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Gather in the Garden

Posted by rstapholz on
Gather in the Garden

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

It’s official. The Pfizer vaccine has received full and final approval by the FDA with the Moderna and Johnson and Johnson vaccines soon to follow. The CDC stated that if we want to spend time with people who don’t live with us, outdoor activities are the safest choice.  In these dire days of global crises, natural disasters, evacuations, and a highly infectious Delta variant, any positive news is appreciated.

At the beginning of summer, we all had high hopes that we would be able to emerge from our caves to enjoy a quasi-normal season. With the emergence of the Delta variant, it became clear that the pandemic will not be contained until most of the country prioritizes health and gets vaccinated. Humans are social beings and we like getting together. With warm weather predicted for the next two months, gathering in our gardens for a picnic, barbecue, or just a chat will be a safer method of communing.

I recently attended an outdoor birthday party for a dear friend generously orchestrated by her adult children and their spouses. This was the first time since the pandemic began that I had gone to any non-family occasion. Although I was hesitant to be around a few dozen people, every precaution was taken to make guests feel safe and comfortable. Being informed that all guests had been fully vaccinated prompted me to R.S.V.P. “yes”. The affair was colorful, fun, and secure. I came away with constructive ideas that we can all utilize to enjoy togetherness outside in our gardens during these challenging times.

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How to have a more formal yet guarded, glorious garden gathering:

  1. 1. Prepare your patio. 
    1. a. Add colorful potted plants.
    2. b. String lights, flags, garlands, or pennants.
    3. c. Set up tables with fun placemats or tablecloths.
    4. d. Space tables and chairs for appropriate social distancing.
    5. e. Select throw pillows to add comfort and color.
    6. 2. Hang hummingbird feeders and birdhouses to attract the birds.
    7. 3. Create your scene with a theme and decorate accordingly.
    8. 4. Add a vase filled with flowers, branches, or fruit, preferably picked from your garden.
    9. 5. Design a thoughtful menu that allows you to be part of the party.
    10. 6. Have guests enter via a garden gate or other outside entrance.
    11. 7. Set up a “Covid” station with hand sanitizer and masks.
    12. 8. Ask that masks be worn when going indoors for any reason.
    13. 9. Make a playlist that fits your crowd.
    14. 10. If yellowjackets have been bothering your paradise, put up traps the day before your party and keep them in place throughout the event.
    15. 11. Invite the partygoers to tour your landscape.
    16. 12. Provide a “wow” moment with a special dessert.
    17. 13. Send your guests home with a gift from the garden.Round table set.jpeg

Being in a garden setting is always impressive to me. I relish being in nature, listening to the sounds, watching the birds, and appreciating the growing plants. I was especially impressed with the gigantic tomato plants my friend had grown from seed. A rock waterfall planted with abundant succulents echoed the theme.

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Joyful décor boasted multi-colored, elegant mats, runners, and tablecloths festooned with yarn pom pom ropes and a clear glass vase filled with lemons and fresh cut dahlias on each table. 

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The “wow” factor was provided by the spectacular cupcakes that mimicked the succulents and flowers on the tables. These beautiful cupcakes designed by Sarah Thongnopneua of Baked Blooms in San Anselmo (www.bakedblooms.com) were almost too gorgeous to eat. They were devoured with enthusiasm.

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Each guest was gifted a small succulent reminiscent of those luscious cupcakes and perfect for our drought, parched soil.

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When I came home, I found a small empty bird’s nest on my porch. Have you ever closely inspected the intricacy of a bird’s nest? What an architectural marvel.  Wouldn’t it be great to create a themed event around this wildlife discovery?

Now that the vaccines are receiving official approval and authorization, I hope that everyone will get vaccinated without delay. Once that is achieved, we will be able to return to the freer glory days of party frivolity. 

Fete the final days of summer with a casual gathering or formal gala. A setting in nature sets the tone for a festive, friendly, and safe celebration for the benefit of everyone.


Happy Gardening. Happy Growing.  

See photos: https://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue1514/Digging-Deep-with-Goddess-Gardener-Cynthia-Brian-Garden-gatherings.html


Saturday, September 25th, Be the Star You Are!® will participate in the first live event at the Pear and Wine Festival with a booth sponsored by the Lamorinda Weekly(www.Lamorindaweekly.com) and MB Jessee painting (www.MBJessee.com). Wear your mask and visit us! Details at https://www.bethestaryouare.org/copy-of-events

Happy Gardening. Happy Growing. 

Cynthia Brian-party.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.



Sacred Spaces

Posted by rstapholz on
Sacred Spaces

garden stream.jpeghttps://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue1513/Digging-Deep-with-Goddess-Gardener-Cynthia-Brian-Sacred-spaces.html

“Nature is the original church. Worship there daily.”  Alan Cohen

If we have learned anything from the pandemic of the past eighteen months, it is that our greatest blessing is to be able to go outdoors to breathe fresh air. Many people choose to hike the hills, walk the reservoir, or take a jaunt to the ocean to calm nerves and preserve sanity. For those of us fortunate enough to have a garden, balcony, porch, or patio, we can open a door to escape the confines of lockdown.

The majesty of Mother Nature rivals the most exquisite man-made cathedral. Throughout my landscape, I have designed special areas that stimulate my senses, inducing a sense of tranquility and connectivity with the natural world. I have dubbed these my “sacred spaces”, places where I can meditate, watch the wildlife, listen to birdsong, commune with the breeze, rest my weary legs, take a nap, or just sit and contemplate life. My “sacred spaces” provide a structure amidst the chaos, a respite against the turmoil of the times.

We can expand our living environment by crafting outdoor elements that nurture our spirits, emotions, and bodies. Here are a few of my favorite strategies to help gardeners recast their yards into a serene, yet lush oasis. 


The sound of water is immensely soothing. Listening to the gurgling of a fountain or the rippling of a stream heightens my creativity. Birds splashing in a birdbath bring a smile to my face. A pond with a recirculating pump provides a happy home for frogs, and if deep enough, fish. 



Hanging a hammock from two trees is the ultimate in shaded relaxation. I have double hammocks strung between a giant magnolia and Japanese maples. There is nothing quite like swaying in the hammock looking up at the light as it dances between the branches. The colors of the leaves are forever changing. For an afternoon nap on a hot day, a hammock provides a piece of paradise.

