Monday, August 30, 2010

Form and Fungi

Since most mushrooms appear when cooler fall weather begins, they are a welcome sign here at My Garden Path.  Moist, cool conditions with high humidity are what helps these fungi to flourish.  When mushrooms pop up in  a lawn or garden it is a sign that there is plenty of fertile soil. 

Most are beneficial, helping to break down organic matter and release important nutrients in the soil.  Admittedly, they don't make a lawn particularly pretty.  Removing them by hand and keeping them mowed down while disposing of any debris that may contain any part of the fungi will eventually lead to their control if not complete elimination.  Do not put lawn clippings containing spore in the compost pile if you wish to keep them out of your garden. 

The different forms available for viewing here at My Garden Path are quite varied and interesting.  Some people differentiate between "mushrooms" and "toadstools" with the former being edible and the latter being toxic.  Distinctions are not  that easy.  Please do not eat any fungi without complete knowledge that the one you are eating is truly an edible variety.  Please be careful to watch children playing in an area that has these fungi growing.

Mushrooms have had many uses throughout history.  As food they provide dietary fiber, protein and some vitamins and minerals such as niacin, biotin, selenium and potassium.  Dyes can be made from them to use on natural fiber textiles.  Those fungi with psychdelic properties have been used in rituals by cultures around the world.  Medical science is researching properties in certain mushrooms such as the cholesterol lowering qualities of the oyster mushroom. 

Here, in this garden, we are observing only.  No eating, dying, ritualizing, or medical treatments will be done with the mushrooms growing here.  They can be quite interesting to observe from the time they first pop up, through all the changes in form that occur, until they disintegrate and return to the soil.   

Such lovely forms they take.  Some stand in solitude.  Others form small colonies.  Different shapes and colors abound. 

If mushrooms are spoiling the look of your lawn or garden, remove them carefully being sure to dispose of them in the trash.  Do not compost them.  But, if the mushrooms in your garden are not in a spot that detracts from its beauty, why not enjoy them?  They will be a short-lived addition to your plantings and could be enriching your soil with the recycling of organic carbon. 


  1. Good morning Kay,
    It happens every year about this time spurred on by the rains I suppose. I also leave mine to nature not worried too much about their take-over. I do love to see their many and varied forms, sizes, and colors. Especially once magnified by the camera lens. You can see detail not easily noticed while so close to the ground.

    Very interesting information you provided. Thank you for a fun post.
    Have a great day.

  2. I've had some of these same visitors around our gardens. They are neat, and I try to take pictures before they disappear. You got some great shots.


  3. Yep, we're seeing these pop up all over the neighborhood right now. That bright white, pleated mushroom popped up in the backyard the other day, and I thought it was so pretty, I ran in to get the camera.

  4. I also often see these mushrooms in my garden after the rain and in a shaded area. Some of them are real beautiful. Your got some great shots there!

  5. We've got lots of shrooms around here, too. Some as large as salad plates. Lots of large fairy circles of them, so we know the fairies have been partying in our yard this past week. It is amazing how many different shapes and sizes they come in. I like them when they pop up, but I definitely would not eat them! Hasn't the rain been great?

  6. Hi, Kay! I will echo the voice of everyone else...shrooms are all over my yard, which, as you pointed out, is a good sign of a fertile landscape. Mine do get mowed down, but I am in hopes that their nutrients get reabsorbed (my mower is a mulcher). I like them, except the gooey looking ones...those gross me out...and the stinky ones I had last spring...ick!

  7. Meems - I just had a lot of fun taking the pictures. There were so many different types of mushrooms out there I was amazed.

    FlowerLady - I'm glad you think these fungi are neat. That means I'm not the only one.

    Floridagirl - Yay! Someone else who says "pretty" and "mushroom" in the same sentence.

    Ami - I think the shade and high moisture level in my garden provides the perfect environment for these fungi to proliferate. Glad to have another fungi fan:)

    Susan - I like the image of fairies partying in the garden. I think you are absolutely right.

    Kimberly - I'm sure we're both getting lots of good nutrition put back into our soil with these mushrooms. I have to agree about the stinkhorns though, and I do have those as well from time to time.


Thank you for travelling down My Garden Path with me. I love hearing from you. Please leave a comment and share what is going on in your gardens.