Gaelic Garden

By Cynthia Brian

“May the road rise up to meet you, may the wind be ever at your back. May the sun shine warm upon your face, and the rain fall softly on your fields. “-Irish Blessings

Although I don’t have an ounce of Irish in me, every March I get excited to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. Besides the fact that the beloved rebirth of nature is officially only days away, my adoration of the Emerald Isle is deep rooted. My good fortune as a child was to be taught for eight full years by dedicated, intelligent Irish nuns, and to be mentored by Irish priests who had my best interests at heart. I danced throughout California in an Irish dance troop and one of my best friends in the world is my Irish pen pal whom I met through letters crossing the Atlantic at the age of eight. My Irish first grade teacher and I are still in constant correspondence. She always told me she kept a leprechaun in her pocket just in case she needed a trick or two. Fortunately I’ve been blessed to spend many weeks with these friends in their very green country where I’ve been officially christened an “honorary Irish woman”.

With the propensity of rain that we’ve enjoyed this past winter, our countryside is looking very much like the verdant island. As I look at the cattle grazing on the hill, I am reminded of my friend’s dairy farm in Limerick where the rich milk goes to produce Bailey’s Irish Cream. I milked those cows when I visited and was rewarded by a shower of hot manure on my hair. That was many years ago, but I’ll never forget the smell…and the laughter.

Since that time, I have always grown shamrocks, which here in America, we call oxalis a noxious weed. Nevertheless, I have a major fondness for the bright yellow or pink flowers of these shamrocks as I seek the rare four- leaf clover pattern. For each petal on the shamrock a wish of good health, good luck, and eternal happiness are bestowed. I’ll take all of the blessings and positive thoughts offered! If you are not a fan of shamrocks, plant baby tears in a shaded garden. They, too, are reminiscent of the Celtic spirit.

The good news is that spring is coming and with it an abundance of flowers and beauty. All you have to do is look around to witness the beautiful blossoms on pear and peach trees. My plums have already finished blooming and are leafing out. Rose bushes are budding. My calla lilies, daffodils, crocosimias, hyacinths, and tulips are abloom, spreading their joy and fragrance throughout the landscape.

It’s time to pull the weeds, prepare the soil, and get ready for a wonderful season of seeding and sowing.

May the luck of the Irish be with you!

Cynthia Brian’s Garden Guide for March

CUT budding branches from fruit trees to place in a vase to watch the petals open. Add a few drops of bleach to the water to prolong the blooms. A few sprigs of narcissus provide perfume to an entire room.

USE baby tears as a ground cover in shaded areas as a pretty green carpet.

CUT calla lilies to be used indoors in a vase. They will last two or more weeks as long as you replace the water regularly and add a drop of bleach or lemon juice to the water.

INVITE the wood nymphs, faeries, and leprechauns into your garden to help you with your chores by providing hiding places for these wee ones.

CLEANSE your indoor air with a container of peace lilies, also known as the sail plant.

FORAGE for wild greens including Miner’s lettuce, mustard, creek watercress, and wild strawberries. The young leaves are delicious in salads.

PULL weeds as soon as the rains terminate. Leave weeds on hillsides to prevent erosion until the end of next month.

PREPARE your soil for next month’s planting by mixing your compost into the topsoil. Don’t roto-till unless you are creating a new garden bed as you don’t want to disturb the existing ecosystem that surely contains many worms.

FERTILIZE lawns, trees, and annuals with a high-nitrogen organic fertilizer. It’s best to fertilize your lawns when you know it’s going to rain to assure a deep feeding. The winter rains have definitely stripped our soil of nutrients making it necessary to boost the nutrition now. Remember to mow without the bag as the lawn cuttings are rich in nourishment for the grass.

TIME to re-seed or sod lawns. My preferred grass seeds are purchased from Pearl’s Premium. http://www.PearlsPremium.com . I also really like mixing in clover as it is self-fertilizing and always green. You do have to like having tiny white or pink flowers in your grass.

NET areas where you are seeding, both in gardens or grasss. The birds will be voracious eaters if you don’t protect your seedlings.

WEAR green on March 17th  and pin a clover on your collar or the banshees will be coming for you.

BUY packets of seeds for vegetables, vines, herbs, and flowers from companies you trust. Look for heirloom varieties and non-GMO. There are many companies to choose from including Renee’s Garden, Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds, Plant Delights Nursery, White Flower Farm, Select Seeds, and many others.

CONTINUE to collect fallen camellias until the end of the blooming season. Do not let the dying or dead flowers remain on the ground or you’ll jeopardize the mother plant.

PRE-ORDER my forthcoming garden book, Growing with the Goddess Gardener, Book I in the Garden Shorts Series. All pre-orders will receive extra goodies such as heirloom seeds, bookmarks, and more. Email me for details, Cynthia@GoddessGardener.com. 25% of the proceeds benefit the 501c3 Be the Star You Are!® charity.

RELEASE your perfection attitude in the garden. Take your cues from the chaos that is nature. Let it go and let it grow!

SING a lullaby, dream of castles, kiss the Blarney Stone, and celebrate the vernal equinox with an Irish jig.

CONGRATULATIONS to Andy and Wendy Scheck for ten years of stellar publishing of the Lamorinda Weekly. I am honored and grateful to be a part of this elite writing team. Our community is better because of this newspaper.  Thank you!

 

Happy Gardening and Happy Growing! Erin Go Bragh!

READ more: https://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue1101/March-Gardening-Guide-Go-Gaelic-green-in-the-garden.html

©2017

Cynthia Brian, The Goddess Gardener, 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 Are1® 501 c3.

