Damp autumn days herald the arrival of fungi in the garden
Apart from a few gardeners who grow edible mushrooms in a box, fungi don’t get much of a look-in in gardening circles. There aren’t any ‘toadstool gardens’ to go and visit; I can’t recall them featuring in a Chelsea garden, and people don’t tend to nurture them as they might birds or butterflies.
And yet fungi are an integral part of everyone’s garden, and something we all notice and comment on whenever their troupes of little caps appear. They seem to spring up as if by magic, often overnight, responding to autumn’s damp stimulusand bursting out from rotting logs, pilesof straw and even lawns.
I’m not claiming that they’re lovable, but there’s certainly something fascinating albeit mysterious about them. The world of toadstools is the realm of hobgoblins and fairies, of poisons and potions. Their names match this image, for they include puffballs and earthstars, elfcupsand stinkhorns, while at their most sinister there are witches’ butter, dead man’s fingers, the destroying angel and the deathcap.
By Adrian Thomas