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Growing Gratitude! By Cynthia Brian

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Empowerment
Growing Gratitude! By Cynthia Brian

Cynthia Brian-Thanksgiving bouquet 

“Gratitude is the fairest blossom which springs from the soul.” Henry Ward Beecher
Are you grateful for the simple things in life? This is the perfect time of the year to reflect upon our blessings and gifts. I am so thankful for all of you who read Digging Deep, Gardening with Cynthia Brian. Your interest and questions are always appreciated. Thank you, also, for so many of you who have hired me to help you with your planting needs or garden desires. It’s magnificent to grow with you.
Every day I am very grateful to be a gardener to witness the beauty, bounty, and endless diversity of Mother Nature. Our landscapes are ever changing. What’s here today may not be here tomorrow, nor, the next year. Seeing the cows grazing in the hills, breathing our clean air, enjoying peace, safety, and serenity that only comes from living in this semi-rural environment makes my heart sing with gratitude.
Wild turkeys have moved into Lamorinda territory, immune to the possibility of becoming a holiday main dish! A big Tom waddled across my driveway as two-dozen of his hens toppled and gobbled the berries from the top of my Chinese pistache. As annoying as they can be, I’m happy to co-exist with the wild things. You may want to collect a few of the beautiful turkey feathers as I do to add to your holiday bouquets!
Persimmon trees are bursting with orange tangy fruit, ready for our holiday puddings. Fall is still showing off its brilliant robes of reds, yellows, and gold, yet there is a nip in the air reminding us that winter in a little over a month. Pumpkins and gourds are still a seasonal favorite. Native to North America, pumpkins are a vegetable, not a fruit, genus Cucubita, species pepo or maxima. They are a type of winter squash and the really weird, ugly ones are the most delicious. The blue-green pumpkins you are growing or have purchased are derived from New Zealand. Cook them as their golden-yellow flesh boasts a sweet, mild aromatic flavor. Were you repelled by the warty pumpkins you saw in markets this year? Don’t be! Those ugly growths are actually sugar secretions. The more warty the pumpkin, the smoother, creamier, and sweeter the flesh inside. Make a pumpkin puree for dinner, or a scrumptious pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving and you’ll be hooked!
As we soon bid farewell to fall, let us all keep gratitude in our hearts as we look for the fertile joys that sprout with simplicity. Believe something wonderful is about to transpire.
Grow and glow in gratefulness.
Cynthia Brian’s Mid Month Garden Reminders

PLANT Woodland Herbaceous Peonies, a separate species of herbaceous peony that thrive in the shade. Naturalizing in a deciduous woodland area with the early spring sun and summer shade, they will grow to 1.5 feet tall and self-seed as a ground cover. . Woodland peonies provide three-season appeal with delicate white flowers in early spring, lush green foliage throughout the growing seasons, and dramatic indigo and scarlet seed pods in the fall. http://peonysenvy.com

LOOKING for a pre-planned garden selection. High Country Gardens offers deer and drought resident plants that have color, texture, and curb appeal. http://www.highcountrygardens.com

PRUNE those thorny creepers, bougainvillea, now to remove old flowers. Cover with burlap if exposed in an area that gets frost.
Tom turkey & Rhododenron
COLLECT turkey feathers to add to bouquets to wreaths for Thanksgiving.
Hachiya persimmons
PICK persimmons. Fuyu persimmons can be eaten like apples but the hachiyas must be mushy ripe before eating.
gourds-pumpkins
PUREE warty pumpkins for the sweetest, smoothest, most delicious pumpkin dish you’ll ever taste. Obviously, don’t puree the skins!

CUT branches from liquid amber or Japanese maple trees to use indoors for a punch of end of fall color.
Pink-yellow hibiscus
PLANT your spring bulbs now through January to enjoy a meadow of continuous flowers next year.
hyrdrangea in fall
PICK up pansies to plant for winter. 2017 has been named The Year of the Pansy.

ADD a cover crop to your garden to fix the nitrogen and make green manure for spring.
Austrian winter pea has delicious edible pee shoots. Other great mulching cover crops include clover, mustard, and vetch.
j-berry-new-social-butterfly
DISCOVER a tree to climb with your kids. It’s that time of year!

