August 4, 2016

Mushrooms of Northern California

by Toni Leland
mushrooms, unknown variety

I had the pleasure of receiving a review copy of Mushrooms of the Redwood Coast, a comprehensive guide to the fungi of coastal northern California, and all I can say is: I'm impressed! Beautiful book.

This amazing volume is a treasure for anyone interested in collecting or just knowing about the fungi of coastal northern California. The book is comprehensive and well-written, with excellent photographs of every entry. Extra information includes a general overview of mushrooms, their morphology and ecology, and a section on the trees of the coastal region - complete with photographs and descriptions.

Collecting and identification are covered extensively, and the book concludes with a glossary, list of additional reading material, bibliography, and complete index.

My only complaint – a big one – is the size of the type used. The entire book is printed in what looks like 6 point type. Very difficult to read for anyone without perfect eyesight.

June 24, 2016

Garden Wildlife Adds Beauty

by Toni Leland

For all our complaining and tearing of hair about the deer in our gardens, the rabbits munching on the lettuce, and other assorted visitors to our gardens, one has to admit that without our wildlife, this would be an unexciting planet.

Photographing the blossoms of my 'Festiva Maxima' peony yesterday morning, I thought I saw something move in my peripheral vision. Slowly, I turned and the next few moments were one of the wonderful garden memories I'll always have.

This yearling buck stood not four feet away, watching me. His ears flicked back and forth and he lifted his nose to catch my scent. That's it, I thought. He'll be gone in a flash. But he stood stock still while I focused my camera.
yearling buck ©Toni Leland

I began talking softly and he came right up to me. Holding out my hand, I waited. He stepped forward, smelled it carefully, and even touched it lightly with his cold nose.
yearliing buck close ©Toni Leland

We had this moment together, then he stepped back and had a good look at the Double Knockout Rose in full bloom. Oh, boy, here we go.

Not a single nibble, thanks to the egg mixture I'd applied a few days ago.

I know this is unusual behavior for a wild animal, and I can only hope that his fearlessness was based on the trust of the very young. 

Meanwhile both the roses and the peony survived his visit!

Knock-out Roses and Festiva Maxima Peony ©Toni Leland