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Shade Made

Posted by Cynthia Brian on
0
Empowerment
Shade Made

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“Gardens are not made by sitting in the shade.”  Rudyard Kipling

Gardens may not be cultivated while we are sitting in the shade, but on a hot summer day, there is nothing better than sipping an ice-cold lemonade while resting in one of my shadowy gardens.

This year the world has been experiencing the hottest weather on record. In the United Kingdom, July temperatures were as high as 25 degrees Fahrenheit more than normal. According to data from the U.S. Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the United States sweltered through 92 of the highest recorded heatwaves while worldwide, records were broken 188 times during this same period. Scorching fires are raging throughout Europe as well as the United States as firefighters battle the blazes and populations evacuate minutes ahead of blistering disasters. The influence of global warming is dire as this rapid climate change portends a hotter future.

As much as I adore the sunshine, it is critical to make room for shade in our landscapes to shield our bodies and our plants from the scorching weather. Although most colorful plants prefer sunshine, we still can create a retreat from the rays that will be beautiful and restorative. 

All plants need sunshine to photosynthesize. Most gardens enjoy the sun at certain times and shade at other times. It’s important to watch when that time is for your garden. Any area that does not get direct sunlight may be considered shade. When you read a label and it says, “Plant in full shade”, this means you must plant in an area that gets less than three hours of direct sunlight with only filtered sun the rest of the day. If the label reads “Plant in partial shade”, find a spot where there is more shade than sun. If you plant a specimen that requires full sun, it will not thrive in the shade.  “Partial sun” means four to six hours of sunlight. 

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Most shade-loving plants are understory plants that grow under the forest or jungle canopy. In areas where redwoods provide acidic leaf litter, ferns succeed. Shade-loving plants appreciate rich organic matter. Plants grow more slowly in the shade because the lower amount of light they receive causes photosynthesis to be slower. The good news is that shade plants usually require less water.

Trees are the anchors of any shade garden. They can be evergreen or deciduous adding beauty and privacy to the landscape with interesting bark, flowers, fruit, and potential vibrant fall foliage while blocking the hot sun and keeping our homes cooler. Oak, magnolia, maple, redwood, weeping willow, birch, horse chestnut, pistache, walnut, and many other species are possibilities depending on the size of your site, long-term expectations, soil conditions, height considerations, and watering needs. A tree is an investment in the future that may outlive several generations. Before planting any tree, do your homework while getting input from your family on what the desires and needs for a tree are. For example, do kids want to climb or build a treehouse, do you want to hang a hammock, are you looking for seasonal flowers and fruit, is autumn color essential, are you seeking a privacy screen, is year-round interest important, or are you seeking a tree that accents your home’s theme? 

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Once you have an established shade area, it’s time to fill it with plants that will not only survive, but thrive in dappled, partial, or full shade. 

Here’s a list of groundcovers, shrubs, perennials, herbs, and annuals that fit the requirements. As always, read labels before purchasing to determine necessary growing conditions and size at maturity.

Ajuga

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Fern

Hellebore

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Heuchera

Golden Creeping Jenny

Pachysandra

Tiarella Foam Flower

Vinca Minor

Hydrangea

Bleeding Heart

Begonia

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Dogwood

Impatiens

Astilbe

Coleus

Caladium

Bee Balm

Hosta

Primrose

Foxglove

Aquilegia (columbine)

Arum Italicum

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Azalea

Rhododendron

Fuchsia

Daphne

Heavenly Bamboo

Heavenly Bamboo-nandina.jpeg

Chinese Yew

Boxwood

Abelia

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Japanese Pittosporum (mock orange)

Photinia

Tree Peony

Viburnum

Parsley

Chives

Thyme

Lemon Balm

Mint

Lawns: Growing a lawn in the shade is tricky. Fine fescue grasses will sprout in the shade. When installing a lawn make sure the seed mixture states, “for shade”.

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Finally, once you have designed your shade shelter, install a bench, swing, hammock, or chair where you can take a breather to cool off during a sweltering afternoon or recuperate from digging deeply. Drink plenty of water, hydrate your plants, and admire your horticultural accomplishments.

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Sometimes gardens are made in the shade.

Happy Gardening and Happy Growing!

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Photos and more: https://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue1612/Digging-Deep-with-Goddess-Gardener-Cynthia-Brian-Made-in-the-shade.html

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.

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

Cynthia@GoddessGardener.com

www.GoddessGardener.com

#climatechange,#fires,#shade,#trees,#rest,#water, #cynthiabrian,#starstyle,#goddessgardener,#voiceamerica, #gardening

Clean Water

Posted by Beth Shaw on
0
Health & Wellness
Clean Water

It’s no secret that water is essential to life. The recommended daily water intake is generally 64 fluid ounces throughout the day, which is equivalent to about 2 liters. Not only are humans made up of an average of 60% water, but we use water directly in our daily activities like drinking, cooking and bathing, as well as indirectly in the manufacturing of our favorite goods. 

