Tag Archives

19 Articles

Awaken Spring

Posted by presspass on
0
Empowerment
Awaken Spring

pink freesias.jpghttps://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue1302/Digging-Deep-with-Cynthia-Brian-Awaken-spring.html

“The ghostly winter silences have given way to the great spring murmur of awakening life.” Jack London

It all began when I witnessed the new growth unfurling on one of my loquat trees. The leaves were a mesmerizing bright green, like the color of lime with a hint of sunshine.  Ah, sunshine, I thought! How I longed for warm, sun-drenched days. The darkness, cold, and wet of winter had begun to unravel my soul. 

Loquat new leaves.jpg

The rains throughout the winter, although welcome and necessary, have been torrential. The creeks are full and raging. If only we could save this H2O to quench summer thirsty landscapes.

Green hills-roaring Creek.jpg

Our hillsides are carpets of emerald grasses. The only hint that salvation was near was the happy stalks of the ubiquitous daffodils singing to the sky an end to the melancholia. 

daffodils, narcissci.jpg

I wanted to bottle a bit of this luminosity from those loquat leaves so I did the next best thing…I painted my fingernails the exact color! An odd choice, I’ve been told, but I was hell-bent on awakening spring.

Cynthia-raining hellebore.jpghttps://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue1302/Digging-Deep-with-Cynthia-Brian-Awaken-spring.html

The next day, the weather reports suggested that we would bask in sunlight for at least a week. My earthy polish must have summoned the gods of rebirth. 

As if on cue, terra firma has erupted in a procession of power plants. Besides the narcissi and bergenia that have been blooming successively since January, we now witness muscari, tulip, hyacinth, ranunculus, anemone, oxalis, calla lily, azalea, freesia, Chinese fringe, blue star grass, and one of my favorite over-looked specimen, hellebore joining the parade.

daffodils & chinese fringe.jpg

Hellebores are a deer resistant, low maintenance perennial that stirs with blooms (actually sepals protecting the flower) before other plants. Known as the Lenten rose, they prefer partial shade, are evergreen and boast flowers January through May. If you plant them on a slope, you’ll be able to see the flowers more easily as their stems face downwards. Hybrids include shades of ivory, jade, maroon, pink, yellow, speckled, and fringed combinations. 

green hellebore.jpg

As the soil warms and the daylight hours grow longer, it is time to prepare your garden for seeding by weeding, hoeing, and adding rich soil. This year I have chosen packets from Renee’s Garden (https://sh2543.ositracker.com/121062/9151) and have already jotted down when the seeds will be planted. At the end of March or beginning of April, I will be planting beets, leeks, and clarkia. In April I will add cleome, columbine, and dwarf dahlias. Brussels sprouts will wait for a summer sowing.

Seed Catalogs.jpg

Pumpkin seeds that I’ve saved will be planted in late May in anticipation of Halloween and Thanksgiving. If you want to carve them, choose a fun variety such as Warty Goblin or Super Moon. For that delicious holiday pie, the go-to favorite is Pik-a-Pie. Pumpkins need a large area to grow making it essential to plan now to give your Curcubita pepo the room to thrive.  Small pumpkins need a 12-foot area, medium pumpkins require 24 feet, and giants want a 36-48 feet space per plant. 

Are you thinking of including perennials that will attract butterflies, bees, bats, and birds? The National Pollinator Garden Network has announced it has surpassed its goal of registering one million pollinator gardens. In just three years, 1,040,000 gardens were registered with the Million Pollinator Garden Challenge. From tiny yards to public gardens, the million-plus gardens add up to a network of approximately five million acres of enhanced or new pollinator habitat. Offer a buffet with a diverse array of flowers, herbs, colors, fragrances, sizes, and shapes that will encourage these garden guards to visit and stay. 

red ranunucula-yellow oxalis.jpghttps://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue1302/Digging-Deep-with-Cynthia-Brian-Awaken-spring.html

The elegant tulip soulangeana magnolia adds beauty and structure to any landscape and now is the time to choose a specimen in full bloom at your local nursery. Blooming time varies with varieties and micro-climates. Santa Rosa plum and peach trees are radiantly blossoming and will soon form fruit.  Crab apple will follow shortly. Hopefully, the rains won’t knock off too many buds.

tulip soulangeana magnolia.jpghttps://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue1302/Digging-Deep-with-Cynthia-Brian-Awaken-spring.html

The frogs are chirping, birds are tweeting, and cows are mooing. The orchestra of nature waking up from its winter slumber is music to my ears. It’s time to polish our dancing shoes (and maybe your nails) as the vernal equinox has arrived with an equal balance of light and dark. The season of spring has sprung.

Cynthia Brian’s Mid Month Reminders

CREATE a cutting garden for summer by planting delphiniums, snapdragons, and sunflowers.

VISIT http://www.RecycleSmart.org for dates of the 5th Annual Compost Giveaway. Register to collect up to three yards of free compost or “black gold” which has been recycled from the green organic bins. 

FERTILIZE lawns. Spring is also the second-best time after fall to install a new lawn or refresh an old one. If you are seeding, March and April are excellent times to scatter seed, especially before a rain. My preference is http://www.PearlsPremium.com for an almost weed-free, lush green ground cover.

lush lawn.jpg

ADD to your planting list aeoniums and other succulents as they require minimal maintenance and water, even in the hot months. 

dinner plate aeonium succulent.jpghttps://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue1302/Digging-Deep-with-Cynthia-Brian-Awaken-spring.html

CONTINUE to pick up the fallen camellias. I know I’m sounding like a broken record but camellias have a long blooming season and the ones that drop will cause a rot for next year’s bloom. Don’t stop picking them up and don’t add them to your compost or recycle bins.

BUY seeds for spring sowing from Renee’s Garden (https://sh2543.ositracker.com/121062/9151) 

Through March 24 you can get FREE Shipping on orders over $20.00.

STOP mowing your lawns when the grass is wet or it is raining. Hearing the growl of lawnmowers when it is pouring outside boils the soul of my inner gardener. Cutting the grass when it is raining damages the grass blades and causes ruts and compaction. Inform your “mow, blow, and go” service providers to perform other tasks in inclement weather. A healthy green lawn will thank you for your restraint. 

Happy Gardening. Happy Growing. Hello Spring!

Read more at 

https://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue1302/Digging-Deep-with-Cynthia-Brian-Awaken-spring.html

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

Cynthia Brian'Growing with the Goddess Gardener book.jpg

Hire Cynthia for projects, consults, and lectures.

Cynthia@GoddessGardener.com

Back cover-Growiung  6 x 6 – Version 3.jpg

www.GoddessGardener.com

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

BTSYA 3 book series.jpg

Mother Knows Best

Posted by Editor on
0
Empowerment
Mother Knows Best

wheel of fortune- cyn, nonie, heather.jpg

My mother said to me,

“If you become a soldier, you’ll be a general;

if you become a monk, you’ll end up as the Pope. 

Instead, I became a painter & wound up as Picasso.”

~Pablo Picasso

Aren’t Moms the greatest? 

When I was a little girl, I wanted to be a world-famous ball bouncer because I thought I was fairly great at bouncing balls and catching them. My mother told me to go for it. 

Then, of course, I added to my “want to be” numerous times while both of my parents applauded my bravado. My hands were either always writing or digging in the dirt and I wound up as The Goddess Gardener!

Olivia Rose Austin (Ausmixture) .jpg

When I lived in France I had the opportunity to investigate the majestic gardens of the charming chateaus. The elegant gardens mesmerized me, especially Château de Chenonceau spanning the River Cher in the Loire Valley where females ruled the designs. But it was the gardens of Impressionist artist Monet that influenced me most. The first time I visited his Giverny masterpiece, a profusion of magenta, pink, and purple tulips augmented by white bearded iris greeted me. It reminded me of my time living in the Netherlands where fields of tulips thrived amongst the windmills. The color scheme was enchanting.

monet-at-giverny.jpg

After returning stateside, I determined to model my landscapes after Monet’s painter’s palette with plants that only reflected a variety of shades and hues of purple, pink, blue, and white. My Mother warned against such folly. “Gardens are filled with the colors of the rainbow. Just wait. Mother Nature will decide what’s best for your garden.” 

