The year is quickly coming to a close and with the New Year comes a chance to revitalize and learn about our outdoor spaces. Take a look at these reads to find new ways to establish some new methods and new connections with the outside world.
The Secret Life of Fungi : Discoveries From a Hidden World by Aliya Whiteley, is less an encyclopedia of mushrooms and more of a biography of them. Whiteley uses the life stages of mushrooms as the structure of the book and creates the body of it through fungi facts and anecdotes of the author’s own life. Whiteley highlights the interesting way fungi live in symbiotic relationships with many of not just the plant kingdom, (orchids cannot grow without mushrooms), but the animal kingdom as well. Whiteley even takes time to describe man’s history with mushrooms and the various ways they are used. The result is an engaging examination of the mystery of mushrooms.
If you are looking for more of an encyclopedia style book about mushrooms, check out How to Forage for Mushrooms Without Dying by Frank Hyman. Hyman is a certified mushroom forager and is spreading his knowledge in the hopes of calming people’s fears of foraging. The author uses detailed descriptions, pictures, and checklists to help insure the safe harvesting and storage of the fruits of your labor. Much like Whiteley, Hyman brings in tales of his own adventures and how foraging has brought many great memories into his life. One great aspect is that Hyman shows look-alike mushrooms and how to differentiate between similar types. He even shows mushrooms that might not be edible but might prove useful in other ways.
While both the previous authors are lovers of the natural world, the third takes it one step further. Stefano Mancuso, author of The Nation of Plants, has created a manifesto on behalf of plants. A leading authority in the field of plant neurobiology, Mancuso has written as if he were the voice of plants and plants certainly have a lot to say. Written akin to a nation’s constitution, the work aims to remind us that plants are necessary and we need them to continue our survival. Mancuso urges the understanding that we are not separate from plants but live in a symbiotic relationship with them and that our survival and theirs is intertwined.
Interested in how to be more of a friend to plants? Check out Garden Allies: The Insects, Birds & Other Animals That Keep Your Garden Beautiful and Thriving by Frederique Lavoipierre. Lavoipierre explains how to cultivate a garden that welcomes different creatures that will actually help it grow and keep down pests. Lavoipierre goes through a myriad of organisms and their different stages and shows how each may be an aid or a hindrance to the home garden. Lavoipierre advocates for the growing of native species in a garden that allow for a diverse ecosystem to grow. By doing so a garden will be more resilient, and pollinators that we rely so heavily on for our own food will be protected. By protecting the plants and animals in our gardens we also inevitably protect ourselves.
Read these books and enjoy a bountiful New Year.