CULTIVATE ornamental grasses for low-maintenance and drought tolerate plantings. Maiden hair grass, blonde ambition grass, feather reed grass, and silky thread grass are a few of the lesser known but easily propagated species.

TRAIN rambling and vining plants on a trellis or tall support for a spectacular vertical garden wherever space is lacking.

SOW wildflower seeds that will attract pollinators, hummingbirds, and beneficial bugs.
yellow mums
PRUNE all perennials when finished blooming. Add the stems and spent flowers to the compost pile.

FERTILIZE lawns.

GIVE thanks every day for something. Keeping a gratitude journal alongside your garden guide is a great tool for remembering to be grateful.

Thank you, thank you for being my special gardening gang. I am humbled to be your guide on the side. There is no such thing as a brown thumb, just one that hasn’t turned green yet!

Happy Gardening and Happy Growing! Happy Thanksgiving and Turkey Day!

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©2016
Cynthia Brian
The Goddess Gardener
Starstyle® Productions, llc
Cynthia@GoddessGardener.com
www.GoddessGardener.com
925-377-STAR
Tune into Cynthia’s Radio show at www.StarStyleRadio.net
I am available as a speaker, designer, and consultant.  

Color Me Happy! By Cynthia Brian

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Empowerment
Color Me Happy! By Cynthia Brian

“I feel like a warm, red autumn!” Marilyn Monroe

balcony view

My favorite part of a November autumn is looking out from my bedroom balcony to the kaleidoscope of colors dotting the landscape in the valley. Trees are cloaked in hues of magenta, sienna, umber, gold, russet, umber, purple, red, pumpkin, and a variety of greens.  Wherever I walk or drive, the picturesque autumn foliage of Northern California rivals the forests of the Eastern seaboard. We are indeed fortunate to live in a climate that harks four seasons.
pistache-liquid amber colorsFall at Rheem Shopping Center
November of this year brings us an election as well as Thanksgiving.  Since politics is not my favorite subject, I prefer to focus on what needs to be done in our November garden before turkey day.  Autumn is the best time to plant because the soil is still warm and the rains are imminent.  To find trees bursting with colorful leaves, visit your local nursery. Japanese Maple, pistache, liquid amber, crape myrtle, and many fruit trees put on quite a spectacular show this time of year. Buy them now and plant them where they will grow, thrive, and enhance your landscape.

Information on Grass Seed and the Rain
When it rained this past week, I ran outside to plant seeds of my hundred year old plus heirloom hollyhock seeds as well as sunflower seeds. The drizzly weather also posed the most auspicious moment to re-seed my lawn with Pearl’s Premium lawn seed and fertilize with an organic cover. My new grass is already sprouting.  
Pearl's Premium lawn seed
Several emails have arrived asking for more information about my experience with Pearl’s Premium.  I’m not paid to talk or write about this product (although I probably should be on the payroll because I’m so passionate about this seed). Being a believer in one’s right to have a lawn for enjoyment, I’ve been on a mission to find the grass seed that will remain green while using less water.  With my first summer of using Pearl’s Premium behind me, I offer you my personal experimental results.
1. Grass remained somewhat green with brown and bare spots where the irrigation missed the mark.
2. Pearl’s Premium definitely choked out the majority of weeds.
3. I watered twice a week in twelve-minute segments per station using 34% less water over the previous year.
4. The lawn was mowed once a week and grass clippings were left on the lawn at least twice per month to add nutrients.
5. Although not a lush green in the summer, the grass did not die.
6. With just two rainy days, the lawn has emerged as emerald.  I still have a lawn!
fall-crape myrtle-cotoneaster berries
As noted, I am re-seeding my lawns with the expectation that next spring and summer will have even better results as the instructions on the Pearl’s Premium label do indicate that it can take a year for proper establishment. According to Jackson Madnick, the founder of the company, Pearl’s Premium is not sold at retail establishments here in our area so you will need to purchase online at www.PearlsPremium.com.  He is currently installing seven acres of his grass in Palm Desert. The seed is drought tolerant.  As promised, for all of you Lamorinda lawn lovers, I will continue to update you on my experiences. For now, I am happy with my green!
gourds-fallguavas on ground
Cynthia Brian’s November Gardening Guide