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I’ve installed a metal garden swing behind my pond flanked by orange Birds of Paradise and midnight blue agapanthus. By adding comfy cushions, I can silently swing while listening to the aerating pond and watching the aerial antics of squirrels spiraling through the loquat tree. 

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Tables, Chairs, and Benches

Throughout my landscape, I have placed multiple tables, chairs, and benches in specific areas to encourage me to take a break from the hard labor. A wooden picnic table under an apple tree begs me to take a lunch period. A bench facing the hills beckons me to behold a doting doe with her twin fawns as they forage. A small rocking chair in a cozy nook allows me to remove my mud boots and watch the sunset.

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Paths and Walls

Whether you use gravel, bricks, decomposed granite, pavers, or flagstone, creating paths throughout the garden allows for interesting patterns and yard exploration. Because I believe in recycling, upcycling, and repurposing, I always utilize whatever materials are available when I’m building stairs, paths, or walls. A former built-in redwood bench is turned on its side to be reused as a retaining planter box. Used bricks add a separation element to the revamped below-deck walkway bordering the tangled wisteria forest. 

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Pergolas, Gazebos, Decks

A deck is always a great gathering spot. A gazebo or pavilion is a stately structure to sit, embrace the view, and offer gratitude for outdoor rooms. On my deck, under my grape, wisteria, and bower vine-covered pergola, I unwind after a long day by soaking in the hot tub. This is my prayer place as I gaze at the twinkling stars above.

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The selection of specific plants is critical to the overall color and scale of any garden. My goal is always to witness botanical interest 365 days a year through express attention to the trees, flowers, shrubs, bulbs, vegetables, herbs, and bushes. Every season brings a change to the landscape. Roses bloom for nine or ten months when regularly dead-headed. Perennial sweet peas flourish with their pretty purple pea heads from spring until autumn.

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Pink naked ladies pop up to smarten the summer soils when most other plants find it too hot to shine. Deciduous trees such a Japanese maple, pistache, crape myrtle, and liquid amber offer spectacular autumn colors.

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When you think about creating your sacred spaces, make sure you are bringing the indoors out and the outdoors in. Expand your home environment by mimicking and mingling colors, patterns, themes, and shapes through both areas. Great design amplifies your emotional well-being. Rediscover forgotten or overlooked spots. Feel the vibes as you develop your scheme keeping comfort and safety at the forefront. Use your imagination to unearth the endless possibilities.

Mother Nature is the original church. When we honor Her, we will attain a more balanced life with peace as a bonus gift, no matter what is happening around us. As this latest Delta variant spreads its dangerous virus tendrils, I urge everyone to talk with their physicians, listen to the science, and get vaccinated. Discover your sacred space, breathe, and spend as much time outdoors as possible. 

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A Be the Star You Are!® volunteer from Minnesota emailed me “I go for walks on our nearby trail as often as I can because it’s a way to escape to nature, and I know how you feel about that!  So off I go.”

Off you go!


Saturday, September 25th, Be the Star You Are!® will participate in the first live event at the Pear and Wine Festival with a booth sponsored by the Lamorinda Weekly(www.Lamorindaweekly.com) and MB Jessee painting (www.MBJessee.com). Wear your mask and visit us! Details at https://www.bethestaryouare.org/copy-of-events

Phots and more: https://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue1513/Digging-Deep-with-Goddess-Gardener-Cynthia-Brian-Sacred-spaces.html

Happy Gardening. Happy Growing. 

Cynthia Brian.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.

Cynthia Brian books banner.jpg

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



Water Works

Posted by rstapholz on
Water Works

Ranch lake before drought.jpeg

“When the well is dry, we know the worth of water.” Benjamin Franklin

We turned on the spigot. A trickle. Seconds later, nothing. 

For over a hundred years the deep well had served three houses, several barns, and all the gardens on our Napa County ranch without a problem. This summer, the well is empty. The bucolic lake built by my Dad and brothers in the former horse pasture served as a family playground, fishing area, and farm irrigation reservoir for decades. In 2021, it is a big basin of cracked clay. There is no water.

In the San Joaquin Valley, an area known to be the breadbasket of fruit and nuts for America, the aquifers and canals are depleted. It is projected that by 2040, 535,000 acres of agricultural production will be lost. If the drought persists and water is not available, double that amount of land will not be planted resulting in food shortages around the country.

Seventy-one percent of the earth is covered in water. Over 96 percent of that water is saline, represented by our oceans and seas. The human body consists of sixty percent water. H2O is a vital nutrient to the life of every cell. People can survive without food for several days, but without water, organ failure commences around the third day of dehydration.

Water matters and water is scarce. Climate change is resulting in rising temperatures and when the soil gets warmer, heat waves worsen. Fifty-five percent of the West is experiencing extreme drought conditions. Some scientists have declared the summer of 2021 the worst drought in over 1200 years. 

What is a gardener to do? 

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Because of the efforts to reduce water usage as well as the higher costs of water, many people have asked me if it would be best to “let their landscape go”.  My rapid reaction is a decisive “NO!” Besides the financial burden of re-landscaping, maintaining a garden during a drought is essential not only for the aesthetics and beauty a garden provides but for keeping your home cooler and contributing to a fire safety zone. If you let your plants and trees die, your parched landscape could become a fire hazard. 

Here are ways to minimize watering while keeping your plants alive.

  1. 1. Weed your garden thoroughly as weeds are huge drinkers.
  2. 2. Mulch to conserve water. Add three inches of good quality mulch to your entire landscape to suffocate weed growth, conserve water, prevent evaporation, and reduce the heat to the soil.
  3. 3. Check for leaks in your sprinkler system. If you find a spike in your water bill, you probably have a broken pipe somewhere.
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  5. 4. Water deeply and infrequently. Once or twice a week will suffice. Most plants need about one inch of water weekly. Check your soil to make sure that the water is penetrating the soil. Dry soil sheds water as run-off. If this happens, water twice, five minutes apart until the soil is saturated. Deep watering encourages a healthy root system while frequent short showers are wasteful and not beneficial to plant growth.
  6. 5. Water early in the morning or early evening when moisture will be retained.
  7. 6. Refrain from fertilizing in the summer months as feeding promotes thirsty hyper-growth.
  8. 7. Mow your lawns without using the bag. Grass clippings supply nutrients to the lawn with less water usage. 
  9. 8. Don’t worry about keeping your lawn super-green. Just keep it alive and it will re-green when the weather is wetter.
  10. 9. Use soaker hoses around plants to eliminate evaporation. Trees can be especially vulnerable during a drought.  Use a deep soaker wand to supply water to the roots.
  11. 10. Don’t put your irrigation on a schedule. Instead, check your soil moisture and monitor your plants. Turn your system on when it is necessary but do make sure to run it to keep the system free of invading insects, roots, and stagnant water.

