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Gather in the Garden

Posted by Felix Assivo on
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Empowerment
Gather in the Garden

Overview of party.jpeg

“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
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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.

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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. 

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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
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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

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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

Posted by Editor on
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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
Read More

©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.

For the Birds!

Posted by Editor on
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Empowerment
For the Birds!

Australian kookaburra bird

“I value my garden more for being full of blackbirds than of cherries, and very frankly give them fruit for their songs.” Joseph Addison, essayist and poet (1672-1719)
birdhouses - 6
Are you attracting birds to your backyard? In the past few months, I have received numerous emails and calls from readers literally around the world asking questions about our flying friends. Many people have indicated that the bird population has increased in their landscaping, with some gardeners enjoying first time visitors.
Robins, sparrows, hummingbirds, crows, red tailed hawks, quail, mourning doves, jays, owls, chickadees, wrens, bushtits, mockingbirds, thrashers, robins, yellow warblers, finches, larks, wrens, orioles, blackbirds, tanagers, and many other species are calling Lamorinda home.
cyn-parrot-florida.jpg – Version 2
This past week I adopted a one winged cockatiel named Spunky. He and I immediately bonded as he spawned the impetus to write about the benefits of birds.  Although I’m a novice at identifying many of these wonderful creatures, birds have always fascinated and entertained me as I’ve watched quail with their newly hatched covey convening on my lawn, or the robins annually lay eggs in the wreath on my back door. This year the airspace around my home is particularly jammed with crows cawing. I thought I was experiencing a remake of “The Birds” recently when a convention of turkey vultures and crows assembled on my rooftop. I snapped a photo of two before jumping into my car for safety as twenty other buzzards landed.
buzzards on rooftop - birds-vultures
How long have birds been on the planet? In 1859 Bavaria fossils were found dating to 140 million years ago that suggested that modern birds evolved from a feathered ancestor, Archaeopteryx, similar to a dinosaur. The size of a crow, Archaeopteryx is the probable ancestor of over 9,000 species of birds.
Bartlett Mountains-Nov. - 09
The appeal of birds in our backyards is numerous. While watching their antics and enjoying their beautiful plumage as well as their melodious song is intriguing, the grand dividend for gardeners is their free assistance as garden helpers. Birds are constantly turning over leaves, scratching in mulch, or flitting from bush to tree finding their meal of insects we never see. Birds such as flycatchers and swallows decimate flying pests. Seed-eating birds will glean 95% of the weed seed that grows every season.  When we welcome birds to our backyards, we are creating a home landscape that will naturally ward off diseases and pests. Bacteria and spores struggle to survive as our gardens become more organic creating a natural balance between pests and plants.
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Here are ways to maintain flocks flying as your personal aerial garden rescue crew.
1. WATER: A water feature is a magnet for birds, especially in the hot summer months when water is scarce. Add birdbaths, ponds, and fountains for them to bathe, drink, and even forage. Birds can hear the sound of running water from great distances.
2. SHELTER: Birds need to be protected from the whims of Mother Nature. Many birds love brush piles that offer cover. They search for nest building areas and will find your birdhouses, especially those placed in sites that mimic natural surroundings. Some birds, like wrens, will reside nightly in a birdhouse to keep warm and safe. Install roosting boxes and shelves.  If you already have birdhouse, keep them clean. As Miguel de Cervantes wrote “Never look for this year’s birds in last year’s nests.”
3. FOOD: Birdfeeders offer a birds-eye view of their acrobatic displays. Plus, supplementing their meals could be the difference between life and death. Include seed, suet, fruit, nuts, and nectar for the hummingbirds. In the winter, make sure to continue feeding. If you plan to stop feeding your birds, slowly wean them so as not to cut off their food supply.
4. PLANTS: Plant evergreens, vines, shrubs, annuals, and perennials. Birds especially enjoy fruit bearing trees like peach, plum, apricot, and elderberry as well as seed bearing plants like Blackeyed Susan, cosmos, and sunflowers. Hummingbirds are attracted to red, deep-throated flowers with nectar. Include scarlet trumpet vine in your yard. Native species including mustard, wild pea, poppy, shooting star, milkweed, larkspur, lupine, columbine, anemone, bleeding heart, and verbena will draw hummingbirds, butterflies, and seed and insect eating birds to your backyard.
Birdbath-zinnias
Take care of your birds and they will take care of your garden. Life is for the birds!

Cynthia Brian’s Mid Month Garden Tips
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GRILL your fresh-picked eggplant, corn, watermelon, and peppers on the barbecue. Brush with olive oil and garlic, sprinkle with salt and sage or cilantro.
PICK pears and Asian pears. Slice up into salads or eat then fresh off the tree.
DIVIDE bearded iris. When iris rhizomes are crowded, they will not bloom. Use a sharp shovel to slice through the rhizomes, then re-plant in other areas or share with friends. Even small pieces will grow into plants.
SUCCESSION plant arugula, lettuce, carrots, beans, and beets for crops that will continue to feed you through fall.
ENJOY the birds. They are favorite friends of our landscapes providing entertainment, pest control, and nature nurture.

Happy Gardening and Happy Growing!
marigolds
• Read more with photos
• Read August Garden Guide

©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.

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.

Blue Zones, Diane Von Furstenberg, Gift of Affection

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Blue Zones, Diane Von Furstenberg, Gift of Affection

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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.
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What do you need to do to live to 100? Heather Brittany visits regions of the world where people routinely live to be centenarians. Is the food, water, lifestyle? Find out how to lengthen your lifespan.
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DIANE VON FURSTENBERG: A LIFE UNWRAPPED is a captivating portrait that does what no memoir can, offering a comprehensive view of the designer’s life and putting it into perspective as never before. Seasoned biographer Gioia Diliberto takes full measure of Diane’s past and present, revealing original details and untold stories, and drawing on scores of interviews th
family, friends, colleagues, employees, lovers, and the legendary designer herself—who shared information she’d never told anyone, “not even my children.”
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Affection is kinship with another, an emotional bond, a true fondness from the heart. Humans are programmed to give affection, but don’t know how to receive it. Cynthia Brian reads The Gift of Affection from Be the Star You Are!® 99 Gifts for Living, Loving, Laughing, and Learning to Make a Difference with tips on how to bring more love into your life.

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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.
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