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Grow a WildFlower Garden with Cynthia Brian

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Grow a WildFlower Garden with Cynthia Brian

renees garden seeds 1

“May all your weeds be wildflowers.”

When I was a child weeds and wildflowers were synonymous. I would meander through the hills and creeks with my handy Golden Nature Guide called “Flowers: A Guide to Familiar American WildFlowers” along with notebook, paper, and a Brownie camera to capture the images and properties of as many specimens that I could find. Trillium, morning glory, lupin, California poppy, clover, stargazer, brodias, columbine, buttercups, and mustard all captivated me. I would pick the flowers to quickly bring home to iron between wax paper and catalogue into my wildflower scrapbook. In a field of specimens, I’d dig a plant up with the attached roots to transplant into my personal flower plot.
freesia & osteospernum
What I found out is that wildflowers aren’t fussy. They grow in all kinds of soil, don’t need water once they are established, and add stunning textures and vibrancy to your landscape.
1. Find a place where the flowers will get at least six hours of daily sunshine. Wildflowers need lots of sunshine.
2. Before spreading the seed, clear the dirt. Purge all weeds, grasses, or any other growth from the area. Turn the toil with a hoe or a tiller.
3. Rake the soil.
4. Add sand to the seeds at the rate of ten parts sand to one part seed. This will help you to see it when you spread it. Use a seed spreader if you are seeding a big area, or feel free to sprinkle by hand.
5. Don’t cover the seed with soil. It does need to be compressed for better germination either by walking on it or rolling it. I use a five gallon bucket to roll over the seeded soil in any smaller locations.
6. Water the seeds regularly until the plants reach six inches. After that, wildflowers flourish without the addition of extra water, especially great addition to any garden when there is a drought.
7. Prepare for a cavalcade of colors. Annuals bloom quickly, usually within five weeks while perennials may not blossom until the second year.

While many of these flowers are sold in nurseries as annuals, they are wildflowers that will look handsome in your new garden. Annuals live, bloom, and die in one year. Many spread their own seeds after they are done flowering.
poppies.jpg - 1
African Daisy
California Poppy
Four O’Clock
Morning glory
Shirley Poppy

Perennials are interesting as most of them are blue, yellow, orange, or pink. Perennials come back year after year and continue spreading their seeds and beauty. They do need to be pruned back at the end of the season.
Bee Balm
Blanket Flower
Blazing Star
Blue Eyed Grass
Blue Flag Iris
Blue Flax
Butterfly Weed
Cardinal Flower
Gloriosa Daisy
Indian Paint Brush
Joy Pye Weed
Mexican Hat
Oriental Poppy
Purple clover
Shooting Star
Wild Petunia
field of wild flowers
Biennials are plants that live for only two years. During their first year they have foliage but no flowers. In the second year they bloom, set seeds, then, die. Their complete life cycle is two years.
Black-eyed Susan
Canterbury Bells
Dame’s Rocket
Evening Primrose
Queen Anne’s Lace
Sweet William
David Austin roses-bare root
Where to Find Seeds:
Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds: www.RareSeeds.com
Renee’s Garden: www.ReneesGarden.com
Sow True Seed: www.SowTrueSeed.com
American Meadows: www.AmericanMeadows.com
Territorial Seed Company: www.TerritorialSeed.com
Select Seeds: www.SelectSeeds.com
John Scheepers Garden Seeds: www.KitchenGardenSeeds.com

Lady Bird Johnson may have said it best with her heartfelt words about wildflowers. “Almost every person from childhood on, has been touched by the
untamed beauty of wildflowers. Buttercup gold under a childish
chin, the single drop of exquisite sweetness in the blossom of
wild honeysuckle, the love-me, love-me-not philosophy of daisy

Wildflowers have certainly been an essential element in my life. I still have that Golden Nature Guide (it cost me a hard earned $1.00 selling chicken eggs) and that Brownie camera (now on display on my collectibles shelf) but most of all I still have the passion for wild flowers. My wild flower garden has been sown and I look forward to sharing photos with you once the blooming begins.

Spring forward and enjoy the outdoors. Plant a wildflower meadow.

MID MARCH REMINDERS from Cynthia Brian

CONGRATULATIONS are in order to the Lamorinda Wine Grower’s Association for their diligent efforts in getting the 29,369 acres of Lamorinda recognized as an American Viticultural Area (AVA). To buy local wine or learn more, visit www.LamorindaWineGrowers.com

CUT the spent blossoms off of daffodils and narcissus but leave the leaves to add nutrients for next years blooms.

HARVEST asparagus spears when they are six to eight inches long.

