Nature’s Time Clock is Amazing

nature's time clock

Have you ever wondered how flowers and plants know when it’s time to grow in the spring after being dormant all winter? I find it fascinating how perennial plants can do this. Buried under snow and ice one month, then popping up through the thawed ground the next. How do they do it? They follow nature’s time clock.

Wildflowers Bloom According to Nature’s Time Clock

Wildflowers, such as bloodroot,┬átrout lilies, trilliums, Dutchman’s breeches, and many others follow nature’s time clock, blooming as soon as the soil warms up. Each species has its own timeline. For example, dandelions and lilacs bloom when the soil reaches 15 degrees.

Captive (non-native) Plants

Captive or non-native flowers like daffodils, tulips, and crocus live in an artificial or foreign climate, so are less predictable or stable. They certainly are pretty though, with new varieties out every year.

nature's time clock
admiring the tulips

Farmers Have been Using Nature’s Time Clock for Years.

Farmers have been relying on this planting clock for many years, since 800 BC. My mother grew up on a farm and told me a funny story about potato planting and how it always interfered with her birthday every year. She could care less about nature’s time clock.

Mushroom Pop Up When the Clock Says So Too

Recently I read this blog post about mushrooms from the Calabogie hiker. I learned that black morels, the mushrooms I’ve discovered on our cottage property, pop up from mid-April to mid-June, first poking through the ground when the wild lilacs bloom. As mentioned previously, that’s when the soil temperature reaches 15 degrees. Now I know exactly when to start looking for them. Unfortunately, that timing coincides with the first lawn cutting of the season.

Another of her posts talked about mother nature’s time clock which inspired this post on my own blog.

Conclusions for Nature’s Time Clock

I love spring because of the changes in my garden, some almost daily. As the soil temperature warms up or even after a well-needed, (like the one we received this past weekend) soaking rain, I love wandering through the gardens every day to see the new growth. When I’ve been away for a few days, that’s the first thing I have to do upon my return.

Giant Puffballs, AKA Calvatia Gigantea

Recently we discovered a few giant puffballs on our cottage property. This is not the first time, but it has been a few years since the last (and first) time.

Over the years we have discovered lots of other mushroom varieties here at our cottage, but have been leery on consuming most of them. My cousin assured us the morels we found were indeed deliciously edible, not to mention well sought after.

I vaguely recall treks as s small child with my father to forage for the unique and tasty giant puffballs. I’m sure my older siblings have clearer memories, will have to remember to ask them.

The largest puffball this season was the size of a soccer ball, in fact, we made sure to clarify the difference to our two-and-a-half-year-old granddaughter. Otherwise, she would give it a good boot!

Remembering how fast they turn from spongy firmness to soft and punky, we decided to harvest the largest one. By the way, the cut surfaces of edible giant puffballs are white and smooth with no gills visible.

Hubby chopped a portion up, sauteing it in butter and garlic. I had fancier ideas, adding three slices to the barbecue grill with our dinner steaks.

Brushed with olive oil (to prevent them from sticking to the grill) and garlic, they toasted up nicely. Topped with salsa and cheese, they evolved into delicious appetizers..

Yummy!!

We have a few more to come. Soon. Does anyone have any other recipes or ideas using giant puffballs to share?

Morel mushrooms, our consolation prize

One good thing about our cool, wet spring weather is the bumper crop of morel mushrooms we have been harvesting at our cottage. This is the first year we have seen them, in fact I was not sure what kind of mushrooms they were and whether or not they are edible. So, I sent an SOS (and picture) to the “all things nature related” expert, my cousin John in Missouri. Whatever would we do without our handy cell phones?

morel mushroom
edible or poisonous?
morel mushrooms
delicious or poisonous?

He sent me this link so I could read up on these delicious discoveries before we sauteed them up in butter for dinner. We did wait until we were in the (relative) safety of our home to try them as the cottage is a bit far from any hospital. I am happy (and alive) to report cousin John was right, morel mushrooms are quite yummy. Lots of work though, to clean them up, as their brain-like crevices hold lots of dirt.

morel mushrooms
first harvest of morel mushrooms

As the (miserable) cool, wet weather continued into June, we are taking some consolation in the fact we have had three weekly harvests of these morel mushrooms now, each collection larger than the last. At first they were hard to find; now we know what to look for and where to find these beauties. And also to check that their stems are hollow, an important characteristic that distinguishes them from their more sinister cousins.

morel mushrooms
third harvest

This week has been much warmer, finally some summer weather, so that may be the end of our mushroom harvesting for this year.