Sunflower in winter, fungi, & other weekend garden musings

Sunflower in winterIt’s not technically winter, but it sure feels like it. Cold, rain, and darkness are here as the winter solstice approaches in less than two weeks.

Imagine my surprise then to find a sunflower blooming in my Davis, CA garden along with my winter crops of beets, carrots, peas, cilantro, etc.

You can see my snapshot of this bright flower.

It’s not super tall at around 2-3 feet, but heck it seems amazing me that a sunflower could bloom at all in mid-December.

This flower is a ‘volunteer’ from a seed from a parental sunflower that bloomed nearby in my garden this past summer. I left some of the sunflowers that I grew then to go to seed and the seeds were eaten by a whole bunch of different critters. Some buried the seeds for later and this flower is likely the result of that stockpiling by squirrels and other animals.sumac tree

A sunflower blooming unexpectedly in winter is pretty cool.

A few weeks ago the trees around here were showing their glory of fall colors. One of the most amazing types here to put on such a show is the sumac. I think they are staghorn sumac that someone planted in the neighborhood probably around 20 years ago.

There were a few in our neighborhood that literally looked on fire.  I took a picture of one of them around Thanksgiving time and you can see what a beauty it was. Now today after a series of storms it has pretty much no leaves left.

Leucocoprinus BirnbaumiiReturning to my garden, going back a few more weeks I noticed some interesting super tiny mushrooms sprouting up. Poisonous but pretty! I was told that these are Leucocoprinus Birnbaumii.

These little guys look like tiny yellow cartoon characters or something. Maybe minions from Despicable Me.

You can see in both this pic and the sunflower one above that we are fortunate that in the relatively mild Davis climate that sweet alyssum usually overwinters in the garden.

There’s something about nature and gardening that conveys a sense of rhythm and cycles to life as well as giving us a sense of patience.

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