 

Of course,cynthia brian-books-events.jpg I didn’t listen because I had my mind set on a specific plan. I planted a variety of species that boasted my favorite colors including iris, gazania, lilac, wisteria, tulip, anemone, periwinkle, jasmine, ice plant, freesia, candytuft, azalea, camellia, fuchsia, rose, rhododendron, and more. For the first two years, my landscape did resemble an Impressionist painting. It was spectacular. azaleas.jpg

Then a seventeen-day freeze occurred killing most of my plantings. When spring arrived, many of the plants sprouted once again but this time they were yellow, orange, white, or red. The hybrids had reverted to their native colors after the freeze. Mother Nature was teaching me who was in charge.

I embraced my Mother’s approach to gardening to allow all the colors of the rainbow to shine in my garden. Soon the burgundy grew next to the orange gazania, and yellow daffodils sang along with the fluorescent pink ice plant. The effect has been stunning.

pink iceplant along path.jpg

 

My Mom also warned against invasive plants that mask as attractive: ivy, mint, Mexican primrose, vinca, jasmine, and the worst of which is Euphorbia esula, also known as leafy spurge.  All of these grow in my garden and I am constantly pulling, prodding, and attempting to keep these handsome, yet insidious species in check. 

fava beans flower.jpg

Although lovely mixed with flowers cascading from a container, in the ground, ivy climbs and chokes trees, killing them. Ivy is also a favorite habitat for rats. Mint is delicious muddled in mojitos and chopped into salads, but not so exciting when it spreads to your lawn. Mexican primrose with its dainty pretty pink flowers spreads quickly jumping into spaces where other plants are preferred. It looks dreadful when it develops powdery mildew towards fall. Vinca major (big leaf periwinkle) may take years to become invasive but with conditions of deep shade, it can smother the diversity of other plants with its very dense vegetation. Cut it back or pull out the stragglers. Jasmine has the most beautiful fragrance, especially in the evening. A few cut blossoms perfumes entire rooms, however, this vine twines around bushes and flora smothering the entire plant. It is critical to contain these plants and keep them in check by pruning and pulling out the ones growing in places you don’t desire.

lion fountain.jpg

Which leads me to the worst invasive in my landscape––euphorbia esula, commonly known as green spurge or leafy spurge. A single pot of euphorbia is charming with its magnetic chartreuse leaves and yellowish green bracts. The problem begins when the seed capsules explode sending seeds fifteen or more feet in the distance. If allowed in bare soil, the complex root system spreads rapidly both horizontally and vertically for many yards. In spring the plants grow three or four feet high, blocking sunlight, stealing the water and nutrients from other plants. Toxins in Euphorbia esula prevent other plants to thrive. Deer and rabbits won’t eat it, although goats and sheep tolerate it. The milky sap is a skin irritant to humans. If left unchecked, this invader will take over hills, dales, and neighborhoods.  The striking euphorbia esula encompasses a hillside, yet I am not willing to let trespassers into my formal beds. Daily I patrol and pull out the intruders. 

euphorbia is bloom-gazebo.jpg

A cavalcade of color delights me in my spring garden. Currently boasting beautiful blooms are bergenia, lavender, ranunculus, Dutch iris, bearded iris, rose, forget-me-not, daffodil, tulip, calla lily, California poppy, snowball, snowdrop, blue star, geranium, calendula, citronella, hyacinth, ice plant, wisteria, lilac, snapdragon, cyclamen, oleander, Jupiter’s beard, azalea, fuchsia, breath of heaven, camellia, hellebore, nasturtium, sweet alyssum, osteospermum, cornflag, clematis, mock orange, petunia, wood hyacinth, alpine strawberry, fava beans, and a plethora of other splendid multicolored species.

burgundy gazania -vinca.jpg

My gardener Mom was right about being inclusive with garden color and watchful for the expansion of invasive vigorous vegetation. It is always good to have a guide on the side. Mother Nature will always have the final say.

horse chestnut blooming.jpg

I recently visited my daughter to help with her landscaping needs. When I asked her what she wanted me to plant, she responded, “Mom, you always know best!” 

sculpture garden chirs-brick.jpg

A Mother ‘s Gardening Guide for May from Cynthia Brian 

  • WARNING! Don’t buy Euphorbia esula no matter how much it captivates you, as it is not containable. 
  • BUY your Mother the perfect garden gift for Mother’s Day, Growing with the Goddess Gardener and receive a plethora of extra goodies that she’ll love. Visit http://www.CynthiaBrian.com/online-store
  • Back cover-Growiung 6 x 6 – Version 3.jpg
  • EMPTY standing water from any receptacle as mosquitoes are breeding including birdbaths and animal water bowls. Check rain gutters and storm drains. Stock ponds with mosquito fish (Gambusia affinis) which are free from vector control,
  • WEED while the soil is still moist, digging up the roots. The smaller the weed, the easier it is to pull out. Don’t allow the plant to go to seed.
  • REPLENISH mulch as it decomposes. Mulch deprives weeds and seeds of sunlight while enriching the soil. Add three inches to beds and keep a few inches away from tree trunks.
  • FERTILIZE roses with alfalfa meal to add acid to the soil. 
  • Olivia Rose Austin (Ausmixture) .jpg
  • PREVENT ants from protecting aphids around bushes and trees by using sticky barriers.
  • LEAVE grass clippings on lawns to provide nutrients and don’t mow when the lawn is wet.
  • VISIT the Be the Star You Are! booth at the Moraga Faire to pick up complimentary potpourri to celebrate Mother’s Day and buy raffle tickets for the opportunity to go to an A’s batting practice to meet the players. http://www.BetheStarYouAre.org/events
  • PATROL for invasive species and eradicate them from your yard.
  • ATTRACT beneficial insects and pollinators to your garden by planting swaths of aster calendula, California poppy, fennel, and Queen Anne’s lace.
  • fennel-palm.jpg
  • PREPARE your vegetable garden. Check your local nursery to buy edibles you enjoy, specifically tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant.
  • PLANT color spots of petunia, begonia, cosmos, and marigolds.

Wishing every Mother a month of peace, joy, health, and love. Thank you for being and knowing best!

Read more: https://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue1205/Cynthia-Brians-Gardening-guide-for-May-Mother-Nature-knows-best.html

Happy Gardening. Happy Growing.amaryllis afternoon.jpg

 

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. 

Available for hire for projects and lectures.

Cynthia@GoddessGardener.com

www.GoddessGardener.com

Weed, Feed, Seed

Posted by Editor on
0
Empowerment
Weed, Feed, Seed

dandelions.com.jpg

“Nothing is so beautiful as spring when weeds, in wheels, shoot long, and lovely, and lush…” Gerard Manley Hopkins

While cleaning out our parent’s ranch home I found a book published in 1918 belonging to my grandfather. The title is The Herbalist by Joseph E. Meyer, 1878-1950.  The cover showcased a line drawing of an apothecary’s garden. The first page warns in big bold letters “Special Attention: The botanical materials, medications, and recipes of this book are not intended to replace the services of physicians.”

Being the major gardener and herbalist that I am, I was thrilled to discover this tiny tome filled with information that is pertinent over a hundred years after publication to those of us who love to grow our own food. After reading about the anatomy of plants, the epitome of botany, and the medicinal uses of plants, I excitedly went into the garden to find weeds to feed me. Then of course, it was time to throw seeds to beautify what will become my late spring landscape.

Since the rain and hail we experienced in March, weeds are ubiquitous. Before seeding, weeding is essential. If you like to be adventurous while consuming a nutritional boost, separate the dandelions from other discarded weeds. Dandelions originated in Greece and have been enjoyed as greens in salads or sautés for centuries. Dandelions provide calcium, vitamin K, vitamin A, E. riboflavin, and iron. The dried root is a beneficial home remedy as a diuretic plus dandelions inhibit inflammation.  Consider adding this food to your menu.