⎫ TIME to fall back! Set your clocks back one hour on Sunday, November 6th.  It’s going to be dark in the mornings to be advantageous for early garden chores pre-work day. Bummer!
⎫ HEAL by looking at nature. For over thirty-two years since the journal Science published the study by behavioral scientist Roger Ulrich, we know that just viewing trees and the outdoors enhances wellness and speeds healing.
⎫ GATHER guavas that have fallen to make a jam or other guava treat.
⎫ SOW these vegetable seeds for a bountiful early winter harvest: lettuce, Asian greens spinach, arugula, chard, chicory, kale, radish, cabbage, beets, and cress.
⎫ DONATE to Be the Star You Are!® charity as it ships books to the most devastated areas in Hurricane Matthew’s path in North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, and Georgia. Go to www.BetheStarYouAre.org and click on Operation Hurricane Matthew Disaster Relief.
⎫ FERTILIZE your lawns with an organic mixture and re-seed during the rains. Cover the grass with mulch or screens to keep the birds from eating the seeds.
⎫ SPREAD seeds of hollyhock along fence lines or at the back of your garden as hollyhock can grow to 12 feet or more.
⎫ HELP the birds settle in for the upcoming winter by cleaning nesting boxes and providing plenty of seed to their feeders.
⎫ DECORATE your waterfall, fountain, or front door with a variety of odd shaped pumpkins and gourds.
⎫ COLLECT acorns, leaves, and nuts to add to your festive kitchen or dining room table fall tableau of squash, gourds, and pumpkins.
⎫ COLOR your world by planting bushes that boast fall and winter berries including cotoneaster, holly, and pyracantha. (Pyracantha plants have sharp thorns. Plant in low traffic areas. Pyracantha don’t have berries, but pomes.)
⎫ MULCH by shredding the raked leaves from the deciduous trees adding grass clippings, dried plants stems, and trimmings all which provide water conservation, better drainage, and nutrients to the soil.
⎫ PLANT your spring blooming bulbs now including daffodils, crocus, freesia, ranunculus, hyacinths, Dutch Iris, tulips, and other favorites.  You’ll be able to continue planting bulbs through January. Mark the location with plant tags or wooden paint sticks.
⎫ BUY trees with fall color at your local nursery or garden center including Crape Myrtle, Pistache, Liquid Amber, and Japanese Maple.
⎫ COVER patio furniture and move potted frost tender plants under an overhang or bring indoors.
⎫ ENJOY the warmth and the beauty of this annual autumn fashion extravaganza.
⎫ CAPTURE the moments with your smartphone to compare your garden to next years show! It’s amazing how much our landscapes change.
⎫ VOTE on November 8th. One person does make a difference.
Liquid Amber leaves
Color me happy!
CB at PArkmon Vineyards - 2
Happy Gardening and Happy Growing!
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©2016
Cynthia Brian
The Goddess Gardener
Starstyle® Productions, llc
Cynthia@GoddessGardener.com
www.GoddessGardener.com
925-377-STAR
Tune into Cynthia’s Radio show at www.StarStyleRadio.net
I am available as a speaker, designer, and consultant.  

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Hauling Harvests and Haunting Halloween By Cynthia Brian

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Empowerment
Hauling Harvests and Haunting Halloween By Cynthia Brian

 

“Tickle it with a hoe and it will laugh into a harvest.” English Saying

October proclaims two main events: harvest and Halloween.
grape harvest by hilary.jpg - 1
It’s been several decades since I’ve worked in our vineyards picking grapes. As a child I drove tractor, plowed fields, and watered the new vineyards vine by vine driving a refitted vintage fire truck with one sibling opening the water valve as we slowly rolled through the rows. Once September and October arrived, the grape harvest began.  Crews of eight workers, including myself, combed every vine with our specially curved knife quickly dropping bunches of ripe berries into the lugs which would be dumped into big bins on the grape trailer. When the truck and trailer had a full load, we’d ride with my Dad to the wineries for the delivery. We all loved being with our Dad hauling the grapes to their wine destination. Although we worked on numerous neighboring farms harvesting, culling, or cutting peaches, apricots, and pears, none of us were fans of the grape picking process. Because of the dearth of available pickers, a couple of years ago my brother invested in a mechanical harvester. This week, on the final night of the cabernet sauvignon harvest, I rode along with my brother and nephew as the huge harvester and four men did the work of six crews with precision and speed. (Instead of picking during the heat of the day, the harvester allows harvesting at night into the early morning hours when it is cooler.) Although we still have several acres that are hand picked, I hollered “hallelujah” to this happy mechanical harvesting experience.

