15 May 2016

Fruitful fungi

Each year we have the most beautiful display of the fungi Amanitas Muscarias. Their favourite spot is under betulas (silver birches) on the south bank of the dam and underneath a very large fir tree.
Young amanita - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amanita_muscaria
Scientific studies are currently exploring a possible link between rain and the clouds of spores that are released by fungi.
When the fungus is ‘ripe’, an explosion of the tiny fungal spores rises high into the air, where they collect water vapour. The vapour then forms droplets and this action may trigger rainfall. In this way, the fungi may assist in creating the environment in which they thrive.
On its last "legs"

10 May 2016

Signs and scents of autumn

Rain…..the word evokes such mixed emotions.  Ask a Melburnian what they think of the rain and they will wrinkle their noses in discomfort or disgust.

But in the country, especially with a climate where hot dry spells are more protracted, the sound and smell of rain is superb.

We can smell rain approaching, a phenomenon that is due to downdrafts of the ozone and the rain falling on dry surfaces, releasing smells from plants and soil. 

The term Petrichor is given to the earthy scent released by rain after dry spells. 

In Australia the smell is especially cleansing and refreshing due the release of eucalyptus oils from the gum trees.  But in the city, we mostly smell the odours of asphalt and dust.

Recovery after the rain here is astounding.  The dry bushland is glistening with moisture and with a renewed food supply, the local wallabies and marauding deer have stopped jumping the fence to ravage the garden. 

In the exhausted garden, the recent rain has brought about immediate regeneration.   The brown patches of so-called  ‘lawn’ are now bright green.

The deciduous trees that had dropped many of their leaves in order to survive, now display an intense Autumn colour.

With the rain, the trees and blooming perennials have brought a dry, tired garden back to life.
Dry dam - before yesterday's rain

Yesterday's rain

Gorgeous autumn colours

Nearly bare Manuchurian pear

Weeping mulberry and chrysanthemum

Pink chrysanthemum