Visitors to the Gardens this autumn will be wise to keep a watchful eye on the woodland floor, as thousands of mushrooms, toadstools and fungi will be peeking through the carpet of autumn leaves. A dry September is likely to lead to a late and extended fungi season with plenty to be discovered up until the Gardens closure on Sunday 2 November. Fungi come in all shapes, colours and sizes and you can find them in all manner of habitats, including grass, bark mulch, decaying stumps and gravel.
Whilst we can never be sure from year to year what might appear where, our Wildlife Volunteer Juliet Bloss has recorded in previous years Grey Knights in the herbaceous beds, a bulky Cauliflower Fungus in the herbaceous border area, tall Parasol Fungi on Daffodil Meadow, brightly coloured Orange Peel Fungus near the railway, Orange Coral on a bank in Hydrangea Walk, and a huge mass of Coral Fungus, most likely Ramaria stricta, by the Stone Bridge. The grassy lawns and meadows can hold the black and white spotted Magpie Incap, the yellow spikes of Golden Spindles, and the lilac coloured Amethyst Deceiver. But don’t feel you need to walk to discover Exbury’s fungi, as you can ‘train spot’ from the comfort of the Exbury Gardens Steam Railway, where you should look out for clumps of everyone’s favourite the red and white spotted Fly Agaric (Amanita muscaria).
If however you do prefer a guided walk then the Gardens are hosting a Breakfast Walk on Saturday 24 October, when our guide will lead you to the best of the autumn colour. Keep a lookout along the way for Exbury’s fabulous fungi – very much part of nature’s autumn bounty.