After a thorough weeding, it’s time to seed the garden with beautiful flowers and delicious vegetables. Always choose quality seeds. Plant seeds in the correct light situations. Refer to seed packets for information when the most auspicious planting window is and where the plants will thrive. Make sure to prepare the soil properly by weeding and composting or buy good soil.

penstemon.jpg.jpg

When planting indoors, choose a south or west-facing window to provide adequate light and warmth. Natural light is always best for helping seeds to sprout but you can always purchase grow lamps. Fluorescent tubes will work when placed two to four inches above the seedlings and left on for eighteen hours per day. If you are planting on a porch, be mindful of frosty evenings where you’ll need to provide heat.  Speed seed germination with a heat mat that you place under trays or containers and remove the heat mat once the seeds have sprouted.

A container for planting seeds can be anything that is at least two-three inches deep with a drainage hole. You can use milk cartons, cell packs, recycled plastic, or clay pots. Even old coffee mugs can be re-purposed as long as you add gravel to the bottom.  Get creative, re-purpose, and re-cycle.  

Keep the soil moist but not soggy. When a plant has two sets of leaves it’s time to feed them with a half-strength fertilizer and get them to sunny locations outdoors as often as possible.

I prefer to sow directly in the ground and have experimented with seeding as early as March. However, my experience has instructed me to spread seeds when the soil is warm in late April, thinning as necessary. Follow instructions on seed packets for best results. Keep in mind that you will not have 100% germination. Sow an amount of seeds that is several times the amount you wish for best results. For small seeds like arugula and greens, I carefully scatter attempting not to have the seeds clumped in one area. All plants need room to spread. For plants growing in cells or trays, I usually transplant in May and have found that these plants tend to do better than those that were planted in early spring. Planting in sets of odd numbers, three, five, seven, nine, or more provides a cohesiveness and richness of texture.

Growing a beautiful garden from seeds is easy and inexpensive. You may have to provide netting to keep hungry birds, roaming rabbits, and ravenous deer out of your yard. 

Spring is a time to weed, seed, and feed, both metaphorically and literally. I love experimenting in my garden and hope that a hundred years from now my books will be as relevant to readers as The Herbalist is.

Seeds to start indoors or in a greenhouse:

Broccoli

Brussels Sprouts

Cabbage

Cauliflower

Eggplants

Peppers

Tomatoes

Perennial Flowers

Seeds to sow in containers or directly in the garden:

Arugula

Basil

Beans

Beets 

Carrots

Cilantro

Corn

Cucumbers

Greens

Herbs

Kale

Melons

Nasturtiums

Parsley

Parsnips

Peas

Penstemon

Radishes

Spinach

Swiss Chard

Squash

Sunflowers

Zinnias

Cynthia Brian’s Gardening Guide for April

  • CONTROL snails with organic treatments. You can hand pick them, put out bowls of beer, add copper tape to ornamentals, throw egg shells in affected areas, or scatter Sluggo. Eliminate watering at night when snails feed. They multiply and flourish in the wet and damp. In dry weather they will retract into their shells sealing off the opening with mucus. Snails can be dormant for four years.
  • RAKE lawns to remove debris and aerate. If fertilizer is needed, this is the time to apply.
  • pearl's Premium -cut.jpg
  • DON’T eat the mushrooms growing in your yard unless you are certain they are edible. Consult a mycologist as many mushrooms are toxic and potentially fatal if ingested.mushroons growing in garden (1).jpg
  • VISIT Wildlife Earth Day at Wagner Ranch in Orinda on Sunday, April 22 from 11:30-4pm. Several community organizations will also present earth-friendly endeavors. I will be autographing my newest book, Growing with the Goddess Gardener as well as talking about botanicals.  For more information on this nature-lover’s event organized by the naturalist guru, Toris Jaeger, visit https://fwrna.org/wildlifefest/
  • PLANT agastache, columbine, penstemon, salvia, and trumpet vine to attract hummingbirds. When the threat of frost is finished, hibiscus, bougainvillea, and citrus can planted. 
  • crabapple tree.jpg
  • BUY discounted tickets to the June 15th Oakland A’s versus Los Angeles Angeles Baseball Game with a portion of proceeds benefitting the 501 c3 charity, Be the Star You Are® http://www.BetheStarYouAre.org or go find your seats to buy directly at https://groupmatics.events/event/Bestar
  • EAT your dandelions for a wealth of nutritional and medicinal benefits. And Italian proverb instructs ““He who wants to eat a good supper should eat a weed of every kind.”
  • WALK in the woods, a park or hug a tree to get your dose of forest bathing known as the Japanese tradition of shinrin-yoku.
  • Creek-waterfall.jpg
  • SAVOR springtime. It’s the bugle baby for beauty, fragrance, and new life.cynthia brian.jpg

Happy Gardening. Happy Growing.

Read more: https://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue1203/Cynthia-Brians-April-Gardening-Guide-Weed-seed-feed.html

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. 

Available for hire for projects and lectures.

Cynthia@GoddessGardener.com

www.GoddessGardener.com

tulip magnolia.jpg

The Language of Trees

Posted by Editor on
0
Empowerment
The Language of Trees

oak to cimb.jpg

“The ax forgets, the tree remembers.” African Proverb

Do trees have feelings? Do they communicate with one another? As I watch the leaves unfurl and the blossoms bursting on the trees in my landscape, I have a sense that my trees are talking and communing with one another. With the celebration of Earth Day on the horizon, this was an opportune moment to research the language of trees.

At the insistence of his wife, German forester, Peter Wohleben, authored an accidental best seller, The Hidden Life of Trees: What They Feel, How They Communicate. The two of them live in a cabin in the remote village of Hummel where Peter manages a nature reserve.  He has become a spokesman of sorts for protecting and respecting the rights of trees.

Although trees don’t form words as humans do, they do communicate, and are more alert, sophisticated, and social that we expected. Trees form alliances with other trees of both their own species and others to survive and thrive.  They connect via underground fungal mycorrhizal networks, a symbiotic relationship between tree roots and fungi. As they scavenge for nitrogen, phosphorus, and other nutrients, the fungi consume thirty percent of the sugar photosynthesized from sunlight then feed the trees. This fungal internet of thin threads known as mycelium also can also transport toxins to keep competing plants from establishing nearby. Eucalyptus and sycamore commonly exhibit this behavior. Biologists have termed fungi to tree communication the “wood wide web” showcasing how interconnected and interdependent nature is.

loquats and wisteria.jpg

Using pheromones and scent signals, trees also talk through the air. Research was done several years ago with acacias on the savannas of Africa. When giraffes began chewing on the leaves of the thorny acacia, the tree sensed the wound sending a distress signal in the form of ethylene gas to neighboring acacias. The trees receiving the message of imminent danger pumped quantities of tannins into their leaves, which can kill an herbivore.

flowering cherry-poppies.jpg

Trees differentiate between an animal attack and a human cutting a limb. When a branch breaks or is sawed off, the tree sends chemicals to heal the wound. And trees remember.

bucks - 10.jpg

Trees also have a sense of smell and taste. When  an elm or pine is attacked by leaf-eating caterpillars, the affected trees detect the saliva. Pheromones are released to attract parasitic wasps. The wasps lay eggs inside the caterpillars, and the wasp larvae eat the caterpillars from the inside out. 

Dr. Suzanne Simard, a forest ecologist with the University of British Columbia is renowned for her extensive scientific research into mycorrhizal networks and “hub trees” or “mother trees” as she prefers to call the biggest, oldest forest trees. Mother trees are not necessarily female but they do have the most fungal connections to nurture and support the saplings.  Their deep roots suck up water and send it to fellow trees along with other nutrients and distress warnings. Her lab studies found that defense signals traveled between a diversity of trees within six hours. Not all scientists agree with Simard and Wohleben that trees are sentient beings. Several scientists have countered that plants and trees do not possess intelligence and are instead genetically programmed by natural selection to do a job automatically. 

