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Pruning Roses and Making Stock!

Posted by Cynthia Brian on
Pruning Roses and Making Stock!

“It’s the time that you spent on your rose that makes your rose so important…People have forgotten this truth, but you mustn’t forget it. You become responsible forever for what you’ve tamed. You’re responsible for your rose.” – Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

After three weeks of tumultuous torrents, we have exhaled a communal sign of relief with the respite of sunshine and dry days. Standing water is thankfully penetrating the soggy soil as storm clean-ups are underway. The freezing night temperatures combined with gale-force winds have caused citrus to fall to the ground.

Make sure to pick up the fruit to use as soon as possible, and refrigerate whatever is not damaged. Mushrooms are sprouting in unlikely places.


Unless you are a mycologist or are certain that the fungi are edible, do not touch them, as numerous mushrooms are deadly poisonous.

Hopping into the Year of the Rabbit, heavy pruning of my roses, and ongoing weeding are on my agenda this month as well as dormant spraying of the fruit trees.

Pruning Roses:

Although my numerous rose bushes continued to be prolific bloomers throughout the holiday season, the nine atmospheric rivers and the frigid nights contributed to the demise of new buds. As a Northern California gardener, I have always performed a heavy pruning of my roses in late January or early February. I always detest having to prune flowering plants, procrastinating as long as possible. Because of the storms, this February is the opportune month to heavily prune your roses before the new growth begins, allowing you to shape the bushes while the plant is dormant and prevent the spreading of any disease.

Before you begin pruning, cut any buds or blooms for a final flush of flowers for an indoor bouquet. If you are growing Chinese Fringe flowers, add sprigs of it to your arrangement for a pop of cotton candy pink or a few stems of early blooming daffodils for a sunny smile.

When pruning, wear gloves and always use sharp, clean tools to make clean cuts: secateurs, loppers, and saws. Sterilize often between bushes. Pruning with a hedge trimmer can be very effective to shape the larger shrub roses or big groups of one variety, but not recommended unless you have a very large number of plants. Begin by removing any dead, diseased, damaged wood, or leaves. Remove canes that are crossing or rubbing against each other, as well as weak steams or canes that are growing from the base of the bush. These canes won’t produce many blooms and may crowd out healthier growth. To stimulate new growth, open the center of the bush.

Next, thin out the remaining canes, selecting the strongest and most vigorous canes. Keep only five to seven per plant and cut them back to approximately twenty-four inches. Ideally, make the pruning cut above an outward-facing bud and at a slight angle to encourage the new growth to emerge in the desired direction.  This is not crucial and won’t harm the rose if ignored, but it is best practice.

After pruning, remove any remaining attached leaves, and clean up the cut stems and debris around the base of the bush to prevent diseases and pests. Mulching and fertilizing will occur in spring.

Stock Up:

Since it is cold, damp, and dreary, I find myself in the kitchen creating comfort foods that nourish the body and warm the spirit.

During the winter, my potager prides itself on growing arugula, lettuce, nasturtium, cauliflower, Brussel sprouts, Swiss chard, beets, carrots, parsley, fennel, onions, chives, and numerous herbs and edible flowers including mint, oregano, rosemary, calendula, peppercorns, lemongrass, and bay.

I am an apostle for “no waste” meal preparations. Except for any woody stems that go to the compost pile, all parts of produce are used in culinary creations. With peelings, tops, and scraps, I make a rich, nutritious, and tasty vegetable stock. There is no set recipe as the bits and pieces are always changing, apart from the allium family (garlic and onions), which are critical to every batch. The finished stock becomes a base for soups, sauces, stews, and spaghetti.

Before you begin to experiment with making your homemade stock, be aware that leaves of potatoes, tomatoes, and rhubarb are poisonous, especially if ingested in large quantities. Do not use them in your preparations. Toss them in the compost pile.

Making Stock:

Sauté onions, garlic, leeks, or shallots in olive oil. Chop up any fresh or wilted vegetables you have, including leafy tops and green stems. The ends of carrots, turnips, parsnips, pieces of peppers, peppercorns, and any vegetable you have on hand will do.

Place the vegetables in a large pot filled with boiling water. Add whatever herbs you wish along with the sautéed onion and garlic mixture. If you want a meat broth, add meat or bones. Simmer until the mixture reduces, the longer, the better. Add wine for extra flavor. Season to taste if desired and strain when completed. Use your stock immediately or freeze the extra. You can even fill ice cube trays with the stock to use as needed. Stock can be made in a slow cooker if you don’t have time to watch the stove, or it can be made in a pot in the oven with a temperature set at 250 degrees. Once you start making homemade stock, you won’t want to buy boxed or canned stock again. Making stock is a fantastic way to use up veggies in your refrigerator that may be past their prime, but still good. Mushrooms, celery, fennel, and ginger always offer an extra zing. You may want to make a rich sauce to pour over steak or other meats by allowing the stock to simmer longer until the concoction is thick. It’s fun to experiment with your creativity. Stock up!