For both firewise and waterwise gardening, permeable surfaces in your hardscape such as decomposed granite, gravel, stones, and mulch are advisable. They provide a fire-safe zone and allow rainwater to percolate into the soil without runoff. For a list of plants that are both fire and drought resistant, re-read my article located at https://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue1508/Digging-Deep-with-Goddess-Gardener-Cynthia-Brian-Fire-retardant-and-fire-resistant-plantings.html.

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  1. 11. Summer is not the time to plant but to plan. Any specimen planted in August will require regular and concentrated watering to establish strong roots. Late fall before frosts will be optimal for sowing.
  2. 12. Recycle your household water. Keep a bucket in your shower and bowls in your sinks to catch the water from your faucet. Use it on your houseplants or pour it into your garden. When you steam or boil vegetables, allow the water to cool, then use it on your plants. 
  3. 13. Minimize your personal water usage. Turn off the water when brushing teeth or when soaping up in the shower. For toilets, we may be approaching the former drought mantra “if it’s yellow, let it mellow. If it’s brown, flush it down.”  This is obviously a personal choice.
  4. 14. Adjust your expectations for your garden. Accept the fact that your garden may not be as green, lush, and colorful as it would normally be if water scarcity was not an issue. Plants wilt to conserve energy. Many plants are resilient and can deal with hot weather. They will bounce back with winter rains.
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During the past two months, I have been busy personally repairing broken PVC pipes, valves, sprinklers, and hoses as hiring anyone to assist has been impossible. Between the marauding deer, shifting soils, and invading roots, the work is endless, arduous, intensive, and necessary. I have also implemented the tips that I am suggesting. 

Taking a long, relaxing shower used to be my reward after a day of digging, weeding, pruning, repairing, building, and planting, but for the past few years I’ve resorted to three-minute scrubs to save water.

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Living in Lamorinda, we are fortunate to be able to turn on our faucets and have water. Farmers throughout the state are not so lucky. Continue to grow edibles as growing your own groceries will become more critical as the drought continues. 

As for now, on our family ranch and vineyards we are buying water.  Last year’s grape harvest was 100% destroyed by smoke taint. Because of the three-digit temperatures experienced thus far, we have already lost 20% of our Cabernet. I pray for a winter of maximum snowfall.

Water is life. It’s precious. Don’t waste, conserve. 



Saturday, September 25th, Be the Star You Are!® will participate in the first live event at the Pear and Wine Festival with a booth sponsored by the Lamorinda Weekly. Details at https://www.bethestaryouare.org/copy-of-events

Happy Gardening. Happy Growing. 

Photos and more: https://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue1512/Digging-Deep-with-Goddess-Gardener-Cynthia-Brian-Water-matters.html

photos of cyn by jim scala.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.

Cynthia Brian books banner.jpg

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



10 Summer Blooming Perennials

Posted by rstapholz on
10 Summer Blooming Perennials

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“When the sun rises, I go to work.  When the sun goes down, I take my rest. I dig the well from which I drink, I farm the soil which yields my food, I share creation. Kings can do no more.” Chinese proverb

In the sizzling heat of summer, many annuals go to seed and flowers fade. Thankfully there are plants besides cacti and succulents that enjoy the higher temperatures. Most of my favorite summer bloomers are perennials that once established require minimal irrigation. 

My top ten summer flowering favorites include acanthus, agapanthus, bougainvillea, bower vine, crape myrtle, crocosmia, daylily, hollyhock, hydrangea, and rose. I also am a huge fan of the Naked Lady, but it sprouts its neck later in August, lasting through the fall months.


Also known as Bear’s breeches, Acanthus can be deciduous or evergreen growing from rhizomes. It is drought tolerant with shiny oval leaves lobed with spines and spires of flowers that are purple, white, pink, cream, or green. It doesn’t like full sun when it is hot, so it may be best to grow Acanthus in partial shade. The flower spikes can grow to five feet. I like it as a back border plant or to line a path. The good news: butterflies flock to it. The bad news: deer devour it. Cut it to the ground in the fall and it will re-emerge in the spring. Greek Corinthian column capitals were and are modeled after the Acanthus plant.

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Another rhizome spreader that is hardy in drought times, yet pretty in bloom is the Lily of the Nile or African Lily that we know as Agapanthus. The rhizomes retain water and divide easily to plant in other locations. They prefer a sunny location, although I’ve seen many beautiful specimens growing in the shade. The sky blue, midnight blue, or white trumpet-shaped flowers bloom June through the end of August with stalks that reach four feet high. The elegant strap-like leaves are evergreen. When planting work compost and organic matter into the soil and continue to fertilize during the growing season. Deadhead when the flowers fade and toss them on the compost pile. Wear gloves when working with this plant as it is poisonous and could cause an allergic reaction in those who are prone to plant allergies.



A gorgeous tropical vining shrub, bougainvillea flowers are modified leaves called bracts blooming in colors of yellow, orange, white, and my personal favorite, fluorescent pink. Native to arid climates, bougainvillea thrives in hot weather and needs full sun while requiring a minimum of H20. On our ranch, bougainvillea covered one full side of our two-story farmhouse delighting our family year after year with a spectacular showcase of hues. Plant bougainvillea on a strong structure or well-made fence. It can be pruned when it starts to rain or after flowering. Since it is susceptible to frost, cover with burlap in the winter to protect it if your plant is small enough.


Bower Vine:

This is the most perfect flowering evergreen vine for pergolas, arbors, and trellises. Grow bower vine over awnings, around windows and doors, or as a gate climber. It is easy to care for, doesn’t invade a roof or siding, and is a swift grower.  Blooming throughout spring, summer, and fall, flowers are pink and white with deep-throated trumpets attractive to hummingbirds. I grow bower vines in full sun and partial shade. Once established they don’t require much water while providing year-round beauty with their shiny green leaves. Prune whenever the vine needs a bit of TLC as this vine is not fussy. Cut stems to add to indoor arrangements.

