Tag Archives

2 Articles

Pollinator Paradise

Posted by Editor on
Pollinator Paradise

Cyn-rock garden

Digging Deep-Gardening with Cynthia Brian

By Cynthia Brian

“I have no special talents.
I am only passionately curious.” ~ Albert Einstein

Everyone seems to love the birds. After reading my previous month’s column, For the Birds, many people contacted me with stories of the birds in their gardens including hardwood floor installer and refinisher, Tom Gieryng.  He sent me photos and asked me to come see the numerous avian amenities he had installed in his garden. Birdhouses, bird feeders, fountains, and perches occupy every tree, wall, and crevice. Most were built by Tom, many were someone else’s trash turned into Tom’s treasure, and all of them have been embellished, hand painted, or given a touch of whimsy. Tom gave new life to tossed out items including wrought iron gates, hanging baskets, pots, tricycles, and even stained glass windows with his garden ingenuity.
Nonie's birdhouse night
Growing up in Poland, Tom was like most teens across the world. He looked forward to making enough money to buy nice clothes and go out with friends to party. His job was with a wood flooring company and at the time he didn’t realize this teenage occupation would become his life long career when he immigrated to America. After a few years of working for a flooring business in San Francisco, Tom wanted more creativity and control and opened his own company, TG Hardwood, where he was able to implement his own designs. Curiosity and a desire to reclaim discarded objects fuels his inventive nature both in his woodwork and outdoor spaces. After a hard day’s work, he finds inspiration, entertainment, and relaxation in his garden.

Gardens offer each of us a place to chill out, relax, and be inventive. In today’s high tech environment, the garden presents an instant environment to unplug, unwind, and be imaginative. When I’m in my garden, I lose track of time. Although pulling weeds, turning the soil, planting, pruning, watering, and paying attention to potential pests is work, it is invigorating, offering me precious time to think without the distraction of phones, emails, and pinging calendar appointments. Our gardens can be an extension of our artistic selves when we allow ourselves to be inquisitive. In my mother’s garden, an ancient walnut tree has become Nonie’s Bird Tree. She hangs feeders of all shapes and sizes attracting a variety of birds and hummingbirds. Vines twine around a rusted chicken chair in my front yard next to an antiquated tin birdhouse. Butterflies flit amongst the blooms and bees pollinate the various fruit trees.
stained glass-pots
Strolling with Tom through his garden, his obvious enthusiasm for his creations was contagious. Clients have given him cuttings of various species that he has transplanted and tended, many of them becoming prize possessions. Fuchsias, hydrangeas, roses, pelargoniums, geraniums, lavender, agapanthus, and numerous grasses found homes in his yard.  A waterfall cascades down the hill adding the sound of trickling water and a place for the frogs to congregate and the hummingbirds to drink and dip. It’s a haven for birds, butterflies, and bees…a true pollinator garden.

After my For the Birds publication, many readers asked how to attract other pollinators. To have a truly healthy garden, create a pollinator paradise. It’s easy to do.
You won’t need any special talents, just lots of curiosity, and this simple tip sheet.
hanging baskets
What you need to know and do to succeed at pollinator gardening
1. Use plants that provide pollen and nectar. Cosmos, salvia, oregano, penstemon, coneflowers, buddleia, marigold, gaillardia, phlox, milkweed, bee balm, zinnia, Black-eyed Susan, cilantro, sunflower, sweet alyssum, and wild flowers are excellent choices.
2. Provide a water source, such as a small water garden or birdbath.
3. Situate your pollinator garden in a sunny site with a windbreak.

4. Provide shelter from the elements with grasses, standing stalks, shrubs, and bushes.

5. Have plants that bloom continuously throughout the season including bulbs like crocus. Make sure the garden has blooms from spring to early winter.

6. Do not use pesticides near your pollinator plants.

Be passionately curious, then relax, rejuvenate, and re-invent, while attracting the pollinators-birds, bees, butterflies, bats, and more.

Cynthia Brian’s Mid Month Gardening Tips for September

PLACE bird feeders in a natural area, specifically hanging from trees, and away from the house to deter rodents from establishing residence in your home.

PICK tomatoes to enjoy in these last two weeks of summer brilliance. According to the USDA, there are over 25,000 varieties of tomatoes.

GOT CLOVER? Clover is a positive plant in the garden and lawn because it grabs oxygen from the air and stores it in the soil. Birds pecking at your lawn are not eating it. They are dining on insects that could be harmful to your lawn. The birds are your friends indicating that your lawn has an invader.

EAT watermelon when it’s warm. Watermelon is actually a vegetable, not a fruit filled with 92% water. Time to make a watermelon popsicle. (The popsicle was invented in 1905…quite tasty history.)

DOWNLOAD a free pollinator guide for the United States and Canada at http://www.pollinator.org/guides.htm. For the Lamorinda area, click on “California Dry Steppe”.

MARK your calendars for September 26th Pear and Wine Festival in Moraga. Stop by the Be the Star You Are! booth for free seeds and other give aways including a COMPLIMENTARY brand new book as part of the literacy outreach project, “Read, Lead, Succeed!” Infohttp://starstyleradio.net/Events/Entries/2015/9/26_Pear_%26_Wine_Festival_2015.html

BUY tulips, hyacinths, and crocus to refrigerate for six weeks before planting.