Tune into Cynthia’s Radio show at http://www.StarStyleRadio.net

Available for hire for any project.

Cynthia@GoddessGardener.com

http://www.GoddessGardener.com

925-377-STAR

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TWITTER: Wet and Wild!: “The best thing one can do when it’s raining is to just let it rain.” Henry Wadsworth.  http://wp.me/p16rDH-1bf

2/22/17

GG 3-17

Cynthia Brian’s Gardening Guide for March

Wet and Wild

By Cynthia Brian

“The best thing one can do when it’s raining is to just let it rain.” Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Rain, rain, and more rain! With the many years of drought experienced in California, how grateful we are for the lucky tears falling from the sky. However, as much as we prayed for rain, the non-stop abundance has been more than our parched soils can accommodate resulting in flooding, landslides, and toppling trees.

We all need to assess our landscapes with an eye towards potential lurking troubles.

Drains clogged with mud will cause flooding as I discovered on my patio. I dug out five gallons of mud from two drains located on the edge of my lawn and brick.  The good news was the mud was filled with worms, which I relocated to other parts of my garden. Make sure your French drains, sump pumps, and downspouts are clean and functional.  If you don’t have downspouts, a pretty and useful alternative is to install rain chains. Rain chains hang from the gutters allowing the water to trickle down the chain into a garden bed as opposed to just gushing from the gutter. The gentle tinkling sound is soothing and meditative.

The few days of sunshine we enjoyed have been a welcome respite helping us get repairs accomplished as well as finishing the final pruning of bushes and trees.  As I cut the canes from my rose bushes, I experimented with planting many of my favorites in other parts of my garden, dipping the ends in a rooting solution first.  I’ve done the same with my grapevines, pruning last year’s wood back to the second bud, then sticking a few of the cut canes into the soil along a wire fence.

Daffodils and narcissci are peeking their pretty heads as they awake from their winter slumber.  What a marvel it is to see the sea of yellow on roadways, hillsides, and walking paths! Last month my home was filled with bouquets of fragrant roses. This month the sunny blooms of a variety of daffodils brighten my interiors. My Italian peach tree is budding with the expectation of an explosion of pink and crimson by St. Patrick’s Day. The croaks of the emerging frogs in the early evening remind me that the vernal equinox is rapidly approaching.  With excitement, I am beginning my preparations for a wildly opulent spring.

 

EXERCISE your body, mind, and soul by pulling weeds on your flat land. I suggest allowing the weeds to remain on any banks or hillsides to help protect against erosion as rains are anticipated throughout the month. A recent Netherlands study discovered that thirty minutes of gardening reduces the stress hormone cortisol. Dig in.

SAVE money by planting vegetables and herbs that your family consumes regularly. What are your favorites? Broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, potatoes, beets, carrots, and greens can all be planted now.

PREPARE new planting areas with enriched soils mixed with the compost you’ve been making. You do have a compost pile, don’t you? It’s never too late to start one.

GROW flowers in a cutting garden that will both attract pollinators and be used for new weekly flower arrangements to brighten your indoor experience.  Coreopsis, Phlox, Salvia, Agastache, and Echinacea are always charmers.

FEED lawns this month with a high –nitrogen organic fertilizer as the winter rains have depleted the nutrients.  Pull the weeds and eat the dandelions as long as you have not used a toxic spray on them.

BORDER your Rhododendrons and Heather with purple or while Alyssum as a pretty perennial edging.

INSPECT oak trees for oak moth larvae. If you see attractive black and yellow caterpillars crawling on the bark, call an arborist or tree professional for an inspection.

ENHANCE your landscape with the attractive Oregon Grape as a deer resistant choice.

CREATE a bold foundation garden of shade plants with Lady Ferns, Bleeding Hearts, Hostas, and Coral Bells.

FRESHEN your indoor spaces with Crotons, Snake Plants, or Peace Lilies.

ADD rain chains to your gutters in lieu of downspouts. Not only are they practical, many are artfully designed to beautify your architecture specifically in areas where downspouts would be an eyesore.

  • CHOOSE bulbs for your summer pleasure including Begonia, Dahlia, Gladiolus, Watsonia, and Calla Lily. Selections are available at your nursery and garden center.

EMBRACE a variety of grasses for your lawn to make it more drought and traffic tolerant.  Clover is not only pretty in a lawn but it automatically fertilizes the soil with nitrogen by grabbing it from the air.

IMITATE Mother Nature’s posture of chaos by losing a “perfection” approach to gardening.  Strive for biological beauty.  “Flower” equals “flow”.

CULTIVATE an attitude of gratitude to grow in grace.

BE on the alert again this month for woodpeckers storing their acorns in holes they punch in your wooden walls.

GO native by adding Sage, Penstemon, Gazania, Red Hot Poker, and Columbine to your yard.

STAY warm and dry while it’s wet and wild! We appreciate the plentiful precipitation after years of drought drudgery.

EMAIL me for your spring consultation tune-up.

Let it rain! Let it rain! Let it rain!

Happy Gardening and Happy Growing!

©2017

Cynthia Brian, The Goddess Gardener, 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 Are1® 501 c3.

Tune into Cynthia’s Radio show at http://www.StarStyleRadio.net

Available for hire for any project.

Cynthia@GoddessGardener.com

http://www.GoddessGardener.com

925-377-STAR

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About thestarlady

TV/Radio Personality, Writer, Speaker, Spokesperson,Success Coach, New York Times best selling Author, Philanthropist,Gardener,Champion Chicken Raiser. Available to coach you in media, acting, writing, presentations, and life challenges. For companies, businesses, and corporations, hire me as your spokesperson with energy, enthusiasm, passion and integrity for all media and events. SMILE!
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