Fungi Festival October 2022


On Tuesday 18 October 11 of the Garden of Edenbridge Flora and Fauna group made their way to Emmetts National Trust Garden for their Fungi Festival. We started our afternoon with coffee and lunch with a few sitting in some of the last of the warmth of the sun before winter sets in. At 1.30pm we were met by our guide Trudi, a lovely lady who explained the importance of fungi. She guided us round the edge of the car park pointing out various different fungi on the banks before taking us into the wooded area. What we see is only the fruit body or reproductive part of an extensive network of very fine threads, some of which can’t be seen by the naked eye and which branch, join and weave below the surface of the ground. This breaks down the decaying material for sustenance. The fine threads of those that grow on trees have penetrated the substance of the wood. This network is known as the ‘Mycelium’. This Mycelium is perennial and certainly persists in the soil for decades, possibly centuries or even millennia. The leaves that fall in the Autumn would be metres deep if not for fungi breaking them down. Some extend their hyphae down to the roots of trees where a mutual interchange of material, known as Mycorrhizal Symbiosis, takes place to the benefit of both. On our walk John Masters also found an interesting and rather beautiful caterpillar which we think is a Sawfly Larva. At the end of this very interesting walk and talk some retired to the cafe for afternoon tea and then a walk round the beautiful formal gardens before heading home.