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Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Communing with Nature

INQUIRY - a seeking or request for truth, information, or knowledge; study, scrutiny, exploration. [Inquiry week begins here. Click for this week's Bliss Initiatives.]

Blogging about my Daily Living Inquiry today. As I mentioned earlier in the week I am going to find out what is growing in my yard. First because I think it is a good idea to know these sort of things. My mom is a very good gardener and always made a point of knowing the common and scientific names for everything in her garden. I grew up knowing the names of most things that grew around me. Since moving to California, I've thought it would be a good idea to get a book and learn about the local plants but so far I haven't gotten around to it! I have finally been spurred into action.

It all started with this beauty interrupting my serenity last week. Oleander growing wildly well in my yard. Pretty and potentially deadly. The previous owners of our house had a two year old as well so I did not concern myself with the plants in our yard. These people who had put safety locks in every drawer, surely they wouldn't have hazardous plants in the yard. Ha! Perhaps their daughter wasn't as prone to eating non food items or they were just better at keeping an eye on her but my girl is just too wily for me to leave it to chance, it is time I found out what is growing around us!

I'll begin with a few of the easy ones... roses of many varieties and sizes are along the property's perimeter. I am not going to research them further. I am sure they all have their own name and special traits, beyond color and size, but I've never really been much of a rose gal so I'm content with knowing no more about them.


Impatiens are not poisonous. I grew them in my garden back east but they certainly would not still be in bloom in November! Beautiful California!!  Hydrangeas (Photo compliments of Jessie Sprinkle) one in a fabulous burgundy color, the other white, turning pink. Both are toxic only if large quantities are eaten.


Lemon tree. At least I think it is a lemon tree. Some speculation at my last play date lunch was that it might be a lime but now that one is turning yellow, I'm going with lemon. What variety? No idea. Thankfully we can watch, wait and taste our way to figuring this out!

Japanese Maple complete with unoccupied nest. This plant is potentially toxic to other plants but is not known for being dangerous to humans. We will not be making a salad of its leaves in any case.

So these are the meager few I can identify so far. I've photographed about two dozen other plants and will be bringing my camera to my local nursery for quick identification. I tried searching on line but it became quickly clear that I know too little to even get close to comparing my particular plants with the 19,000 possible Northern California species the USDA has photographed and cataloged. The local nursery that provides me with the best information will win my business! I do, after all, need to fill a space where a large poisonous bush once stood.

Next Post: Halfway through my virtues!

My 13 bliss virtues: joy, order, creativity, passion, whimsy, serenity, inquiry, community, romance, gratitude, moxie, humility, surprise
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Ben Franklin's 13 Virtues

  • 1. TEMPERANCE - Eat not to dullness; drink not to elevation.
  • 2. SILENCE - Speak not what may benefit others or yourself; avoid trifling conversation.
  • 3. ORDER - Let all your things have their places; let each part of your business have its time.
  • 4. RESOLUTION - Resolve to perform what you ought; perform without fail what you resolve.
  • 5. FRUGALITY - Make no expense but to do good to others or yourself; i.e. waste nothing.
  • 6. INDUSTRY - Lose no time; be always employ'd in something useful; cut off all unnecessary actions.
  • 7. SINCERITY - Use no hurtful deceit; think innocently and justly, and if you speak, speak accordingly.
  • 8. JUSTICE - Wrong none by doing injuries, or omitting the benefits that are your duty.
  • 9. MODERATION - Avoid extreams; forbear resenting injuries so much as you think they deserve.
  • 10. CLEANLINESS - Tolerate no uncleanliness in body, cloaths or habitation.
  • 11. TRANQUILITY - Be not disturbed at trifles, or at accidents common or unavoidable.
  • 12. CHASTITY - Rarely use venery but for health or offspring, never to dullness, weakness, or to the injury of your own or another's peace or reputation.
  • 13. HUMILITY - Imitate Jesus and Socrates.


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