Tag Archives

4 Articles

Pruning Roses

Posted by rstapholz on
Pruning Roses

Gertrud Jekyl climbing rose cascading.jpeg

Digging Deep with Goddess Gardener, Cynthia Brian


Time to Prune Roses

By Cynthia Brian

“I love to prune my roses. That’s the one thing I really feel I do pretty well!” Julie Andrews

My roses are still blooming, and the bushes are filled with leaves. Yet, it is February and time to do the heavy pruning. My grapevines are already pruned, but I’ve been waiting for my roses to remember it is winter before I cut them back. Towards the middle to end of January used to be the optimum weeks to prune roses. Last year, I didn’t prune until late February and this year will be the same. Pruning any later in the season will deplete the plant’s energy resulting in spindly shoots. Normally within two months of pruning, the roses are once again touting their fragrant flowers. I gave over a hundred canes of my various roses to my neighbor last season. She rooted three or four canes per container of potting soil and by May those canes were blooming. 

rose from cane cut.jpeg

Ah, roses. They are one of nature’s super spectacular specimens. Fossil evidence in Oregon and Montana indicates that the rose dates back at least 35 million years, long before humans appeared on the landscape. Cultivation probably began in China more than five thousand years ago. In the seventeenth century, roses and rose water were used as payment for goods and barter. Late in the eighteenth century, China introduced cultivated roses to Europe. Throughout history, roses have been used for perfume, medicine, symbolism, and legal tender. 

David austin -The Long Garden_.jpeg

For many years, I’ve had the privilege of chatting with various expert rosarians across the globe. The one piece of advice that is common to all is the recommendation to lose the fear of pruning. Although there are guidelines for proper pruning, if you make a mistake, or don’t follow the directions, most likely the rose bush will survive despite your best efforts to give it a bad cut.

angelface rose.jpeg

The reasons for pruning are numerous. Pruning does the following:

1.     Creates a plant that will flower with high-quality blooms.

2.     Shapes the bush into an attraction that fits with the garden.

3.     Removes deadwood and diseased stems.

4.     Removes canes that are weak or rubbing against one another.

5.     Stimulates new growth.

Arizona rose.jpeg

Pruning is cathartic and good for the soul of humans! It is a garden chore that I always encourage a homeowner to do herself as opposed to hiring someone to do this chore. Tools of the trade include heavy-duty garden gloves, a sharp-edged pruning shear, and long-handled loppers for those thick canes. Sterilize your tools before you begin the task, then get up close and personal. 

rose cutting garden.jpeg

How to Prune:


Most roses are not fussy when it comes to how they are pruned. Repeat flowering shrub and bush roses are the most forgiving. English roses, hybrid teas, floribundas, patio, and miniatures can be pruned similarly. Reduce their height by 1/3 to 2/3 depending on how you want your plant to look and how tall you want the plant to grow. Thin stems to aid in disease control. 

arizona roses.jpeg

Since the goal of climbing and rambling roses is to climb and cover a pergola, fence, or other structure, only light pruning is necessary. Flowers are produced on side shoots which can be reduced to three or four buds, depending on the appearance you wish. If you must choose between cutting out an old shoot or a new shoot, always prune the old and save the new.

Lady of Shalott Climbng rose.jpeg

Many of the Old Roses like Gallicas, Damasks, and Albas that only bloom once will only flower on shoots from stems that are at least a year old. If you prune once-flowering roses too heavily, you will have no flowers. When they are five or six years old with tired-looking stems, you can cut them out to encourage new growth and flowering. 

princess of monaco rose.jpeg

After you have pruned, offer the healthy canes of non-trademarked species to friends and neighbors who would like to begin propagating roses. Or cultivate a new rose garden for yourself by dipping the canes in a rooting hormone then planting in a container with good quality potting soil.  Clean up any leftover stems, remove leaves from the bushes, and add to the compost pile.

clematis and yellw rose.jpeg

To add to your collection of roses, purchasing bare root and planting in February is a cost-saving way to go that will yield blooms in late spring. Once you’ve brought your bare roots home, soak them in a bucket of water overnight and then allow them to drain for thirty minutes before planting. Never allow the roots to dry out. Check the roots for any damage and trim as necessary. If the roots look good, do not trim or cut. 

