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Cynthia Brian’s Gardening Guide for November

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Cynthia Brian’s Gardening Guide for November

yellow vines in fall

By Cynthia Brian

“The small but intense pleasure of walking through dry leaves and kicking them up as you go…they rustle, they brustle, they crackle.” From Walking through Leaves, Vita Sackville-West

From the last rays of the autumn sun to the glowing embers of winter fires, November is a month of changing colors and softening light creating feasts for our eyes (and our Thanksgiving stomachs) while adding a warm glow to our hearts. The countryside is bathed with leaves turning gold, crimson, russet, and orange. The harvest features a bounty of pumpkins, gourds, and nuts. The crackle of the fallen leaves underfoot, the balmy days, chilly evenings, and misty nights signal the sensational spectacle of autumn. It’s time to put our gardens to bed.
Europe 2010 - 229
For the past few weeks I’ve had the pleasure of visiting a selection of the great chateaus, castles, palaces, and gardens in France and England. Crossed off my bucket list was the romantic landscape of Sissinghurst Castle Garden in Kent designed by author Vita Sackville-West. It was interesting to note how many of the 22,000 annuals, perennials, and herbs grown in her garden have established themselves nicely here in California.
fallilng leaves in garden
It’s time to plant your bulbs, especially tulips. Having lived in Holland for eighteen months, I truly understand and value the humble tulip. Found in the wilds of central Asia, the first tulip bulbs were planted at Holland’s Hortus Botanicus Leiden in 1593. Tulips were so highly sought after that Dutch growers around Haarlem devoted every minute to hybridization and cultivation resulting in one tulip bulb being so valuable that it could buy an Amsterdam house on the canal or twenty-five acres of prime farmland. Besides cheese, gin, and herring, tulips reigned as kings of exportation. Tulipmania speculation collapsed in 1637 but not before these gorgeous flowers called Rembrandt tulips were depicted on Delft tiles, old master paintings, and historic tapestries. If only a grower had had a crystal ball…
Liquid Amber in Fall - 2
What to do in your November garden

⎫ PLANT your bulbs now through January. By planting a dozen or so bulbs per week, you’ll have a continuous show of color for the spring. Crocus, daffodils, tulips, wood hyacinths, and Dutch iris are favorites.
⎫ THROW two or three matchsticks into each hold before planting bulbs. The sulphur kills insects and enriches the soil.
⎫ FERTILIZE your bulbs with a composition of 4-10-6 right after planting to help grow strong roots. Do not mix fertilizer into the hole. Do not use chicken or horse manure, mushroom, or household compost (could be a breeding ground for fungus), or any acidic soil amendment. Bulbs require soil with neutral PH to develop their root system.
⎫ RESEED lawns with clover or Pearl’s Premium if you want grass without the guilt and the water surcharges. Click Here for tips on planting.
⎫ CLEAN and store patio furniture. With an El Nino in the forecast, covering your outdoor furniture, pads, and pillows will not be enough. Give everything a good brushing, then put in the garage or watertight storage area.
⎫ CALL an arborist to inspect your large limbs and trunks before the storms arrive.
⎫ HARVEST walnuts, gourds, and pumpkins.
⎫ DEADHEAD your roses weekly to maintain blossoms and fragrance throughout November and December.  If you prefer the red and orange colors of fall, allow the rose hips to form and harvest for additional vitamin C.
⎫ STAKE young trees and prune dead or dried limbs from established mature trees.
⎫ STOP by your local nurseries to choose deciduous trees with vibrant fall colors that will suit your landscape. A tree planted on the north side protects gardens from the blustery winter winds.
⎫ TIDY your vegetable garden and potager. Add straw and mulch to enrich the soil over winter.
⎫ SHARPEN garden shears and tools before storing.
⎫ SCATTER ripe seeds of biennials and perennials, such as Foxglove and Echinacea, encouraging new plants in your garden. Hybrid varieties may not grow true from seed offering you a spring surprise.
⎫ PLANT autumn showy ground covers, color spots, and shrubs as they are in their full fall riotous splendor. Heuchera is an especially pretty perennial in its autumn robes offering foliage in a variety of textures, shapes, and colors.
⎫ SOW winter crops of Swiss chard, broccoli, beets, carrots, cauliflower, lettuce, peas, turnips, and spinach.
⎫ VISIT a vineyard to witness the golden and amber hues post harvest.
⎫ RAKE a pile of leaves. Let the kids frolic and kick, then add them to your compost pile. (Add the leaves, not the kids!)
⎫ ENJOY the fall foliage! Persimmons, pomegranates, and guava trees showcase their precious fruits. Savor the colors in anticipation of the holiday harvest next month.
⎫ SHARE your gratitude.
heuchera
May you celebrate a healthy, happy, and mouth-watering Thanksgiving with family and friends. Thank you so much for being loyal readers. Your thoughts and opinions are greatly appreciated.

