Goshen News, Goshen, IN


August 31, 2012

The Dirt on Gardening: Things are not always what they appear to be

A beautiful flower — or is it? One can’t always believe what their eyes tell them. At first glance you’d say “what is this magnificent specimen of flower growing next to my tree?” But wait — this “flower” measures a full 12 inches in diameter — now that would be a BIG blossom! There are a few that could rival that, like the dinner-plate size Hibiscus blossoms, but this one had unusual properties as well.

It is like no other I had ever seen as its brilliant orange (near fluorescent) petals stood out magnificently, only to be overshadowed by the even more brilliant yellow fringe edging each petal displayed.

Believe it or not this “flower” is none other than a fungus growing next to and on a tree in north Goshen.

It was brought to my attention by a devoted reader of my column and thought it would be an interesting subject and topic — she too had never seen anything like it before.

The Rudolphs have lived in the same home for the past 37 years and are avid gardeners, especially since retirement, on their sprawling 5-acre tract that consumes a good deal of time in just mowing chores. A large pond at the rear of their property helps to alleviate some of the mowing and some is left “wild” as a natural habitat.

I could see a lot of  old school and tradition in my visit with a, larger-than-most vegetable garden that supplies them with a constant source of fresh vegetables throughout the growing season.

My wife and I have known the Rudolphs since the ’70s as we both had daughters growing up together and there would be many sleep-overs at both places. Our daughter Vicki (most know her from Wal Mart) and Angie were always good buddies while growing up and there was usually a gang of six or eight that always hung out.

Thank you, Vera, for the invite and the unusual topic.

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