June 11, 2011
"I see the ghosts have been messing about," says Lady Mondegreen, wryly. "I wish they'd clean up after themselves."
But these fungus baskets or in Maori, the droppings of ghosts, are one of winter's wonders. Although they are indigenous to New Zealand they appear readily around the Secret Garden where old Pinus radiata roots are decaying underground. In the year following a destructive wildfire here, the fungus baskets cropped prolifically along the roots radiating from a felled shelter belt. The foetid soup inside the basket contains the spores. This particular specimen has appeared in a spell of cold, damp weather; how can there be any flies about to feed, and spread the spores?
Other olfactary treats are appearing in the garden. These dainty narcissus, which surprise non-gardeners with their winter appearance, have just opened outside the Skudder House
How long has there been a feijoa bush in the garden? Over 30 years I'm sure. Has there even been more than a handful of tiny hard suggestions formed on it? This, being the year of new beginnings, I have been thinking that this particular sub-tropical creature, could make way for something that bears the easterly blast a little better. But as if to beg for a reprieve, the ragged old bush, has showered the ground with fruit.
Not quite the sweet, aromatic quality that the children and I love about feijoas, but worth a little care and attention for another year or two...
Fungus basket, Tutae whatitiri Ileodictyon cibarium
Feijoa, Pineapple guava Feijoa sellowiana