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Cynthia Brian’s Gardening Guide for July

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Empowerment
Cynthia Brian’s Gardening Guide for July

“To me every hour of the light and dark is a miracle,
Every cubic inch of space is a miracle.”
~ Walt Whitman

cyn in hydrangeas

Yeah! It’s summer. Time for vacations, swim meets, barbecues, swinging in hammocks!, and…conserving water resources. Our weather patterns have certainly been weird.  My car thermostat registered 107 degrees on a Monday in June and two days later I was gathering buckets to catch the downpour. The thirteen hours of welcome rain was not enough to quench the thirst of our landscapes. Brown may be the new green, but I prefer to call our gardens California gold. My lawn crunches when I walk on it and the only green is the slowly spreading striking clover with its tiny pink flowers. Yet, have hope, because as long as we maintain vigilante, come winter, lawns and gardens will revitalize.

pond with poppies

Is your garden sunny or shady? When evaluating what to plant where, remember that an area is considered sunny when it gets at least six hours of direct sunlight daily. When an area receives four to five hours of sunshine, it is considered only partly sunny. A shade garden is an area that receives less than three hours a day of sunshine.

This week I received a few new releases of hibiscus from JBerry Nursery. These stunning specimens are called Patio Party with colors that are bursting with flair and frivolity. Although they are advertised as being deer resistant, as soon as I planted mine, our dear deer devoured the flowers and leaves.
I made wire cages to protect the plants and am now considering installing a deer fence. As much as I enjoy observing these munching marauders, with our severe drought, they are hungrier than usual and are eating plants that they’d normally avoid.
fireworks dahlia
Did you read the recent insert of your East Bay Municipal Utility District water bill? With our busy schedules most people toss the extras but this issue of Pipeline discussed the critical water shortage and the mandatory outdoor watering rules. Because these new regulations affect all landscapes, in BOLD I am posting the rules now in effect with a few of my personal recommendations.
1. Strict limits on frequency of watering: no more that two non-consecutive days per week with no runoff.  I recommend choosing a Monday and Thursday or Tuesday and Friday or Wednesday and Saturday to water. Sundays are a day to rest.
2. Strict limits on times: only before 9 a. m. or after 6 p.m. Depending on how long your watering schedule takes, I recommend watering lawns in the mornings beginning anytime after 6 a.m. By doing this, you give your grass time to absorb the moisture and enjoy the sun. When you water your lawn in the evening, you may be inviting lawn moths as the grass doesn’t have enough time to dry. For your flowerbeds, evening is a better time to water as the moisture has twelve to fifteen hours to saturate and quench the earth.
3. No watering allowed within 48 hours of measurable rainfall.
4. No watering of ornamental turf on public street medians allowed.
5. No washing of driveways and sidewalks, except as needed for health and safety.  I recommend that you use a broom to sweep or a blower to keep driveways and sidewalks clean.
6. Use only hoses with shutoff nozzles to wash vehicles. If you have an area of grass or lawn that is accessible to your vehicle, drive on the lawn and wash your car, using biodegradable soap. Your car gets clean and your lawn gets a drink.
7. Turn off fountains or decorative water features unless the water is re-circulated.  Remember if you have uncirculated standing water, you are inviting mosquito larvae to hatch. Buy Dunks or add a bit of bleach to keep the water mosquito free.
Conservation is essential and EBMUD will be adopting excessive use ordinances that will penalize households. We may not be able to keep our landscapes beautiful, but we can keep our gardens alive. Just remember they aren’t brown, they are California golden.
ferns
Cynthia Brian’s Gardening Guide for July