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Crape Myrtle:

The crape myrtle is hands-down one of my very favorite specimens because of its beauty and interest in every season. In summer the bush or tree is covered in showy flowers, in fall the leaves change to gorgeous red, umber, and gold, in winter the leaves fall off showcasing beautiful bark, and in spring the shiny green leaves sprout. All crape myrtles bloom on new wood and come in colors that include watermelon, red, white, pink, lavender, and purple. I prune my purple shrubs in early winter to twelve inches from the ground and by summer they have grown to three feet high. Prune trees periodically to keep them shaped. Although crape myrtles prefer acidic soil, they will grow in sand, clay, or loam. The Chinese Lagerstroemia indica crape myrtle is prone to powdery mildew so look for a cross with the Japanese L. fauriei to enjoy glorious blooms, attractive bark, and leaves without any issues. They are drought resistant, too!

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This firecracker plant boasts a tropical origin with bright blazing orange, yellow, red flowers that light up the summer garden. In our region, they start blooming right in time for the fireworks of Independence Day and continue until autumn. Their sword-like foliage offers spikey interest to the landscape. Hummingbirds and butterflies are especially attracted to the trumpet-shaped blooms while deer and rabbits stay away. The corms naturalize and the stalks make excellent floral displays. After the flowers are spent, the seedpods provide additional appeal. 

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Sometimes called “ditch weed”, daylilies will grow anywhere! Their botanical name is Hemerocallis from the Greek word hemera meaning day and kallos meaning beauty. They tolerate every kind of soil, are extremely low-maintenance, and require minimal irrigation once established. They are not a true lily as they have fleshy roots as opposed to bulbs. The leaves grow from a crown and the flowers form on a leafless stem called a “scape”. Most do not self-sow. Divide the roots every three to five years to create more plants. Each flower blooms for only a day, but each scape will have a dozen or more buds that will continue to open. A variety of colors and shades are available with butter yellow being the most ubiquitous. Every part of the daylily is edible. Sauté the buds in butter, garlic, and a little white wine for a delicious veggie treat that tastes like asparagus mixed with peas.

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Happy memories surround the legacy of my hollyhocks. I can’t remember a time when hollyhocks were not growing in my mother’s or grandmother’s gardens. My seeds are heirlooms from several generations of family gardeners with a history that goes back over a hundred years. Hollyhocks are the classic cottage garden staple that every gardener should include for spikey tall stalks of pink, white, magenta, and red blooms that will continue until winter. A member of the hibiscus family, this self-seeding China native grows best in full sun in rich, well-drained soil. Because they grow to fifteen feet or more, plant towards the back of the garden or near a fence. By deadheading when the flowers fade, you will encourage continuous bloom production. Prune to the ground by winter and save the seedpods to share.



Another favorite plant for generations of gardeners, hydrangeas produce abundant blooms in partial sun. They are thirsty plants and need mulch around them to improve the soil texture and maintain moisture. Pruning hydrangeas is tricky because it is necessary to know what type you have as different hydrangeas require different pruning times and methods. The most common hydrangeas are Bigleaf, Oakleaf, Mountain, and Climbing which are pruned after summer blooming. They rebloom on “old wood” which are the stems from the previous season. Panicle and Smooth hydrangeas bloom on new wood (the stems from this season) and must be pruned before the buds form. I’m looking forward to trialing new Panicles from Proven Winners which will include Limelight Prime and a space-saving Fire Light Tidbit that will have cream-colored flowers covering the plant in summer, then turning to pink and lasting through frost.



No introduction is necessary for the fabulousness of the rose. Roses are the most versatile, beautiful, and coveted plant in every garden. When gardeners proclaim roses to be the bedrock of their landscape, they are not exaggerating. Roses come in every color, shade, petal, and size to suit every desire. Roses are a diverse group of plants that include shrub roses, carpet roses, floribundas, hybrid teas, climbing, old roses, rambling roses, and tree roses. Their shapes and structures differ. Some look like peonies, others have a single floral pattern. There are rosettes, cups, doubles, pompons, button-eyed, incurved, recurved, and quartered.  My favorites are David Austin roses with intoxicating fragrance, fine foliage, disease resistance, and stunning flowers.  Over a hundred roses grace my landscape and I am constantly adding more. As Emma Goldman stated, “I’d rather have roses on my table than diamonds on my neck.”


When the sun rises, I go to work, spending as much time in nature as feasible. Consider planting some of my perennial favorites to enjoy elegance and exquisite allure throughout the summer months. 

Stay cool, hydrated, and share creation.

Happy Gardening. Happy Growing.

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Photos: https://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue1511/Digging-Deep-with-Goddess-Gardener-Cynthia-Brian-Perennial-favorites.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.

cyntha brian with books SM copy.jpg

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



Sweet, Savory Summer

Posted by presspass on
Sweet, Savory Summer

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Digging Deep with Goddess Gardener, Cynthia Brian

Sweet, Savory Summer

By Cynthia Brian

“Steep thyself in a bowl of summer.” –Virgil

Summer! Just saying the word puts a smile on my face.

Since I was a little girl, the months of July and August were times of great joy, working as a laborer picking or cutting apricots, peaches, and pears in neighbors’ orchards or fruit shed to earn money for college during the day, followed by unwinding with evening baseball games in the fields. Sundays were spent with cousins and relatives swimming in the pool at my grandparents’ vineyard. Our parents would prepare a feast for dinner after harvesting whatever vegetables were ready in the garden while the kids braved the thorny brambles to find the juiciest berries for dessert. In the station wagon on the way back to our ranch, we’d fall blissfully asleep, our hearts filled with happy memories and our bellies pleasantly satiated, except, of course, for my Dad, the driver. 

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Summer boasts a sweet and savory story with harvests of corn, tomatoes, cucumbers, peaches, pears, apples, plums, prunes, eggplants, zucchini, berries, peppers, and other nutritious treats that will grace our dining tables. Although this summer I won’t be hosting any barbecue buffets, I still enjoy picking fresh fruit in my orchard and eating my home-grown vegetables. Pink cherry plums are plump and especially delicious this year as are the deep dark purple prunes. Prunes and plums come from the same genus, prunus, yet they are not identical. Plums are usually round, red or yellow, whereas prunes are oval-shaped and purple, almost blackish with a pit that dislodges easily. Plums and prunes are also related to cherries, peaches, and almonds, all in the family prunus. This season my cherry plums have a distinct flavor of peaches. My peaches aren’t ripe, but they are planted close to the plums. Every year the taste varies. Because cherry plums are the size of cherries and quite crunchy when not over-ripe, I freeze a few and eat them like a popsicle. Sometimes I add the frozen plum to my beverage for an enlivening alternative to ice. I plan on dehydrating some of the prunes or drying them for future use.