Freddie, Cyn, fred, Harvesting
Lamorinda boasts a rich grape growing precedent with a 130 year-old history. The Lamorinda Wine Growers Association, (www.LamorindaWineGrowers.com) dedicated to sustainable farming and community building, is re-establishing the areas love of the vine and wine along with our pleasant pear past.  Lamorinda is now a recognized wine region with it’s own viticulture appellation thanks to the hard work of the Lamorinda Wine Growers Association. The varietals grown throughout Lafayette, Orinda, and Moraga span the French Bordeaux area with Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, and Merlot to the Rhone regions’ Syrah, Petite Sirah, Grenache, Mourvèdre, and Viognier. Burgundy is represented by the Pinot Noir grape and Lamorindans also grow small amounts of Sangiovese and Chardonnay. Because the plots are small, grapes are hand picked. A mechanical harvester has not become a necessary piece of equipment…yet. I’m hoping that 2016 will be heralded as a prime vintage year.
mums ready to bloom
Preparing for Halloween, it’s time to harvest the pumpkins, gourds, and winter squash. If you don’t grow your own, you’ll find funky as well as colorful pumpkins at the local Farmer’s Market and even many of the grocery stores. Apples and Asian pears are still hanging from the trees awaiting their reaper. Find a recipe for making caramel or candied apples to enjoy an old fashioned treat. Cut your corn stalks to use in decorations and buy a hay bale to add to the décor. You can later use the hay to cover your newly planted vegetable patch. The hay mulch will keep most weeds from emerging as the ghosts, ghouls, and goblins begin their rampage.

It’s time to howl at the moon with a glass of Lamorinda produced wine!  Enjoy a grape adventure!
lizard sunning on rock
Mid Month Gardening Tips from Cynthia Brian
The next two months are busy ones in the garden as we prepare our beds for a winter’s sleep. Chrysanthemums will be displaying their full glory soon, a certain beacon of the blazing fall colors to follow.  Get out there and get it done now.

FERTILIZE lawns during the rain for faster absorption. Don’t forget to re-seed during these wet days as well.
PULL any weeds you find in your garden before they develop seed heads.
CREATE a sunflower arch for a festive October wine fest.
PLANT a variety of lettuces in a window box or container kept close to your kitchen to keep your salads fresh all season Clip the micro greens as they sprout for delicate, delicious delights.
REPAIR birdhouses so that overwintering birds such as bluebirds, chickadees, and nuthatches will have a warm, safe, cozy place to rest during the upcoming cold nights.
INCREASE bird feeders in your yard as birds consume more food in fall and winter.
TUNE up your garden by pruning back overgrown shrubs and adding three or five New Zealand flax for their spiky form and variegated colors.
DIG and divide iris rhizomes now. Make sure to keep a few inches of the leaves on the stems and bury the roots two inches deep, eighteen to twenty inches apart.
WATCH the antics of the lizards as they sun themselves on rocks during these final days of warmth.
STOP watering remaining summer crops to force your final produce to ripen.
PRUNE your berry bushes, including summer raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries by removing dead canes. Thin any new forming canes.
AMEND your hard clay soil with large amounts of compost.
MULCH with wood chips to prevent erosion and maintain temperate soil temperatures.
MAKE a beautiful arrangement of fall flowers and foliage snipped from your trees and bushes.
FREEZE or can your vine tomatoes before the rains rot them.
ENROLL in a course on edible gardening, native plants, or composting.
PROPOGATE perennials through root cuttings.
INDULGE in forest bathing…or just take a walk in nature.
SAVE seeds from your favorite annuals, herbs, and vegetables by gathering, drying, labeling, and storing.
HARVEST the remainder of ripe produce before the end of the month-apples, Asian Pears, peppers, Swiss chard.
IMPROVE your health by enjoying grapes, apples, pears, pumpkins, and squash.
ROAST seeds from squash and pumpkins by first cleaning, drying, soaking in salted water, then, baking at 375 degrees until golden brown. What a healthy snack!
TIE dried corn stalks together to add to your front door fall décor.
hosta-coralbells-heuchera
Happy Gardening, Happy Growing, Happy Harvested Halloween!