With water playing such a crucial role in our lives and communities, it’s hard to imagine that less than 1% of all the water on Earth is available for human use. The rest remains in the polar ice caps, saltwater oceans, or is inaccessible for practical use. While water cycles through various states of matter to come back to us, it is not always distributed back proportionally. With an increase of droughts due to global warming, it is important to reflect on the ways in which we use our water. 

Although water is a vital ingredient for life, it is often taken for granted. According to a study researched by The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the average American household uses 82 gallons of water every day. The EPA also mentions that we can all reduce our water usage by 20% by simply installing water-efficient fixtures and appliances. 

Just as it is important to monitor our water usage, it is  very important that we also monitor what is in our water. According to The Environmental Working Group (EWG) “The federal government’s legal limits are not health-protective. The EPA has not set a new tap water standard in almost 20 years, and some standards are more than 40 years old.” That basically means that the legal limit of contaminants in our water is not based on our health limits. If you want to know what’s in the water you use and consume, the EWG does half of the job for us on their website where you can input your zip code into their Tap Water Database to see what contaminants are floating around the water in your area. 

Join Beth Shaw, host of Make America Healthy radio show on VoiceAmerica, as she dives deep into the science of what truly constitutes “clean water” and addresses the controversies behind the addition of fluoride to public water supplies. Beth, alongside Troy Rackley, CEO of The Next Level of Performance, will discuss ways to optimize your water conditions and offer tips to help you achieve the safest water and energy savings. Thanks to Troy, you can save 5% off your NAIAD water filtration system by using our promo code YogaWater22 at checkout.  

Founder of YogaFit Training Systems, Beth Shaw has made it her mission to Make America Healthy, one-person at a time. The first step to optimizing your health is fueling your body with the right ingredients to make it possible. Take your health into your own hands and sign up for your first YogaFit Training course and save 15% at checkout using the promo code VOICE22 because “Your health is your most valuable asset always” – Beth Shaw 

Gather in the Garden

Posted by Felix Assivo on
0
Empowerment
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.

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Happy Gardening. Happy Growing.  

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

MARK YOUR CALENDARS!

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.

Cynthia@GoddessGardener.com

www.GoddessGardener.com

Sacred Spaces

Posted by Felix Assivo on
0
Empowerment
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. 

Water

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. 

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Hammock

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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Swing

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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Plantings

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!

MARK YOUR CALENDARS!

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.

Cynthia@GoddessGardener.com

www.GoddessGardener.com

Water Works

Posted by Felix Assivo on
0
Empowerment
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.

summer apples.jpeg

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. 

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MARK YOUR CALENDARS!

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.

Cynthia@GoddessGardener.com

www.GoddessGardener.com

Teen bingeing, How to Curb Christmas Waste

Posted by Editor on
0
Empowerment
Teen bingeing, How to Curb Christmas Waste

2016 BEST StarStyle Banner.jpg

The first alcoholic drink is consumed at an average age of 12 in the USA. The earlier drinking begins, the greater risk of addiction and greater potential harm is to brain development. The human brain is not fully developed until around age 25.

What can we do to protect our teens for binge drinking?

It is estimated that one billion people in the world suffer from hunger and malnutrition and about 24,000 people die every day of hunger. 5% of America’s leftovers could feed 4 million people for a day. What else do we waste in America? Water, paper, everything. Santa had it right when his presents came in recycled newspaper. Cynthia Brian and Heather Brittany look at the enormous amount of waste in our country with ideas on what we can do about it.

This week people who celebrate get busy making sure that their homes are festive and bright. Find out what the GoddessGals have planned that could spark your ideas.

StarStyle® is celebrating 19 years of weekly LIVE broadcasting with expert interviews, lively conversations, and lifestyle tips and tricks.  Come celebrate with us!

Listen at https://www.voiceamerica.com/episode/104120/teen-bingeing-waste-in-america-preparing-for-christmas

Shopping on line? #StartWithaSmile at https://smile.amazon.com/ch/94-3333882 . Amazon donates to Be The Star You Are, Inc..

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Our Oceans, Our Future: a conversation with Fabien Cousteau by Catherine Calarco

Posted by Editor on
0
Women
Our Oceans, Our Future: a conversation with Fabien Cousteau by Catherine Calarco

Educate + Empower + Restore. It is a great honor to be joined by Fabien Cousteau to discuss the Ocean Learning Center (OLC) and the experience of living 31 Days underwater. Our dynamic conversation will provide unique insights and review amazing adventures of the Cousteau family. Following his grandfather’s words, “People protect what they love, they love what they understand and they understand what they are taught.” – Jacques-Yves Cousteau, the mission of the OLC is to raise awareness, educate, and inform all citizens of the world of ways to protect and preserve the planet’s waters and endangered marine habitats and marine life. Through knowledge and innovative technologies regarding ocean preservation, the team at OLC collaborate with partners to develop educational programs and activities in aquatic conservation, restoration, and marine projects dedicated to protecting the Earth’s waters and its inhabitants for the future of our next generation.

The Oceans provide our planet with air, water, and food. We share an unbounded curiosity to learn about our environment and life.   As an Aquanaut, Fabien lived under water for 31days.   His experience demonstrated the uniqueness of our planet and the joy of being part of the ocean environment.  

