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Seeds or Starts?

Posted by rstapholz on
Seeds or Starts?

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“Spring is the time of plans and projects.” Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina

No matter how many springs I’ve encountered, I am forever awed and amazed at the bursting of blossoms and the beauty of the lush landscapes. Every year I find myself reiterating how much I adore this wondrous season. A fever warms the air, one that encourages me to weed, seed, feed, plan, and plant. Are you feeling this same urge to indulge in outdoor projects?

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Before you go to your local nursery or garden center to shop, take photos of your yard and patio. Make a tentative plan of what projects you’d like to tackle. Peruse a catalog to find photos and descriptions of plants that you think will shine in your garden. Do you want to buy seed packets or are you planning on buying starts? It pays to know what plants grow best when seeds are scattered and what plants will do better when they are purchased either in six-packs, flats, gallons, or larger.

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It is possible to buy seeds for almost any plant, however, not all seeds will sprout successfully. Over the years, I have found the following flowers, herbs, and vegetables do well when planted by seed.










Bachelor’s Button       

Four O’clock


California Poppy

Shasta Daisy



Vegetables and Herbs




Swiss Chard



















Lemon Balm

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Other than cherry tomatoes, I have never had success growing tomatoes from seed. Cucumber and zucchini have done better in my potagers by sowing starts. Most weeds are spread by seeds including the pretty when small, Herb Robert geranium. The aroma of this lime green weed with the tiny pink petal flowers is pleasing, but it needs to be pulled as soon as possible as it is invasive. A cover crop that I seed in fall is vetch. Vetch fixes nitrogen in the soil and is good in both sunny and shady locations, however, if not managed properly, you’ll spend many hours untangling to dig it into the soil.


Before you depart for the nursery, write a list of what you are seeking, and know that once you arrive, your shopping dreams may take a deep detour. You’ll be tempted by the magnificent selections the nursery offers. It’s up to you to know the conditions of your landscape…where it is sunny, shady, rocky, moist, dry, flat, or hilly. Will you be planting in containers or planting directly in the ground? Pay careful attention to the tags on the plants you are considering. They provide an enormous amount of useful information that can help you determine if this plant is correct for your garden. If there is a Q code, scan it to find out additional instructions. Buy only what you can put in the ground within two or three days. You don’t want your new purchases to remain in pots longer than necessary. I am very guilty of buying too much at one time instead of making multiple trips. 

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Another important tip is to determine the container size of each flower, herb, vegetable, shrub, or tree that you will purchase. If you are a person that demands instant gratification and you don’t want to wait for a specimen to grow to its full potential, or you don’t have the time to let the plant grow, buy the largest container. You will pay a premium, but perhaps this purchase could be worth the extra cost to you to have immediate coverage. On the other hand, if you are the patient type as I am and time is not of the essence, purchase the smallest container. It will be less expensive and with time, your plant will be as large or larger than ones available in larger sizes. With annuals, it may behoove you to buy larger sizes, although I am a big fan of buying six-packs and flats. When buying a shrub of any size, look for full and dense leaf formation. Plant health is important. The pot should not be root bound. Healthy roots are white, not gray, or mushy.


I learned an important lesson in planting trees many years ago when I was designing my backyard. As my central focal point, I wanted a magnolia tree that boasts beautiful white blooms attractive to pollinators. I bought the biggest tree that I could find. It was approximately ten feet tall in a huge container that was so heavy it took three people to manage it.  I paid a fortune, but at the time, felt the cost assured me my desired outcome. That same week, my mother gave me a six-inch tall sapling in a quart pot. I planted it at the back of my garden, believing that it would never become a large tree. Within three years, both trees were the exact same size, and now, three decades later, my mother’s magnolia gift is double the size of my purchase. Both are beautiful, but the free sapling is dramatic!

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Easter and Passover arrive with spectacular spring showers of flowers highlighted by tulips, wisteria, bluebells, azaleas, flowering trees, and the fruity fragrances of lilac, hyacinth, and jasmine. Pick a bouquet from your garden to celebrate these sacred holidays.

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No matter whether you spring into spring with seeds or starts, just do it!



Honor Mother Earth on Friday, April 22 by tuning in to the Earth Gratitude Virtual Festival live-streamed at https://www.unify.org. Two of my Be the Star You Are!® volunteers who are reporters on Express Yourself!™ Teen Radio as well as myself have featured videos. Esteemed contributors include the Dalai Lama, Jane Goodall, Prince Charles, Elon Musk, Deepak Chopra, and others. Together we will celebrate our planet.


