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Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Within Our Reach

Paracelsus once said, “All things are poisons, for there is nothing without poisonous qualities. It is only the dose which makes a thing poison.” But do you know what is toxic in your own garden or backyard? Would you comprehend what to do should a small child or a pet digest a mushroom or something poisonous? That is besides the obvious, which would be the emergency room. While most, if not all of us could use a smartphone and gain instant access to a wealth of information, wouldn’t there be a level of panic that might set in, especially if you had to weed through what is accurate and what is bogus? And with organic and natural products flooding the market, it’s helpful to know what can be harmful in large quantities.

While I am still chipping away at a recent book from Timber Press, ‘The North American Guide to Common Poisonous Plants and Mushrooms’ by authors Nancy J. Turner and Patrick von Aderkas, there is a primary reason to keep your personal library shelves stocked with this informative read. Having an in-depth reference guide to peruse and become familiar with at your leisure is a more settling alternative than diving into the black hole of information, especially when an emergency occurs and the mindset is panic. This book comes in handy as an educational homeowner’s reference.

The authors point out how much is actually poisonous; there are harmful plants and mushrooms in so many benign locations. Being informed and educated is a huge part of the equation, especially as small children and pets naturally explore and can potentially ingest something harmful. Rather than be fearful and stifle any exploration, you are equipped to teach or prevent them from what is equivalent to a hot oven or stove. This is also a great reference book for anyone who works in the green industry as there are tidbits in here that most of us generalists may not know but should.

While this book is clearly a reference guide, it is worthy of anyone’s read. It does require digging into the botany and mystique of the plant world. And while so many people are delving into the natural and organic, it is best to know first-hand what is healthy and what is marketing. And for anyone who wants to test the waters of mycology, everything in small doses and never eat anything that an expert mycologist hasn’t approved.  

Image by Ann Bilowz ©  

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© 2009 Ann St. Jean-Bilowz/Bilowz Associates Inc. (including all photographs, unless otherwise noted in Annie's Gardening Corner are the property of Bilowz Associates Inc. and shall not be reproduced in any manner nor are they to be assigned to any third party without the expressed written permission and consent of Bilowz Associates Inc.)