Saturday, September 23, 2006

Garden Therapy and Poison Mushrooms

Datline: yesterday afternoon. The back yard was the scene of some autumn redecorating, as I cleaned out the vegetable garden and sowed my winter vegetable seed in peat pots. It would be difficult to overestimate the value of the mental therapy this provides. There is something about mixing potting soil in a big plastic tub, and smelling the dirt that clears my mind. As is my practice, I end my garden sessions by walking around with a camera and taking pictures in the perfect late afternoon sunlight.

A few weeks ago, I found some lovely botanical illustrations at the Missouri Botanical Garden Library website. I was particularly interested in mushrooms and fungi.

I found this drawing of Fly Amanita (Amanita muscaria), and it reminded me of the kinds of mushrooms fairies used to hide under in children’s book illustrations. The illustration at left is from: http://www.illustratedgarden.org/mobot/rarebooks/page.asp?relation=58163O300&identifier=0085

Although I cannot knit a tea cozy with psychedelic mushrooms, my imagination wouldn’t leave me alone until I found a suitable faux mushroom for my big blue pot of Imperial Taro (colocasia esculenta) and Persian Shield (strobelontes). When buying some winter veggie seed at a local nursery last week, I found a ceramic mushroom that I have decided is the Fly Aminita. Although serious botanists might differ, it was the closest match in the nursery's ceramic mushroom department.
It’s now sitting in the big blue pot. I find the entire concept of creating a "fairy garden" goofy - I may go for kitsch, but I don't do cute - I find ceramic poison mushrooms don’t offend my sensibilities at all.

In fact, if some cute little fairy decides to colonize the big blue pot, I’m kinda hoping the mushroom gives her nightmares.

1 comment:

Frances Goodman فرانسيس said...

For some reason I don't mind if you eat Taro w/o me. It's just the soup that was getting to me.