Early Summer Emergence

We have had a good deal of rain in North Georgia – a welcome respite from the dry heat of late Spring. With all of that moisture in the mix, many a latent mushroom has pushed its way through soil, moss and leaf litter to play out its short, above-ground life cycle. A recent trip to the mountains revealed just how variously mushrooms have responded to these conditions – in one particular spot, condensed in an area of roughly a few thousand square feet, everything from Chanterelle and Boletus spp. to Amanita muscaria (and many more) were called forth.

As a student of native herbaceous perennials, I have typically focused on the ground with its rich layers of tone, color, pattern and texture. In addition to providing creative inspiration, attentiveness to the details of the ground layer cultivates a broader appreciation of the smallest creatures of the visible world, including all manner of insects and, of course, mushrooms. Fungi are our great allies (even the poisonous ones). They play an essential role in soil building and nutrient conversion. We could not live without them as they have, among other things, co-created the forests which shelter us and the earth on which we walk. Year-round, but especially in the Summer, mushrooms bring to mind the essence of both exuberant abundance and creative destruction.  Here are some photographic observations:

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