mr lincoln roses.jpeg

Roses thrive in humus-rich, water-retentive soil with a pH of 6.5. Choose a bright, sunny location void of competition for root space, water, and nutrients. Improve the soil with rotted manure and compost and dig a generous size hole. Read directions on the package to determine the optimum hole size. Augment with mycorrhizal fungi to improve water supply and nutrients. Plant the bud union two inches below ground level. Water well. In spring, you’ll want to add a layer of mulch or compost around each plant and fertilize the roses. Companion plant with lavender to encourage beneficial insects to be on pest patrol.

princess of monaco rose.jpeg

Your roses will be lush, blooming, and beautiful just in time for barbecues and patio parties. By Mother’s Day, you’ll be picking bouquets. Instead of buying cut roses for Valentine’s Day, consider giving the gift of a potted rose plant. Miniatures make great gifts.


Now, back to pruning my roses because I do it pretty well, too!

Happy Gardening. Happy Growing. Happy Valentine’s. 

tournament of roses.jpeg

Photos and more: https://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue1525/Digging-Deep-with-Goddess-Gardener-Cynthia-Brian-Time-to-prune-roses.html

Cynthia Brian-office.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.

Cynthia Brian books banner.jpg

Buy copies of her books, including, Chicken Soup for the Gardener’s Soul, Growing with the Goddess Gardener, and Be the Star You Are! www.cynthiabrian.com/online-store. Receive a FREE inspirational music DVD and special savings.

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



Looking Out!

Posted by rstapholz on
Looking Out!

view from dning room.jpeg

“The heart is like a garden. What seeds will you plant there?” Buddha

The first vista I witness every morning as I traipse downstairs in my pink fluffy slippers to grab a cup of java invigorates my day. Outside my stairwell window,  a tall crimson camellia tree sways in the breeze flanked by a shimmering evergreen flowering pear. Rounding the corner, I look to my right. Through the hand-made stained-glass arch, winter and spring co-mingle. The bright cerise flowers of the peach tree frame the hillside carpeted by sprouting ranunculus, anemones, and hundreds of daffodils in a myriad of colors and textures: yellow on yellow, white and yellow, peach and white, white with white, orange and yellow. Frilly, singles, doubles, clusters…all with throats singing to the sky. Bare branches of pistache trees hug the redwoods. Butter-hued Meyer lemons hang like well-placed ornaments. I never fail to be awed by the majesty and beauty regardless of the season.

daffodils at sunsets.jpeg

Looking out to my colorful panoramas was carefully planned many years ago when I planted the first seeds and bulbs. Bringing the outdoors in has always been a priority for me. For over two decades I practiced interior design as a professional member of the American Society of Interior Designers. I believe that our landscape is an extension of our homes and as such must reflect our moods, tastes, personalities, and preferential palettes. For me, color is an essential element to my happiness. When I look through a window, I want to see my internal penchants reflected by nature. Looking out is looking in.

flowering peach blossoms.jpeghttps://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue1501/Digging-Deep-with-Goddess-Gardener-Cynthia-Brian-Looking-out.html

With less than three weeks to go before the vernal equinox, this is an auspicious time to contemplate how we want to orient our window views for the future. When you look out your windows, what do you want to see? Do you want flowering or fruiting trees? Do you want a monochromatic design? Are you like me and want to luxuriate in color? Are bulbs the surprise you anticipate yearly, or do you prefer planting annuals and perennials?

columbine-wild strawberry.jpeg

My garden is abloom with pear, peach, and plum trees. Orange, tangerine, tangelo, lemon, and lime trees are filled with ripening fruit. Daffodils blanket the landscape, tulips are beginning to pop, columbine, wild strawberry, and vinca minor are flush with flowers. I couldn’t finish pruning all my rose bushes because so many were still budding. Nature orchestrates a steady stream of amazement.

Lady Hamilton rose, David Austin.jpeg

Although the nights are still cool, the days are warming allowing the soil temperatures to rise. Weeds are rapidly sprouting, and the ground can be worked in preparation for seeding and planting. Read garden catalogs or books for ideas on how to design spaces that will offer you years of enjoyment.  I’m preparing beds in full sun where I’ll scatter seeds of Lauren’s dark grape poppies. Poppies can handle frost and bloom best when started in early spring. These seedlings will emerge within fourteen days. The flowers will boast four-to-five inch chalice-shaped flowers in a showy port wine hue and they will self-sow for future enjoyment. 

