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Choosing Good Traits

Debra Redalia

From the 1946 edition of Webster's Unabridged Dictionary at Luther Burbank Home and Gardens.


One of my favorite people in history is Luther Burbank, a horticulturist who invented developed more than 800 popular varieties of fruit and nut trees, flowers, and vegetables, many of which are still used today around the world.

I serendipitously happen to live within walking distance of the location of his Experimental Farm (a small piece of which is still maintained today) and the Luther Burbank Home and Gardens are in nearby Santa Rosa, California.

I have for some time been wanting to write a post comparing the work Luther Burbank did to create these new varieties in a natural way versus the industrial gene splicing used today and I thought I should go to the gift shop at the Luther Burbank Home and Gardens because they might have just the information I was looking for.

I’ve actually been trying to go to this gift shop for almost a year. The first time it was closed over the winter season. Then it happened to be closed that day. It was just one thing after another, but it was just clear to me I needed to go there. There was something there for me I needed to get.

So finally on Wednesday I we happened to be in Santa Rosa for other reasons and didn’t need to be anywhere else, so I said to Larry, “Let’s go to Luther Burbank Home & Gardens.” By now this had become something of a joke, because we had gone there so many times and the shop wasn’t open, but I called them and they were open, so we went.

It turned out that the best book about Luther Burbank’s life and work was already on my bookshelf: A Gardener Touched With Genius.

But then I learned that the purpose of my visit wasn’t to buy a book.

There was a volunteer there, a young man, who was very interested in my interest. And he went above-and-beyond to tell me something I had never would have thought to ask for. It was just one of those things that has to come into your life in response to your interest and intent.

It turned out they had an old dictionary in the Burbank house that included the work “burbank”—a verb that means “"to improve (anything) by selecting good features and rejecting bad,' which is just how Mr, Burbank created all the wonderful fruits and vegetables that are still popular varieties today.

And I had to acknowledge to myself that this is exactly what I am doing. Applying this life process that makes better anything by choosing what is good and makes better life, and rejecting that which does not.

I knew there was something I need to learn at Luther Burbank Home and Gardens.

Welcome to Lifely!

Quite simply, this blog is about orienting ourselves and our lives to Life, instead of orienting ourselves and our lives to industrial consumerism. Here we are sharing our own journey. You come too. Read more...

Debra & Larry Redalia
lifepartners + soulmates

For more than 30 years we have been delving into the nature and activities of life together. Indeed, this has been and continues to be the very reason we are together. With delight, we research, explore, observe, and even wake each other up in the middle of the night to discuss how life functions and how we can function as life—even while living in the modern world. We each are different from the norm, but we are different in the same way, so we have been able to think outside of the ordinary together and find the extraordinary workings of life.

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