On Saturday, April 23 at noon, enjoy a FREE Virtual Wonders Magic Show crafted for the entire family with a renowned Irish magician. Although the interactive show is FREE, you do have to register to receive the ZOOM link. More info at https://www.BetheStarYouAre.org. Or email thestarsworkshop@gmail.com 



Wishing you a hippity hoppity Easter and a peaceful Passover. Enjoy an amazing April with your family.

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Happy Gardening. Happy Growing. Stand in Solidarity with Ukraine.

Photos: https://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue1604/Digging-Deep-with-Goddess-Gardener-Cynthia-Brian-Spring-shopping-Seeds-or-starts.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.

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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.



Standing for Freedom and Support of Ukraine

Posted by rstapholz on
Standing for Freedom and Support of Ukraine



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For several weeks now, we have witnessed a deranged madman targeting innocent civilians in their homes, schools, hospitals, and shelters in an effort to illegally and forcefully conquer the sovereign nation of Ukraine. All but a handful of countries have denounced the former KGB operative, Putin, in his mission to scorch the earth. Zelensky, the President of Ukraine is the hero leading his country to fight for freedom, never giving up and never giving in. The Russian people are being lied to while Ukraine is the shield of Europe.

Pre-1991, I spent two months in a study program designed to work with the artistic community behind “The Iron Curtain”. The trip turned out not to be a lesson in freedom of expression as I soon found out, but a study of manipulation and indoctrination. My fantasy of artists working in harmony and with a free spirit was quickly crushed. We went to the museums, circuses, theater, ballet, and gymnastic competitions, but the happy exchange of artistic ideas was nonexistent. The only beauty I witnessed was pre-1917. The cities were gray, the sky was gray, the clothing was gray, the sugary tea was gray. Life was dismal and gray. People cued in long lines for everything. Everyone appeared forlorn and beaten down. It appeared that anything pleasurable was forbidden to the common citizen. Gray seemed to be the national color in the USSR, with an occasional welcome flash of a fuchsia babushka.

After two months behind the “Iron Curtain,” I knew how appropriate the name was. It was impenetrable. Human emotions and ambitions were crushed in the name of an ideal. Life might have been egalitarian, but it was miserable, merely existence. Citizens performed the jobs they were assigned at preset wages and could not move around or leave the country.

America is not perfect – no country is. America is a work-in-progress, a country constantly struggling to balance rights with responsibilities and to maintain a level of freedom and justice for all. I feel fortunate to have had the opportunity to be born in a land that allows me the ability to travel the world, witnessing the cultures and lifestyles of other nations, and then to return to a country that welcomes my expression. Yes, I am proud to be an American!

And I am proud to stand in solidarity with the Ukrainian people . The world cannot allow the war criminal Putin to return any part of the world to the days of the Iron Curtain.  Freedom is never free. We must fight for it.

Support and STAND in Solidarity with Ukraine.

Sending strength to our friends flying yellow and blue.

Praying for peace,

Cynthia Brian

Founder/Executive Director

Be the Star You Are!®

PO Box 376

Moraga, California 94556




DONATE: https://www.paypal.com/fundraiser/charity/1504


Boots on the Ground with blooms for the brave.  Spring into solidarity with Ukraine by planting or arranging flowers in colors of yellow and blue. http://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue1602/Digging-Deep-with-Goddess-Gardener-Cynthia-Brian-Boots-on-the-ground.html

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Kevin Choo is a sophomore at Amador Valley High School. His favorite subjects are Math, Computer Science, and Biology. In addition, he enjoys playing badminton and reading books. He speaks Korean, English, and French. He was taught the first two from birth since he is of Korean descent but was born in the U.S.A., while the last is from an elective class he is taking. He has lived in Pleasanton, California his entire life but has traveled to several places for summer vacations, with his personal favorite being Switzerland. He is relatively introverted and turtle-like, so unless he is contacted or prodded first, he tends to be holed up in the shell he calls his room. His favorite type of day is when it’s raining, and he is free for the entire day. That way, he can stay cozy in his room, reading a good book or watching YouTube while listening to the pattering of the rain. He is also fairly absent-minded or air-headed most of the time, but very efficient when he puts his mind to something.| His segment on Express Yourself is A.I. and Us, about the ramifications of artificial intelligence.

Listen to his first broadcast https://www.voiceamerica.com/episode/136439/be-a-volunteer

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Direct from the Emerald Isle, one of Ireland’s premiere professional magicians, Simon Ryan, will perform an interactive FREE virtual magic show for all ages. You’ll be entertained with card tricks, comedy, and mind reading fun.  FREE, virtually, on Zoom. Be part of the fun. Tell your friends and family to sign up now! One Day Only!