plum blossoms.jpeg

Another favorite perennial plant that I’m adding to my garden is the Lenten rose or hellebore. These plants which feature chartreuse, white, pink, and purple flowers with evergreen foliage are hummingbird friendly, deer-resistant, and water-wise. They thrive in part sun to full shade and are hardy to minus 30 degrees Fahrenheit. 

chartreuse  lenten rose.jpeg

What will you plant in your spring garden as you look out?

looking out window to pear and camellia.jpeg

Cynthia Brian’s March Gardening Guide

  • RESTORE your mental and physical health by planting a beautiful vista outside your windows.
  • FILTER your indoor air with houseplants. According to NASA, 87 percent of volatile organic compounds are removed by live plants naturally. Now that is nothing to sneeze over!
  • RETHINK the design of your landscape to coincide with your interior spaces.
  • PULL weeds as they sprout.
  • PERUSE garden catalogs to plan a 2021 victory garden of healthy vegetables and herbs.
  • Garden Catalogs 2021.jpeg
  • FERTILIZE lawns.
  • SCATTER slug and snail bait.
  • REACH horticultural heights with a selection of flowering trees and shrubs. 
  • SUPPORT the Moraga Garden Club’s project, Moraga for Monarchs by helping to install a Monarch Butterfly Habitat and Education Garden at Rancho Laguna Park. Visit www.moragagardenclub.com.
  • FORCE branches of crabapple, quince, forsythia, and redbud by placing your tree prunings in a bucket of water in a dark place until the buds swell. Move the branches to a beautiful vase filled with warm water and enjoy the show. Change the water daily and add a few drops of bleach to ward off bacteria.
  • TRIM dead foliage from your ornamental grasses using sharp hedge clippers.
  • PICK up camellias blossoms that have fallen to the ground. Decaying blooms harbor petal blight.
  • AERATE your lawn. The soil is compacted from winter rains and foot traffic.  Leave the plugs to add nutrients back into the grass.
  • SPRINKLE poppy seeds as spring approaches. 
  • tangerine tree.jpeg

Happy Gardening. Happy Growing!

More Photos: https://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue1501/Digging-Deep-with-Goddess-Gardener-Cynthia-Brian-Looking-out.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 books banner.jpg

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



cyn-tangerine tree.jpeg

Let the Sun Shine!

Posted by rstapholz on
Let the Sun Shine!


When the moon is in the Seventh House
And Jupiter aligns with Mars
Then peace will guide the planets
And love will steer the stars.

This is the dawning of the Age of Aquarius.” Lyrics to Age of Aquarius by The 5th Dimension

Astrologers don’t agree that it is the dawning of the Age of Aquarius, but one thing is certain, until February 18th, we are living under the sign of Aquarius. It has not felt like winter as the sun has been shining daily with only sporadic bouts of drizzle. In the past two weeks, gardens have burst into bloom as the days are warmer and brighter.

Here, in my yard, spring has sprung a full month ahead of schedule. The peach tree buds display their glorious magenta hues, the daffodils stretch their necks to the heavens, and camellias didn’t take a bloom break. Throughout our neighborhoods, evergreen pear trees are in full flower. Birds are feathering their nests, the frogs have begun their mating croaks, and worms are busy loosening the soil.

daffodils with chinese fringe.jpeg

Our reservoirs are not yet at capacity and we desperately need more rain. Since the groundhog went back into her hole, I’m hopeful that we will still get much-needed precipitation. 

flowering pear flowers.jpeg

Cynthia Brian’s Garden Chores for February


Pruning: Roses need to be pruned to allow for them to thrive. You’ll need pruning shears, loppers, a pruning saw, and gloves. Cut out dead or woody stems as well as any diseased or damaged stems. If you have rambling roses, allow them to ramble unless you need them contained. With climbers, cut the previous year’s flowering shoots. For hybrid teas and floribundas, prune the stems by 2/3. With shrub roses, cutting back to a 1/3 for single flowering and 1/3 to 2/3 for repeat flowering. Pruning will ensure a beautiful, long-lasting blooming season. Keep in mind if you want smaller plants, you may prune harder. Make sure to nicely shape your bushes. If you have the room, select canes to plant elsewhere or give to a friend. You can plant the canes directly in the ground or in pots to root. Dip canes in a rooting powder before planting.

rose canes in pots.jpeg

Bare-Root Planting: Through early spring you can plant bare-root roses. 

