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Fungal lifeforms


We don't purposely cultivate mushrooms and other fungi in our garden - but I'm always intrigued to see them, and on this page will share them with you (I'm so generous, don't you think?)


Photos in this section are for fungal life forms I encountered in our first garden, in Pennsylvania's Lehigh Valley. The ones we managed to grow in Texas are further down this page.

Behold the comely stinkhorn! The arborvitae in the background are my neighbor's. He keeps his hedge well mulched, and the stinkhorn fungi love that stuff. In late summer and early fall, they pop up, look radiant for a few days, and then deflate to a sad mess. Perfect to keep my two little boys fascinated.




On the other end of the spectrum, not very bold but decidedly dainty, are little silvery grey lady mushrooms. I don't even bother trying to identify them - I have enough of a hard time with plants and bugs, for the time being. I've been told I'd need to make a spore print and have someone in the know look at it. Who knows, maybe when I got those other lifeforms sorted out...





These demure things were also growing in a heavily mulched garden area (albeit one that gets a good bit of sun). For what it's worth, the experts tell me this is a Coprinus species. I'm just glad they chose to play in our garden.




This happy gathering appeared in mid-autumn in our side garden. It's fascinating how different areas of the garden sprout different mushrooms - I haven't found the same type in two different places yet.









Little brown things similar to, but not the same as the ones above, growing in our lane area. According to one helpful GardenWebber, they are probably the ubiquitous Panaeolus foenisecii, commonly found in lawns (or perhaps not: see comment of 17 August 2012 below).









These marvellous donut-like contraptions were growing right in our front yard. Can't you just tell that mowing the lawn is my top priority?






Two different ones popping out of the mulch in early June. Cute as buttons.

This white fungal mass popped up fairly suddenly in our seedling nursery area in early August of the wet summer of 2009. Very firm (did not easily yield to pinching finger pressure). I've not seen it before, and have no idea what it is.


These shelf fungi established themselves on the stump of a silver maple I cut down a few years ago. New suckers continue to pop up from around the base of the stump, but the top part is clearly dead and serving as fungal food.


Here's a sampling of the mushrooms we've found growing in our garden in Texas. I'd be surprised if there was much difference between the fungal flora in Pennsylvania and Texas, but I'm hardly an expert, so I'm taking care to show my findings separately. More likely, it's the mulch materials brought into the garden that determine which mushrooms grow – and on that front we certainly have worked with different materials in the two states.


These grey jobbies with frilly-lined hoods popped up left and right in late May, in areas where I had amended the soil with a "garden soil mix", a bagged material containing mulchy and composty bits along with some sand.


Alien space ships! Or maybe just cool-looking big mushrooms. These suddenly appeared in the heat of late summer (September), at the edge of a tree ring mulched with a matting dark brown wood mulch as part of our new home's landscaping package. I haven't seen any like it since then.
According to Jay's comment below, these mushrooms were Psilocybe cubensis, a hallucinogenic variety that usually colonizes cow patties. Little did I know...


Around the same time as the space ships landed, I also noticed these miniature cupcake liners. Or at least, that's what they looked like, nestled in a different area mulched with the same material. They were eagerly collecting seeds that were falling down from plants above. They never turned into cupcakes, though...


If the ones above were alien space ships, then these blobs might be the alien lifeforms. Looks like a loofah sponge up close, but more like the infamous dog vomit fungus from a bit more of a distance.


This one looks like a little wooden bench. I wonder if the fairies come out at night? Or perhaps it's just the toads – there certainly are plenty of baby toads roaming our garden who could use such a stool.


And how about this cute one? A bouquet for your favorite goth girl!


These fellas take the decay chic a step too far, as far as I'm concerned.


Nifty fringes, for toads with a sense of style and sophistication.


A bunch of these clusters popped up in April in a newly cultivated, unmulched garden border. Could have been designed by a Japanese animation artist – mega-cute!

The transition from drought to sog in late summer of 2018 brought a wealth of mushrooms to the garden, especially the lawn. One particularly interesting one started out shaped like a ping pong ball. The following day, it had undergone a spectacular transformation in size, shape, and even surface texture! Only the little hat on top stayed pretty much the same.

Baby scary monsters practicing for Halloween after a June rainstorm

Artisinal dinner plates hugging the ground in earliest January

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