Being the nature aficionado that I am, I vote for team Simard and Wohleben. Over the past few years I’ve been carefully studying my hillside pine trees as they twist to be closer to each other. Although each tree was originally planted to give a wide berth for each canopy to grow straight and tall in an effort to reach optimum sunlight, as the trees matured they tended to gravitate towards one another, mingling their branches. The pine that was planted furthest away from its siblings actually lurched sideways forming an arch until its branches touched the closest pine. I can’t help but think that this small group considers itself a forest family or at least very dear friends. When my “mother” Japanese maples leafs out, the other two develop their leaves within two days. My fruit trees of the same species always bloom together as if on orchestral cue. The willows in the creek appear to be supporting the oaks and bays with a communal sharing of resources.

pine leaning on pine.jpg

Simard detects a spiritual expression in the forest and Wohleben has been accused of being a tree hugger, although he states that he doesn’t believe trees respond to human hugs. We do know for certain that trees provide beauty while cleaning the air, combating climate change, and absorbing CO2. They provide oxygen, keep us cool, prevent erosion, supply us with food, offer playtime for kids, and help us heal faster. Trees furnish us with wood for homes, furniture, and warmth while allowing wildlife to flourish and reside in their branches.  An area without trees feels arid, vulnerable, and ugly. 

Trees are our allies and they are definitely talking to us. Clear cutting and climate change will kill our trees and our forests. We need to plant trees to capture carbon and encourage kids of all ages to climb big trees. We need to acknowledge that global warming is real and that our trees are desperately warning us of the disasters to come if we don’t create a movement for change. We need to listen to our vegetation as their memories are living, long, and lasting. 

We are all one interdependent, interconnected community. Stop. Look. Listen. Learn the language of trees and celebrate Earth Day with me. 

Cynthia Brian’s Mid Month Gardening Guide for April

  • VISIT Wildlife Earth Day at Wagner Ranch in Orinda on Sunday, April 22 from 11:30-4pm. Several community organizations will also present earth-friendly endeavors. I will be autographing my newest book, Growing with the Goddess Gardener as well as talking about trees, flowers, and other botanicals.  For more information on this nature-lover’s event organized by the naturalist guru, Toris Jaeger, visit https://fwrna.org/wildlifefest/, https://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue1204/Red-legged-frogs-and-friendly-goats-welcome-visitors-to-Wagner-Ranch-Wildlife-Festival.html
  • ENJOY the lilacs and wisteria in full bloom.
  • WATCH the leaves unfurl on your deciduous trees and become more aware of how different species of trees support one another. 
  • landscape-wood hyacintsm, freesias.jpg
  • REMOVE old foliage around the new growth of perennials.
  • PREVENT disease and rotting by keeping mulch several inches away from stems of plants and shrubs.
  • CREATE a habitat for birds that prefer staying close to the ground by making a small pile of twigs and clippings in your side yard. You’ll attract white-throated sparrows and dark-eyed juncos. 
  • birdhouse-woodhyacints, daffdils.jpg
  • ADD a clean birdhouse to your landscape for bird to make their nests. You’ll be the beneficiary of joyful tweets and twerps. 
  • UTILIZE the monthly gardening tips in the book, Growing with the Goddess Gardener available with free seeds, herbs, and more from http://www.CynthiaBrian.com/online-store.
  • Cynthia Brian'Growing with the Goddess Gardener book.jpg
  • FERTILIZE fruit trees with a high nitrogen organic fertilizer. Best time is right before the bud break, although trees that need food can be fertilized through June. Don’t fertilize in summer or fall.
  • PICK tulips for indoor vases.
  • yellkow tulip.jpg
  • BUY discounted baseball tickets to the June 15th Oakland A’s versus Los Angeles Angels directly at https://groupmatics.events/event/Bestar with a portion of proceeds benefitting the 501 c3 charity, Be the Star You Are® http://www.BetheStarYouAre.org 
  • A's raffle ticket.jpg
  • SCATTER pollinator friendly wild flower seeds to celebrate Earth Day.

Happy Gardening. Happy Growing.

Read more: https://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue1204/Digging-Deep-with-Cynthia-Brian-The-language-of-trees.html

new zealnd hawthrne.jpg

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. 

Available for hire for projects and lectures.

Cynthia@GoddessGardener.com

www.GoddessGardener.com

Cynthia with osterspernum.jpg

Ready, Set, Grow!

Posted by Editor on
0
Empowerment
Ready, Set, Grow!

Cynthia Brian'Growing with the Goddess Gardener book.jpg

“All through the long winter I dream of my garden. On the first warm day of Spring I dig my fingers deep into the soft earth. I can feel its energy, and my spirits soar.” Helen Hayes

Spring is finally here and with it comes the best little gift book to fill Easter baskets and give as Passover presents for anyone who loves nature.

Hedge of pink roses.jpg

Whether you consider yourself a brown thumb or a green thumb, Growing with The Goddess Gardener, will enchant, inspire, and motivate you to get up off the couch, power down your gadgets, and go outside to smell the roses. This book is a brilliant bouquet of twelve months of heartfelt true short stories celebrating living, loving, laughing, and learning in the garden. A calendar years worth of tips, tricks, and to-do lists guides you in your quest of mindfully cultivating your own fresh fruits, vegetables, and flowers in following chapters. Filled with gorgeous photos of plants, gardens, and accessories, you’ll be inspired to start digging. In your hands is the power to make this world a more beautiful place while you connect and collaborate with Mother Nature on your terms. Back cover-Growiung 6 x 6 – Version 3.jpgThe Goddess Gardener invites you to a personalized garden party. Get going and start sowing with Growing!

 

Ready, Set, Grow!

Buy autographed copies at discounted prices with lots of extras included.

Available with color or black and white interiors.

Published by Waterside Press

http://www.CynthiaBrian.com/online-store

CB-books St. Mary's.jpg

ISBN 13: 978-1-945949-59-3 (black and white interior)

ISBN 13: 978-1-945949968 (color interior)

25% of each sale benefits the literacy charity Be the Star You Are!® www.BetheStarYouAre.org

BTSYA Button.jpg

 

Check out Cynthia Brian’s other great books, including the New York Time best seller, Chicken Soup for the Gardener’s Soul!

Chicken Soup for the Gardener’s Soul.jpg Be the Star You Are with flaps.jpg

For bulk or premium sales, contact Cynthia@GoddessGardener.com

lotus flowers.jpg

Read More:
http://hosted.verticalresponse.com/672296/7dea0ebbfe/288055965/bbd34d3431/

easter bunny.jpg

Sow Spring

Posted by Editor on
0
Empowerment
Sow Spring

 

freezias succulents.jpgBy Cynthia Brian

“All through the long winter I dream of my garden. On the first warm day of Spring I dig my fingers deep into the soft earth. I can feel its energy, and my spirits soar.” Helen Hayes

My cell rang as I juggled to open the front door, arms filled with books. I pressed the speaker button and in the few seconds it took me to say “hello” my daughter’s excited voice chimed, “Mom, I hear the frogs singing. It’s springtime!”