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Chorisia-pink silk floss tree
©2016
Cynthia Brian
The Goddess Gardener
StarStyle® Productions, llc
Cynthia@GoddessGardener.com
www.GoddessGardener.com
925-377-STAR
Tune into Cynthia’s Radio show at www.StarStyleRadio.net
I am available as a speaker, designer, and consultant.

Cynthia Brian’s Gardening Guide for November

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Cynthia Brian’s Gardening Guide for November

yellow vines in fall

By Cynthia Brian

“The small but intense pleasure of walking through dry leaves and kicking them up as you go…they rustle, they brustle, they crackle.” From Walking through Leaves, Vita Sackville-West

From the last rays of the autumn sun to the glowing embers of winter fires, November is a month of changing colors and softening light creating feasts for our eyes (and our Thanksgiving stomachs) while adding a warm glow to our hearts. The countryside is bathed with leaves turning gold, crimson, russet, and orange. The harvest features a bounty of pumpkins, gourds, and nuts. The crackle of the fallen leaves underfoot, the balmy days, chilly evenings, and misty nights signal the sensational spectacle of autumn. It’s time to put our gardens to bed.
Europe 2010 - 229
For the past few weeks I’ve had the pleasure of visiting a selection of the great chateaus, castles, palaces, and gardens in France and England. Crossed off my bucket list was the romantic landscape of Sissinghurst Castle Garden in Kent designed by author Vita Sackville-West. It was interesting to note how many of the 22,000 annuals, perennials, and herbs grown in her garden have established themselves nicely here in California.
fallilng leaves in garden
It’s time to plant your bulbs, especially tulips. Having lived in Holland for eighteen months, I truly understand and value the humble tulip. Found in the wilds of central Asia, the first tulip bulbs were planted at Holland’s Hortus Botanicus Leiden in 1593. Tulips were so highly sought after that Dutch growers around Haarlem devoted every minute to hybridization and cultivation resulting in one tulip bulb being so valuable that it could buy an Amsterdam house on the canal or twenty-five acres of prime farmland. Besides cheese, gin, and herring, tulips reigned as kings of exportation. Tulipmania speculation collapsed in 1637 but not before these gorgeous flowers called Rembrandt tulips were depicted on Delft tiles, old master paintings, and historic tapestries. If only a grower had had a crystal ball…
Liquid Amber in Fall - 2
What to do in your November garden

⎫ PLANT your bulbs now through January. By planting a dozen or so bulbs per week, you’ll have a continuous show of color for the spring. Crocus, daffodils, tulips, wood hyacinths, and Dutch iris are favorites.
⎫ THROW two or three matchsticks into each hold before planting bulbs. The sulphur kills insects and enriches the soil.
⎫ FERTILIZE your bulbs with a composition of 4-10-6 right after planting to help grow strong roots. Do not mix fertilizer into the hole. Do not use chicken or horse manure, mushroom, or household compost (could be a breeding ground for fungus), or any acidic soil amendment. Bulbs require soil with neutral PH to develop their root system.
⎫ RESEED lawns with clover or Pearl’s Premium if you want grass without the guilt and the water surcharges. Click Here for tips on planting.
⎫ CLEAN and store patio furniture. With an El Nino in the forecast, covering your outdoor furniture, pads, and pillows will not be enough. Give everything a good brushing, then put in the garage or watertight storage area.
⎫ CALL an arborist to inspect your large limbs and trunks before the storms arrive.
⎫ HARVEST walnuts, gourds, and pumpkins.
⎫ DEADHEAD your roses weekly to maintain blossoms and fragrance throughout November and December.  If you prefer the red and orange colors of fall, allow the rose hips to form and harvest for additional vitamin C.
⎫ STAKE young trees and prune dead or dried limbs from established mature trees.
⎫ STOP by your local nurseries to choose deciduous trees with vibrant fall colors that will suit your landscape. A tree planted on the north side protects gardens from the blustery winter winds.
⎫ TIDY your vegetable garden and potager. Add straw and mulch to enrich the soil over winter.
⎫ SHARPEN garden shears and tools before storing.
⎫ SCATTER ripe seeds of biennials and perennials, such as Foxglove and Echinacea, encouraging new plants in your garden. Hybrid varieties may not grow true from seed offering you a spring surprise.
⎫ PLANT autumn showy ground covers, color spots, and shrubs as they are in their full fall riotous splendor. Heuchera is an especially pretty perennial in its autumn robes offering foliage in a variety of textures, shapes, and colors.
⎫ SOW winter crops of Swiss chard, broccoli, beets, carrots, cauliflower, lettuce, peas, turnips, and spinach.
⎫ VISIT a vineyard to witness the golden and amber hues post harvest.
⎫ RAKE a pile of leaves. Let the kids frolic and kick, then add them to your compost pile. (Add the leaves, not the kids!)
⎫ ENJOY the fall foliage! Persimmons, pomegranates, and guava trees showcase their precious fruits. Savor the colors in anticipation of the holiday harvest next month.
⎫ SHARE your gratitude.
heuchera
May you celebrate a healthy, happy, and mouth-watering Thanksgiving with family and friends. Thank you so much for being loyal readers. Your thoughts and opinions are greatly appreciated.

