An Update on Wild Mushrooms and Apothecary Stuff

Wild Mushroom Hunt Gorgeous Fall colours Dundas escarpment

That predictable seasonal shift from garden and woods, to study and laboratory progresses like clockwork. A lot has been going on in the study/lab the past few weeks.   Planting, growing, harvesting and hunting lead to new materials for extractions, tinctures and distillations indoors. Frankincense extracts and Anti-aging creme, Reishi mushroom tincture and extract, a Stinkhorn Perfume tincture, and a Wild Ginger essential oil distillation will finally get my full attention once Nature isn’t calling me out to play as often.

Winter work-Wild Mushrooms,Wild Ginger and Frankincense are transformed while the sun ebbs and waxes again.
Winter work-Wild Mushrooms,Wild Ginger and Frankincense are transformed while the sun ebbs and waxes again.

I have to admit, that with a certain amount of guilt, (and glee!), I have snuck out to the woods on my own the past couple of Saturdays.  Quietly, and without making my usual public Facebook invitations to the community, asking you all to join me for fall wild mushroom hunts, or for volunteer work in the garden. Not that any of the past Saturday outings with participants has been anything but a delight, but I have enjoyed that feeling of freedom that playing hookey gives one. I have been at the Apothecary’s Garden at Churchill Park pretty much every Saturday morning at 9:30, since early spring.
The fall rains and whipping winds, coupled with the stunning autumn colours of our gorgeous escarpment, the fragrance of the moist soil and decomposing leaves, have made these outings wonderfully nourishing to my soul.

Fall Vista-Hamilton Mushroom Hunt 2013
Fall Vista-Hamilton-Mushroom Hunt 2013

Gratitude and special thanks go out to every one of the wonderful people in our community who have supported the Teaching Gardens, The Apothecary’s Garden and Labyrinth. All those who came out in the spring to help open the garden, the summer weeders, the Labyrinth builders, and those who so kindly donated plants from our wish list, all of which are thriving. The list of  contributors is too long to recite here but needless to say, there would be no teaching gardens without your support!!

That being said, there is one final event upcoming in the Apothecary’s Garden. The official closing of the garden for the season. The season’s growth must be cut down and composted, Lavender bushes and other tender perennials mulched to keep them safe through the winter, and the garden needs to be tucked in, and put to bed. While I am happy to do this on my own, I would feel honoured if any one of you would join me in this seasonal ritual. A beginning and an end to all things. And just as important as the spring opening of the gardens with all its excitement and anticipation, is the winter closing of the beds. A few extra hands with pruners and wheelbarrows, a couple of bales of hay for mulch, some hot tea and a little closing ceremony of gratitude for the year’s bounty, would be ideal. The weekends of the 9th of November or the 16th are looking good for this. I will leave it to Mary Louise Pigott to work out the timing and pass the word beyond this post. I sincerely hope to see you all there.

Here is a glimpse of a few of the seasons Wild Mushrooms. (Still no Blewits, Dohh).







































  1. No my bike is not packed away, but it’s getting a bit blowy and I bought a warm jacket and a helmet to stay firmly on the pedals. I think Nature is telling us the obvious with her Stinkhorns, in her abundant and scrumptious way. One of the amazing things about humans and dance and all creatures is this Lemurian plant law we share, so visible everywhere and deep and under-valued in our souls and linking everything … if only to step out of the tiny skulls, and remember, IN SPITE OF all the murderous and polluting surface things that go on …that this is elder, and of the subtle realm also, root and shoot, and will prevail. I had a good time this weekend painting and grooving to Pink Floyd – I’m just an old 1970s raver. I enjoy all your reminders of the deep rich earth and leaves and fungi; how these come swirliing and twirling across the pond in the gale; Pelicans Rejoice. Got your email thanks, about to read …

  2. Oh what wonderful colourful mushroom Creatures and stinking horns being born, and inspiring falls of colour, and oceans of alchemical potions, and your equally ravishing Mushroom community of humans in Dundas! And all of it getting tucked up for the winter in Scorpio when the seeds and spores dive into the ground or into a good alcohol pickle – and into pelicans. Beautiful place you live in, Dan. Fab photos.

    1. Jane, thank you!
      We are so blessed in Hamilton. To be wrapped by the lake on one side and our gorgeous escarpment all along our south and west! The autumn colours are so beautiful and drawn out in their turning this season it almost hurts the heart to witness it each day! There is no point even trying to describe it with words or through art.
      And the Stinkhorns!! One is forced to ask, what is Nature pointing out to us here? She created something that is unmistakably a vegetative version of dog sexual organs. From the sac like scrotum and the perfect pre-fruiting testicle inside it, which not only looks the role, but feels exactly the same between the fingers, to the perfect canine phalluses! The odor must be exactly in accord with the message, I believe, but this is where the mystery lies. What is she giving us here? Nature is more than just a pretty visage, she presents all her gifts with harmony and visual appeal, but they also function in some way. A friend asked, ” what are its medicinal properties”, and now I am stuck with the question, and know, I won’t feel at peace with stinkhorns till I have answered that question for myself.. There is an aphrodisiac like quality to the stench, but I feel there is more to it than that. They are only growing under Spruce trees, which may be a bit of a clue, but that’s all I have at this point.
      Sub zero mornings here now. Hope you are staying warm. Is your bike packed away for the season??

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