DYE eggs for Easter with colors from your garden. Red and yellow onions, grapes, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, beets, and more will give a unique look to your egg hunt.

PLANT your bare root roses, vines, and trees. Prepare the soil with compost, dig the hole according to directions, fill with top soil, water, and wait for the magic.


VISIT the San Francisco Flower and Garden show March 16-19 from 10am-7pm at the San Mateo Event Center, 1346 Saratoga Drive, San Mateo to find answers to your gardening dilemmas. $22. www.sfgardenshow.com

ATTEND the Water Conservation Showcase on March 22 between 9-6pm at the P.G. & E. Energy Center, 851 Howard Street, San Francisco sponsored by the United States Green Building Council dedicated to educating and inspiring solutions for saving water, energy, and our earth. Jackson Madnick, Founder of Pearl’s Premium grass seed will be presenting at 4pm. This is a great opportunity to meet the lawn pioneer in person to understand how revolutionary his seeds are and how you can have a lawn in a drought.

SWAP plants and tools on March 26th at 4500 Lincoln Avenues in Oakland from 12-4pm. Trade your goods for other garden elements. Free. www.theplantexchange.com

MARK your calendars for wine and books event benefiting Be the Star You Are!® charity on Saturday, April 9th from noon until 7 at Dawn’s Dream Winery Tasting room, NW Corner of 7th & San Carlos, Carmel-by-the-Sea.

SAVE the earth April 17 from 11:30-4:30 for the Wildlife Earth Day Festival at Wagner Ranch in Orinda.

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

Making a Splash this Summer

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Making a Splash this Summer


The 10% Water Challenge

By Andrew Wang and Edited by Cynthia Brian

Drought severity in Palmer Drought Severity Index. California is at record drought level.

Source: Western Regional Climate Center

For teens, the coming of summer means long days, hiking trips, vacations and (finally!) sleeping in, but nothing shouts out summer like being able to dive into a cool, refreshing pool to refresh both mind and body. But this summer, with our reservoirs drying up, and a statewide drought emergency in effect, teens might have to look elsewhere for fun in the sun.

Call it a dry season. From January to June, the Lafayette Reservoir has collected a meager 14 inches of rainwater, a mere half of the historical average in that time period. With rainfall reaching its lowest levels in almost a century, East Bay Municipal Utility District has been forced to tap into Sacramento River water supplies for the first time, and is calling on our community to save water by 10% from last year. Fortunately, local teens are coming up with practical ways to help make a difference!

Lamorinda teens are taking up the challenge to cut their water usage. Kelly Williams and her family invested in water-conserving equipment: “We put in low-flow faucets and shower heads. We also installed a valve system for the hoses so they wouldn’t leak.” Rising senior Nick Lum has switched to taking shorter showers. Every gallon makes a difference!

Brian Davis, recent Campolindo graduate and a member of Campo’s Lorax/Global Student Embassy environmental club, has made some big sacrifices in his household to conserve water: “We removed half the lawn, and let the other half go dormant. This cut down our water use from 200 gallons per day to 120.” As a starting point for water conservation, Brian has some common-sense tips worth paying close attention to: 

  1. 1. Turn off the faucet and don’t let water run when you don’t need it.
  2. 2. Take shorter showers.
  3. 3. Use sprinklers in the early morning or late evening to minimize evaporation.
  4. 4. Run the dishwasher and washing machine only with full loads. 

Teens are making important contributions to our local conservation effort. As of June, creative solutions by community members have helped our county achieve a 3% reduction in water usage, according to EBMUD. With the collective effort of teens and our families, we can make it all the way to our goal of 10%, and do our community’s part in helping survive the drought!

Andrew Wang, the Director of Concerts for Be the Star You Are! charity, is a rising senior at Campolindo High School. Besides writing and reporting, he enjoys programming, playing the piano and violin, and tossing a good Frisbee.

andrew wang

As the editor and teen coach for Teen Scene for the newspaper, Cynthia Brian has had the opportunity to work with talented teens with attitude and opinions. She shares selected published works. To read numerous articles shepherded by Cynthia, visit www.BTSYA.com. Cynthia Brian also produces Express Yourself!™ on Voice America Kids Network heard Tuesdays NOON PT or for photos, descriptions, links, and more!

Express Yourself!™ Teen Radio is produced by Cynthia Brian of Starstyle® Productions, llc as an outreach program of Be the Star You Are!® charity. For information on being a guest email info@BetheStarYouAre.org. To make a tax-deductible donation to keep this positive youth programming broadcasting weekly to international audiences, Thanks for supporting teens!

Read more at The Lamorinda Weekly. 

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