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My girlfriend, Nora, is a huge fan of black currants, also known as cassis. Over thirty years ago her dad gave her a cutting from their family currant shrub to plant in her garden. Harvesting the currants brings a sweet memory of the times she spent with her doctor dad. This year’s crop was profuse. She’ll freeze a few cartons of these tasty, complex, and medicinally useful fruit for her family’s winter enjoyment. My black currant flowers were prolific, yet my berries were disappointing. A handy tool for harvesting is a Scandinavian berry picker that eliminates having to pluck single berries one by one. 

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It wouldn’t be summer without the sweet and savory ingredients of fresh-picked corn, cucumbers, and heirloom tomatoes. If you are not growing any, farmer’s markets have bushels ready to buy. I soak the ears of corn with the husk on in a bucket of water for an hour, then, pull back part of the husks, lather with a basil-garlic butter, and steam them on the barbecue. Yummy!

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My mother’s tomato salad has been a family tradition for ages. Slice heirloom tomatoes, red onions, and cucumbers.  Add chopped garlic and red, orange, or green bell peppers. Dress with olive oil, wine vinegar, and balsamic. Season to taste. Voila! A beautiful and scrumptious summer salad. 

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Finally, don’t forget to cut a few stems of “pretties” to add to a vase. Right now, the crocosmia or firecracker plant is in full bloom and makes a fantastic cut flower. Leave several in the garden for the hovering hummingbirds. Don’t forget to refill fountains so that our bird friends can have a refreshing drink or bath.

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Fire season is ramping up and with the recent winds, wildfires could easily ignite. Make sure to cut any tall grass or weeds, trim low hanging branches, clean gutters, and remove debris from around your property.

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GardenComm: Garden Communicators International just notified me that I won the 2020 Media Awards Silver Medal of Achievement for a Journalism Newspaper Article, presented by out of 160 entries for my Lamorinda Weekly article, Scary, scary night. I am honored for this major award and encourage you to have another look at that winning entry because it will help you prepare your landscaping for fire resistance. With this Covid-19 pandemic, the smoke from wildfires has the potential to be extra dangerous or deadly.  Read Scary,scary night at https://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue1318/Digging-Deep-with-Goddess-Gardener-Cynthia-Brian-Scary-scary-night.html

Read about the award here:


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May you enjoy a sweet and savory summer of social distancing and wearing masks.

Be healthy, hopeful, and positive. Steep thyself in a bowl of summer.  I am!

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Happy gardening. Happy growing.

Photos and more: https://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue1411/Digging-Deep-with-Goddess-Gardener-Cynthia-Brian-Sweet-savory-summer.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. 

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Cynthia is available for virtual writing projects, garden consults, and inspirational lectures.




Plan a Picnic or Pool Party

Posted by presspass on
Plan a Picnic or Pool Party

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“There are few things so pleasant as a picnic eaten in perfect comfort.”  W. Somerset Maugham

Perhaps because I practiced interior design as a professional member of the American Society of Interior Designers (A.S.I.D.) for twenty-five years, or perhaps because my gardener mother always created gorgeous, casual, and delicious summer gatherings, my style of summer outdoor entertaining has always included color, surprises, and fun.  With the lovely warm weather, whether it’s throwing a blanket on the deck for an impromptu picnic or setting a stunning table for a themed get-together, dining alfresco is my preferred approach to feeding my guests.  

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My cues arrive in collaboration between my interior and exterior spaces. Since I designed my garden to be an extension of my home, the outdoor eating areas complement the kitchen creating an inviting flow from my interior décor to the garden rooms. Creating this sense of serenity and continuity is as significant to the outside of the home as it is to the inside. Before I plan my menu or my decorations, I meander around my garden spaces, investigating what flowers will be blooming during the fete and what fruits and vegetables will be ready for harvesting. I want to know what scents, textures, lighting, and colors will be on display on that particular day or evening. Once I’ve taken a few photos and made notes, the party planning begins.

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The goal is to always serve a menu filled with fresh, homegrown ingredients that honor the colors of the rainbow. Whatever is ripe in my garden at the moment will star in the meal. If I didn’t grow it, I’ll purchase what’s in season from a local fruit stand or Farmer’s Market.  Tomatoes, beets, arugula, carrots, peppers, eggplant, corn, cucumbers, watermelon, peaches, nectarines, tangerines, apricots, cherries, apples, and eggs are a few of my normal staples that will inspire not only the carte du jour, but my tablecloths, floral arrangements, and tableware. 

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If it’s a pool party, sturdy yet pretty shimmery plastic ware is essential as bringing glass near a swimming area is a major no-no. Making sure the lounge chairs have fluffy beach towels, the fountains are spouting or gurgling, and the planters are filled with colorful combinations of annuals are part of designing an inviting setting that encourages the guests to grab a drink, relax, and inhale the fresh air. 

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For a picnic on the lawn, experiment with an edible arrangement of herbs that can flavor the picnic fare served on paper plates. Basil, thyme, rosemary, mint, sage, lovage, calendula, and nasturtium are starters. Setting up a game of croquet offers a sense of play and recreation.

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For a more formal party, covering chairs with a gauzy material and fashioning a more extravagant centerpiece with roses or peonies adds elegance to the occasion. Besides serving wine, beer, or other beverages consider crafting an original cocktail to get the festivities rolling.

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Here’s a refreshing summer garden cocktail that I concocted for a girlfriend’s birthday that is both luscious and appealing. Measure according to your liking.

Summer Garden Cocktail (or Mocktail)

  • ϖ Muddle together watermelon and mint leaves. 
  • ϖ Add the juice of Meyer lemons and limes. 
  • ϖ Stir in a spoonful of honey. 
  • ϖ Pour into a pitcher with equal parts sparkling water and ginger ale. 
  • ϖ Add tequila or your favorite alcohol. (Eliminate the alcohol for a mocktail)
  • ϖ Stir and pour over crushed ice into glasses rimmed with salt.
  • ϖ Garnish with a spring of mint and piece of melon.Special patio party coctail.jpg

Don’t forget the kids! Make mocktails. When the three or four generations of our extended family gather, the little ones get excited shouting “picnic party, picnic party”.  We’ll paint faces, run around blowing bubbles, climb through nylon tunnels, splash in the pool, and dance to silly songs. A big mat or cloth is spread on the grass or the deck with platters of finger foods. The kids happily dive in for the feast. 

