Innisfree Garden as Fungi Heaven

. . . among other things, of course. But never have we seen so many fungi and of so many types. Further update: Our mycologist friend writes of the above specimen:

Well, it is an Amanita for sure. All of the identifying characteristics are not visible, but from what I can see, and given that what is common is common, I would say you have Amanita flavoconia. My confidence level is in the 95-98% range given the season, color palate, unlined rim of the cap, and the appearance of what look like ‘crumbs’ (bits of the universal veil) on the smaller button in the lower right of the main image. This epithet may have been changed given the new emphasis on DNA evidence, but …. meh! who carries a DNA/PCR/Electrophoresis kit around with them… Not I said the old-timer.

I’ll have to leave it to the mycologists among us to identify what’s what. Update: for the mycologically inclined, a friend who is a mycologist reports the following about the above:

It looks to me like you have photographed Boletus frostii, generally thought to be one of, if not the most beautiful of the fungi. If you looked closely you might have seen the red pores with golden yellow droplets, and if injured, the flesh turns instantly blue…. this, the ragged stem and apple red top are so distinctive…

Oh, and the lotus were in bloom, too.

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Listening List

Eric Satie, Cinq Grimaces pour “Le songe d’une nuit d’ete” (1915)

A version for piano, performed by Jean-Yves Thibaudet, may be found here, here, here, here, and here. Pour Sortir is below:

The story behind Cinq Grimaces may be found here. Below are excerpts:

The score calls for a circus orchestra of 1 piccolo, 1 flute, 1 oboe, 1 cor anglais, 1 clarinet, 1 bassoon, 1 contrabassoon, 2 trumpets, 2 trombones, 1 tuba, percussion for 2 players (timpani, snare drum, cymbals, bass drum), and strings. Satie’s pieces are characteristically terse and a performance of the complete set lasts under 4 minutes.

1. Préambule (Preamble)
2. Coquecigrue (Fiddle-faddle)
3. Chasse (Chase)
4. Fanfaronnade (Bluster)
5. Pour sortir (For Exit)

. . .

Satie’s later refusal to perform or publish the Cinq Grimaces – the only mature orchestral composition he suppressed – is one of the more curious episodes of his career. Satie scholar Ornella Volta observed that “Varèse later claimed to have contributed to the orchestration of this score. It was just the kind of assistance that Satie – who was often accused of ‘not knowing how to orchestrate’ – hardly appreciated.” In February 1916, when Varèse asked his permission to perform the Cinq Grimaces in the United States, Satie not only declined but, “almost certainly from a need for revenge”, sent as a substitute a score by one of his obscure pupils which he had orchestrated himself. And when Cocteau wanted to program the Cinq Grimaces as part of his celebrated “Spectacle-Concert” in Paris in February 1920, Satie again refused and composed his Trois petites pièces montées instead.


Credits: Sources for the quotations may be found at the links in the text.

18 thoughts on “Innisfree Garden as Fungi Heaven

  1. hilarymb

    Hi Susan – gosh those look stunning but as Gill says probably toxic. I saw some wonderful ones in the wood trails here … and looked to see if I had a guide – but no … it is a specialist subject. One day perhaps I’ll get to find out more – or rather be more knowledgeable. Thanks for the photos – cheers Hilary

    1. Susan Scheid Post author

      Hi, Britta: I do always think of you when at Innisfree. As I hope this post shows, it is a source of constant surprises and delights!

  2. shoreacres

    If you’d like to impress your mycologist friend, you could mention that the taxonomists have been busy, and Boletus frostii now is known as Exsudoporus frostii. No, this is not a bit of information I had at hand. But when I went looking to find out whether that beauty might also live in Texas (it does) I discovered the news about the renaming.

    Me? All I could think when I saw its name was, “Frostii, the mushroom, was a gay and happy soul; with his bright red cap and his wrinkled stem, and his love of soils old…”

    The lotus are beautiful. I keep muttering about driving over to Anahuac to see them at the refuge there. I’d best go soon, or I’ll have to wait for another year. I suspect that the pretty pink, six-petaled flower in your slide show is Hibiscus moscheutos, or swamp rose mallow. I often see the white version here, but it comes in pink, too, and it just happens to be native all the way up to Duchess County, which is the home of Innisfree Garden.

    [Add: I went exploring, found the seasonal list of plants the Garden publishes, and sure enough: Hibiscus palustris, a synonym of H. moscheutos, is shown there. Obviously, I have a little time on my hands this afternoon.]

    Of all the details included in the linked history, one that struck me was the suggested inclusion of “It’s a Long Way to Tipperary” in the production. Beyond that, the thought of using A Midsummer Night’s Dream for purposes of propaganda’s just — well, something. Declaring that “God’s on our side” is one thing; declaring “Shakespeare’s on our side” is just as weird.

    1. Susan Scheid Post author

      shoreacres: I’ve now got another ID from my mycologist friend, this time of the yellow specimen that heads the post. I think you’ll find it both interesting and amusing, particularly given your comment above about the first ID.

    1. Susan Scheid Post author

      Laurent: Innisfree is the place we first encountered lotus flowers. We marvelled at them at the time, without knowing what they were. Ever since, we try to catch them in bloom, but as it’s not so easy, it is all the more magical when we DO manage to catch the timing right.

      1. larrymuffin

        I remember seeing hundreds in bloom at the New Summer Palace in Beijing, quite the show and so elegant. Lotus flower is a Buddhist symbol of purety.

  3. David N

    Ah, glorious Innisfree – I hope to see it one day – and such mycological marvels. I sent some pics from Goljadalen to the nice fungus man at Kew who’d guided us on a marvellous walk, and he said he would be reluctant to identify for sure without seeing the undersides and spores. So many mushrooms look alike and the species are constantly being re-named.

    I think it’s been far too dry here for much mushroom yield, so far at any rate. I saw a lone puffball on a treestump by the lake at Glyndebourne the other weekend.

    1. Susan Scheid Post author

      David: Would that we could send you some of our rain. None of us, including the Innisfree staff person who has been there a very long time, remember seeing an array of fungi like this–and even in our own yard, we’ve had some interesting “blooms.” I’m curious to know what the micro-conditions might be in various spots at Innisfree that encourage one sort of fungi over another. And yes, I do hope you both are able to visit at some point and see Innisfree for yourselves!

  4. newleafsite

    Sue, mushrooms and fungi are so surprising and delighting, aren’t they?! They look so other-worldly. Had one this summer which broke the dawn looking like a golf ball, on its own little tee, and finished late afternoon flat, like a pancake.

    BTW, tried too late to sneak back in with a comment on your July Miscellany, after the comments had closed. So I’ll just add here how interested I am in the collages there, which I have returned several times to study. Particularly charmed by the inclusion of a needle threader. A fan of cameos and other silhouettes, I have always delighted in them, because of the woman’s image. They used to be included in the free little sewing kits in motels, remember? Now you have to buy them, but at least they still have the picture, making them feel like the originals.

    Always glad to see your collages, and these are good additions! — Elizabeth

    1. Susan Scheid Post author

      Elizabeth: Always nice to “see” you. Love your description of the mushroom in your yard. Re the collages, I’m pleased you enjoyed that needle threader. I’d been looking for a way to include it (it had lost its wire end, so no longer useful for its intended purpose) in a collage and finally found what seemed “just the right spot,” if indeed there is such a thing. I do indeed remember the inclusion of them in motel sewing kits, and, in fact, it’s highly likely this one came from such a kit, or else a little store-bought travel kit from the same era.

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