It has been my experience that by pruning by early February, my rose garden begins its delightful display of gorgeous new blooms by late March. It only takes a bit of care and attention to love and tame our roses. As Antoine de Saint-Exupéry so exquisitely explains, we are responsible for what we’ve tamed.

Happy Gardening. Happy Growing. Happy February. Celebrate the Year of the Rabbit!

Raised in the vineyards of Napa County, Cynthia Brian 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.

Her newest children’s picture book, No Barnyard Bullies, from the series, Stella Bella’s Barnyard Adventures is available now atwww.cynthiabrian.com/online-store  For an invitation to hang out with Cynthia for fun virtual events, activities, conversations, and exclusive experiences, buy StarStyle® NFTs at https://StarStyleCommunity.com

Hire Cynthia for writing projects, garden consults, and inspirational lectures. Cynthia@GoddessGardener.com https://www.GoddessGardener.com

o   All Photos © 2023 Cynthia Brian

Keep Digging Deeper and be your unapologetically authentic self!

Thanks for being part of StarStyle® Empowerment! Smiles!

Roses for All

Posted by rstapholz on
Roses for All

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By Cynthia Brian

“Won’t you come into my garden? I would like my roses to see you.” Richard Sheridan 

Ask any gardener who grows a multitude of roses what they think of the species, and you’ll probably get an answer that sounds seriously star-struck. I am a dedicated devotee of roses. They consistently amaze me with their resilience, beauty, and bountiful blooms. It wasn’t until the end of February that I completed my heavy pruning, and by the end of April, the roses had sprouted new shoots and were already in full bloom. This month, the flowers are even larger and more plentiful. Depending on the variety, each flush lasts approximately three to four weeks from bud to deadheading. Over the years I have created multiple rose rooms that continue to delight me throughout the year. If you have not added roses to your landscape, please put them on your bucket list to plant next year.  Once established, they don’t require much water, and with a bit of TLC, you, too, will enjoy seasons of splendor. To keep your roses bug-free, add a few cloves of garlic around the base of each trunk. Mix a cup of alfalfa pellets into the soil in March to increase the nitrogen for greener leaves. 

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Entertaining in the summer garden is my favorite manner to gather friends and family for al fresco dining, conversation, and laughter. There is always so much to celebrate in June–the end of school, graduations, Father’s Day, birthdays, showers, and weddings. This is the time to spruce up the yard in anticipation of the summer to come. Because of the pandemic, for the past two-plus years, I have spent countless hours working in the garden yet have not entertained friends or family. The garden is thriving with my diligence, and I have been reaping the health benefits of my efforts in my body, mind, and spirit.

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The leaves of the spring bulbs as well as the naked lady bulbs that will bloom later in the season have all dried like hay, making the garden appear messy. I’ve pulled multiple garbage bins of them for the compost pile along with so many buckets of weeds that I’ve lost count. 

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Butterflies are plentiful in my garden as they flutter from flower to flower. Swallowtails are in abundance as are several different white and yellow flyers that I haven’t identified. After I rescued a bee from a swimming pool, it returned to sting me on my back. No good deed goes unpunished! If you get stung by a bee, remove the stinger immediately, make a paste of baking soda mixed with water, add vinegar, and apply to the sting to ease the pain and swelling. If you are allergic to bees or are stung by a swarm, call 911. With all the lizards, frogs, birds, bees, and butterflies, my garden is vigorously growing and feeding the beneficials.


Enjoy your green lawns now because as the temperatures heat up, brown spots will appear. Since the water district has mandated a 10% water use reduction District-wide, expect that lawns will not look as lush and lovely as they do now. Make sure to water deeply early in the morning or early evening only once a week to keep the roots alive. Mow the grass to three inches and if possible, do not use a bag when mowing. The cut grasses re-nourish the lawn and will help it stay greener longer.


From what I’ve gathered from numerous scientific data, the pandemic is not over and in fact, new variants may make life more challenging by the fall. In the meantime, I’ll be diligent and careful while I continue cutting my roses for glorious indoor bouquets to boost my spirits. As an eternal optimist, I always see the world through rose-colored glasses. 

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Congratulations to all the graduates everywhere. Go into the garden and introduce yourself to the roses. Life is coming up roses!

Happy Gardening! Happy Growing!

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Cynthia Brian’s Gardening Guide for June

ü  LEARN to identify insects and diseases to better detect problems early.

ü  ENCOURAGE natural enemies such as toads, lizards, snakes, birds, ladybugs, and praying mantis.

ü  ROTATE crops to avoid depleting the soil and building up pests.

ü  MAKE your own potting mix by combining equal parts of compost

ü  BEWARE of the deadly plant, poison hemlock. Identify it by its red spots. Wear gloves and a mask when weeding.

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ü  WATER lawns and flowerbeds deeply to encourage strong root growth.

ü  HARVEST seeds of perennials like penstemon, calendula, and poppies to spread in other areas where color is needed.

ü  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.

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

ü  WEED a final time before the hot weather arrives. Weeds suck the moisture and nutrients from nearby plants.

