Monday, 8 July 2013

A Sprinkling of Fairy Dust!

As I say in my last blog, it was very cold in Oriel Gallery. I had on my mittens & scarf & big coat & long johns, but there is nothing quite the tonic on a winter's day, as a nice cuppa.
Foto by Colin Baglow
So, I headed over to the Café for a brew. As I sat down, I glanced at the Garden magazine Y Gardd.

There was a really interesting write up in there about Fairy rings! Seems that there are AMAZING fairy rings at the Garden.

A fairy ring is a complete ring of toadstool/mushrooms.

There is one in the Garden reported to be 150 years old! In fact, it could be the oldest living plant in the Garden!

And I love that!

Mother Nature just doing her thing, while we're digging & pruning & building & being all corporate about it, she's having a little snigger, making magical things happen right under our noses without us realising!
Painting by Josephine Forest
There are so many fairy ring folk stories but the magazine explained the bio-science bit!

A fairy ring as we know it, grows free, in a field, at random, wherever it likes ... it grows in a circle because each mushroom or toadstool is inter-connected growing from the roots and goodness of the next mushroom and over time, the roots spread into a circle. It's almost like the mushrooms are all holding hands and breathing life into each other

(that's not the science bit, that's my little head ticking!)
I thought 'WOW! I never knew mushrooms were so utterly cool!'  I continued to read on ...
It seems there is also another type of Fairy Ring ...

... a Tethered Fairy Ring.

This is a fairy ring that grows from the roots of a tree and consequently, over many years, will co-exist with the tree roots, while it's own roots grow around the trunk, in a complete circle!!
'WOWZERS TROUSERS!!!'  I thought, as a I warmed my hands on my cuppa, 'That's just awesome.' And it totally is, don't you think!

Let's face it, it seems that we could
learn a thing or two from mushrooms!!
And then I pootled back over to Oriel Gallery to sit with my Dragon Tree Exhibition and it dawned on me ... there was a fairy ring growing in my mind around the dragon tree .. the dragon tree had been the journey I was on, and growing around that tree, my next creative adventure, a magical, mystical, beautiful, tethered fairy ring!!

With that, in walked Bob Edwards, my friend, who is a volunteer at the Apothecary. There's nothing he doesn't know about ... well, anything really! He very kindly came to sit with me & we got chatting about fairy rings.
But as we were chatting, he was twiddling with something in his pockets. 'What's in your pockets, Bob?' I asked. He pulled out a bag of red & black rosary peas ... little oval peas that look like rosary beads. Turns out they are horribly poisonous!! 

'So, you've got Pockets of Poison,' I said to him ... 'Pockets of Poison ... P.O.P ... Pop ... Mmm ... that could be a character in my new piece ... Pop ... in the Tethered Fairy Ring ... '

Bob had dried peas in a little plastic bag .. but when I looked on the internet for images, this is exactly how I envisaged them in the story line ... as a necklace
Bob got really excited, and he offered to go and ask Bruce if he would come and talk with me about it. Bruce knows just about everything there is to know about fairy rings and runs fairy ring talks at the garden as one of the members of the Education Dept.

He also set up the first Fungi Day at The National Botanic Garden of Wales, which was so successful that it has now become a National Event at all the Botanic Gardens ... Well Done Bruce!

And so it began ...
the journey to my Tethered Fairy Ring
Find out in my next blog, about the magical sprinkling of fairy dust that happened once Bruce & I got chatting about Fairy Rings!!


  1. Don't forget Amie is named after a very special magic mushroom - Amanita Muscaria! Looking forward to reading how this evolves x