Ok, I wrote that title in a moment of irrational exuberance. It wasn’t raining at the time, in fact it was sunny outside. What a refreshing change. Well, never fear, it’s raining again now. Raining hard and all day. Last month was the rainiest on record in Seattle. We normally get about three and a half inches of rain in October, but this year we got slightly over ten inches. Though the rain and wind have knocked down many of the leaves, the fall colors were, and those that are left still are, brilliant this year (not by New England standards but exceptional for Seattle).
The woods north of Cascara Circle are worth a visit any time but fall is best…
Not surprisingly, the heavy rains of October brought a flush of mushrooms around campus. Some white king boletes (Boletus barrowsii) popped up, along with many other edible, not-so-edible and some mind-altering specimens. A few feet from the grapes, near the white birch tree (Betula papyrifera), some birch boletes (Leccinum scabrum) appeared. They are edible, though the smaller, firmer ones are best.
I’d rather eat these. I took a day off and drove out to the mountains to look for matsutakes (Tricholoma magnivelare) and I’m including them in this blog post because they are medicinal (though this study was done on the similar Eurasian species Tricholoma matsutake). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3732428/
Matsutakes can be hard to find before they break through the forest duff. These pictured below were just bumps in the soil until I moved the duff aside.
But back to the Medicinal Herb Garden foods. The leccino olive (Olea europaea) produced just enough fruit…for a tapas plate. But it’s better than nothing.
This year, people are harvesting fruit husks (pericarps) from the Szechuan pepper trees in the Medicinal Herb Garden borders. Finally. Every autumn, these trees/shrubs produce thousands of little “peppercorns”. As the ripe, brown husks split open, the shiny black seeds often fall out on their own, but those that don’t can easily be cleaned off the husks. They won’t do any harm but are gritty and add no flavor.
Moving east in the garden to the built environment. Behold.
Photos of the Life Sciences Building and Biology Greenhouse construction site become dated almost daily. Those guys work fast. But here’s a shot from over the fence a week ago.
Experiencing winter in the garden is like stepping into another world. The space, the light and the plants all change. Wait, it’s not winter for another month and a half. For my purposes as a gardener, winter in Seattle begins in November.
Ji shi teng (Paederia foetida) in section B is a new addition to the garden. Hopefully it will survive the winter outside. From temperate to tropical east Asia, this plant has many, many names and uses in a variety of healing traditions. Here are a couple of links: