Mushroom Irony

Mushrooms on the wrong log!

You can probably tell by the black, wrought iron “arm” at the left side of the photo that this is a firewood rack. That top log that is growing such fabulous mushrooms is a piece of an old apple tree. I wish I knew more about mushrooms and could do more than simply admire them–but I know enough to know what I don’t know and I have no plans to poison myself accidentally because those mushrooms “look just like “–see that’s the problem. I don’t even know that. I will stick to growing mushrooms in my kitchen.

Which brings me to the “irony” part of this post. Remember last year’s Christmas gift to the Spoiler? The log that was supposed to grow mushrooms?

That’s it, right there next to that beautiful mushroom growing piece of apple tree. It’s about the ONLY log on the pile without a mushroom on it. Ridiculous. It’s the one with the broken metal plaque on it.

And please don’t tell me that it seeded the rest of the logs with mushroom spore, because if that were the case, it too should have something growing on it!

Anyway, it was a bust. Oh well. Live and learn.

Zygocacti and Seasonal Changes

Three Zygo or Holiday Cacti

It’s a little difficult to tell but there are 3 clay pots of zygo cacti on this plant stand. I segregated them from the other 10 pots that I have because they were beginning to form buds and I wanted them to get a little more light.

But all the zygocacti are definitely flowering later this year. For years, one would be in flower right around the holiday that we just celebrated on Monday. That cactus is called Holiday Delight and I always joke that it is a good thing that they never specified which holiday.

Perhaps one of these will be in bloom by Halloween, although that seems ambitious. But surely Thanksgiving is within reach. We’ll see.

What makes these plants bloom anyway? A combination of light and temperature. Clearly as my post on Monday indicated, it’s been much warmer this fall. So while the sunsets remain the same, the warmer temperatures have probably told these plants that it isn’t quite time to set buds yet.

That’s fine. They will simply bloom closer to the actual “holidays ” for which they are named and perhaps into next year as well. I love flowers in the dead of winter so that’s fine with me.

The Birds Know

Robins on a lawn

These few robins on a neighbor’s lawn do not begin to tell the story. Whenever I leave my house recently, there is a cacophony of bird calls.

There are flocks of sparrows on the grass (and blue jays watching, giving the alarm call whenever I try to take a photo). There are mixed flocks of starlings and grackles in the trees–almost any tree, but especially the native dogwoods. This time of year, they methodically work their way up the street, eating the fruit off every tree in sight. You can hear them coming.

What is my point? The forecast for this week is for unreasonable warmth with temperatures by Friday reaching near 80.

That’s all well and good but all this bird activity tells a different story. If the date on the calendar isn’t telling us that cold weather will soon be upon us, the birds are reminding us that it will be.


Broccoli microgreens

I have wanted to grow microgreens for quite some time. I have saved containers for it and even acquired seeds that were appropriate like celery and of course leaf lettuces.

I always have seed starting soil on hand, so that’s not a problem.

But did I ever actually grow the little microgreens? Don’t be ridiculous! I am capable of executing much more complex gardening projects–but throwing some seeds evenly on seed starting mix and keeping them moist for a few days? Bah! Too complicated for me!

So I finally decided that I would take the guess work out of it (and try to improve my diet a bit) with these pre-planted seed mats.

Supposedly they are fool proof–but that’s only if you are paying attention. I was cleaning on Saturday and realized that not only had these sprouted, but some were growing right through their paper covering. Oops. Luckily, it was paper so I could delicately tear it away without too much damage.

Seed quilt

With this next set, I will try to pay more attention.

Now the trick is to use the first set before I actually get little broccoli plants. It’s too cold now for that!

Clash of Seasons

Basil with sleeping bumblebee

This is a strange time of year. It’s been warm, unlike last year, when I was already wearing gloves this time of year. But we are definitely into fall. The days are shorter, the nights are cooler and the basil in the above photo definitely has a limited amount of days or weeks left. It’s right outside my porch door, but its roots have grown out the bottom of the pot and into the soil so it’s done really well. But that’s how I managed to pick up the hitchhiking bee I wrote about Friday.

OsoEasy Double Red

Roses are still blooming

Colchicum autumnal

But so are the colchicum, ironically in a rose garden. So that really causes a bit of a clashing season thing for me!

Morning glories, goldenrod and rose hips

And here’s an interesting combination: morning glories, rambling over everything, but especially over rose hips and goldenrod.

One thing that you don’t find in my yard are mums. I have bad memories of deadheading thousands of them from my retail gardening days. So none of those for me.

It won’t be long before I need the gloves again. But for now, I am enjoying the unusual clash of the seasons in my yard.

A Buzzy Confession

No photos today because it’s raining and quite dark outside. And while I am always grateful for rain, it doesn’t let me photograph nicely.

I went outside this morning as soon as our newspapers came so that they wouldn’t drown. All the plants near the door were bowed down by the rain.

So I got the papers, put them where the Spoiler will find them as I usually do every morning and sat back down for my morning ritual. When I glanced down, there was something on my leg.

By now you know where this is going. The gardener in me always knows just to brush everything off quickly and then look so that’s what I did–to find one of those big fuzzy bumblebees crawling around on my rug.

Obviously this was unacceptable. I wanted to take it back outside so I found a cup that I put over it and then I slid some stiff paper under the cup for a lid. But of course now I have an angry bee.

I did manage to walk it safely back outside–and here’s the confession part: I started to think about all the care I took with that bee. I wondered how solicitous I would be of people. It was kind of a sad indictment.

Let us hope that I will show at least the same care–if not more–to my fellow life travelers.