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String lights, candles in jars, patio heaters, and your favorite tunes all add to the comfort and contentment. Nothing is ever perfect. There will be spills, breaks, trampled flowers, bug bites, and burnt barbecue.  But that’s the splendor and unpredictability of partying in the garden.  As Erasmus said, “No party is any fun unless seasoned with folly.” 

Enjoy the dazzling days and easy evenings of summer with a picnic or pool party. Kick- off your shoes, slather on the sunscreen, don your sunglasses, and chill out. Summer is a time to slow down to appreciate being outside surrounded by nature. 

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Cynthia Brian’s Gardening Guide for August

STAY hydrated. Drink lots of water, don’t do garden chores in the extreme heat, and keep sports drinks on hand.

BE fire safe. Read how to landscape your garden to be more fire-resistant.  https://blog.voiceamerica.com/2019/05/21/firescaping-for-survival/

STAKE gladiolus as they tend to be top-heavy and fall over.


DEADHEAD roses and other perennials to keep the blooms coming

CLEAN pruning shears with alcohol after each use.

CONTINUE weeding. Make sure to cut any dry, tall grass.

HARVEST fruit and vegetables in the morning for best flavor and nutrition. A few of the fruits and vegetables that are currently ripe are plums, peaches, apples, melons, tomatoes, cucumbers, beets, beans, corn, carrots, and zucchini.

PICK up any fruit that has fallen on the ground to prevent rodents, raccoons, turkeys, and other critters from invading your garden.

ENCOURAGE herb growth by pinching the tips. Use the cuttings in your recipes.

MULCH your garden to retain moisture and keep roots cool. Do not use gorilla hair as it is highly flammable. Keep all mulches moist.

SOW seeds of brassicas including cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, kale, and kohlrabi for an autumn harvest.

PLAN now for autumn planting.

WATER plantings in containers daily if needed. The heat dries out pots quickly.

ORDER spring-flowering bulbs from catalogs including tulips, Dutch iris, daffodils, woodland hyacinths, and whatever else grabs your attention.

PLAN a picnic party. Re-live your summer camp frolics. Casual or upscale, the fun begins outdoors.

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Read more and view photos at https://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue1311/Digging-Deep-with-Goddess-Gardener-Cynthia-Brian-Prep-a-picnic-or-pool-party.html

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 Are!® 501 c3. 

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

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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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Sip into Summer

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Sip into Summer

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“As the scent to the rose, are those memories to me.” Amelia C. Welby

Cooler weather has bidden a sweet goodbye, and warmer days beckon us to linger outdoors. My garden is ablaze with blooms and the aromas of scrumptious scents. My daughter Heather Brittany, also an avid gardener, is visiting and wants to learn more by walking through the landscape with me.


However, on this occasion, I am the student and she is the teacher as we stroll through the perfumed botanicals. Heather is a sommelier, a trained and knowledgeable wine professional working in an elite and innovative winery in Temecula. 

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With a glass of vino in hand and several varietals opened on the patio, she crushes leaves and pinches petals informing me of the subtle flavors we may be experiencing as we sip our way through the backyard. We pick nasturtium, rose, mint, mock orange, cherry, lambs ear, calendula, Nigella, lemongrass, fennel, various citrus, berries, and a sliver of an olive branch.


We stick our noses in lilies, lavender, and jasmine, inhaling deeply. 

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We scoop a handful of soil and mulch to draw in the aromas of nature.  Rosemary, sage, thyme, chervil, parsley, oregano, and bay…I haven’t ever thought of them as essences of wine. At each stop, she encourages me to stop, breathe in, and imagine. “Touch the lambs ear.

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Feel the velvety finish of the Queen Elizabeth rose. Take a bite of fennel. Slow down. What do you see? What do you smell? What do you feel? What do you taste?”

I was born and groomed in the vineyards of Napa Valley where I learned farming and gardening skills from my parents and grandparents, yet I’ve never ambled in my private gardens equating my flowers and herbs with the wine I consume.

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Often I’ve been told that as a writer, I should be crafting the verbiage on wine labels. What has kept me from being creative in that format are some of the normal descriptions that I read on bottles. Leather, tar, asphalt, and tobacco are not ingredients that I choose to imbibe.  But here, in my garden, I understand. We luxuriate in the multitude of floral opportunities to discover the subtle notes of the fruit of the vine.

A whiff of a barnyard reminds me of my childhood riding horses, tending sheep, branding cattle, and raising chickens.

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Pine and redwood needles evoke the memories of Christmas. A shaving of St. Lucia nutmeg makes me nostalgic for Thanksgiving. Narcissus and jasmine are the smells of spring. The sweet stench of aged compost and sensational swathes of fragrant roses and perfumed lavender offer spectacular sights and spice to the summer garden.


On our way back to the house we watch a small sparrow flit from my pine wreath at the back door. Upon careful inspection, we witness three tiny eggs nestled in a nest. We shoot a photo to remember our afternoon lesson. What a fitting finale from our spring into summer sipping expedition!

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Pour yourself a glass of Bacchus’s favorite beverage and walk around your garden indulging your senses with scents and memories. Slow down. What do you see? What do you smell? What do you feel? What do you taste?  Sip into summer!

Cynthia Brian’s Gardening Guide for June

PRUNE daffodils, tulips, hyacinths, bluebells, freesias, and other bulbs once the leaves have turned crispy yellow.

ADD companion plantings of Oriental poppies, allium, delphinium, daylilies, salvia, and peony.

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PHOTOGRAPH eggs in a bird’s nest, but don’t disturb the nest. The mother bird is alert and watching.

CELEBRATE National Pollinator Week June 17-23 by planting three new pollinator plants that will attract bees, butterflies, and birds. Try Nigella (love-in-a-mist), bee balm, and fennel.

DIVIDE perennials before the weather is too warm. Alstroemeria, hosta, yarrow, aster, and astilbe. Most perennials need dividing every three to four years to maintain annual blooms.


ADD three inches of mulch to your garden. If you have pine or redwood trees, gather the needles to mulch your roses, azaleas, rhododendrons, fuchsias, and other acid-loving plants. The mulch will keep the plants cooler and maintain moisture.

