Last orange leaves of Cotinus cogyggria (smoke bush)


It’s been a rainy, windy fall so far here on Vancouver Island. We’ve had none of the crisp, sunny autumn days that are some of the year’s best. In fact, it feels like we skipped from summer (hot and dry) to winter (rainy and windy).

The garden is a mess. I haven’t managed to do any edge-trimming or much end-of-season cleanup. I’m not obsessive about raking up every leaf any more, since I’ve heard that fallen leaves are a valuable resource for bugs and birds. (Let’s hope the bugs aren’t the kind that cause problems for gardeners.)

But there are always a few things worth looking at…

Amanita muscaria mushroom
This Amanita muscaria mushroom popped up by the pond
Pink oriental lily, last lily of 2021
The last lily of the year. This is the first time I’ve had a lily bloom in November.
Yellow chrysanthemum flowers
The always reliable yellow chrysanthemum, not eaten by deer this time.

I see it’s raining again, so back to the work in progress!


  1. Does eat oats and little lambs eat Ivy I didn’t know they ate Chrysanthemum’s too❗️ Audrey : the coldest July I ever spent was traveling over a 80 mile dirt mountain switch back road from Port Alberni to Toffino / Ucalate With our 35 foot Avion house trailer, on the west coast we caught a lot of salmon which we traded for smoked fish & Elk jerky Hey Girl I am talking about 58 years ago ❗️ I enjoy Your web site and thank you for sharing ~ Willy

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve heard about the wet, stormy weather you’ve been having. Your garden still looks nice. Time to stay inside and read a good book or two. Fortunately you usually get an early spring. xo

    Liked by 1 person

  3. We had our first snow overnight — a couple of inches. Care to trade? Still, can’t complain, our summer lingered here in Wisconsin. My utility bill showed that October’s average temp was 9F higher than last year (when we had 6″ of snow in mid-October). We’ve had frosts, but no “black frost” that killed everything, so I figure we’re still owed our “Indian Summer.” Alas, the long range forecast is not promising… Still, as you say, rainy and cold winter days are ideal writing days. We must all be like Pollyanna and play the glad game.

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  4. I’ve never seen a mushroom look like a pop-up strawberry. Wonderful pictures. Good luck with the WIP. We are having a lovely fall, although the unusual warmth has precluded the most dramatic fall foliage.

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  5. A similar story here, Audrey. Very few crispy days in which to admire the colours. We’ve gone straight to wet. That’s a fine mushroom, by the way. I’ve only ever seen those in the wild, so to speak. I’d love to have the amanita muscaria popping up in my garden.

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    1. Those Amanitas tend to grow near birch trees. They appear regularly around a big birch in my garden. The other mushrooms I see here aren’t nearly as attractive. Of course the amanitas are poisonous, so I’m happy to take pictures and otherwise leave them alone.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks, Audrey. That’s interesting, I didn’t know the connection to birch trees. I’ve read recently they also have a reputation for their “magical” effects – not that I’ve ever been tempted to try, and was always taught to give them a wide berth. Most of the mushrooms I get aren’t so attractive either, but they make up for that by their sheer numbers on my lawn after heavy rains.

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          1. Hi, Audrey. I knew very little about them until recently, when I read Merlin Sheldrake’s Entangled Life, which I found absolutely fascinating.


  6. I don’t remember ever seeing a mushroom such as the one in your photo, Audrey. I didn’t realize that you lived on Vancouver Island. My wife and I visited for our first time a few years back, right before Covid prevented such excursions. You’ve found a little slice of heaven up north.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The mushroom was a juvenile; it later expanded and flattened out. That was a baby picture!
      Yes the island is a great place to live. Victoria (where I live) and the west coast are (or were, and hopefully will be again) great tourist attractions. A drive up the Oregon and Washington coasts, and then the Coho ferry from Port Angeles would be a great trip.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, they’re quite common both in N. America and Europe. You see them a lot in illustrations in books of fairy tales, because they’re so eye-catching. But the one in my photo is a mere infant; later it opened up and flattened out.
      I’ll bet there are all sorts of weird fungi in Australia. You guys have all kinds of unique life forms.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes!!!! You’ve put your finger on it exactly. I’d forgotten about the Faraway Tree books. I was always a Famous Five fan. lol
        We have wild mushrooms here. They’ve been sprouting up with all the rain we’ve been having but…they are seriously ugly!

        Liked by 2 people

    1. Not as exciting here–a bit of water (like a couple centimeters) in the basement. I think you folks had way more rain. My rain gauge racked up 106 mm since Saturday, 60 of them last night and this morning. More than enough.
      After last summer’s “heat dome,” I wonder what Ma Nature has in store for us down the road. (I think she’s pissed off.)

      Liked by 1 person

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