Happy Gardening, Happy Growing!
Europe 2010 - 219
©2015
Cynthia Brian
The Goddess Gardener
Starstyle® Productions, llc
Cynthia@GoddessGardener.com
www.GoddessGardener.com
925-377-STAR
Tune into Cynthia’s Radio show at www.StarStyleRadio.net
I am available as a speaker, designer, and consultant.

Read more Here
gourds
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.

Turf Wars

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Empowerment
Turf Wars

fake turf grass

“We need to teach people that the environment has a direct bearing on our own benefit.” Dalai Lama

As Americans, we love our grass, but as the years of drought drag on, the word L-A-W-N is becoming synonymous with wasteful. Daily in the USA, over 29 billion gallons of water is used and of that, 30% or 8. 5 billion gallons of water is devoted to our landscaping, mostly lawns.  In arid states, the percentage of landscape water usage soars to over 60%.  Add to this the amount of chemical fertilizers and weed controllers utilized on grass, and we have a recipe for ecological disaster.
fall garden
The media bombards us with messages informing us that it is time to tear our the water guzzling, chemically infused turf and replace it with drought tolerant, native landscaping, shrubs, ground covers, or gravel. Many water districts offer rebates for each square foot of lawn that is replaced. Yet, as much as I believe in water conservation and fully understand that water is our most precious natural resource, I am not convinced that ripping out waves of green will solve our water shortage.  Protecting our water supply depends critically on changing how we care for our lawns. An alternative solution to the high maintenance, chemical dependency, and water waste must be available somewhere.

A lawn has many positive benefits. It generates oxygen, helps control erosion, decreases air temperatures, sequesters carbon dioxide, and filters runoff. A lush emerald swath of turf gives our eyes a relaxing break and offers our families a place to play, tumble, picnic, or simply walk barefoot.  It makes me sad when I stroll through my garden and my thirsty brown lawn crunches beneath me. Future generations many not enjoy memories of somersaults, cartwheels, croquet, or the giggles of running through sprinklers if grass disappears from our yards. clover in grass

In my quest to find a verdant resolution to the water wars, at the recent National Garden Symposium where I was a key lecturer, I spent hours meeting with plant specialists, growers, and landscapers brainstorming the alternatives. I even visited a beautifully designed garden with synthetic turf. As pretty as it looked against the backdrop of the shrubs, it didn’t solve my desire for natural grass. Imitation lawn is fake, detracting from the splendor of the outdoors. To date, my best solution has been the slow spreading mini clover.