CONTAIN all mints in pots with saucers. Spearmint, peppermint, pineapple mint, catnip, and the rest of the mint family can easily become invasive when planted in the ground.


DEADHEAD roses at least weekly to encourage continual blooming.

BAIT for snails and slugs.

PLANT annuals in blocks of odd numbers—three, five, seven, nine, or more to create a more natural and aesthetically pleasing look to the human eye. To achieve this, you can plant the same variety of flowers in each odd grouping, or you can create color blocks with several similar varieties.

CUT bouquets of alstroemeria flowers for two weeks of vase life enjoyment.

WALK through your garden to savor the scents of a variety of plants. 

PICK cherries as they ripen before the birds eat them all.Bing cherries.jpg


DO a second planting of beets, chard, beans, and radishes. 


LISTEN to the serenading of the bullfrogs as they seduce with their song.

REPEL mosquitoes by emptying all vessels containing even a few drops of water. Add Dunks® to ponds or non-circulating water sources. Citronella and lemongrass plants supposedly help placed on the patio.

POUR a glass of wine and decipher the flavors that emanate from the garden. 

COMMEMORATE any special occasion with a gift from the garden and include a copy of my book, Growing with the Goddess Gardener available at http://www.CynthiaBrian.com/online-store

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CELEBRATE life with a “bonfire” in a spark shielded firepit.  Did you know that the word “bonfire” derived from the words “bone fire” because bones were burned to make lime to sweeten the soil? In years past, bone fires, or bonfires were beacons to guide travelers on land and sea. 

Happy Gardening. Happy Growing. Read more and see photos: 


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 books, Growing with the Goddess Gardener, Chicken Soup for the Gardener’s Soul, and Be the Star You Are! Millennials to Boomers atcyntha brian with books.jpg


Hire Cynthia for projects, consults, and lectures.



Coffee Benefits, Fall Outdoors, Parenting

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Coffee Benefits, Fall Outdoors, Parenting

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Are you a coffee aficionado? Did you know that coffee is now considered good for your health and longevity? Learn more about America’s java cravings, cautions, claims, and benefits.

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As summer draws to a close, it’s natural to want to grab the last rays of outdoor living. Tips on how to enjoy the outdoors at the end of summer including how to get rid of a skunk’s stinky spray on your beloved pet.

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Sometimes our adult children make choices that are destructive. As a caring parent, we have to step in with an opinion while maintaining family harmony. What do you say and how do you say it?

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Listen at Voice America:https://www.voiceamerica.com/episode/102191/coffee-break-outdoors-parenting-adult-children

The Pear and Wine Festival is Sat. Sept 23. Seeking sponsors for  Be the Star You Are!® booth for youth empowerment http://ow.ly/Ss8K30e9DH2

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

Read our BTSYA August Newsletter: http://hosted.verticalresponse.com/672296/13faf62186/288055965/bbd34d3431/

Help with Hurricane Harvey Relief: http://www.bethestaryouare.org/copy-of-operation-hurricane-disaste 


Make a DONATION through PAYPAL GIVING FUNDhttps://www.paypal.com/us/webapps/mpp/search-cause?charityId=1504&s=3

Catch up with all broadcasts on ITunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/starstyle-be-the-star-you-are!/id669630180?mt=2

Buy books by Cynthia Brian at http://www.starstyleradio.com/store

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For photos, descriptions, links, archives, and more, visit http://www.StarStyleRadio.com.

Get inspired, motivated, and informed with StarStyle®-Be the Star You Are!®

Lend us Your Ears!!!

Embed StarStyle® Be the Star You Are!® Radio

If you are a fan of the authors, experts, celebrities, and guests that appear regularly on StarStyle®-Be the Star You Are!® radio, you can now be sure to never miss an episode. Embed this code into your WordPress site or any site and you’ll always have Cynthia Brian and all of your favorite pioneers on the planet at your fingertips.  Upbeat, positive, life-changing talk radio broadcasting live each week since 1998. Lend us Your Ears. We are Starstyle®-Be the Star You Are!®


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Summer Loving in the Garden by Cynthia Brian

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Summer Loving in the Garden by Cynthia Brian

Boot Basil

“It’s better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring.” Marilyn Monroe.

What a difference a week makes! Our weather went from cool, drizzly, and overcast to three digit temperatures in less than seven days.  Our emerald green hills metamorphosed into golden grasslands seemingly overnight. Mother Nature is preparing us for the forthcoming summer solstice. Pool parties, barbecues, and kids playing outside portend a pleasant June. How wonderful it is to sit in a comfortable chaise on the patio on a warm evening admiring the landscape and the stars. Welcome to blooms in June!

I was delighted to have my daughter, Heather (yes, named after the flower), spend a couple of weeks with me recently.  The first words out of her mouth as she walked into the garden were “Mom, your landscape looks like a scene from Alice in Wonderland. It’s so colorful, bold, beautiful.” Indeed, my garden is a riot of hues with roses, gladiolas, lilies, love in the mist, calendulas, clematis, petunias, dahlias, hibiscus, geraniums, pelargoniums, calla lilies, nasturtiums, butterfly bush, guavas, daisies,  poppies, osteospermum, chamomile, salvias, lavender, numerous herbs, and flowering succulents.  Many of the blooms are edible, gracing my salads, sauces, and stir-fry.
J. Berry New Social Butterfly
There is no mystery to incorporating some summer loving into your garden. My secret sauce is to plant a plethora of perennials and bulbs enhanced by color spots of annuals augmented by shrubs that bloom, trees that bear fruit, with edibles everywhere. Add your unique creative artistry to create your personalized haven and voila! Instant success, year after year.

The elements you must consider whenever you are planting perennials or any plant are soil, light, moisture needs, climate, colors, and plant qualities. Once you know what you like, you can layer your landscape to attract the pollinators, birds, and wildlife, all the while being water conscientious and employing practical earth stewardship.
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Butterflies are everywhere and the hummingbirds are the happiest I’ve witnessed in years flitting from blossom to blossom with stops at the fountain for a quick drink.  Hummingbirds have long memories and when you feed them they will return year after year, even migrating over 4000 miles to get to their preferred gardens.  Favorite sources of food for hummingbirds include the bright colored blossoms of penstemon, columbine, agastache, monarda, salvia, fire poker, heuchera, rosemary, honeysuckle, fuchsia, and any throated vine.  Don’t forget to add a gurgling water source where they will entertain you with their bathing and sipping antics.