ü  PLANT bottlebrush as a large privacy screen and bee magnet.

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ü  CLEAN patio furniture. Freshen your outdoor look with paint, new cushions, or throw pillows.

ü  CUT bouquets of roses to enhance your indoor rooms. 

ü  WANT a perennial that blooms year-round? The delicate Santa Barbara daisy is easy to grow and lives in unison with roses. 

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ü  DETER  raccoons from rolling back your lawn searching for grubs by putting down fruit tree netting which they dislike on their feet.

ü  MAKE your voice heard. VOTE in the elections.

Photos at: 


Cynthia Brian-flagstone.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.



April Showers Bring May Flowers

Posted by rstapholz on
April Showers Bring May Flowers

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By Cynthia Brian


“April hath put a spirit of youth in everything.” William Shakespeare

If experiencing rain in a dry season doesn’t put a spring in our step, what will? After months of no precipitation, finally, in April we experienced a few showers.  A critical ingredient of California’s water supply, the Sierra snowpack is less than 40% from its peak. The drought will be with us this summer and fall but these mid-spring storms will deliver May flowers. 

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Jasmine is the delightful scent permeating the air, especially after a rain shower. The intoxicating perfume is rejuvenating. I grow jasmine throughout my landscape, various vines twining up trees. Multiple colors of bearded iris tender their brilliance in the middle of my hillside, where, after the rainfall, new weeds sprout. Proliferating is Herb Robert geranium, a fragrant weed that is pretty when small yet suffocating to other plants when full-grown. The positive aspect of this weed is that it is very easy to pull out by the roots when the soil is moist. Weeds shooting up on my gravel paths demand attention. 

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Bulbs and rhizomes are the ultimate celebrities of my garden. Once planted, I forget about them until they burst into bloom, a welcome surprise especially when other plants are failing.  If you are a beginner gardener, I highly recommend indulging in bulbs for all seasons. Most require little maintenance or effort with minimal water while providing maximum results. Some of my perennial favorites that are available in hues of white, pink, purple, yellow, and mixed colors include calla lily, gladiolus, oriental lily, bearded iris, Asiatic lily, dahlia, anemone, and naked lady. 

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The April showers also brought a swath of wild onions or more accurately, A. triquetrum three- cornered leek. The invasive, yet edible wild field garlic and three-cornered leek boast delicate white bell-shaped flowers with a distinct onion aroma. If they are growing in your landscape, enjoy them as in culinary dishes as you would chives or green onions, albeit with a stronger flavor. If you are not a fan of garlic or onions and you have these growing in your garden, it can be almost impossible to eradicate an abundant population. Also, be aware that there are other toxic species of flowers that resemble the tree-cornered leek including death camas or death lily. All parts of that plant are poisonous. The best safety method in differentiation is to only eat a plant that looks and smells like garlic or onion.

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Another edible weed that I cultivate is mustard. Young mustard greens are delicious sautéed with onions, garlic, and olive oil or added to soups, salads, sandwiches, and stews. The flavor is snappy and hot. 

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Roses are already in glorious bloom. Rose petals can be added to baths as well as salads if they have not been treated with chemicals. With Mother’s Day around the corner, perhaps you’d like to present your mom with a gift of roses? 

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These young sprouts encourage us to embrace the spirit of youth as we march into May! A heartfelt shout out to every Mom! You are our nurturers, teachers, and consolers. Happy Mother’s Day! 

Goddess Gardener Cynthia Brian’s Gardening Guide for May


COMPLY with Moraga Orinda Fire district mandates by creating a defensible space around your home. Requirements include:

·      trimming trees to maintain a six-foot vertical clearance from the roof line.

·      removing hazardous vegetation.

·      clearing debris from gutters and roofs.

·      maintaining a two-foot non-combustible space around structures.

·      remove fire laddering fuels by trimming trees to eight feet above the ground.

·      cut grass to three inches or less in height.

·      remove dead or dying trees and shrubs.

·      the compliance deadline is June 1st!

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SPRAY your barbecue grill with white vinegar then scrub with half an onion to clean the grates and get ready for outside dining.

BUFF your garden tools by plunging them in a five-gallon bucket of sand mixed with a cup of vegetable oil. The sand will keep them sharper and the oil wards off rust. Small hand tools can be stored in the sand bucket. 

PLANT frost tender plants as the weather warms towards the end of the month. Ground covers, citrus, bougainvillea, and summer annuals are available for purchase. 

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SOW seeds of scarlet runner bean, sweet peas, or morning glories to climb on fences and wire. 

CUT back the dying leaves of narcissi and daffodils if the fronds are dry and crunchy. If still green, wait another month.

SNIP a few tendrils of blooming jasmine. Add them to a vase for an enchanting fragrance that will permeate your house.

BAIT the snails and slugs, pick them off by hand, use copper barriers, or bowls of beer. These slimy crawlers will devour new seedlings.

BUY ladybugs from your nursery or garden center only if you see aphids or other pests on your plants. Remember ladybugs fly to infested gardens. 