  • • Make sure the soil isn’t frozen or water-logged. 
  • • Choose an area that receives a minimum of four hours of sunlight daily. The more sun, the better your bush will grow. 
  • • Rehydrate your bare-root in a bucket of water overnight. 
  • • Remove weeds and rocks from the area where you will dig the hole and loosen the soil with a garden fork. 
  • • Dig a hole with a spade approximately 16” x 20” or whatever is necessary for the roots to spread.
  • • Add a few handfuls of compost or rose soil to the hole.
  • • Remove the rose from the bucket and place in the hole. Keep the bottom of the stems need to be 2-3” below the top of the hole.
  • • Replace the original soil, the tap down with your foot.
  • • Water.

Other Goddess Gardener Tips

  •  FERTILIZE your trees, shrubs, and ground covers. 
  •  SCATTER snail bait around your garden.
  •  APPLY a systemic insecticide to roses to prevent the first flush of aphids in the spring.
  •  SPRAY roses, citrus trees, fruit trees, evergreen pear trees, and crape myrtles with dormant oil to protect again fungal disease.
  •  PICK UP and discard fallen camellia blooms.
  • camililia tree.jpeg
  •  CUT a branch from a budding peach tree to watch the flowers unfurl.
  •  PLANT a few of my favorite specimens: 
  • • To attract hummingbirds: Fringe-love lies bleeding (Amaranthus caudatus) boasts striking red hanging plumage. Columbine (aquilegia) is a perennial with clouds of bell-shaped flowers in several colors. A loquat tree offers flowers that hummingbirds crave.
  • fringe-love lies bleeding plant.jpeg
  • • Drought-resistant, no maintenance ground cover: Pink Knotweed
  • Pink Knowtweed. (persicaria capitata).jpeg
  • • Shade plant with distinctive colors: Hellebores
  • hellebore-lavender-blue.jpeg
  • • For Borders: Bergenia
  • • A shrub that cascades: Purple potato plant
  • purple potato plant.jpeg

As we leave the sign of Aquarius and enter the horoscope of Pisces, let’s pray that the lyrics from the Age of Aquarius ring true throughout 2021.

Harmony and understanding
Sympathy and trust abounding
No more falsehoods or derisions
Golden living dreams of visions
Mystic crystal revelation
And the minds true liberation

Let the sun shine, let the sun shine in! And, please let it rain this month.

Guara with pink flowers.jpeg

Happy Gardening! Happy Growing!

Photos and more: https://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue1426/Digging-Deep-with-Goddess-Gardener-Cynthia-Brian-Let-the-sun-shine-in.html

Cynthia-star earring copy.jpegCynthia 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.

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



Dream a Little! By Cynthia Brian

Posted by Editor on
Dream a Little! By Cynthia Brian


“Be at War with your Vices,
at Peace with your Neighbours,
& let every New-Year find you a better Man.”
Benjamin Franklin