As winter bids farewell, the male troubadours “de printemps”, fill the early evening mist with their mating croaks to entice the females. Their call is joyous, raucous, and a welcome harbinger of new life. My garden has erupted in a cavalcade of color as one blossom after another unfurls its beauty. Cherries, chestnut, plum, crabapple, Asian pear, Western red bud, and tulip magnolia are magnificent with their new wardrobes of rose, white, pink, and purple. The feathery fronds of fennel glisten in the sunlight. The fragrance of freesia, narcissi, and stock perfume the atmosphere. Periwinkle, also known as vinca, enhances garden beds with its tiny blue flowers. Even my roses are blooming earlier than normal. Hellebores, more commonly called Lenten roses, inject the earthy colors of browns and grays into the landscape. As their spring sepals emerge, vibrant hues of purple, green, blue, lavender, red, and pink brighten shady gardens, eventually fading in color variation. It seems that all of nature has been holding its breath until the frogs returned cueing the melodic symphony of nature.

rows of mustard.jpg

On the first seventy-degree weather day, I was outside in my bikini and shorts digging in the dirt.  Thickets of weeds sprouted after the recent rains. The good news is that they are easy to pull with the dampness of the soil.  If you planted cover crops, it is time to turn them under. Once weeds are eradicated, rake the ground before scattering seeds. I’m a fan of California poppies, not only for their shimmering range of sherbet colors, but also because they tolerate extremes in weather, are resistant to deer munchies, and reseed easily. Even the recent hailstorm won’t adversely affect poppies. As soon as you can work the ground, sow seeds directly into well-drained beds and plant in full sun. Even if the weather is cool, poppies can handle light frost, so sow now!  If you haven’t amended your soil with compost, you may need to fertilize.  Keep the soil moist then thin seedlings to about six inches apart to allow for the plants to flourish.

green lenten rose- hellebore.jpg

Sow Spring Seeds

For a succession of blooms, scatter seeds from any of your favorite annuals. These plants are pollinator attractors, enjoy plentiful sunshine, and most are excellent as cut flowers.

Alyssum

Aster

Baby Blue Eyes

Baby’s Breath

Bachelor Buttons

Black Eyed Susan

Bluebell

Calendula

Candytuft

Cornflower

Clarkia

Coreopsis

Cosmos

Forget-Me-Not

Gaillardia

Hollyhock

Lavatara

Marigold

Poppy

Stock

Strawflower

Sunflower

Zinnia

My preferred time to spread seeds is right before a shower. Keep an eye on the forthcoming weather and plan accordingly. The rain will give your seeds a deep drink and you won’t have to water immediately.

hail on ground 3-18.jpg

Grab your hat, gloves, a spade, and packets of seeds to enjoy the renaissance of nature. Dig your fingers into the soft earth and watch your spirits soar. As the renowned horticulturist, author, artist, and garden designer, Gertrude Jekyll wrote, “The love of gardening is a seed that once sown never dies.”  Be reborn this spring.

narcisci-vinca minnor.jpg

Cynthia Brian’s Gardening Guide for March

  • PLANT rhubarb for a pretty perennial that will supply you with plenty of ruby red stalks for pies and tarts this summer. Cut off and discard all rhubarb leaves as they contain poisonous oxalic acid.
  • INVEST in roots of asparagus. Asparagus can take up to five years to produce spears but will continue to offer a bountiful harvest for twenty years. Experiment with Purple Passion (purple is the color of the year!) for a sweet, tender, and mild flavor.
  • PULL weeds as soon as you see them sprout while the ground is still moist.
  • CHOP down cover crops and hoe into the soil.
  • FERTILIZE lawns to give them a good boost of nitrogen and nutrients for the forthcoming season.
  • PICK established kale and other greens before they go to seed.
  • CHECK irrigation system for breaks or leaks.
  • BUILD raised beds for your vegetables and herbs. Your back will thank you throughout the year,.
  • ADD fresh compost to all garden beds.
  • SEED or re-seed lawns. I recommend Pearl’s Premium for its durability, deep roots, and need for minimal water. http://www.PearlsPremium.com.
  • PRUNE privets into hedges and bushes unless you want tall trees.
  • pruned privet.jpg
  • LOOSEN compacted soil by turning amendments into the soil with a garden fork.
  • CLIP boxwoods and shape as needed.
  • HARVEST beets that were planted in fall.
  • striped beet.jpg
  • BUY discounted tickets to the June 15th Oakland A’s versus Los Angeles Angeles Baseball Game with a portion of proceeds benefitting the 501 c3 charity, Be the Star You Are® http://www.BetheStarYouAre.org
  • A's stadium.jpg
  • START seeds of tomatoes indoors or a in a greenhouse.
  • CONTINUE to pick up all fallen camellia blossoms until there are none left on your bush or tree. My tree had thousands of blooms this year. My daily regimen includes collecting at least 100 or more spent blooms.
  • camellia close up.jpg
  • CHECK the weather forecasts to know when it’s going to sprinkle or rain. It’s best to sow and fertilize at this time.
  • SUPPORT eco-therapy and walk in the woods. Forest bathing or shinrin-yoku has been scientifically proven to improve our immune systems.
  • Forest-bathing.jpg
  • FOR more spring landscaping tips, buy Growing with the Goddess Gardener, www.cynthiabrian.com/online-store.

Read more at https://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue1202/Digging-Deep-with-Goddess-Gardener-Cynthia-Brian-Sow-spring.html

Cynthia Brian's Growing with the Goddess Gardener book.jpg

Happy Gardening and Happy Growing!

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.

Available for hire.

Cynthia@GoddessGardener.com

www.GoddessGardener.com

cynthia-hat n garden.jpg

 

 

March On and Spring Forward

Posted by Editor on
0
Empowerment
March On and Spring Forward

pear blosssoms.jpg

“Truth is rarely written in ink. It lives in nature.” Martin H. Fischer

It all started with a box of toothpicks.

My siblings and I finally had the heart and the stamina to begin cleaning out our Mother’s farmhouse that was built before 1900. We made the mandatory four piles––garbage, donation, share, and keep as we meticulously emptied and cleaned each drawer and cabinet. When we came upon several brand new boxes of toothpicks, we kept a few and shared the rest.

When I returned home, I opened my drawer where I kept my toothpicks to discover that I already had six boxes of 500 picks. Horrified, I emptied that drawer; created four piles, and what began as a simple task of putting away a small box of toothpicks resulted in a full day of purging and organizing.

Which gets me to our garden marching orders for the month. It is time to clean out the potting shack, clear the storage sheds, organize the garage, and tidy up our cluttered gardens. Prune the hedges, edge the lawn, sharpen tools, wash the lawn mower blades, and pull the sprouting weeds.

pruned privet.jpg

Spring forward by cleaning our houses and removing the debris from our gardens.

There is something about the pre-spring season that revs up our systems and begs us to dust off the old to make way for the new. We yearn to get rid of the mess that has been gathering. My storage area was filled with odd pieces of wire, broken light fixtures, string lights, patio pads, tiki torches, oil, glass, lawn seed, fertilizer, soil mixes, Christmas tree stands, old toys from kids long gone, punctured hoses, and a multitude of under utilized machines and gadgets geared to make gardening simpler but in reality were just too burdensome. It took me a full seven days to bring order to the chaos.

As overwhelming as this project sounds, the best way to start is to just start!

Don’t be paralyzed by the enormity of the task. Do it bit by bit but take everything out of the spaces you are going to clean. Don’t try to “wipe” around anything. Everything out! Once the space is empty, sweep it, mop it, brush out the cobwebs, and disinfect it. Next, designate four areas for de-cluttering: Keep, Donate, Trash, Recycle/Sell. You will be amazed at how much junk you have. Anything you are keeping, donating, giving away, or selling must be cleaned. Dump the trash unless you have chemicals, insecticides, pesticides, paints, or contaminates. Take those items to a special facility for disposal. Contact your garbage collection agency for drop off locations. Box your donations and donate immediately lest you be tempted to reclaim items. Do the same with your recyclables or sale items. Organize what’s left to store in a manner that is easily and safely accessible.

Walk around your garden and really look at your landscape. What needs a tune up? Are the hinges on your gate squeaking?  Do you have broken fence slats? Do your hedges need a haircut? When was the last time you painted or stained your deck? Is it time for a patio power wash?

Pick up the dog bones, clean out the litter boxes, and get a storage container for all of the unused children’s or pet toys. Check your irrigation system. Turn on the sprinklers to determine if you have any broken heads or pipes. What about your nightscaping? Do you have bulbs that are burned out? Are the batteries run down on your solar lights?

Your front entrance and sidewalk are the first greeting areas for yourself and guests. Give your porch a thorough cleaning and sweeping. Add a blooming plant in a pretty container. Buy a new “Welcome” mat. Polish the hardware on your door.