WEED, weed, weed. Because of the spring rains, weeds are ubiquitous, yet easy to pull. If they don’t have seed heads, add pulled weeds to your compost pile.

FERTILIZE lawns, trees, shrubs, and ground cover plants.

TREAT roses organically to repel aphids and fungal diseases.

SPRAY evergreen pear trees and crape Myrtle trees to treat for and prevent fungal diseases including mildew and leaf spot.

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BUY a red rose to show your love for your mother or anyone’s mom on Mother’s Day. 

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Happy Gardening and Happy Growing!

Photos and more:


Cynthia Brian- Happy.jpeg

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

Buy copies of her 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.



Cynthia Brian books banner.jpg

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. 

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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. 

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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.

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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.

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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. 

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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. 

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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.

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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. 

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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.

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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. 

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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.

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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. 

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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!

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“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.

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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.

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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?

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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.

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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. 

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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. 

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

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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.
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  • 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. 
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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.

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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. 

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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.

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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.
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  •  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.
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  • • Drought-resistant, no maintenance ground cover: Pink Knotweed
  • Pink Knowtweed. (persicaria capitata).jpeg
  • • Shade plant with distinctive colors: Hellebores
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  • • For Borders: Bergenia
  • • A shrub that cascades: Purple potato plant
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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.

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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.



Love is a Rose!

Posted by presspass on
Love is a Rose!

angelface rose.jpg

“Everything is coming up roses!” Ethel Merman

When Cupid shoots his arrow of amour on February 14th, more than 51% of the flowers bestowed upon the lovers will be roses.  The allure of roses dates back more than 5,000 years when rose cultivation began in China. Evidence in fossils indicates that the wild rose is as ancient as 35 million years. No wonder that the rose has symbolized beauty, love, politics, and war for the past five centuries in our modern world.

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Roses possess a classic beauty with an unrivaled diversity of shapes, sizes, colors, and fragrances. Blooms may be solitary and delicate, semi-double, open cupped, rosette, pompon, peony-like, buttoned, and ruffled. They may be single stemmed or present a bouquet of several blossoms on a stalk.  Newer disease-resistant varieties brag continuous flowering from the first bud in spring to the final pruning in winter. 

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Best of all, with a little know-how, roses are one of the easiest plants to grow in our gardens offering perennial joy.  Plant them in a formal garden bordered by boxwoods, or add varying heights of roses to a casual mixed backyard bed. Pop them in containers to add elegance to a porch, patio, or balcony. Train climbers and ramblers to grow on arches, gates, trellises, fences, and walls adding vertical appeal.

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February is an excellent month to plant bare root roses. 

How to plant bare root roses

1.    Decide where you want to plant roses. Although some varieties will tolerate a reasonable amount of shade, most roses require at least four hours of daily sunshine.

2.    Once you know the “where”, you can decide the “which”. Peruse rose catalogs and visit your nursery.  You want to purchase the right rose for the right purpose. Make sure that the bare-root roses you select are healthy and sturdy. If planting more than one, it is best to purchase the same color and type of rose in uneven numbers. For example, buy three or five of the same rose for preferable impact.

3.    Soak your roses overnight in a bucket of water to rehydrate them.

4.    Dig a hole large enough to allow the roots to spread.

5.    Spade the soil well and add compost.

6.    After removing each rose from the bucket, place the bare roots of each rose in a separate hole. The bottom of the stems needs to be two to three inches below the top of the hole.

7.    Replace the soil and tap around the rose with your foot until the ground is firm.

8.    Water slowly and deeply.

9.    Mulch with bark, shredded wood, or pine needles to three inches of thickness.  This prevents erosion, controls temperature variations, suppresses weeds, and makes for a prettier presentation.

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Maintenance of your rose garden

1.    Watering properly is key to healthy roses. Water deeply without flooding and be cognizant of your sprinkler system to assure that your roses are not over or under irrigated. 

2.    Fertilize in March, then approximately eight weeks apart starting in May through September. For my first feeding, I like to use alfalfa pellets mixed with diatomaceous earth.

3.    Although the new varieties of roses are more disease resistant, black spot, rust, and powdery mildew remain the culprits to control. Destroy any diseased, fallen leaves.

4.    If you have a plethora of other flowers, your garden will have developed a more natural eco-system, keeping most pests away. Aphids can be sprayed with soapy water, or introduce ladybugs. 

5.    Deadhead as flowers wilt and prune stems back one and a half feet after flushes of flowers to shape your plant.

6.    Once a year, usually towards the end of January, heavy prune roses removing any dead, diseased, or damaged stems. Old wood can be cut from older roses to encourage fresh growth. Shrub roses can be pruned 1/3 to 2/3. Hybrid teas and floribundas should be pruned to ¾. Leave ramblers alone or shape them according to your wishes. Remove the dead wood on climbers and cut the year’s flowering stems back to ¾.


Whether you decide to cultivate shrub roses, old roses, rambling roses, climbing roses, hybrid teas, tree roses, or floribundas, you will be rewarded with beauty, fragrance, and the ability to create sweet-scented arrangements throughout the year. 

