Garden Clippings for Sept 8, 2018
Why would Iris have a carrot in her garden? The upside-down carrot poked its head out of Iris’s patch of Ajuga groundcover. It was bright orange, almost red, about 6 or 7 inches long with a black, slimy tip.
Iris was not a vegetable gardener and it made no sense for a carrot to be growing out of the Ajuga. Iris would not have tossed the carrot into the garden. I concluded it must have been one of the neighbours that tossed the carrot over the fence.
I bent over to grab the carrot and tossed it into the wheelbarrow. It was hollow, broke easily and the black sticky goo stuck to my fingers. I instantly dropped the fungus and said, “Holy crap, it’s a mushroom!”
Katie and Mike who were working with me immediately responded with “And it stinks horrible!”
Mike eventually grabbed a long-handled shovel and buried the fungus in the far corner of the yard. After two hand washings, the putrid smell resembling old rotten flesh subsided and life went back to normal. I suggested to Iris that she do an internet search to see how easy it was to find a name for the weird fungus.
Sure enough, an article written by UBC Botanical Garden revealed that the fungus was called ‘Mutinus Elegans’, commonly called Elegant Stinkhorn.
Even more rare is a fungus called ‘Phallus Impudicus’, a term that translates to Shamelessly Phallic. A year ago, I was pulling weeds out of the big garden on the south side of the house, when I spotted three odd looking mushrooms, tan coloured with a sticky purplish head, each about 6 or 7 inches long and an inch or so in diameter.
I was surprised that nobody heard my laughter because the three mushrooms were perfect replicas of a certain male body part. I snapped a photo of the largest but decided not to broadcast it on Facebook or other media, for fear that I might get tossed into jail.
Odd looking mushrooms and fungi are probably more common than we realize. They are more often found deep in the forest rather than in our tidy backyards.
Dog vomit slime mold (Fuligo septica) technically not a fungus, is a rather common patch of yellow mold growing on wood mulch. It appears overnight in bright yellow, and by later in the evening it will have lost most of its colour. In a day or two it virtually dries up and disintegrates. The first time I say Dog Vomit Slime Mold, and after only seeing it from the kitchen window, I asked the kids why they left the yellow Frisbee in the garden.
Fungi and Mushrooms are short lived. They usually appear overnight and are often gone in a few days. At the base of the mushroom there is usually some rotting stumps, old roots or wood chips. Mostly, mushrooms grow in shade where there is plenty moisture.
There is no remedy for fungus growing in the garden. if you have an automatic sprinkling system that waters the garden religiously, consider dialing back the timer so it only waters once a week. An application of granular lime may provide control because the ph adjustment will make the soil less favorable for growing mushrooms.
Under no circumstances should you eat mushrooms of an unknown variety. But have no fear, you won’t be tempted to eat either the Phallic or the Stinkhorn Mushroom because both have a most horrible smell.