After weeding your flowerbeds, add a fresh layer of mulch not only to beautify your landscape, but also to retain moisture and keep the soil temperatures constant while deterring erosion. Turn the compost pile.

As you march around your yard you’ll discover a plethora of chores that are begging for your attention. Make a list, check it twice or three times, and get to the most important items first.

Garden Happenings

The bare branches of the trees tell us that it is still winter, but the buzzing of the bees coupled with the sweet melodies of songbirds indicate that spring is right around the corner.

bare branches of japanese maple.jpg

My garden seems to have awakened from its slumber a full month early. Until the last few days of the month, February had been bone dry and exceptionally sunny forcing numerous plants to bloom early. Daffodils and narcissi have been blooming for two months and will continue for another two. The Italian white peach that normally forecasts a St. Patrick’s Day celebration burst into full bloom on Valentine’s Day. My shamrocks, also known as oxalis, are in their cheery yellow glory. Colorful freesias, tulips, Dutch iris, calla lilies, and hyacinths announce the stirrings of spring.

tulips-snap dragons.jpg

The precipitation was welcome news, but the cold front that accompanied the rain dropping temperatures into the twenties caused tender plants to freeze. The morning after the first frigid night, the shriveled shapes of lamium, sage, and nasturtium greeted me on my daily meditation walk. Part of tidying the garden is to understand what to prune back and what to leave until all danger of frost has past. The sage and lamium are best cut immediately, while the pruning of the nasturtium will wait until later in the month.

frozen nasturtiums.jpg

Viburnum, with its tiny white flowers, does well in cold weather and accentuates the beauty of a four-season garden.

viburnum.jpg

If you properly pruned your roses towards the end of January or beginning of February, you will see that they are now sprouting leaves. Within a month, buds will open. A few of my David Austen roses are already blooming.

David austin -Olivia Rose Austin (Ausmixture) 15A3982.jpgI am still planting bare root roses. World renowned rosarian, Michael Marriott joined me on my radio broadcast on March 7th . Get more information at https://www.starstyleradio.com/starstyle-radio. Michael discussed the latest trends and techniques in cultivating a beautiful rose garden.  Tune in at https://www.voiceamerica.com/episode/105598/david-austin-roses-with-michael-marriott-and-jungle-jauntMicahel Marriott-cynthia brian, David Austin Roses 2.jpg My Mother used to instruct us with the words “cleanliness is next to Godliness”.  That truth wasn’t written in ink, but it did help me toss that extra box of toothpicks. I know for certain that everything looks so much better and more attractive when it’s clean and clutter-free.

Live in truth. Live in nature.

Cynthia Brian’s Gardening Guide for March

  • BRING branches of forsythia or quince inside to allow the blooms to open in a vase.
  • PICK up fallen camellias.
  • camellia close up.jpg
  • FERTILIZE the entire garden, if possible right before it rains.
  • BUY discounted tickets to the A’s versus Angels baseball game for June 15 with proceeds benefitting local charity, Be the Star You Are!®. www.BetheStarYouAre.org/events
  • A's logo.jpg
  • HARVEST wild mustard for salads and soups. Delicious and nutritious.
  • DIG up beets and make sure to eat the tops.
  • COME to LaGaelrinda event at St. Mary’s College between 9-1pm on March 17th  to visit the Be the Star You Are!® booth where I’ll be selling and autographing my newest book, Growing with the Goddess Gardener. Buy it online at www.CynthiaBrian.com/on-line store and get FREE seeds, potpourri and other goodies.
  • Cynthia Brian's Growing with the Goddess Gardener book.jpg
  • WANT an instant privacy screen in your yard? For immediate large hedges, a new product will ship this spring from a company called Instant Hedge offering thirteen varieties of ready-to-plant hedges that have been growing for five years with heights up to six feet. Inspired by plantscapes in Holland, the panel of four trees with dense foliage will ship in a biodegradable cardboard box. Visit http://instanthedge.com.
  • POT a clump of oxalis shamrocks for your St Patrick’s Day dinner.

shamrocks (oxalis) in the vineyards.jpg
Read more at : https://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue1201/Cynthia-Brians-Gardening-Guide-for-March.html

Wishing you the luck of the Irish and the wind at your back. March on and spring forward!

Happy Gardening. Happy Growing.

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.

Her new book, Growing with the Goddess Gardener, is available at www.cynthiabrian.com/online-store

Available for hire.

Cynthia@GoddessGardener.com

www.GoddessGardener.com

lotus flowers (1).jpg

The Magic of May By Cynthia Brian

Posted by Editor on
0
Empowerment
The Magic of May By Cynthia Brian

The Magic of May

By Cynthia Brian

“Harmony makes small things grow.
Lack of it makes big things decay.” Sallust

By mid May Mother Nature has waved her magical wand sprinkling glitter and glory among her growing children. No matter where you look, shrubs, trees, and landscapes showcase a beauty and harmony that set this month apart from the remaining eleven. Herbaceous peonies are budding and will bloom for weeks offering outstanding companionship to mixed perennial gardens. Glorious bouquets of roses decorate pathways and arbors. Fields of bearded iris brighten the most mundane areas with their multitude of colors, gentle fragrance, and graceful arches. Horse chestnut, buckeye, and locust trees are overflowing with grape-like bunches of blooms. Get up close to examine the intricacies of their flowers.

The warmer weather has sped up the blooming season while only a month earlier the cooler weather slowed it down. My waves of bright blue forget-me-nots have settled into a sea of seeds that attach to any clothing that ventures near easily spreading the flowers to places unplanned. Along the creek beds, even the poisonous hemlock weeds sprouted several feet taller than in previous years with attractive clusters of flowers resembling Queen Anne’s lace. Tiny Alpine strawberries are red, ripe, and delicious as snacks or in salads. Better to eat these than any store-bought strawberry. Thanks to the unparalleled Pearl’s Premium grass seeds, my lawn has never looked so lush and lovely. If you want turf that is tough, drought resistant, low maintenance, and beautiful, start thinking now about preparing your ground for an autumn seeding of Pearl’s Premium. (www.PearlsPremium.com)

The Old Farmer’s Almanac recently contacted a colleague garden writer asking about what tools, products, and plants gardeners sought most this year. She posted a request for suggestions on our member community site and I reveled in the answers that I believe resonate with you, my garden guide readers. Here’s my abbreviated version of what we gardeners want.
1. We crave information that we can use on a daily basis.
2. We want to grow our own food for better nutrition and first-rate freshness.
3. We want to save money.
4. We want to bring pollinators into our gardens for an organically friendly habitat. We are putting out the welcome mat for birds, bees, butterflies, and bats.
5. We want to reduce waste by composting more.
6. We want tools that are sturdy, long lasting, yet not exorbitantly expensive.
7. We want to explore simpler to use, more environmentally friendly power tools that are battery powered and strong.
8. We want space saving ideas including container and vertical gardening techniques.
9. We want to learn to prune properly.
10. We want low maintenance, native alternatives, and drought resistant plants.
11. We want to ENJOY our garden rooms!

The wants of the national garden community echo locally as well. My promise to you is to continue to bring you the latest tools, tips, and tricks that will make your garden experience extraordinary.

CLEAN and DIRTY PRODUCE

In my opinion, one of the main reasons to grow your own fruits, vegetables, and herbs is to know what is in your soil and on your plants. The USDA discovered 178 different pesticides on sample produce this year with the residue persisting even after the produce was thoroughly washed. Strawberries topped the list with over 20 different pesticides, one of the main reasons I grow my own strawberries and Alpine berries.

The cleanest and therefore the healthiest produce included:
1. Corn,
2. Avocadoes
3. Pineapples
4. Cabbage
5. Onions
6. Peas
7. Papaya
8. Asparagus
9. Mangoes
10. Eggplant
11. Honeydew Melons
12. Kiwis
13. Cantaloupe
14. Cauliflower
15. Grapefruit

Pesticide residues are extremely rare on “The Clean Fifteen” so these are items that we can buy and serve without worry.

