My favourite fungus is abundant at the moment. Even in places where I’ve not found it before. In fact masses of different fungi all seem to have decided that the conditions are just right for fruiting.
The Miller (Clitopilus prunulus)
I don’t generally share my Millers. As I’ve said, they could be a bit problematic for a novice to identify and I wouldn’t blame anyone for not wanting to take a risk on eating something that they weren’t comfortable with – I certainly wouldn’t! More people are happy to take a Cep or two. And I’ve been distributing my finds these past few days. I can’t eat them all and still have loads dried from last year. I couldn’t risk leaving them in the field as the hunting season has just begun and the last thing I want is for some hungry hunter to stumble upon my secret places and help themselves and potentially keep coming back for more!
Cep/Penny Bun (Boletus edulis) and Horse mushroom (Agaricus arvensis)
This beautiful and very tasty mushroom had me a bit confused for a while. I am nothing near an expert – nor even a particularly knowledgeable amateur. But there are a fair few fungi that I confidently identify and eat.
This one I picked on the cliffs at the beach. “It’s an Agaric” I said. “Not a Yellow Stainer”. (No yellowing)
When I cut into it and it immediately turned quite a bright red I was a bit thrown. Oops. Maybe that’s not going to be eaten tonight. I turned straight to Roger Phillips and a vague memory of reading about such mushrooms….Agaricus bernardii. Coastal, salt air, reddening on cutting….and very good eating!
There are huge quantities of pristine, newly emerged Peacock butterflies everywhere. I can easily count at least 30 each time I wander out into the garden the moment the sun comes out after yet another downpour. But I was happy to see the Sedum flowers being shared with the Red Admiral and the Comma.
And here’s a toad. Looking like it’s made of plastic, but it really isn’t. It was clambering around under the gooseberries. I love the bright orange of its eye.
And a bit more mushroom. I don’t eat Parasols (Macrolepiota procera) anymore. For no reason other than I find others that I prefer in such abundance that I just tend to bypass them. I still always enjoy coming across them. And this one was so huge that I couldn’t not pick it. Look at the Cobnut next to it for scale!
….I hope not. For the last few years September has been synonymous with glorious weather, empty beaches and lazy days under the parasol. This year feels a bit different.
Torrential rain yesterday – which on one hand will be welcome for swelling the many shelling beans that I’ve sown. But which has battered and flattened the Dahlias, Gladiolus and Sunflowers. And now it’s very cloudy and muggy.
The pathetic crop of apples remaining after that disastrous Spring freeze have started to fall. So early that it didn’t occur to me that they might be ready. Not ripe, but ready. I checked today and will finish picking them tomorrow. It won’t take long as I’ve already got ten and there can’t be many more than thirty on the whole tree! The pears are hanging on though – undoubtedly the best crop of ‘Conference’ that I’ve had so far.
Blight finally got the tomatoes in the ‘polytunnel”. Luckily, with regular checking/removing of any affected leaves or fruits, I’m managing so far to stay ahead of it. The tomatoes are tasty and prolific. Too many yellow, cherry tomato plants (don’t even remember sowing those!) But the rest are very good. ‘Indigo Rose’, ‘Caro Rich’, ‘Evergreen’, ‘Join or Die’ (renamed Belle du College apparently?)
The late sowings of Pak Choi, ‘Red Russian’ kale, ‘Green Brigade’ rocket, ‘Red Streaks’ mizuna and ‘Leisure’ coriander have all germinated well. I’m still waiting to see what the ‘Medania’ spinach will do.
But the garden as a whole is looking a bit tired out to me. Lots of things that should be peaking now have almost finished already – due to the heat and dryness earlier I suppose. The Asters are about to start, but will be nearly on their own. The Buddleias are almost over, a few straggly flowers on a couple of them to keep the Peacocks and Red Admirals coming…
Indigo Rose, Gardener’s Delight, Join or Die, Caro Rich, Evergreen…and others, names forgotten until I go back into my seed notebook.