This year, finally, I managed to book myself into a fungi workshop with Alison Pouliot. Mel and I have tried before, but these things seem to fill up damnably quickly. So you can understand that we were happy there were a couple of free seats on a weekend that suited us both. On an overcast Saturday morning we made our way to Trentham.
As we got there we were greeted with a veritable trove of all things fungal, all freshly collected and labelled by Alison.
The workshop kicks off at 11am with a couple of hours in the Trentham Neighbourhood Centre where Alison instructs the group, and we learn about the different types of fungi, debunking myths around identifying safe ones, and finding out how to figure out what should, and shouldn't, either make you sick, trip you our, or kill you. We covered smell, pileus shape and texture, gill types and appearances, stipe forms... it was incredibly thorough, without being an overwhelming flood of information.
After a short break for a late lunch we headed out for the foraging half of the workshop. The place Alison took us to was a great spot, with both native and pine forest areas, and the occasional section that had been in a bushfire. This all meant that we could expect quite a few different types of fungi. Below are some of my favourite shots of the day... I don't remember what most of these were, but I still like the pics.
It's amazing the amount of life right under your feet, that you don't even notice. And beautiful it can be.
Even things you may not immediately think of as fungus...
This is an image a lot of people would recognise... but where are the fairies?
This baby managed to stump Alison, which is quite an achievement. It's not an oyster mushroom; it's not the mushroom that tries to LOOK like an oyster mushroom but glows in the dark and is bad for you... it's something else again. I still don't know what it is, but it was huge!
Check these little babies out! They were growing on a pine cone on the ground.
A lot of people might recognise these as puff balls. These really are an interesting little organism, particularly in they way they spread their spores around -- when the time is right, in a great big puff :-)
Even these tiny little yellow guys are important. How easy would it be to walk right past them without even realising they're there?
These cute little jelly-balls are fungus too.
This is one of the naughty ones ;-) Very popular with people looking for an... alternate view of the universe.
And these... these are the beauties of the fungi kingdom, I think. They are gorgeous, and the smell... absolutely beautiful.
If you have any interest in the fungi world I recommend you keep your ears open in Autumn and get yourself into one of Alison's workshops. It's a good day out, and you'll learn heaps. Plus a nice wander through the bush is relaxing.