Known as “the Dirty Dozen” here’s a list of the worst produce culprits you can purchase:
1. Strawberries
2. Spinach
3. Nectarines
4. Apples
5. Peaches
6. Celery
7. Grapes
8. Pears
9. Cherries
10. Tomatoes
11. Bell Peppers
12. Potatoes

Sadly, all of these fruits and vegetables are family favorites and generally considered to be healthy. Luckily we can easily grow all of these and if you don’t want to grow your own, make sure to buy organic.

Speaking of dirty, let’s get really dirty! In a year when we are finally out of a drought, reservoirs are filled to capacity and overflowing, EBMUD wants to raise our rates for both water and wastewater services! If you received a notice of a public hearing from the East Bay Municipal Utility District, read it carefully. Write a protest letter to let EBMUD know that you do not want higher rates. Send to EBMUD, MS218, PO Box 24055, Oakland, Ca. 94623-1055 or you can protest in person on Tuesday, June 13 at 1:15pm at 375 11th Street, Oakland, Ca. 94607.

I am vehemently opposed to another water hike when we have all been so diligent in saving and conserving water for the past several years. Our water rates are already untenable. Let EBMUD know you are against all rate increases. Give us a break, EBMUD!

Cynthia Brian’s Mid Month Gardening Tips

⎫ TUNE UP your irrigation system. Check for sprinklers that aren’t working, bushes or fences that are blocking sprinkler heads, broken pipes, clogged nozzles, leaky hoses and valves, and sprinklers that are spraying driveways and walkways.

⎫ MULCH for water retention and weed prevention. Three inches is recommended. Your soil will improve over time as well.

⎫ TAKE breaks while gardening to protect your back and knees.

⎫ PLANT summer blooming bulbs and seeds. There are over one hundred different choices of bulbs and two hundred perennials.

⎫ IMPROVE memory, lower cancer risk, and promote your heart health by planting a container of blueberries. Easy to grow as a patio plant, one serving provides 25% of your daily Vitamin C requirement.

⎫ WIN $50,000 for your Garden:  As a judge in America’s Best Gardener Contest. I encourage you to enter your best garden photo. The top prize is $50,000.  http://www.americasbestgardener.com

Avoid decay and continue the harmony every day. Enjoy the magic of May. Have a magnificent Memorial Day weekend, too!

Read more: https://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue1106/Digging-Deep-The-Magic-of-May.html

Happy Gardening and Happy Growing!

Cynthia Brian, The Goddess Gardener, 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 at www.StarStyleRadio.com
Available for hire for any project.
Cynthia@GoddessGardener.com
www.GoddessGardener.com
925-377-STAR

April Beauty By Cynthia Brian

Posted by Editor on
0
Categories
April Beauty By Cynthia Brian

“We become just by performing just actions, temperate by performing temperate actions, brave by performing brave actions.” Aristotle

A Message from our Founder, Cynthia Brian

Happy Easter, Happy Passover, and Happy Spring!
This is a time of rebirth, resurrection, and redemption. The vernal equinox provides the impetus for us to become the person we want to be.  While cleaning our closets, we clean our minds and refresh our souls. I love this time of year when all of nature is singing the praises of renewal.
The Moraga Faire is our big event on Saturday, May 13 from 11-4pm. Thanks to Michael VerBrugge for once again sponsoring our event and Brooks Olbrys and Diana Zimmerman for donating books to be given to children and teens. Read Chelsea Pelchat’s, our event coordinator’s note below. We hope to see you there. If you’d like to sponsor or volunteer, email me Cynthia@BetheStarYouAre.org Make sure to visit www.BetheStarYouAre.org to find out more about our events and projects.
The volunteers and I are working on the third book in the Be the Star You Are!® series titled Be the Star You Are!® for Millennials. We are excited about this outreach project and hope to have it published by the end of this year.

With the April 15 tax day nearing, remember you can still make tax deductible donations to Be the Star You Are!® Donate by check to PO Box 376, Moraga, Ca. 94556 or directly on-line through PAYPAL where 100% benefits the charity with no fees attached. https://www.paypal.com/us/webapps/mpp/search-cause?charityId=1504&s=3

Our greatest pride are our two positive message outreach radio broadcasts. Tune into our two radio shows for positive, upbeat information and entertainment. Our YA show, Express Yourself! airs Tuesdays at NOON PT on the Voice America Kids Network. http://www.voiceamerica.com/show/2014/express-yourself with descriptions at www.ExpressYourselfTeenRadio.com . If you are a young person interested in becoming a radio personality, email me for details. Every Wednesday from 4-5pm PT LIVE, our radio broadcast StarStyle®-Be the Star You Are!® brings you the information and inspiration you need to thrive on Voice America Network, Empowerment Channel. http://www.voiceamerica.com/show/2206/be-the-star-you-are  . Check out more at www.BetheStarYouAreRadio.com  .

We were very honored to receive a letter of recognition of California Assemblywoman, Catherine Baker. You can read it by clicking here.
Read a book this week. Buy a copy of our Be the Star You Are!® 99 Gifts for Living, Loving, Laughing, and Learning to Make a Difference from our store at www.StarStyleRadio.com/store.

Our motto is “Read, lead, succeed. To be a leader, you must be a reader!”
Have a beautiful rejuvenating April.
Cynthia Brian
Founder/Executive Director
Cynthia@BetheStarYouAre.org

Moraga Faire News

The annual Moraga Faire is coming up in about a month. Every year, Be the Star You looks forward to running a booth at this event, as it’s always been a great success and experience for all volunteers. For the most part, our volunteers will be helping out at our booth and offered a variety of tasks to choose from (e.g. face painting, photography, “scouting” for donations and bringing people to our booth) Although I will be providing the volunteers with some snacks and water, you can also bring money to buy from food trucks at the festival. And of course, we won’t keep you confined to the booth at all times- you can take a break from time to time and walk around the park (it’s held at the Moraga Commons Park) to take a look at the other booths. Last year I collected a bunch of pens, notebooks, flashlights, and first aid kits.
The shifts are from 8:30-12:30 and 12:30-4:30. If you choose to stay for the entirety of the event, you will get 8 hours of community service. Each shift counts as four hours. If you have any questions, feel free to contact me via email or text (9252866338). I will be sending out a reminder in a couple of weeks, as well as a few days before the event. Once again, we greatly appreciate your help 🙂  See you there! Chelsea Pelchat

Spotlight on Volunteer, Joven Hundal
“Be the Star You Are is one of those unique nonprofits that helps its volunteers just as much as it helps the community. I can personally attest to the many different benefits and opportunities that it provides. Whether it’s empowering young people through various forms of media or sending books to relieve victims of natural disasters, Cynthia Brian and Be the Star You Are truly care to help. On a weekly basis, teens are able to share their viewpoint on important issues that affect them and others. Our thoughts get broadcast for the entire world to hear. At its core, Be the Star You Are fosters the next crop of world-shakers to develop into their full potential and express themselves!”
Tune in to Express Yourself!™ Teen Radio where Joven is a reporter: www.ExpressYourselfTeenRadio.com

INTERESTED IN BECOMING A RADIO REPORTER
Express Yourself Teen Radio is looking for talented and dedicated individuals to join our radio family of reporters. Young adults ages 13-30 are encouraged to apply. Email Cynthia@BetheStarYouAre.org for information.

The Power of a Smile!

By Karen Kitchel

The power of a smile has been documented by activists, singers, and authors since time immemorial. When we feel great, a smile comes naturally. It’s an outward sign of joy, happiness, appreciation, amusement, excitement, or contentment. Scientists have found that smiling on purpose can help people feel better. Smiling on purpose changes brain chemistry. So it can be a big help to people who are dealing with depression and anxiety. In one study, researchers discovered that people who intentionally smiled, ended up feeling happy.
There was an interesting article in Forbes magazine called “The Untapped Power Of Smiling” written by Ron Gutman, CEO of Health Tap. A study examined the smiles of students in an old yearbook, and measured their well-being and success throughout their lives. By measuring the smiles in the photographs, the researchers were able to predict how fulfilling and long lasting their marriages would be, how highly they would score on standardized tests of well-being and general happiness, and how inspiring they would be to others. The widest smilers consistently ranked highest in all of the above.