For Valentine’s Day, consider giving your loved one a bouquet of roses and a bare root plant! Double the pleasure! Everything is coming up roses!

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Cynthia Brian’s Gardening Guide for February

  IDENTIFY: With the rains, fungi are at their edible best. If you don’t know how to identify mushrooms that grow in your garden, do not eat them. Buy from a reputable source and enjoy the impressive nutritional benefits of this humble fungus. Whether you eat shitake white, oyster, hen-of-the-woods, Portobello, or others, mushrooms are brimming with phytochemicals, antioxidants, and fiber, all which are packed with anti-inflammatory properties that can protect you from numerous diseases. 

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  APPRECIATE: Daffodils and narcissi have unfurled their blooms suggesting the promise of Printemps.

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  BUY: Growing with the Goddess Gardener is a gift that will give perennially. Order copies with extra freebies at http://www.CynthiaBrian.com/online-store.

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    PERUSE catalogs to create your plan for spring planting.

    FIND a rose with the same name of your partner. If you have the dollars, there are companies that will allow you to name a rose. 

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    ENJOY this final month of garden rest before the busy spring season arrives.

Happy Gardening. Happy Growing. Happy Love Day!

Read more and see photos at https://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue1225/Cynthia-Brians-Gardening-Guide-for-February-Love-is-a-rose.html

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Cynthia Brian, The Goddess Gardener, raised in the vineyards of Napa County, 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 Are1® 501 c3. 

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Tune into Cynthia’s Radio show and order her books at www.StarStyleRadio.com.

Buy a copy of her new books, Growing with the Goddess Gardener and Be the Star You Are! Millennials to Boomers at www.cynthiabrian.com/online-store. 

Hire Cynthia for projects, consults, and lectures.



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Donate to Fire Disaster Relief via Be the Star You Are!® 501 c3 at www.BethestarYouAre.org


Hammock Time

Posted by Editor on
Hammock Time

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“Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful,

we must carry it with us or we find it not. “

                                             ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

While I was traveling in Southeast Asia, I was enthralled with the multitude of hammocks hung everywhere…on balconies, under eaves of storefronts, under houses built on stilts on the Mekong River, between trees in a field, in marketplace stalls, even on rickety boats. Because of the intense heat and humidity that assaults life between noon and four in the afternoon, workdays begin in the early morning, then continue until nine or ten at night, while in between everyone cools off with a swinging siesta.

In the Amazon rainforest, my husband and I slept in hammocks covered by mosquito netting. The first hammocks date back to over a thousand years ago and were made from the bark of the Hamak tree. Christopher Columbus is credited with bringing hammocks back to Europe after his encounter with the Taino tribes who tied these nets between trees for their slumber and protection. Because hammocks were off the ground, there was less chance of bites from insects, snakes, rats, or other creatures.

My favorite hammock experiences have always been at beaches in tropical locales where hammocks are attached to swaying palm trees.  In Hawaii, Tahiti, Bermuda, the many islands of the Caribbean, and throughout the coastlines of Central and South America, I have always scouted the sand for the perfect rocking repose where I can read a book, take a nap, or just listen to the pounding waves while the birds chirp in paradise.

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Summer is the perfect time to lounge in a hammock under the shade, especially after a few hours of strenuous gardening, Swiss researchers published a scientific explanation why hammocks are loved the world over.  The gentle rocking motion of a hammock synchronizes brain waves allowing us to get to sleep quicker while attaining a deeper state of relaxation.  No wonder babies quiet when being rocked! 

Between my Japanese maples and my magnolia trees, I secured two double hammocks so that two to four people could enjoy the benefits of a summertime break.  It is restful to sway in these hammocks with the fragrance of my roses and lavender wafting around me.  I watch the butterflies and bees darting throughout my flowers while I listen to the sound of the breeze and the crooning songbirds. 


Hammocks are versatile because they are affordable super space savers, flexible, and are easily moved and stored.  They are perfect camping trip companions.  The net hammocks purchased in Vietnam pack into a small ball, while the heavier cloth hammocks I bought stateside roll into a cloth bag for storage.  

If traveling is not on your agenda for this summer, consider a staycation with the potential to transport your dreams to exotic distant lands by installing a hammock in your backyard.  Undulating in my hammock, I can be anywhere my imagination takes me. 

It’s hammock time.  You can’t touch this!

Cynthia Brian’s Mid Month Gardening Tips:

VISIT gorgeous gardens while you travel. For the best private gardens in America that are open to visitors visit www.opendaysprogram.org .

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SHAKE out boots or shoes that you leave outside before putting them on your feet. A visitor may have taken up residence inside and give your toes a nibble. (I’ve had lizards, frogs, spiders, and more in my gardening boots!)

PERUSE bulb catalogues to see what new bulbs are emerging for fall planting. Orders will need to be placed before the end of the month for autumn shipping.