jer,marcia,cy, brian-new years
Resolutions, goals, a fresh start. Does January bring out your best efforts in wishful thinking as you embark on a new year or do you have the stamina and mindfulness to actually fulfill your gardening dreams? The famous English gardener and writer, Vita Sackville-West, wrote: “The most noteworthy thing about gardeners is that they are always optimistic, always enterprising, and never satisfied. They always look forward to doing something better than they have ever done before.”  Although Vita died in 1962, her gardens at Sissinghurst survive as a national treasure, thriving with seasonal beauty and tender care from volunteers. I was fortunate enough to travel the grounds last year and marvel, even in the rain, at the expanse of her horticultural involvement. Vita’s quote definitely describes my personal gardening mantra as my motto has always been “Failure is fertilizer. Throw the mistake on the compost pile to grow a new garden.”  In other words, mistakes, or malfattis as we say in Italian are always an experiment in something new…and maybe even a better creation. I don’t rest on my bay laurels but keep on striving.
sissinghurst fall garden
One of my favorite global excursions is to visit gardens everywhere I travel. Exploring gardens, great and small, is a wonderful way to expand one’s horticultural intelligence while gathering ideas for one’s own plot. At the top of my resolution list for 2017 I’ve designated garden hopping as a must-do. In the past few weeks, I’ve had numerous emails from readers of this column with questions, comments, and aspirations as well as ambitious dreams for gardening in 2017.  Here are ideas you may wish to employ this year as you dig a little and dream a lot!
hydrangeas, roses
⎫ Get your children and grandchildren engaged in gardening activities. Virtues, skills, and life itself are learned in the garden.
⎫ Be brave. Experiment more. Worry less. There are no brown thumbs.
⎫ Plant more seeds to watch the wonder of sprouting.
⎫ Grow more vegetables and herbs in your pots or potager for a healthier plant to plate palate. Consume, share, preserve to eliminate waste.
⎫ Photograph your garden often and keep records of what blooms when, what works where, and what you want to edit.
⎫ Install a water-saving irrigation system.
⎫ Donate extra produce to a food bank.
⎫ When time is limited, hire help.
⎫ Compost, compost, compost. (see composting recipe below)
⎫ Visit botanical gardens wherever you travel.
⎫ Encourage pollinators to take up residence by planting and offering habitat that attract them. Birds, bees, bats, hummingbirds, and butterflies are precious protectors.
⎫ Eliminate insecticides and pesticides. Research companion planting.
⎫ Mulch more to reduce weeds, keep the soil warm or cool depending on the weather, and stop soil erosion.
⎫ Take a class to expand your knowledge.
⎫ Be more realistic.
⎫ Find interesting outdoor accents to use in the landscape like vintage windows, doors, or Victorian gazing balls.
⎫ Add one or more water elements.
⎫ Start saving special seeds.
⎫ Propagate from cuttings.
⎫ Plant a garden or pots in a patio for the first time.
⎫ Add a new rosebush.
⎫ Plant a cutting garden for creating beautiful bouquets year round.
⎫ Sow a path of fragrance with lavender, jasmine, honeysuckle, or other sweet-smelling shrubs.
⎫ Become more aware of the natural world by paying attention to the sounds, smells, and sights.
⎫ Make your garden drought tolerant with succulents.
⎫ Resolve to utilize organic gardening methods.
⎫ Begin keeping a journal of your outdoor endeavors.
⎫ Use tropical plants indoors as air purifiers as well as décor focal points.
⎫ Enjoy your garden more, slave less. Spend at least 15 minutes every day admiring your beautiful handiwork in conjunction with nature.

Since getting in shape or losing weight is the number one New Year’s resolution that is rarely kept, remember that gardening provides an excellent workout with the digging, tilling, weeding, raking, mowing, moving, planting, and climbing. Plus gardening is great fun.  My hope for you is that you will adopt one or more of these tips as your gardening promise for the year. Be enterprising. Do things better than you ever did before. Be optimistic. Be the STAR you are.
drying flowers for potpourri
As we take a moment to reflect on the past and look forward to the future, share your gardening dreams for 2017. Email me, Cynthia@GoddessGardener.com.
garden door.jpg
Cynthia Brian’s Garden Guidelines for January
⎫ Compost Recipe: Keep a bucket with a lid on it in the garage or other storage area to fill with your kitchen scraps, shredded newspaper, coffee grinds, tea bags, fish bones (no meat products), and egg shells. Dump daily in an outdoor bin or pile. Add leaves and other brown materials, grass and plant clippings, and garden waste. Keep moist. Turn often with a spade or pitchfork. When the material looks and feels like a damp chocolate cake mix with an aroma of the earth, spread in your beds.
⎫ With the flu and colds that seem to be ubiquitous, make sure to keep lots of citrus on hand, especially oranges and lemons which have a high concentration of vitamin C, citric acid, calcium, iron, fiber, and B complex vitamins. Squeeze lemon juice on salads, vegetables, meat, and, of course, in your water to keep you hydrated. Even cut flowers benefit from drops of lemon juice in the vase, helping the water to travel from the stems to the flowers. Scatter the peels on any acid loving plants in your garden including roses, azaleas, rhododendrons, and fuchsias as a natural fertilizer.
⎫ It’s time to do your heavy pruning on your roses. Cut out any dead wood. Prune roses to about knee height. Although many people assume that roses are fussy, they really are quite tolerant providing months of luscious blooms.
⎫ Buy and plant bare-root roses, berries, vines, and fruit trees now following the instructions on the packaging.
⎫ Spray an application of dormant spray on peaches and other fruit trees to kill overwintering insects.
⎫ Peruse catalogues for ideas for spring and summer flowers.
⎫ Make fragrant potpourri from cut flowers.

Happy Gardening and Happy Growing! Happy, Healthy, Auspicious New Year!

Dig a little, dream a lot!

Read More

Cynthia Brian
The Goddess Gardener
StarStyle® Productions, llc
Tune into Cynthia’s Radio show at www.StarStyleRadio.net
I am available as a speaker, designer, and consultant.  

Enjoy this blog? Please spread the word :)

Follow by Email