Greeting me on a recent foggy winter morning garden walk was a specimen of the fascinating Clathus columnatus, better known as column stinkhorn. It lives on dead and decaying organic matter, so is often seen growing in mulched areas. In the US, it’s typically seen East of the Mississippi, but many mycologists theorize it was actually introduced into the US. It has a unique fragrance to lure flies to disperse it’s spores, but the temperatures were so cool when I took this image, I couldn’t pick up any scent. What a cool gift of nature.
Walking through the nursery this week, we spotted a fascinating triangle orbweaver spider (Verrucosa arenata). These cuties are usually seen in late summer and fall in open woodlands. Their diet focuses on small insects such as mosquitoes, but cause no harm to humans, except arachnophobes. We love the color echo with the ground fabric and pieces of bark.
As fall temperatures drop, it’s not unusual to find our native bees asleep in some of the most interesting places. We caught this carpenter bee fast asleep on the job this week, clinging tightly to the spines of an Agave parryi.
We love fall not just because of the weather, the colorful foliage, the fall bloomers, but also for the fall fungus. It seems like some of the most incredible fungus of the year happens in fall. When we go outside to take plant photos, it’s hard to resist the amazing fungi as well. Like sand castles at the beach, fungi are quite ephemeral, so our only memories are through captured images. Here are few shots from the last week.
We recently ran across this clump of the summer-flowering native (Canada south to Florida) orchid, Goodyera pubescens growing in a site near JLBG. Like a century plant, the flowering rosette dies after flowering, but new side shoots are produced for future generations. Work is being done to produce this in tissue culture so it can be made more widely available from nursery propagated stock. Sadly, most plants sold today are wild collected.
Of the 100 species of Goodyera orchid, only 4 are US natives.
Carolina anoles are our most prolific garden pet, occurring by the thousands in our garden. It’s rare that a garden photography session doesn’t include several anole shots.
Carolina anoles are the only North American lizard with the ability to change color…usually ranging from green through brown. Despite being studied for years, researchers still have no idea what causes anoles to change color. Researchers know that their skin color has absolutely nothing to do with the material they are sitting on. The next best theory that anoles change color to regulate temperature has also been disproven.
Current research seems to link color change to stress, be that from entering the territory of another anole or relating to a pending sexual encounter. The natural world has so many secrets that we still don’t understand…ain’t mother nature grand!