Then, I interviewed entrepreneur and water conservationist, Jackson Madnick, who for years has been researching innovative ways to save energy, improve surface and ground water quality and create healthier lawns that require no fertilizer, dramatically less time, money, water and green house gasses. After ten years of research and over ten thousand trials with world-renowned scientists, they discovered a mix of seven eco-friendly lawn seeds that reduce the water bill by three-fourths!  Once established, the grass only has to be mowed every four-six weeks, it thrives without chemicals, can grow in sun or shade, all the while creating a beautiful organic lawn that stays deep green all year long.
pumpkins on vine
Since fall is the best time to plant a lawn when soil temperatures range from 50-70 degrees, I am experimenting with Jackson’s miracle seed called Pearl’s Premium, named after his mother who was a life long protector of Mother Earth.  The secret to this seed’s success, says Jackson, is its slow growth boasting a twelve to fourteen inch root system as opposed to three or four inches. The seeds are natural, non-GMO, and all organic.

If the hype sounds too good to be true, hold your horses. Pearl’s Premium has already won numerous national and international accolades for innovation, received rave reviews from garden experts, and even Newsweek and Popular Science Magazines. As an award-winning environmental advocate and sustainable lawn expert Jackson has been commended by two White Houses, the United Nations, Al Gore, John Glen and numerous environmental groups for his environmental advocacy. He even lives in a sustainable house that produces 95 % of its heating, cooling, and power from the sun and earth!
pergola, gravel, fountain
Perhaps the best news for homeowners, municipalities, city landscaping commissions, and even golf courses, is that the old lawn does not have to be removed to install the new seeds. Additionally, birds won’t eat the seeds.
Here are the steps to planting a Pearl’s Premium Lawn:
1. Cut your old grass as short as possible.
2. Rake away the clippings.
3. Test the soil to adjust the PH to between 6-7.
4. If soil is compacted, core aerate.
5. Add ½ inch of topsoil to your existing lawn.
6. Spread the seed according to directions.
7. Add a small amount of organic fertilizer.
8. If it doesn’t rain, water daily for three or four weeks.
9. The new grass will sprout in seven days and within one month, a beautiful soft, green lawn that requires only ¼ of the water of a regular lawn will be ready to enjoy.
10. Once established, it can be cut once a month to 3 or 4 inches or it can be left to grow to 6 inches, when it flops over to make a deliciously soft meadow grass.
11. Pearl’s Premium may already be at your favorite garden center and if it’s not you can ask them to carry it. You can also buy directly from their web site at www.PearlsPremium.com. If you type in the code “Blue Moon” at check-out, you’ll get 20% off your purchase plus free shipping.

I’ll be reporting on my lawn’s progress in future articles as finding a waterless grass is at the top of my gardening agenda. You can listen to the radio interview for more in depth information.
pearl's premium
Since I wanted to give everyone a head start on a possible new lawn alternative, the November Garden Guide will be in the next issue. If you are aware of another solution for organic grass without guilt, send me an email at Cynthia@GoddessGardener.com.   We want to avoid the turf wars and embrace sustainability and stewardship of nature where people, pets, and our planet are healthy, safe and happily enjoying the green.

Happy Gardening and Happy Growing.
path-drought resistant

©2015
Cynthia Brian
The Goddess Gardener
Starstyle® Productions, llc
Cynthia@GoddessGardener.com
www.GoddessGardener.com
925-377-STAR
Tune into Cynthia’s Radio show at www.StarStyleRadio.net
I am available as a speaker, designer, and consultant.

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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.

Living, Growing, Totally Spooky

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Empowerment
Living, Growing, Totally Spooky

pirate cynthia speaking - 2

By Cynthia Brian

“To the eyes of the man of imagination, nature is imagination itself.” William Blake

