From the time I was an imaginative child immersed in my experience of the world as a magical place, I have been attracted to mushrooms. My love of Alice in Wonderland, though I didn’t understand the references at that time, endeared me even more to the mystical mushroom. I love their taste and unusual textures, their mind-altering potential, the danger of their potency and the hidden mystery of the way they grow.
When I became a home owner 16 years ago, I was enthralled with the first mushrooms I found popping up in the late winter. As I was crawling around on the ground, weeding the yard for the first time, I unexpectedly came across a patch of mushrooms. As with everything that I saw for the first time in my new garden, I was excited, exhilarated and ran for the camera and my family to document it.
It felt like I had stumbled upon a secret fairy garden. This hidden world that is not usually visible to the human eye was revealing itself to me. I felt honored to be privy to this secret place, my heart opened and accepted the privilege, and the responsibility, of caring for their well being.
As the years have passed and the property has become richer in its effervescent life there have been more and more mushrooms popping up. I realized recently that I have seen a wonderful variety of mushrooms all around the yard. Sometimes they are large, and other times they are tiny, and usually in between.
Mushrooms are a wonderful indication of the health of the soil. Plants and trees rely on the reproductive function of fungi to enliven the soil they live in. There are even soil amendments that are made from composted mushrooms.
All of this is interesting and valuable for the avid gardener like myself. Ultimately, though, my infatuation is more of an emotional one than a practical one. I don’t trust my knowledge of mushrooms well enough to actually identify them and eat them from the garden or the wild.
As you can see here, they happily grow in composting wood chips. In a happy garden, though, anywhere is just fine. When they appear, I know that the garden is becoming more alive.
Each one is unique. Their beauty is out of this world.
How can I not run for the camera and then observe them in awe.
I don’t know their scientific names, but it doesn’t matter. They speak to me in other ways. Every time a mushroom reveals itself in my garden, I am fed deeply in a place inside that is touched,
by the truly wondrous world of nature.