Before hitting store shelves, fruits, and vegetables travel an average of 1500 miles, reducing quality, nutrition, and taste. To increase flavor and boost the health of your family, introduce vegetables, herbs, and fruits into your organic gardening practice.  Buy four-inch pots to gallon containers of tomatoes, peppers, squash, cucumbers, eggplants, and whatever else you find at your local retailer to enhance your barbecues and patio parties.  You don’t need a formal vegetable garden. Just tuck plants between your perennials in a place that is easily accessible to your kitchen for easy plucking.  Be whimsical.  Have some fun.  Do as my daughter did and plant basil in a boot, thyme in a wine box, or green onions in a clear jam jar filled with water.
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Who doesn’t love walking barefoot in the grass on a warm summer day? Because of water restrictions, many people have allowed their lawns to die back or have replaced them with native and drought resistant plantings. If you don’t have a lawn, your barefooting may have to take place in one of the parks or golf links. The Pearl’s Premium grass seed that I sowed earlier in the spring is proving to be quite excellent. Although it is not the lush deep green it was during the rainy days, it has remained a lighter jade color with a watering schedule of every five days, albeit with a few brown spots where the sprinkler missed. To walk on it is heavenly as it is very thick and carpet-like. Weeds are minimal and mowing is currently once a week. As the hot weather increases, I’ll be watching closely for its drought resistant tendencies. Thus far, I am very pleased and will over-seed again in fall to enhance the lawn.  If your favorite retailer doesn’t carry the seed, Pearl’s Premium is available on-line at www.PearlsPremium.com. Lawns are the best places for children, cartwheels and croquet.

Summer is almost here and I am definitely in love with the season. Add summer loving to your garden and be anything but boring! Share the love. Be ridiculous!
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Cynthia Brian’s Mid Month Fresh Garden Tips

TRY something new.  How about growing blueberries? Find a spot with six hours of sunshine, amend the soil to make it more acidic (blueberries like a PH of 4.5 to 5.5), protect the bush from the hungry birds, harvest for your breakfast and snacks.
ASK questions from gardeners you admire or at your local nursery for tips you can implement.
HANG a hammock or two between trees or posts for a cozy place to relax, unwind, and read a good book. Pretend you are on a holiday.
PLANT a pollinator garden. It’s good for the birds, bees, butterflies, moths, and healthy flies as well as the garden and you.
OPEN your nature medicine cabinet this summer. Apply aloe on sunburns instead of buying a bottle of burn ointment. Spread honey on cuts and scrapes to reduce healing time. Honey boasts anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.
CONCOCT a cocktail with fennel, mint, dill, cucumber, and edible flowers from your garden. Wow your friends with your unique creations.
PLAN ahead for bulbs for fall. Check out catalogs and garden magazines for new releases.
CUT an armful of flowers for beautiful bouquets or arrangements. Perennials will re-bloom.
GET creative with plant markers by using wooden clothespins, utensils, or other items headed for the trash.
PICK plums, apricots, cherries, mulberries, and loquats.
PULL out errant blackberry bushes you find growing in your garden. Blackberry plants multiply quickly and will overrun your garden. Buy a thorn-less variety and keep it contained.
PROTECT your plants from deer, rabbits, and gophers with wire, fencing, or organic sprays.
LOWER your stress level by sniffing citrus-oranges, lemons, grapefruit, and tangerines.
REPEL mosquitoes and other pesky bugs by placing sage and rosemary on the barbecue. The smoke keeps the insects away.
SOW sweet potato eyes and eat the greens while they are maturing.
DEADHEAD spent perennial blossoms and rose blooms weekly to encourage continuous blooms.

Happy Gardening and Happy Growing!
Read More


Cynthia Brian
The Goddess Gardener
Starstyle® Productions, llc
Tune into Cynthia’s Radio show at www.StarStyleRadio.com
Garden and plant consultations by appointment.

Heart Health, Count Your Blessings, Kids Summer Safety by Cynthia Brian

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Heart Health, Count Your Blessings, Kids Summer Safety by Cynthia Brian


with Cynthia Brian and Heather Brittany on StarStyle®-Be the Star You Are!® Radio brought to the airwaves under the auspices of Be the Star You Are!® 501 c3 charity, LIVE, since 1998.
This hour is fun, informative, and lively. Join us!

Are you heart healthy? If you are an athlete or want to live a stronger life, you need to know what your heart needs. Heather Brittany provides the tips in Health Matters.

Are you a person who is grateful for the little things in life? By showing appreciation for what you have instead of what you don’t have is a key component of physical and emotional health. Find out how to increase your happiness quotient with Lifestyle coach, Cynthia Brian.

Kids love summer. We all love summer.  With all the excitement it’s easy to forget about safety. Do you know who is living in your neighborhood? Are you aware of the dangers to kids? Who could be lurking at the community pool? Find out how to have a fun and safe vacation.

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Read our BTSYA April Newsletter
Check out our brand new radio sites for StarStyle®-Be the Star You Are!® and Express Yourself!™ Teen Radio. PARTY!


Help Be the Star You Are!® without spending a penny. If you’ve ever purchased a TV or computer screen, just 3 minutes of your time is needed to fill out the simple form and click submit. Every unit qualifies for a donation of about $20 to Be the Star You Are!®. You will receive a tax receipt once the donations have been dispersed. PLEASE do this today. Thanks from Be the Star You Are!®


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The award winning positive talk radio program, StarStyle®-Be the Star You Are!® broadcasts on the Voice America Empowerment Channel LIVE every Wednesday from 4-5pm Pt/7-8pm ET.  Cynthia Brian and Heather Brittany are the Mother/Daughter dynamic duo who have been co-hosting this program live weekly since 1998 bringing upbeat, life enhancing conversation to the world. With Cynthia’s expertise in interviewing the trailblazers, authors, and experts and Heather’s healthy living segments, these Goddess Gals are your personal growth coaches helping you to jumpstart your life while igniting your flame of greatness. Brought to the airwaves under the auspices of the literacy and positive media charity, Be the Star You Are!®, each program will pump your energy to help you live, love, laugh, learn, and lead.
For photos, descriptions, links, archives, and more StarStyle Radio.
Get inspired, motivated, and informed with StarStyle®-Be the Star You Are!®
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Make a donation today to Be the Star You Are!® charity
Cynthia Brian talks about the empowering outreach programs offered by Be the Star You Are!® charity.

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