September 14, 2005
Stinkhorn fungi have been appearing in yards and fields recently. These curious-looking mushrooms do not cause disease problems. They simply live on dead organic matter, such as wood chips and crop debris.
A stinkhorn begins life as an egg-like object in the soil, about the size of a golf ball. As the fungus develops, a stalk appears topped with a slimy cap coated with a mass of olive-green to brown spores. There are several common stinkhorn fungi found in Iowa, and they range from about 4 to 8 inches in height.
Usually we don't think of herbaceous perennials as having fall color. However, there are a select group of perennials that might surprise you with their brilliant foliage colors in fall.
Brightly colored tulips are a sure sign that spring has arrived in the Midwest. However, it's not necessary to wait until April or May to enjoy these spring-blooming favorites. Tulip bulbs can be forced indoors to brighten the cold, gray days of winter. If properly planned, tulips can be enjoyed indoors from January through March.
Fuchsias are popular flowering plants for hanging baskets. While they are not cold hardy, fuchsias don't have to be discarded in the fall. They can be overwintered indoors.