Happy Gardening, Happy Growing!
Europe 2010 - 219
©2015
Cynthia Brian
The Goddess Gardener
Starstyle® Productions, llc
Cynthia@GoddessGardener.com
www.GoddessGardener.com
925-377-STAR
Tune into Cynthia’s Radio show at www.StarStyleRadio.net
I am available as a speaker, designer, and consultant.

Read more Here
gourds
Cynthia Brian is a New York Times best selling author, speaker, coach, and host of the radio show, StarStyle®-Be the Star You Are!® broadcasting live every Wednesday from 4-5pm PT on the Voice America Network.. She also is the creator and producer of Express Yourself!™ Teen Radio and Executive Director of Be the Star You Are!® 501c3 charity.

A Dad’s Dream

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Empowerment
A Dad’s Dream

cyn-dad's garden

Digging Deep-Gardening with Cynthia Brian

A Dad’s Dream, a Mom’s Desire

“The most beautiful view is the one I share with you.”
~ Source unknown
Two decades ago, a San Francisco family made their way across the bridge in search of a quiet neighborhood, warm weather, and good schools within easy access of the freeway. At the top of a private drive in Lamorinda, Pam’s instinct encouraged her to place a bid on the first house she saw-a stylish Cape Cod backed up to a hill of majestic oaks with plenty of privacy on ¾ of an acre. When Bob saw the property, though it was overgrown with poison oak, blackberry bushes, and brush, he could visualize the garden of his dreams. Together they envisioned a landscape that would look like it had always existed in nature, albeit, with a little help from a professional. The property was cleared of weeds and debris, deer fencing was erected, new topsoil was delivered, and the design was executed.

Pam's pond

The family wanted a babbling brook that cascaded into a pond. Forty tons of boulders were trucked in from a Napa quarry and lifted by crane over the house since there was no access to the backyard. The stream springs from the top of the hill property, flowing over river rocks surrounded by ferns, hellebores, trailing geraniums, grasses, and a plethora of lush specimens until it splashes into the pool where friendly koi gather and a turtle named Flash sleeps beneath the water lilies.
Off the master bedroom, they planted a formal rose garden in the French chateau style bordered by a clipped boxwood hedge. They kept the original brick patio and outdoor fireplace near the house while creating meandering paths that wind up and down the hill opening unto unexpected garden rooms. Three spectacular Japanese maples and three madrones anchor the design, offering year round form, structure, and color. Drifts of hydrangea, rhododendrons, azaleas, agapanthus, hostas, daisies, carnations, and various ground covers fill the background. The gardener in the family, Bob, enjoys experimenting with a variety of specimens. He has created a berry patch with raspberries, blueberries, boysenberries, and blackberries. Around another bend, he grows citrus, including a healthy kefir lime plus trees of apple, plum, and fig. At the top of the hill, beans, tomatoes, horseradish, herbs, pumpkins, potatoes, asparagus, and peppers thrive. An underground spring augments their watering system. Bob’s efficient home built compost bin resides outside the fence, ready to nourish the garden organically.

