Not everything in the garden is beautiful and inspiring.
Some things are absolutely disgusting. Among them, the dog stinkhorn fungus. And I have enough of them in mine to fill up the brass section of a major orchestra.
I assume the fungus arrived because of all the rain. There are more than two dozen of this creepy finger-like fungus among my Echinacea and my Russian sage in a bed next to the garage. I was deadheading and weeding when I found them. I have to say it was a bit of a shock.
I was going to do what my neighbor Ruth did when she found them in her garden. "I just pretended they weren't there and they went away," she said.
But the damn things gave me nightmares, so I went to see James at Bowens Farm Supply on Riva Road in Annapolis. James knows everything.
When I told him how many I had, he pursed his lips and looked concerned and said I should "harvest" them with rubber gloves and then spray the soil surface with an anti-fungal.
Harvest? Yuck. Ewww.
The fungus emerges from a golf ball-sized collection of white cells, sends up a red finger with a black tip that attracts flies. The spores are on the black tip and the flies carry them off and deposit them elsewhere.
They don't stink as badly as they are reputed to. But they are absolutely disgusting.
Photo courtesy of Fairfax County Public Schools