with the leaves, cut off the dried foliage and either replant the bulb in a new place immediately or put in a dark, cool space to replant in the fall. 

CELEBRATE your gardening dad on Father’s Day by buying a copy of Growing with the Goddess Gardener or Chicken Soup for the Gardener’s Soul at https://www.CynthiaBrian.com/online-store. 

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CARE for your lawn by raking leaves, twigs, and dead grass. Pull the weeds including dandelions, chickweed, bittercress, and henbit. Aerate and leave the plugs on the grass. Cover bare patches by over-seeding with Pearl’s Premium grass seed. Visit www.Pearlspremium.com. Water early in the morning and fertilize once more before the heat of summer. When mowing, never cut off more than 1/3 and leave grass clippings on the lawn at least every two times you mow.

HARVEST cherries, lemons, tangelos, loquats, and tangerines.

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FEED your family and friends in body, mind, and spirit by planting a Victory Garden 3.0

Happy Gardening. Happy Growing. Happy Father’s Day.

 

Read more:

https://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue1408/Digging-Deep-with-Goddess-Gardener-Cynthia-Brian-Victory-Gardens-30.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 is available for virtual writing projects, garden consults, and inspirational lectures.

Cynthia@GoddessGardener.com

www.GoddessGardener.com

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Garden Gratitude

Posted by Editor on
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Categories
Garden Gratitude

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“Gratitude is the fairest blossom which springs from the soul.” Henry Ward Beecher

As Thanksgiving approaches we find ourselves giving thanks for our family, friends, health, and jobs. But how often do we stop to give gratitude for Mother Nature? As I strolled through my garden during my morning meditation walk, I was overcome with appreciation for the natural world that surrounded me. My garden enhances and nourishes all of my senses. The fiery ruby leaves on my liquid amber or the saffron pumpkin cloaked potted pistache in their autumnal wardrobe add a carnival of color to the landscape. The fragrance from my Angel Face roses is a sweet scent that I dream of bottling. The quail calling to one another, the gurgling of the fountain, and the whistling of the wind through the palms are sounds that calm my spirit and engage my inspiration. On my rounds, I always stop to sample the edibles, tasting the new florets on my cabbage, a sprig of mint to freshen my breath, or plucking a few cumquats to add to my afternoon tea. Touching everything, I arrive back in my kitchen with bouquets of blossoms or moss covered branches to decorate my desk and most of all, to stimulate my creativity.  Over the years, I’ve developed a sixth sense surrounding my outside world. I feel more connected to life, to nature, and to myself while I’m in the garden. And I am grateful for the kinship.

Our gardens are growing universities, teaching us daily the values for enhanced living. From my garden teacher I have learned patience, responsibility, gentleness, kindness, and forgiveness. There are no mistakes in nature and failure is just fertilizer. When it began to rain the last day of October, I quickly ran to fertilize my brown, dry lawn. Today it is emerald green, instructing me about the importance of resiliency.  We all bounce back from challenges and tomorrow is another day.

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This year when we celebrate Thanksgiving, my table will be laden with the goodness from my garden including my mashed home grown potatoes infused with thyme, sage, and rosemary, a wine roasted turkey stuffed with orchard apples, onions, and grapes, plus a fresh picked salad of baby lettuces, arugula, kale, fennel, and sliced Fuju persimmons. Grace will be one of gratitude for the bounty and beauty that Mother Nature provides every day of the year, no matter what the season.

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As I leave work in San Francisco, each time I witness the spectacular sunset in my rear view mirror going east on the Bay Bridge, I breathe a sigh of relief as the grazing cows on the hillside come into view.  The forests of trees, the smell of the wild grasses, the capaciousness of our open spaces, and the sounds of birds replace the honking horns, crowded streets, and urine soaked sidewalk odors of the city.  I give thanks that I have the opportunity to spend my days in a tranquil environment where I breathe clean air and enjoy the lushness of the valleys within a short drive of cultural amenities. Even the eerie howls of the coyotes singing at the moon, the herds of hungry deer dining along my driveway, and the wild turkeys roosting in my pines roots me in gratitude for my rustic simplicity.

I am home. And home is where my heart is.

Cynthia Brian-pond

Cynthia Brian’s Mid Month Reminders

  • ⎫ FERTILIZE your lawn and yard at the first drops of rain. We’ve had a warm fall, so it’s not too late to give a jolt of nutrition to help the landscape withstand the winter months.
  • ⎫ PICK fuju persimmons now to eat and enjoy fresh, in salads, or other appetizers. As soon as your Hachiya persimmons are bright orange, they can also be harvested, however, they cannot be eaten until soft.
  • ⎫ PLANT chrysanthemums to brighten your walkways, containers, and patio.
  • ⎫ ADD a tropical flair to your Thanksgiving décor with an arrangement of the beautiful orange Birds of Paradise.
  • ⎫ CONGRATULATE the wild turkeys crossing through your landscape. They are lucky they are still eating grubs and not part of the Thanksgiving feast!
  • ⎫ PLANT easy to grow, low maintenance Dutch iris, snowdrops, grape hyacinth, daffodils and other spring bulbs for a surprise splash of color come March or April.
  • ⎫ DIVIDE overgrown perennials.
  • ⎫ RAKE leaves, adding them to the mulching pile. Let your kids frolic in them first, making memories that last a lifetime.
  • ⎫ WEED weekly as the rains come to avoid an overabundance of unwanted plants in spring.
  • ⎫ SOW wild flower seeds for a natural, woodsy look.
  • ⎫ GIVE thanks for your garden, our hills, valleys, and Mother Nature.

May you enjoy a cornucopia of blessings and joy this November with your loved ones. Thank you for being such dedicated, involved readers. I appreciate you.

Happy Gardening. Happy Growing. Happy Thanksgiving.

Read at Lamorinda Weekly

 

©2014

Cynthia Brian

Starstyle® Productions, llc

The Goddess Gardener

www.GoddessGardener.com

Cynthia@GoddessGardener.com

925-377-STAR

I am available as a speaker, designer, and consultant.

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