3-D ultrasound technology now shows that developing babies appear to smile even in the womb. After they’re born, babies continue to smile, mostly in their sleep, and even blind babies smile in response to the sound of the human voice.
A smile is one of the most basic uniform expressions of all humans. Smiles have the same meaning in all cultures. More than 30% of us smile more than 20 times a day and less than 14% of us smile less than 5 times a day. Children are said to smile as many as 400 times per day!  Have you ever wondered why being around children who smile frequently makes you smile more often?  Two studies at Uppsala University in Sweden confirmed that other people’s smiles actually suppress the control we usually have over our facial muscles, compelling us to smile. They also showed that it’s very difficult to frown when looking at someone who is smiling. This occurs even among strangers.
In a study conducted in the UK, British researchers found that one smile can provide the same level of brain stimulation as up to 2,000 chocolate bars.  And unlike lots of chocolate, lots of smiling can actually make you healthier. Smiling has documented therapeutic effects and has been associated with reduced stress and lowered blood pressure. If that’s not enough, smiling also makes us look good in the eyes of others. A Penn State University study confirmed that when we smile, we not only appear more likeable, but we’re actually perceived to be more competent.
So now, whenever you want to look great and competent,  reduce your stress, or whenever you want to feel as good as when you’ve enjoyed a stack of chocolate bars, or if you want to help yourself and others live longer, healthier happier lives, just SMILE!

Karen Kitchel is a Community Volunteer who is passionate about helping those who are homeless or disadvantaged.

Shop, Give, and Get Connected
If you would like to make a direct donation to our giving fund, please visit our Paypal page!
https://www.paypal.com/us/webapps/mpp/search-cause?charityId=1504&s=3
Ways to Help

1. AmazonSmile donates .5% of purchases http://smile.amazon.com/ch/94-3333882
2. Discounted books at Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/shops/be_the_star_you_are_charity
3. Buy or Sell on EBAY:http://givingworks.ebay.com/charity-auctions/charity/be-the-star-you-are-501-c-3/1504/?favorite=link
4. Use GoodSearch to search the web & buy from your favorite stores,. Choose Be the Star You Are as your charity to support. You can log in with Facebook, too! http://www.goodsearch.com/goodto-go/be-the-star-you-are
5. Shop at over 1300 stores on IGIVE: http://www.iGive.com/BTSYA
6. BTSYA Logo Store: http://btsya.rylees.net
7. Giving Assistant: Shop. Earn. Give! Use Giving Assistant to earn cash back at 1800+ popular online stores, then donate a percentage to BTSYA: https://givingassistant.org/np#be-the-star-you-are-inc

If you would like to make a direct donation to our giving fund, please visit our Paypal page! https://www.paypal.com/us/webapps/mpp/search-cause?charityId=1504&s=3

Links you can use for Be the Star You Are!®
Positive Results
About Us 
Programs
How to Help 
Blog
Events
Contact us
GREAT NON PROFITS REVIEWS

Please join us on Star-Style Radio and Express Yourself! Teen Radio. Please also visit our calendar to find local events. www.BetheStarYouAreRadio.com
Care to see what other people are saying about us? See our reviews at Great Non-Profits!
GREAT NON PROFITS REVIEWS: http://greatnonprofits.org/reviews/be-the-star-you-are-inc/

Thanks for supporting Be the Star You Are!® 501 c3
Be the Star You Are!® 501 c3
PO Box 376
Moraga, California 94556
www.BetheStarYouAre.org

April Newsletter: Read our BTSYA April Newsletter

No Good Card for This! By Cynthia Brian

Posted by Editor on
0
Categories
No Good Card for This! By Cynthia Brian

Teens talk and the world listens every Tuesday NOON PT on the Voice America Kids Network. Produced by StarStyle® Productions, LLC and Cynthia Brian, these young adults know how to rock and express their unique views. Join the fun!

Spring has sprung and a time to celebrate the re-birth of nature is upon us. Host Asya Gonzalez reads producer, Cynthia Brian’s article aptly titled Flower Fever that sets the tone for this program celebrating spring, empathy, and Easter. (http://www.cynthiabrian.com/gardening-articles) Author of There is No good Card for This, Kelsey Crowe adds to the conversation discussing her illustrated guide to effective compassion that takes you, step by step by step, past the paralysis of thinking about someone in a difficult time to actually doing something (or nothing) with good judgment instead of fear. Her empathy menu offers support with confidence, no matter the situation. In the final segment, Asya talks about her family traditions for spring including fun activities for an Easter or spring break filled with joy, adventure, and playfulness.

BIO: Kelsey Crowe, Ph.D. is the founder of Help Each Other Out. Crowe earned her doctorate in social welfare at the University of California, Berkley and teaches social work at California State University. Crowe’s first book, There Is No Good Card for This: What To Say and Do When Life Gets Scary, Awful, and Unfair To People You Love), coauthored with Emily McDowell.  Written in a how-to, relatable, we’ve-all-been-that-deer-in-the-headlights kind of way, There Is No Good Card for This isn’t a spiritual treatise on how to make you a better person or a scientific argument about why compassion matters. It is a helpful illustrated guide to effective compassion that takes you, step by step by step, past the paralysis of thinking about someone in a difficult time to actually doing something (or nothing) with good judgment instead of fear.
Crowe’s organization Help Each Other Out is a growing collective of people embracing the idea that being there for others is often easier than we think, it can be learned, and that it matters. Taking the principles found in There Is No Good Card for This along with her many years of experience in the field and organization, a presentation with Crowe is not one to miss. From universities to health care organizations, every audience member will walk away feeling inspired.
Currently, Crowe resides in San Francisco, California with her husband and daughter. She hopes for a day when no one has to suffer a personal trial alone because the people around them just didn’t know what to do or say. http://www.helpeachotherout.com

Listen at Voice America Kids Network

#StartWithaSmile at smile.amazon.com/ch/94-3333882 and Amazon donates to Be The Star You Are, Inc..

Make a DONATION through PAYPAL GIVING FUND and PAYPAL with 100% going to BTSYA with NO FEES!

Read our BTSYA March Newsletter

Shop. Earn. Give! Use Giving Assistant to earn cash back at 1800+ popular online stores, then donate a percentage to BTSYA: https://givingassistant.org/np#be-the-star-you-are-inc

Listen to all broadcasts at ITUNES: https://itunes.apple.com/podcast/express-yourself!/id481894121?mt=2

Express Yourself! Teen Radio is produced by Cynthia Brian of Starstyle Productions, llc as an outreach program of Be the Star You Are! charity. To make a tax-deductible donation to keep this positive youth programming broadcasting weekly to international audiences, visit http://www.bethestaryouare.org/donate.htm. Dare to care!

For all the latest news on what teens are talking about on Express Yourself! Teen Radio embed this code into your blogs and web sites <Iframe src=”http://www.voiceamerica.com/jwplayer/HostPlayer.html?showid=2014″frameborder=”0″ scrolling=”auto” width=”420″ height=”380″></Iframe>

Be the Star You Are! charity. It’s ALWAYS the Season of Giving.  Make a donation today. http://www.bethestaryouare.org/donate.htm. Buy books and shirts at http://starstyleradio.net/Store.html .

Links you can use for Be the Star You Are!®
Positive Results
About Us 
Programs
How to Help 
Blog
Events
Contact us

What’s happening? Want to party? Visit our Event page: http://www.bethestaryouare.org/#!events/kgh2e

Talk 2: http://www.btsya.com/talk_2.html?r=20160628121151

Starstyle, Be the Star You Are, and Miracle Moments are registered trademarks of Cynthia Brian

Enjoy this blog? Please spread the word :)

RSS
Follow by Email
Facebook
Google+
https://blog.voiceamerica.com/tag/spring
Twitter