JOIN internationally acclaimed speakers, exhibitors, and chefs at America’s largest celebration of pure food with heirloom and organic displays, heritage livestock, poultry, and more at The National Heirloom Exposition September 11-13 in Santa Rosa. Mark your calendars now. Visit www,TheHeirloomExpo.com

EAT more watermelon! A standard slice provides 1/3 of your daily vitamins A and C, plus you’ll get lots of potassium and lycopene with only a 90-calorie bump.

REPAIR broken irrigation pipes immediately. If you notice that your sprinklers have little pressure, look for leaks. Besides wasting water, and the cost incurred, your garden could suffer without proper amounts of H2O. 

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CALL your electric company (PGE in our area) if you are planning to dig deep holes so that they can make sure you are digging in a safe place. 

SUCCESSION planting is in order if you like a continual crop of lettuces, carrots, beets, radishes, and corn. 

PREPARE a refreshing Jell-O salad that looks like fresh flowers with an online video tutelage. 

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GROW sunflowers to attract bees and pollinators to help terminate the “bee-apocalypse”.

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IMPRESS friends by growing adenium desert rose, an appealing succulent with deep red or pink blossoms that truly shouts, “It’s summer!”

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ROOT cuttings from hydrangeas to expand your collection. 

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PLANT lamium pink pom pom in a rock wall to create a crack garden. 

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CUT pixie roses for a simple indoor arrangement. If you love roses but have a small area, try planting miniature roses that pack a punch. 

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RELAX this summer with a hammock tied between two trees or poles. 

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Read more at https://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue1210/Cynthia-Brians-Digging-Deep-for-July-Hammock-Time.html

Happy Gardening. Happy Growing.

Cynthia Brian

Cynthia Brian, The Goddess Gardener, raised in the vineyards of Napa County, 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 Are1® 501 c3. 

Tune into Cynthia’s Radio show and order her books at www.StarStyleRadio.com.

Buy a copy of the new book, Growing with the Goddess Gardener, at www.cynthiabrian.com/online-store

Cynthia Brian'Growing with the Goddess Gardener book.jpg

Available for hire for projects and lectures.



Tea For Two…or Three, Four, or More!

Posted by Editor on
Tea For Two…or Three, Four, or More!

rose, mint, lemon, orange tea.jpg

“There are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea.” Henry James

From the time my daughter, Heather, was three years old, we enjoyed a ritual of drinking tea. Of course, it all began with Teddy Bear picnics and pretend doll teas. One day it escalated to brewing “real” herbal teas from the garden until it became our signature sacred Mother/Daughter sacrament where we would solve the woes of the world, and our own challenges, over an exotic potion crafted from what we grew. 

Although we had consumed tea as children in my family, the formal tradition of afternoon tea began for me when I was a teen ambassador to Holland where I lived for 18 months. Every afternoon at 4:00 p.m. sharp, families, shopkeepers, professionals, and everyone else would stop to have a cup of tea.  Tea bags were never used.  All teas were brewed from loose leaves, and mixing up various concoctions was an honored ritual.  Having tea and a “sweet”, usually a homemade shortbread or perhaps a slice of cake, was the perfect remedy for the midday drags.  At exactly 4:30, it was back to work, school, and obligations. 

Creating your own organic tea garden is easy and incredibly rewarding.  Fruits, flowers, stems, and leaves can all be used to create luscious hot or cold beverages that can relax, revitalize, energize, and calm.  I am a huge fan of citrus. Lemons, limes, oranges, tangerines, tangelos all add a tremendous amount of zip and zest to teas. 

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When I have to perform for a speaking engagement, or on a TV or radio show, I always drink several cups of a delicious natural brew from my garden that includes the juice, rinds, and leaves of Meyer lemons, mint, chamomile, and honey. My throat and vocal chords are cleared and my nerves are calmed allowing me to perform with confidence.

Plant Picks

Here are my picks for planting a tea garden in sun or shade. The bonus is that these are hardy perennials that will provide endless ingredients for a plethora of sweet and savory recipes including brewing tea!

Bee Balm (citrus/spice flavor)

Calendula (poor man’s saffron)


Catnip (lemony-mint flavor…cats love to roll in this herb)

Chamomile (apple scented)


Coriander (the seeds of cilantro offer warmth)

Fennel (licorice flavor)

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Lemon verbena (lemony flavor)

Mint (spearmint, peppermint, pineapple mint, or chocolate mint. Keep contained, if possible, as all mints are invasive.)


Nasturtium (reseeds itself annually)


Rose (the fragrance of the rose will determine the flavor)

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Scented geranium and pelargonium

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Viola (light violet flavor)


Any herb or edible plant that you enjoy can be made into tea. Harvest early in the morning to capture the essential oils. Place the cuttings in a bowl of cool water to wash off any dirt or debris. Herbs can then be used fresh or they can be hung in a cool dark place to dry. Another easy drying technique is to place cleaned herbs, leaves, and flowers on a cookie sheet to dry in the sun.  Or a fun trick to dry your teas is to put the cookie sheet with your herbs on the seat of your car with the windows rolled up. Park the car in the sun and within a few hours, your herbs will be dry and your car will smell garden fresh! Double win.