The season of screams and scares is officially here! Halloween is right around the corner, and it’s time to embrace your inner ghoul. With only a few days left until a haunted eve, a walk in the park or around your personal garden will spark your spooktacular spirit as you encounter everyday species that ignite eerie imaginings, yet are friendly visitors. It’s time to put out our mystical welcome mat.
snake plant
Children have feared spiders since the days of learning the nursery rhyme “Little Miss Muffet”. We may not want them living in our homes, but in the garden spiders are considered beneficial bugs. There are generally two types of spiders-the weavers and the hunters. The big, beautiful, yet scary looking yellow and black argiope spider (Golden orb weaver) spins a web that catches garden predators twice her size while the hunters, the wolf spider and the crab spider, ambush their prey. Even their names evoke Halloween myths. These helpful arthropods (meaning eight legs) are considered more efficient eaters than our feathered friends eradicating aphids, spider mites, leafhoppers, armyworms, caterpillars, beetles, thrips, and other nuisances. Don’t squish the spiders nor destroy their webs because spiders are positive pest patrollers of our secret oasis.
euchalyptus bark
Allium sativum is renowned for repelling vampires. But the next time you witness darting dive-bombers of the dark, hide the garlic to usher in the bats. Contrary to common thought, these North American “vampires” do not attack people. Mosquitoes bite people and bats eat more than 600 mosquitoes per hour. Their droppings are rich in nitrogen and they guard gardens from invasive insects. If you have a pool, you’ll witness them skimming the water at twilight.

Many people are frightened of snakes, but finding a snake in the grass is a good omen. Most snakes are not poisonous and the most common snakes we find in our gardens are the garter or King snake. Rattlesnakes are venomous and like all pit vipers have thick triangular heads, easily distinguishable from their docile, non-poisonous relatives. Snakes eat mice, rats, and other rodents as well as snails and slugs.
king snake-veg garden.jpg
Do you have lizards in your landscape? Congratulations, you are gardening organically. A healthy garden boasts plenty of these small, fast moving reptiles. Without chewing, lizards swallow moths, grubs, flies, grasshoppers, beetles, and crickets whole. When you see a lizard with a missing tale, it’s not an ingredient in a witches’ brew, but probably digesting in the belly of a bird. Tales do grow back. Lizards are excellent neighbors. Encourage them to stay.

To attract any of these beneficial creepy crawlies or flying friends, make sure to offer hiding places, water, and eliminate all pesticides, herbicides, and non-organic fertilizers. Allow them admittance to your hunting grounds as they pursue, chase, and stalk plant destroyers.
HAlloween decor - 3
How else can we be scared in our own backyards this Halloween?

⎫ Trees can be frightening. Get up close to check out the bark of a eucalypts tree or recline under a pepper tree swaying in the wind. Let your imagination run wild. Do you see skeletons, witches, ghosts, or faces of the walking dead?
⎫ Investigate the babies of a spider plant, or be spooked by a hanging snake plant.
⎫ Admire the beautiful blooms and intoxicating fragrance of the sweetly named Angel Trumpet but don’t be tempted to taste it.  As a member of the Nightshade family, it is highly toxic, even deadly. Wear gloves!
⎫ Why is the fox by the fountain in the backyard? Or is the fox a shape shifter?
⎫ Are the coyotes howling at the moon or an evil eye wandering in the darkness?
⎫ Do you hear the hooting of the owls and the cawing of the crows? They too are hunting…and not for humans.

And, finally, a gardener’s Halloween quiz. (Answers at the bottom)
a. What is a vampires’ favorite flower?
b. What is a werewolf’s favorite legume?
pumpkins at night
Carve your pumpkins, light the Jack O’Lanterns, weave your webs, and dress up the skeletons you’ve been hiding in the closet. Nature provides the imagination for your supernatural trick or treat decor.

HAPPY HALLOWEEN to all the witches, warlords, pirates, princesses, paupers, pumpkins, and pilgrims!

Cynthia Brian’s Mid Month Reminder

I’m sounding like a broken record, but remember to chill your bulbs for a minimum of six to ten weeks before planting. Keep them in the dark at 38-45 degrees Fahrenheit before putting in the ground as we live in a warm zone and many bulbs, including tulips native to colder Holland, will not thrive. Make sure that no fruits or vegetables are in the refrigerator, as they will emit harmful ethylene gas. In November and December when ready to plant, make sure the soil has been properly prepared before removing your bulbs from refrigeration. Plant promptly.
angel trumpet vine

Quiz answers
A: Bleeding Hearts
B. Human Beans

Read More

Happy Gardening, Happy Growing!
©2015
Cynthia Brian
The Goddess Gardener
Starstyle® Productions, llc
Cynthia@GoddessGardener.com
www.GoddessGardener.com
925-377-STAR
Tune into Cynthia’s Radio show at www.StarStyleRadio.net
I am available as a speaker, designer, and consultant.

spider in web.jpg

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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