REGISTER your pollinator garden, large or small or even a container that provides pollen and nectar to bees, butterflies, bats, flies, etc at www.millionpollinatorgardens.org

RAKE fallen leaves to add to your compost pile along with your lawn clippings.

I’m off to speak at the National Gardening Symposium. Can’t wait to bring you the latest and greatest gardening tips from the harvests of horticulture professionals.
Happy Gardening and Happy Growing!
Read more: https://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue0914/Digging-Deep-Gardening-with-Cynthia-Brian-Pollinator-Paradise.html
Read September Garden Guide:  https://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue0913/Cynthia-Brians-Gardening-Guide-for-September.html

Press Pass: https://blog.voiceamerica.com/2015/08/31/cynthia-brians-september-gardening-guide/

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

Cynthia Brian’s September Gardening Guide

Posted by Editor on
Cynthia Brian’s September Gardening Guide


By Cynthia Brian

“The sun does not shine for a few trees and flowers, but for the wide world’s joy”
Henry Ward Beecher
blue hydrangea
We have definitely experienced ample sunshine this season and as summer simmers into its final month, we still have ample time to enjoy the warmth and tranquility of outdoor entertaining. September is often the hottest month of the year. Make sure that you are paying attention to the water needs of your trees. Because of the drought, you may lose some plants, but mature trees may be irreplaceable in your lifetime. Obey the EBMUD rules, water deeply twice a week, and your landscape will survive until the winter rains arrive. An El Nino is being predicted for 2016. If your ground is severely dry and compacted, you may suffer flooding as the water will not be able to penetrate the soil.
roses at shirleys.jpg
Nothing says “California” better than joining friends for a barbecue or roasting s’mores around a fire pit. (Be fire wise-Lamorinda is on high fire alert this year.) With vegetable gardens at their peak, fresh corn, squash, peppers, and melons brushed with olive oil and sprinkled with herbs are delicious cooked over the grill.

As many of our annuals and perennials begin to wither, it’s a great idea to gather bouquets to dry for the winter. Many plants dry naturally and others need to be hung. Before tying in bunches, remove the foliage and hang in a dry, cool place away from bright light. Garage beams make great drying racks.
A cool Path
Be alert for the pear, apple, and grape harvests happening around the area. Become a farmer for a day. Volunteer for picking, pressing, and stomping.
star thistle
PRESS apples for the delicious fresh juice.
VISIT The National Heirloom Exposition, the “world’s pure food fair”, September 8-10th at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds. Education about heirloom growing, sustainability, market farming, and risks of genetically modified foods will be the focus. Enjoy heritage poultry and livestock shows, giant pumpkin and vegetable contests, foot stomping music, and tractors.
BUY a deep soaker hose to give thirsty trees a good drink. If you see tree roots rising to the surface and leaves wilting or falling, get some H2O to your trees.
DEAD HEAD roses and control powdery mildew with a spray consisting of 2 tsp. cooking oil and 2 tsp. baking soda mixed in a gallon of water.
CHECK out Cate’s Garden premium bypass pruning shears and easy action rathchet pruning shears made from SK5 high carbon steel blades. These great garden tools have a lifetime warranty.
LOWER yard maintenance with ground covers such as sedum, liriope, succulents, creeping thyme, baby tears, and vinca major or minor.
PROTECT your tender plants, roses, and citrus from the hungry deer. They are especially destructive now as their food sources dwindle. There are few deer proof plants, although my deer don’t touch oleander, digitalis, bearded iris, naked ladies, heuchera, rosemary, or Russian sage.
DESTROY any star thistle plants that may come up in your landscape. These very prickly weeds are difficult to get rid of once established. Seeds blow in from the hills. The cows and deer don’t eat them.
DIVIDE iris, lilies, and naked ladies. Replant in other barren areas or share with a friend.
PROVIDE a shady area for your pets to play and relax. Make it interesting and a cool place for you to unwind.
DRY herbs and flowers. Garlic, leeks, artichoke blossoms, Bird of Paradise, hydrangeas, sunflowers, bachelor buttons, sage, lavender, and protea can be hung upside down from rafters in the garage.
STARE up at the clouds at sunset for a multihued moving performance. Do it with your kids or grandkids.
IMPROVE your soil with compost and mulch now. Compacted clay soil will experience severe run-off when winter rains arrive.
ATTEND the Pear and Wine Festival on September 26th at Moraga Commons. Visit the Be the Star You Are!® booth to receive a FREE brand new book as part of the literacy outreach project, “Read, Lead, Succeed!”
SELECT the perfect September bouquet at your local farmer’s market as your garden displays wane.
SIT by a waterfall to enjoy the trickling falls and the sounds of silence.
SOW seeds of kale peas, kohlrabi, turnips, and cabbage in preparation of a winter harvest.
new guinea primrose-bird of paradise
I’m on my way to speak at the National Garden Symposium where I am looking forward to meeting other garden writers and media professionals who share my passion for nature. My October column will be blooming with the best ideas I glean from around the country.
heuchera-fern container
Have fun in the sun and delight in the joy of our September trees, flowers, fruit, and herbs.
Happy Gardening, Happy Growing!
Read more HERE

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

clary sage-Salvia sclarea-cynthia
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.

Enjoy this blog? Please spread the word :)

Follow by Email