When storing herbs, make sure to label and date them to avoid confusion later.  You can also freeze herbs in zip seal bags or make pretty herbal ice cubes for your next celebration. Ice cubes made from rose petals, violets, and the flowers of herbs are especially intriguing.


There are numerous ways to brew your teas. For hot teas, I fill a pretty teapot with the various ingredients that I think are needed for that day. Add boiling water to the concoction, allowing it to steep for 15 to 20 minutes. In the summer months, I muddle fruits in season––apricots, cherries, plums, peaches, grapes, and strawberries. Using a strainer, I pour the tea into my favorite cups. (Tea drinking is a celebratory act and it is more festive to serve your teas in a cup that is appealing.)  Another easy way is to use a press pot, called a French press, which I also use for my morning java. When you make your tea in clear glass you get to enjoy the mix of colors. Any leftover tea is poured into a glass pitcher and stored in the refrigerator for a refreshing cold brew.

Many people prefer to make a carafe of sun tea. In a clear glass jug, pour cold water over all of the ingredients you desire. Place the container in full sun with a lid or foil cover.  It will take a full day to brew sun tea with the reward of a rich and robust taste.

 Whether you enjoy fragrant, sweet, piquant, or spicy, tea making is available to you from your garden. After a productive day of working in the garden, I reward my handiwork while sipping a tall glass of iced sun tea concocted from herbs, flowers, and fruits from my own plants. Ah, what a relaxing elixir pausing in the afternoon for tea is.  

For years, my daughter and I hosted a radio segment and wrote a column called Tea for Two: A Mother/Daughter Brew. Today, a cup of tea still connects us to continual conversation.Heather's shower Eileens - 17.jpg


Plant your garden. It’s teatime.

Cynthia Brian’s Mid Month Gardening Tips

  • MULCH your yard with three inches of wood chips or other organic materials to maintain temperature, prevent erosion, and keep your plants happy for the forthcoming hot weather.
  • FERTILIZE with all purpose feed before the heat hits.
  • PLANT Mexican Evening Primrose along a fence or in a wild setting for a pretty pop of pink that blooms only in daylight and thrives in poor soil.
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  • WATER your garden early in the morning, then at dusk for maximum absorption and minimal waste. 
  • BUY elegant, long lasting peonies to add to your collection. Peonies like six hours of full sun in well-drained soil and they can live for 50 years or more. They bloom through June and their glossy green leaves remain green through winter when they die back to the ground, reemerging in spring. Peonies are one of my very favorite, no fuss, flowering shrub. 
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  • GROW a tea garden in containers filled with herbs and edible fragrant flowers such as rose, calendula, nasturtium, and lavender. 
  • Rosa 'Princess Anne in pot.jpg

Enjoy your final days of spring with a cup of your homegrown tea.  

Read more at https://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue1208/Digging-Deep-with-Cynthia-Brian-Tea-for-two-or-three-four-or-more.html

Happy Gardening. Happy Growing. 

Cynthia Brian

Cynthia Brian, The Goddess Gardener, raised in the vineyards of Napa County, 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 Are1® 501 c3. 

Tune into Cynthia’s Radio show and order her books at www.StarStyleRadio.com.

Buy a copy of the new book, Growing with the Goddess Gardener, at www.cynthiabrian.com/online-store

Cynthia Brian'Growing with the Goddess Gardener book.jpg

Available for hire for projects and lectures.



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Roses Are for Everyone

Posted by Editor on
Roses Are for Everyone

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“That which we call a rose by any other word would smell as sweet.” William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet

Roses are red and pink, salmon, yellow, orange, purple, white, mauve, and are available in a plethora of color combinations and variety choices. With a bit of knowledge, roses are one of the easiest plants to grow providing ten to eleven months of beautiful blossoms.  Because of our warmer California weather, my roses are still blooming profusely even though I am in the process of performing my annual winter pruning. (Of course I am gathering the flowers to use in my indoor arrangements and potpourri). Many gardeners shy away from roses assuming they are just to “fussy” and demanding to be sustainable, yet, in my experience, I have always found roses to be the bedrock of my multi-purpose gardens.

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February is the perfect month to plant bare root roses.  Whether you are planning to purchase bare root or containerized roses, follow these simple instructions for success.