“”Ninety-nine percent of our livings space is the ocean”  

The oceans hold a huge amount of secrets and amazing new discoveries.   New technology now makes it possible for us to explore it like never before.  At the same time, the ocean environment is threatened with islands of plastic (gyres), the loss of coral reefs due to bleaching and acidification that threatens the entire planet itself.  Dynamics of climate change impacts the ocean and us on land.  Technology can save the ocean but it will take people to make it happen.  
How can you get involved?  Connect with Fabien at http://www.fabiencousteauolc.org/ and join in the efforts to save our oceans.  Join us on Humanity Evolve! Tuesday 1pm Pacific Time on VoiceAmerica

More Here!

Water Wise Dreams

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Empowerment
Water Wise Dreams

Cynthia Brian-contemplative chinese garden

By Cynthia Brian

“If something you are doing is not working,
doing more of it won’t work any better.”

Spring, summer, and fall have always been my most favorite seasons because I thrive in the sunshine, relish the warmth, and indulge my senses in the lavish, lush beauty of the landscapes of California. This year has been an exception to my predilection as my garden is straining to survive in this thirsty environment. As I was writing this column, the skies sprinkled droplets of rain and I was so excited I stood outside with my face to the darkened heavens blissfully grateful for this tiny bit of moisture. Water, our most valuable resource, is becoming increasing precious as our climate changes. The way we have been functioning in our gardens isn’t working any longer.
Hugel
I was privileged to be a speaker at the recent National Gardening Symposium held in the horticultural wonderland of Pasadena where the temperatures exceeded 100 degrees on a daily basis. It was hot, hotter, and hottest as the thermometer hit 107.  Although considered a Mediterranean climate, it felt more Saharan. Attendees hailed from all around the United States, Great Britain, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, as well as a few other countries with the most discussed topic being H20. Trees were at the top of the list of plantings that must be saved. The world is watching California as we struggle to find a path to water conservation.
waterwise cactus
On a behind-the-scenes tour of the Los Angeles County Arboretum, I learned about an age-old technique used in Eastern Europe called “hugelkultur”. Translated from German, it means “mound culture”, because the practice involves salvaging limbs, branches, and debris to make raised beds that will improve draining and grow gardens without irrigation or fertilization. The Arboretum team removed a large lawn from an area where they are now experimenting with various ways to save and harvest water by slowing it down, spreading it out, and filtering it.  Hugelkultur is something that many of us could embrace, especially with our compacted clay soil. For large properties with slopes or trees that have fallen or need to be cut down, hugelkultur could be a godsend. The process is simple to design a hugel.
1. Choose an area where you want a mound.
2. Gather logs, branches, twigs, other wood debris, and leaves to line the area. Don’t use wood from Black locust, walnut, or cedar because of toxicity. Rotted wood is great.
3. First lay the big logs, add a layer of branches, then twigs, then leaves, and grass clippings. Make the mound a minimum of three feet and best is seven feet or more. The mound will compact and shrink.
4. Water the layers.
5. Add kitchen scraps, compost, and mulch. Wood is high in carbon and could leach nitrogen from the soil. Compost is a necessary ingredient.
6. Add two inches of topsoil and more mulch.
7. Prepare your beds now in the fall so they will cure for a spring planting.
My hugelkultur trial will start soon as it is definitely more environmentally friendly to utilize the wood debris that I encounter in my gardening maintenance than putting it in the green bins. Plus, I love the look of rounded hills in landscapes.
fountain-palms
Another exciting discovery was a lawn seed that claims to “seldom or never need water  or fertilizer once established”. This seed is an all-natural product with 100% native and adaptive grasses, no genetically modified seed, and 99.9% weed free –a result of ten years of product research and testing. I have ordered it for my lawns and as soon as I know the results, I’ll be reporting it to you. Stay tuned.
agave-succulents
As we drive around our neighborhoods we notice that most lawns are brown and the surrounding landscapes look dull and dry. Maintaining a beautiful, productive, verdant garden is becoming more complicated as our water bills continue to escalate even though we are consuming less than in previous years. We can be water wise by implementing these steps:
1. Add organic material to your soil. Compost and mulch improve the water-holding capacity. Mulch cuts down on weeds, holds in moisture and maintains the temperature.
2. Use soaker hoses when possible as they are the most efficient irrigating system delivering water directly to the roots.
3. Prepare to collect rainwater. In Bermuda, all buildings have an underground cistern that collects rain from the limestone roofs. It may be time for Californians to start thinking about cisterns, or like the Aussies, install storage tanks in our crawl spaces. A 1,000 square foot roof will harvest 625 gallons of water from one inch of rain.
4. Before planting, study your garden. Know where the sun and shade are at all times of the day.
5. Group plants with similar needs together and choose drought tolerant species that are known to thrive in our environs.
6. Maintain, monitor, and weed. Be alert for pests.
Grow Bags
Instead of drowning in denial, it’s time to save our selves with water wise investments. I’ll be your guide on the side to dream with you.
Happy Gardening and Happy Growing.
succulent garden
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©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.
Tune into Cynthia’s Radio show at www.StarStyleRadio.net

mulch
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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