Mushroom magic

Red Waxcaps (Hygrocybe coccinea) on green moss.

And the same Red Waxcaps in amongst this afternoon’s haul of Hedgehog Fungus, Amethyst Deceiver, and Tube Chanterelle. All from Les Landes de St Maudez. And collected without getting rained on – although it was sodden underfoot. Hedgehog fungus (Hydnum repandum) is called ‘Pied du mouton’ – Sheep’s foot – in French. A much better descriptive name I think.

Tube Chanterelles (Cantherellus tubaeformis) dried and jarred. Such abundance distilled down into just two small jars… which will now keep for years – or at least until next autumn when I can start picking again.

These will probably continue fruiting until after a couple of really hard frosts. That may mean into the New Year with luck.

Last flowers standing…

The rain has really taken its toll on the garden. Only plastic flowers could’ve coped with the constant wet. So, not much to show… However, these Acidanthera have finally flowered after three years of waiting.
Delicately, sweetly scented and so pretty! They’re in pots to protect them from the voles.

Salvia Armistad. I will be so pleased if this overwinters successfully. It took a good month of daily wilting and watering before it settled into the garden (but yes, this was in the super-hot July weather.) It has just not stopped flowering, and each time the sun comes out it’s a magnet for the bumble bees, looking for nectar from the dwindling stocks available.

A seedling Acer palmatum from Michel. The vivid red it’s taken on really zings out. Another plant that I hope makes it through till Spring – I’ve not been that lucky with the Acers that have come my way. They have to pretty bulletproof to make it here!

And writing this a little later. Finally frosts have done for the Acidanthera, the Acer looks less vibrant, but the Salvia Armistad looks as good as ever it did. (It’ll probably collapse tomorrow!)

I’ve belatedly lifted the Pélargoniums – kept hoping against hope that the weather would turn quickly back to, not quite summer, but not winter… Anyway it hasn’t. So I hope I’ve not left it too late and they’ll re-establish in pots and get through unscathed.

With no rain (almost) today, I did a fair amount of raking, scraping, weeding and hacking. And a big gathering up of walnut leaves. So much more of the same to do tomorrow, and tomorrow….

Mr Blue Sky, please tell us why…

You have to hide away for so long?

First time that the Sky has been so blue for what seems like ages. It was accompanied by some strong breeze so it felt like some good drying weather was happening. All undone now as I hear the rain pattering on the roof as I write. So here are some pictures of lovely things that don’t need the dry to still be beautiful!

Stuff harvested from the garden this week. Another post will describe how underwhelmed and just pure unhappy I have been with what I’ve managed to produce this year, but this isn’t it. So, tomatillos, Uchiki Kuri and Delicata squash and some strawberry (popcorn) maize.

A friend of Caroline’s had made this sugary confection for her birthday. A boiled sweet stained glass with licorice lead-work. She gave it to me, I ate a little but the rest decorated the garden for a while!

These last three were taken on the Presqu’île de Landrellec. After heavy rain it miraculously stayed dry for my walk across it and back, only to rain again as I got to the car.

More good stuff…

Well the rain continues – obviously not absolutely non-stop, but every day there have been some showers/drizzle/sustained pouring… There have been a couple of interludes where the sun has appeared albeit briefly, and the difference that burst of warmth and brightness makes to my mood is remarkable.
But everything is still sodden, squelchy and muddy. And the forecast is for more of the same but colder.
It now seems unlikely that I’ll get to see and photograph my much anticipated Clouded Yellow butterflies this year (although it was mid-November last year that they were in the garden, so I’m still hoping against hope…)

So, it’s great to have some lovely mushrooms – which don’t seem to have minded the weather.
Cantherellus tubaeformis – Tube Chanterelles – back again right on cue. Huelgoat Forest was completely carpeted with them. Every placement of every foot risked crushing some.
They are possibly my absolute favourite mushroom (alongside the Miller). They’re definitely one of the most fun to pick when they appear open such quantities that you can leave behind the tiddlers to grow on and concentrate on searching out the biggest.

So far they have been risottoed, cooked in butter as an accompaniment to roast veal, and today in a creamy sauce with pasta. I’ve also been distributing them amongst friends – I can’t eat them all quick enough! I’ve never really seen the point of frozen mushrooms, and drying them in the kind of weather we’ve got now is hardly an option!


Quick, find something else to keep positive…

So here I am scrabbling through photos to find lovely pictures of things that haven’t been affected by rain! And obviously I’ve come up with rocks. Seeing as I know next to nothing about geology, this is hardly going to be an informative post. Some of these rocks have lichens on them and some of them are (somehow) growing seaweed on them. They are all beautiful. (or at least interesting). And none of them are rotting, squelching, sodden or soaked.