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  1. 1. Always buy healthy specimens.  Choose your plants carefully. A damaged, diseased, or dried rose will not recover and may cause problems for your other specimens.
  2. 2. Choose a sunny site where your rose will get at least six hours of sunshine daily,
  3. 3. Enrich the soil with a rich humus organic matter that will allow for good drainage. Roses like acidic soil with a PH of 6.5.
  4. 4. For container roses, soak the roses for at least half an hour and allow all the water to drain. Bare root roses need their root systems soaked overnight. Do not allow roots to dry out.
  5. 5. Space at least two feet apart to allow for air circulation.
  6. 6. After digging your hole, add compost or rotted material, permitting the bud union to be two to three inches below ground.
  7. 7. Add three inches of coarse mulch around the roses. The mulch keeps splashing water from spreading fungal disease on the foliage. Blackspot spores may germinate whenever leaves are wet. Fungus must be killed with a fungicide before it enters the leaf tissue. Dust or spray before a rain.
  8. 8. Water deeply directly to the soil and keep the soil moist but not soggy. Overhead sprinklers are not recommended.
  9. 9. Fertilize in the spring.  I add a cup of alfalfa pellets to each plant, which I buy at the feed store, combined with diatomaceous earth. Work it well into the soil.  Alfalfa supplies nitrogen, calcium, phosphorus, and plenty of other nutrients. Throughout the year, I swirl my used coffee grounds in a quart of water and throw them on the plants. Plus, whenever I eat a banana, the peel flies into the rose garden. The potassium and phosphorus aid in blooming.
  10. 10. Encourage beneficial insects to visit your roses to keep diseases away. By mixing lavender, bulbs, and other pollinator attracting plants with your roses, you will have fewer pests to fight.
  11. 11. Prune in January or February and cut off faded blooms throughout the year to insure continuous flowering.BrassBand-Oprah's rose.jpg

Although I have a collection of types and varieties of roses in my garden, since meeting senior rosarian of David Austin English Roses, Michael Marriott, English roses have become a favorite staple because of their resistance to disease, their beautiful shapes, varied foliage, and unrivaled fragrance.  On January 24th listen to a program about rose care and pruning on my internationally broadcast radio show, StarStyle®-Be the Star You Are!®.  Tune in live or to the archives at www.voiceamerica.com/episode/104744/david-austin-roses-with-michael-marriott-and-growing-with-the-goddess-gardener

Description, links, and photos will be at www.StarStyleRadio.com.

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These are abbreviated pruning instructions that Michael Marriott shared with me for the best outcomes for your rose garden.

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Pruning Roses

Why Prune: It is imperative to prune roses annually to maintain the shape and blooming qualities of the rose. You’ll keep your plant healthy and stimulate growth by removing any weak, dead, or diseased canes.

Tools:  Loppers, shears, secateurs, saw, and gloves. Sterilize tools with alcohol before using and make sure tools are sharp so as not to damage the plant.

When to Prune:  Pruning needs to be done during the dormant months of January and February. Later pruning can be detrimental as the plant’s energy will be depleted and plants could be susceptible to frost.

How to Prune: If possible, cut above a bud on a slight angle.  For a large group of shrub roses, a hedge trimmer is useful.

How Much to Prune:  Different roses require different pruning techniques. A good rule of thumb is to prune down to 1/2 or 1/3 of the original height of the plant and thin out any spindly stems.

  1. 1. Climbing and Rambling Roses: require less pruning as the goal is to get them to climb and ramble along fences, arbors, or other structures.
  2. 2. Repeat Flowering Shrub Roses (English roses, some old roses): The shape of the plant is the most important. You can be flexible according to your wishes, but reducing the height to 1/3 to 2/3 is normal.
  3. 3. Once Flowering Shrub Roses (old roses such as Albas, Gallicas, Damasks): Do not hard prune as flowering shoots are only produced on stems that are at least one year old.
  4. 4. Bush Roses (hybrid teas, floribundas, patio, polyanthas, and miniatures): Hard pruning the height by 2/3 to ¾ and thinning is recommended.
  5. 5. Species Roses (originals): No pruning necessary as they are close to wild plants and thrive on neglect.
  6. 6. Standard Roses: Standard roses are formed by budding any of the above roses on a special stem.  Pruning to 1/3 will be sufficient with thinning and light pruning throughout the year. Michael Marriott cottage.rose garden .jpeg

Clean up: Rake all leaves, stems, and canes. If your roses are not patented, you can share healthy canes with friends or plant in other areas of your garden. Add mulch to the rose bush.

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Every year I add a few more roses to my landscape to increase colors, scents, and shapes. This season I will be planting these selections from the glorious David Austin collection:

Comte de Chambord

Strawberry Hill

Crown Princess Margareta

Olivia Rose Austin

Huntington Rose

Charles Rennie Mackintosh

Lady of Shalott

Spirit of Freedom

The Wedgwood Rose

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Investigate the choices of David Austin Roses at your favorite nursery and garden center or save 15% on your order through February 28 at www.DavidAustinRoses.com

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Roses are red, pink, salmon, yellow, orange, purple, white, mauve, and a multitude of other hues. I encourage you to put on your rose-colored glasses, gloves, hat, and enjoy pruning and planting the rose that by any other word would smell as sweet.

Happy Gardening. Happy Growing.

Read more at https://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue1124/Cynthia-Brians-Gardening-Guide-for-February-Roses-are-red.html

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Cynthia Brian

Cynthia Brian, The Goddess Gardener, raised in the vineyards of Napa County, 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 Are1® 501 c3. 

Tune into Cynthia’s Radio show and order her books at www.StarStyleRadio.com.

Buy a copy of the new book, Growing with the Goddess Gardener, at www.cynthiabrian.com/online-store

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Available for hire for projects and lectures.



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