Last year, when I was at first too sick, then too discouraged, to do much in the garden, something magical happened: a second variety of edible mushrooms joined my dependable fairy ring crop, the Marasmius oreadesI wrote about four (four!) years ago in “Back Yard Mushrooms” (July 6, 2014).
The Marasmius oreades come up in two places in the yard, each in a wide curve that follows the arch of a tree root, each year that curve a bit wider, a few inches displaced from where it was the year before. They’re a small mushroom, delicate in appearance, in color, in flavor, excellent in an omelette.
But there’s nothing delicate about the newcomers, which appeared at both shaded, eastern corners of the garage, bulbus and flaky and dark, big even when small, if you know what I mean. Actually, they weren’t newcomers, having put in an appearance in force, ten years ago or so, but at that point I considered them merely a novelty, not having yet learned that an edible mushroom might grace my garden.
Last summer, however, I took steps, which of course consisted primarily of inviting over Sarah, the same friend who’d helped me I.D. the fairy ring mushrooms as an edible variety. This time, she looked at the lunkers bulging out of the dirt by the garage and said,
“They look—oh my gosh, they look like Shaggy Parasols.”
And so they proved to be. I got a number early summer, and through assiduous watering, was able to bring on a fall crop as well.
This year, as the spring rains dropped off, I watered the yard areas where all my mushroom crops have appeared. One of my fairy rings showed up the next day. The other I’d nearly despaired of, but it finally appeared just a week ago.
As for the parasols—no sign. Not a hint. Nothing. Nada. Until today, when I saw one—no, two—four—half a dozen or more—in fact, an even dozen—cropping up in a new area very near the trunk of one of our big pines. I’ve fenced off the area, sent thanks to the mushroom gods, and started tuning up my taste buds.