⎫ CUT old or overgrown elderberry trees down to the ground. The stump will re-sprout providing better flower and fruit production.
⎫ GROW a pollinator garden in a pot with nectar and pollen rich snapdragons, coneflowers, coreopsis, zinnias, thyme, sage, salvias, and sedums.
⎫ PLANT tall perennials together as support beams for one another. Make sure to read the tags for spacing details. Don’t overcrowd.
⎫ CELEBRATE the 4th of July with a picnic table set with red, white, and blue flowers from your garden.  Red roses, dahlias, or alstroemeria, blue agapantha, white gardenia or begonia will be surefire winners.
⎫ CHECK for sources of mosquito breeding. Mosquitoes won’t breed in swimming pools as long as the pool is filtered and chlorinated.
⎫ REPEL pests and attract beneficial birds and insects by planting aromatic herbs such as basil, rosemary, thyme, or sage.
⎫ REDUCE weeds by mulching with grass clippings, leaves, and other organics. Sweep or blow all of your leaves onto your lawn before mowing. Use a bag on the mower and pour all of the contents into the compost pile.
⎫ WATCH the frolicking of the birds in your garden, specifically the California quail. Both the father and the mother tend to their covey of babies.
⎫ BLAST aphids with a strong spray from the hose on any plants that have been invaded. If you see ants on your plants, they are protecting the aphids. Get rid of the ants and you’ll also get rid of the aphids.
⎫ SPRAY yourself with a bug repellent containing DEET for outdoor festivities when biting insects are present.
⎫ BRING miracles into your life by savoring the long days of summer.

Happy Independence Day. May your month of July be filled with fireworks of fun.
Happy Gardening and happy growing.
Read more at Lamorinda Weekly

©2015
Cynthia Brian
The Goddess Gardener
Starstyle® Productions, llc
Cynthia@GoddessGardener.com
www.GoddessGardener.com
925-377-STAR
I am available as a speaker, designer, and consultant.

Cynthia Brian is a New York Times best selling author, speaker, coach, and host of the radio show, StarStyle®-Be the Star You Are!® broadcasting live every Wednesday from 4-5pm PT on the Voice America Network.. She also is the creator and producer of Express Yourself!™ Teen Radio and Executive Director of Be the Star You Are!® 501c3 charity.

A Dad’s Dream

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Empowerment
A Dad’s Dream

cyn-dad's garden

Digging Deep-Gardening with Cynthia Brian

A Dad’s Dream, a Mom’s Desire

“The most beautiful view is the one I share with you.”
~ Source unknown
Two decades ago, a San Francisco family made their way across the bridge in search of a quiet neighborhood, warm weather, and good schools within easy access of the freeway. At the top of a private drive in Lamorinda, Pam’s instinct encouraged her to place a bid on the first house she saw-a stylish Cape Cod backed up to a hill of majestic oaks with plenty of privacy on ¾ of an acre. When Bob saw the property, though it was overgrown with poison oak, blackberry bushes, and brush, he could visualize the garden of his dreams. Together they envisioned a landscape that would look like it had always existed in nature, albeit, with a little help from a professional. The property was cleared of weeds and debris, deer fencing was erected, new topsoil was delivered, and the design was executed.

Pam's pond

The family wanted a babbling brook that cascaded into a pond. Forty tons of boulders were trucked in from a Napa quarry and lifted by crane over the house since there was no access to the backyard. The stream springs from the top of the hill property, flowing over river rocks surrounded by ferns, hellebores, trailing geraniums, grasses, and a plethora of lush specimens until it splashes into the pool where friendly koi gather and a turtle named Flash sleeps beneath the water lilies.
Off the master bedroom, they planted a formal rose garden in the French chateau style bordered by a clipped boxwood hedge. They kept the original brick patio and outdoor fireplace near the house while creating meandering paths that wind up and down the hill opening unto unexpected garden rooms. Three spectacular Japanese maples and three madrones anchor the design, offering year round form, structure, and color. Drifts of hydrangea, rhododendrons, azaleas, agapanthus, hostas, daisies, carnations, and various ground covers fill the background. The gardener in the family, Bob, enjoys experimenting with a variety of specimens. He has created a berry patch with raspberries, blueberries, boysenberries, and blackberries. Around another bend, he grows citrus, including a healthy kefir lime plus trees of apple, plum, and fig. At the top of the hill, beans, tomatoes, horseradish, herbs, pumpkins, potatoes, asparagus, and peppers thrive. An underground spring augments their watering system. Bob’s efficient home built compost bin resides outside the fence, ready to nourish the garden organically.