Info and Register for FREE

Email registration: thestarsworkshop@gmail.com 




Producing a successful radio broadcast is time-intensive, challenging work. The editors of Podcast Magazine chose 22 podcast and radio professionals to honor as Unsung Heroes in its March 2022 issue and Voice American Network veteran producer and host, Cynthia Brian, is among those being celebrated. Read about the Unsung Heroeshttps://podcastmagazine.com/22-unsung-heroes-in-podcasting

See Press Pass for details: https://blog.voiceamerica.com/2022/03/07/teen-radio-creator-producer-cynthia-brian-named-unsung-hero-by-podcast-magazine/

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We have suggestions for you to shop, save, and stay safe. Please use these web sites for all of your shopping essentials.

1. AmazonSmile donates .5% of purchases https://smile.amazon.com/ch/94-3333882

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2. Discounted books at Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/shops/be_the_star_you_are_charity

3. Giving Assistant: Shop. Earn. Give! Use Giving Assistant to earn cash at 3500+ popular online stores :https://givingassistant.org/np#be-the-star-you-are-inc

4. Shop at over 1300 stores on IGIVE: http://www.iGive.com/BTSYA

5. Buy “Read, Lead, Succeed” black tanks and books at StarStyle® Store: http://www.starstylestore.net/


6. Are you a gamer, lover of new software, or other digital content? Buy all of your favorites at Humble Bundle. http://ow.ly/cYs130iN6n4


Positive Results: https://www.bethestaryouare.org/positive-results

About Us: https://www.bethestaryouare.org/about_us

Programs: https://www.bethestaryouare.org/programs

How to Help: https://www.bethestaryouare.org/how-to-help

Blog: https://www.bethestaryouare.org/blog-1

Events: https://www.bethestaryouare.org/events

Contact us: https://www.bethestaryouare.org/contact

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“I’m fed up with old men dreaming up wars for young men to die in.”  George S. McGovern

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Congratulations! Be The Star You Are Inc has earned a spot on the 2022 Top-Rated Nonprofit List from Great Nonprofits and is one of the first charities to win this award this year.  The community has shared their inspiring stories about the work of Be the Star You Are!®. Thank you for this honor. https://greatnonprofits.org/org/be-the-star-you-are-inc



Writing With the Stars is a FREE online creative writing workshop for kids ages 9-14 hosted by Express Yourself! Teen Radio Host Ruhani Chhabra.

Registration and info

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Be the Star You Are! ® 501 c3 charity

PO BOX 376

Moraga, Ca. 94556








Why Venezuela Matters by Té Revesz

Posted by Editor on
Why Venezuela Matters by Té Revesz

VenezuelaVenezuela’s rising wave of anti-government protests & the bloody government response has drawn far less attention than the Ukraine. It shouldn’t. The crisis in South America’s large oil producer, says Victor Hugo Rodriguez, CEO of The LatAm Alternatives Group has the potential to impact the economies & stability of many LatAm countries. Venezuela is not only the region’s largest oil supplier; it is its biggest importer, adds Daniel Osorio, President of Andean Capital Management. Together my guests will explore how alternative outcomes could change the risk/reward equation for multinationals and for institutional & private investors. How will it affect access to LatAm growth opportunities? What countries will be hurt? Who will benefit? How will the conflict impact the burgeoning Trans Pacific Partnership (Colombia, Peru, Chile, Mexico)? Mercosur (Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay, Paraguay)? The Caribbean economies? Is there a China factor? How should investors & MNCs position themselves?

Tune in for “Global Reach” with Host Té Revesz for her new episode “Why Venezuela Matters” on the Voiceamerica Business Channel on every Thursday 11am Pacific Time.

We are all operating in a dynamic global marketplace, whether we reach across borders to find new customers and fresh ideas or face overseas competitors in our home market. Global Reach embraces the opportunities and challenges we encounter when operating in multiple countries and cultures. We talk with entrepreneurs and executives about their strategies for winning in fast changing world markets: cross-cultural communication, global branding, media and marketing, transportation and manufacturing, the future of finance, alternative investment strategies, innovation and IP protection.Global Reach interviews thought leaders about 21st century megatrends that impact international entities: trends like the business and politics of sustainability, the morphing nature of competitiveness, globalization, global companies vs national governments, worldview and growth prescriptions, emerging markets issues, and the corporate impact on society (governance, ethics and leadership).

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