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Gratitude Garden

Leaves of thanks

"A person of power embraces challenges in complete gratitude. No matter the situation life may bring, discontent is never justified, rather all is experienced as an opportunity and a privilege to adventure and grow." James Ray

It’s raining! Hurray, hurray for the nourishing drops from heaven. I have always been a sunshine goddess, however, after a summer and autumn of extreme heat, I am so grateful for the sweet smell of the musky earth after a shower and the pile of fallen saffron hued leaves that transport me to my childhood days.

To feel gratitude after an angry Mother Earth has unleashed her fury on our planet for the past several months is heroic. My heart has been heavy with the multiple hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, fires, windstorms, as well as the horrific terrorist attacks and lone wolf concert massacre. Despite efforts to shake off the terror, a sense of loss and personal sadness permeates every pore. As I respond to readers and speak to strangers, a deficit of hope clouds the air. With catastrophe after catastrophe…politically generated, humanly engineered, or natural disaster…is there any wonder that confusion and division reigns?

Yet, what the world needs now is love, sweet love. As Jackie Deshannon so eloquently sang, “it’s the only thing that there’s too little of.” We can begin sharing the love by beginning to grow gratitude for what we have instead of wallowing in what we lack or what we’ve lost.

Enter the garden.

The garden is and always has been a safe place–a secret refuge from the concrete jungle. In the garden we can take a deep breath, delight in the perfume of the flowers, and relish the tactile experiences when touching smooth blades of grass, the fuzzy leaves of lambs ear, or digging our fingers into the dirt. We forget about time in the garden as we witness butterflies, bees, and bugs going about their pollination business while listening to the rustling of the leaves and the eloquent music of the songbirds. A garden creates community and hugs us with affection. We have the unique opportunity to cultivate and connect to our native roots…earth.

As we celebrate November, the month of being thankful, let us look to our garden sanctuaries with gratitude. In this month’s column, I offer you a collection of my favorite photos that commemorate the sass of the season. These images reflect the colorful cornucopia of happiness and tranquility on our journey through autumn. I hope you will feel energized and inspired by their beauty, originality, and simplicity.

Gardens are powerful teachers. They comfort and console. They evolve and advance with our loving care. When we collaborate with our surroundings, we sustain and increase our humanity and humility. The garden is with us always and the gifts it dispenses are unlimited.

May your Thanksgiving be a day filled with giving thanks and espousing love.

Cynthia Brian’s Mid Month Reminders

RAKE leaves to mix into your compost pile. Do not put them in the green bin unless they are diseased as leaf mould adds valuable nutrients back into the soil.

REFRAIN from raking an area completely clean as bare soil is not a natural state. Allow a small covering of leaves to slowly decompose where they fell. By clearing the soil completely, erosion and leaching are invited.

TRENCH plant your bulbs of muscari, tulips, and hyacinths to get the job done swiftly.

ADD healthy houseplants to your interior décor to clean the air, lower blood pressures, help with concentration, and reduce stress.

FORCE amaryllis, hyacinths, and paperwhites as thoughtful green holiday gifts.

SCATTER wild flower seeds for a surprise spring showing.

CHECK trees for stability before winter storms arrive. Call in a professional arborist to help you prune any unwanted or dangerous branches. Safety is of the utmost importance.

FERTILIZE your entire landscape. An especially auspicious time to throw fertilizer or pre-emergent is right before a rainfall for maximum absorption.

PICK the last of your grapes and use the colorful grape leaves in your autumn arrangements.

THROW snail and slug bait before the crawlers devour your precious plantings.

DIVIDE perennials such as daylilies, dahlias, and iris.

EXPLORE the diversity of our local hillsides with an invigorating Thanksgiving hike.

TAP into your inner child and roll in the fallen leaves. Make angel wings as if the leaves were snow. Remember how fun that was when you were just a kid!

ARRANGE dried grasses, mushrooms, acorns, magnolia cones, moss, and lichen covered branches for an elegant tabletop setting.

MEDITATE outside in the chilly autumn air and breathe in the aromas of the earth.

CLEAN, sharpen, and oil tools before putting away for the winter.

ADD a cornucopia of gratitude to your daily fruit basket.

Wishing you a blessed Thanksgiving with family and friends.

Happy Gardening. Happy Growing.

Cynthia Brian

Cynthia Brian, The Goddess Gardener, raised in the vineyards of Napa County, 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. Please make a donation to help with hurricane & fire disaster relief at

Tune into Cynthia’s Radio show and order her books at

My new book, Growing with the Goddess Gardener, is available at

Available for hire for any gardening project.


Passion, Purpose, & Possibility Producer

Empowerment Architect
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