table-birds

A retired flight attendant currently enjoying a second career as an actor, I met Pam when she worked as an assistant on my TV series, StarStyle®-Live Your Dreams, and I’ve been privileged since to coach her as on-camera talent. An avid fan of flea markets, Pam taps into her artistic power discovering interesting tossed treasures that she creatively displays throughout the plot. Culminating at the end of the raspberry row, a 1950’s oven opens featuring plants in a pan. Around a turn, an old bicycle bears baskets of pink geraniums.  Walk up the path a bit further, and a rusted children’s pedal car is stranded on a boulder. Rock cairns are piled on an overhang at the pond.  Restful seating areas and sweet surprises delight the senses throughout the backyard.  My personal favorite is the mystical gravel and river rock topped table set with glasses and a bottle of wine reserved for two.  Behind the wire fence with twining vines and ivy, ceramic birds perch on a branch ready to break into song.

Sirah vines with shirly tractor

A few years ago, Bob decided to plant a vineyard. One hundred and twenty vines of Syrah grow on a side hill above the stacked stone retaining wall. Roses bloom at the end of each row, succulents and pots of cacti climb the stairway. Pam’s whimsical contribution to the vineyard includes an antique children’s tractor parked between the vines, and a collection of whirly birds to keep the flying birds from devouring the grapes. Sal Captain of Captain Vineyards helps with the management of the crops while Bob does his own bottling and labeling, winning awards in the process.
The gardens and vineyards are beautiful, bountiful, and bucolic. It’s obvious that Bob and Pam take great pride and joy in their voluptuous, unique garden. With all the stone, wood, water, and living greenery, this outdoor oasis claims a natural structure and feeling of security and protection. Although they both love “the City”, they are thrilled that they took that drive through the tunnel twenty years ago to discover their own personal nirvana.

turtle wine bottle

Their dream of a secret garden has been realized as they share the view together toasting Father’s Day with a glass of their private label Turtle Crossing wine.

Cynthia Brian’s Mid Month Reminders

ROTATE crops. Don’t plant vegetables in the same spot as last year.
BUY summer annuals for containers to add color to your patio.
PINCH petunias and dahlias to keep them blooming.
RAISE the blades on lawnmowers to offer more sun protection and moisture retention to your grass.
PROVIDE abodes for toads by placing broken clay pots throughout the garden. By inviting toads into your garden, you’ll be getting free insect control.
RESCUE thirsty bees and ladybugs that dive into your swimming pool during the heat. Use a net to capture and release to avoid unnecessary stings.
HELP reverse the decline of pollinating insects, honey bees, native bees, birds, bats, and monarch butterflies by joining the Million Pollinator Garden Challenge. For information, visit http://millionpollinatorgardens.org.
BEWARE of ticks hitchhiking in your hair after hiking or working outside. If you get bit in the neck, call your physician or go to urgent care immediately. I know the dangers from recent experience!

antique car
A salute and thanks to all the Daddy’s of Lamorinda, especially the ones that garden and dream!

Happy Gardening. Happy Growing.

Read more: https://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue0908/Digging-Deep-Gardening-with-Cynthia-Brian.html

©2015
Cynthia Brian
The Goddess Gardener
Starstyle® Productions, llc
Cynthia@GoddessGardener.com
www.GoddessGardener.com
925-377-STAR
I am available as a speaker, designer, and consultant.

rock piles

Cynthia Brian is a New York Times best selling author, speaker, coach, and host of the radio show, StarStyle®-Be the Star You Are!® broadcasting live every Wednesday from 4-5pm PT on the Voice America Network.. She also is the creator and producer of Express Yourself!™ Teen Radio and Executive Director of Be the Star You Are!® 501c3 charity.

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