table-birds

A retired flight attendant currently enjoying a second career as an actor, I met Pam when she worked as an assistant on my TV series, StarStyle®-Live Your Dreams, and I’ve been privileged since to coach her as on-camera talent. An avid fan of flea markets, Pam taps into her artistic power discovering interesting tossed treasures that she creatively displays throughout the plot. Culminating at the end of the raspberry row, a 1950’s oven opens featuring plants in a pan. Around a turn, an old bicycle bears baskets of pink geraniums.  Walk up the path a bit further, and a rusted children’s pedal car is stranded on a boulder. Rock cairns are piled on an overhang at the pond.  Restful seating areas and sweet surprises delight the senses throughout the backyard.  My personal favorite is the mystical gravel and river rock topped table set with glasses and a bottle of wine reserved for two.  Behind the wire fence with twining vines and ivy, ceramic birds perch on a branch ready to break into song.

Sirah vines with shirly tractor

A few years ago, Bob decided to plant a vineyard. One hundred and twenty vines of Syrah grow on a side hill above the stacked stone retaining wall. Roses bloom at the end of each row, succulents and pots of cacti climb the stairway. Pam’s whimsical contribution to the vineyard includes an antique children’s tractor parked between the vines, and a collection of whirly birds to keep the flying birds from devouring the grapes. Sal Captain of Captain Vineyards helps with the management of the crops while Bob does his own bottling and labeling, winning awards in the process.
The gardens and vineyards are beautiful, bountiful, and bucolic. It’s obvious that Bob and Pam take great pride and joy in their voluptuous, unique garden. With all the stone, wood, water, and living greenery, this outdoor oasis claims a natural structure and feeling of security and protection. Although they both love “the City”, they are thrilled that they took that drive through the tunnel twenty years ago to discover their own personal nirvana.

turtle wine bottle

Their dream of a secret garden has been realized as they share the view together toasting Father’s Day with a glass of their private label Turtle Crossing wine.

Cynthia Brian’s Mid Month Reminders

ROTATE crops. Don’t plant vegetables in the same spot as last year.
BUY summer annuals for containers to add color to your patio.
PINCH petunias and dahlias to keep them blooming.
RAISE the blades on lawnmowers to offer more sun protection and moisture retention to your grass.
PROVIDE abodes for toads by placing broken clay pots throughout the garden. By inviting toads into your garden, you’ll be getting free insect control.
RESCUE thirsty bees and ladybugs that dive into your swimming pool during the heat. Use a net to capture and release to avoid unnecessary stings.
HELP reverse the decline of pollinating insects, honey bees, native bees, birds, bats, and monarch butterflies by joining the Million Pollinator Garden Challenge. For information, visit http://millionpollinatorgardens.org.
BEWARE of ticks hitchhiking in your hair after hiking or working outside. If you get bit in the neck, call your physician or go to urgent care immediately. I know the dangers from recent experience!

antique car
A salute and thanks to all the Daddy’s of Lamorinda, especially the ones that garden and dream!

Happy Gardening. Happy Growing.

Read more: https://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue0908/Digging-Deep-Gardening-with-Cynthia-Brian.html

©2015
Cynthia Brian
The Goddess Gardener
Starstyle® Productions, llc
Cynthia@GoddessGardener.com
www.GoddessGardener.com
925-377-STAR
I am available as a speaker, designer, and consultant.

rock piles

Cynthia Brian is a New York Times best selling author, speaker, coach, and host of the radio show, StarStyle®-Be the Star You Are!® broadcasting live every Wednesday from 4-5pm PT on the Voice America Network.. She also is the creator and producer of Express Yourself!™ Teen Radio and Executive Director of Be the Star You Are!® 501c3 charity.

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