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Issue 12

December 2021

Greetings Enchanted Nature Community

Welcome To The Enchanted Nature Newsletter


Happy New Year to all of our Enchanted Nature friends. May this new year bring you many enjoyable hours of being enchanted by Mother Nature.

 We have a challenge for all of you in the Enchanted Nature community. Please take a photo of something in nature that you find pleasing to the eye and send your pics to:

Our TOP CONTRIBUTOR, Mr. Jack Wilson shared his amazing naturalist/photography skills with us again this month. Thank you Jack!

Giant Puffball, Calvatia gigantica

This appears to be a fungus of the Hericium genus. Some species found is this genus include Lion's Mane (Hericium erinaceous), Bear's Head Tooth (Hericium americanum), and the Coral Tooth Fungus (Hericium corralloides). An educated guess would be that this is most likely Hericium americanum, but mycologists cannot identify fungi by photographs alone.

First...WOW!!! What an AMAZING macro photograph of a European Honey Bee (Apis mellifera)! The bee shadow is stunning. Looking at this busy bee, you can see a large yellow sack attached to its back leg. That is pollen. Beekeepers call these pollen packages, "loaves". There is most likely another loaf of pollen on the rear right leg of equal size. You can even see pollen on the head of this honeybee. This busy bee is obviously holding the job of a forager and ensuring the survival of the colony by bringing back nectar and pollen to feed the other members of the community.

Amanita Muscaria,

Based on the location and the fact that this is a Pine tree, this appears to be the damage of the Southern Pine Beetle (Dendroctonus frontalis). Despite the fact that this beetle is native, it is one of the most damaging insect pests in southern forests.

This pic gave us a laugh. I guess Jack is submitting a photograph of what he considers to be the breakfast of beekeeper/mycologist/naturalist/forager champions. 

I'm finding what appears to be olive oil, Shiitake mushrooms, wild ramps, his own forest produced honey, and (knowing Jack...a locally sourced) egg. I'm making the assumption that it's breakfast because of the egg. As any mycologist knows though, NEVER make assumptions...

Again Jack, THANK YOU for sharing your BEAUTIFUL photography skills with us!

Please continue sending us your pics and queries:   

You can also text your pics & questions to (540) 324-8778.

Pics from the Writers

These two photos show the damage of an Emerald Ash Borer (Agrilus planipennis). The Emerald Ash Borer is devastating the Appalachian forests. 

Here we have a log growing fungi of two different species but of the same genus. On one side, we see the ubiquitous fungi that all of you Enchanted Nature readers know as the Turkey Tail (Trametes versicolor). On the other side, we find another fungi named the White Maze Polypore (Trametes elegans).

Trametes versicolor a.k.a. Turkey Tails

White Maze Polypore (Trametes elegans)

Working With Nature

by Victoria Vacher

    Here in the Shenandoah Valley, every season has at least one plant that creates an exceptional statement in the garden. While I have many beloved plants, I must say that Hardy Cyclamen is a particular favorite of mine in the winter woodland garden. Lying dormant all summer, come early fall, delightful delicate flowers looking like nodding butterflies emerge.


    Beautiful ivy shaped leaves follow, with ruffled edges and interesting distinct marbled variegations that remain until spring. This is one plant I believe should be used more often because it is so unique. It is not invasive, blooms in shady areas, is deer resistant and provides beauty when much of nature is dormant.

Cyclamen hederifolium is a member of the Primrose family - Primulaceae. Common names include: Persian Violet (although it is not a Violet nor native to Persia!), Sowbread (as pigs will eat the tubers) and Woodland Cyclamen. Cyclamen thrive in woodland gardens with dappled sunlight, attract pollinators, tolerate shade, again...are deer resistant, have a spreading/mounding habit and are spectacular in the winter garden. Tubers, planted in the fall, are the easiest way to introduce Cyclamen into your garden, as seeds are difficult to cultivate. While there is much beauty that naturally occurs in nature, it is enjoyable to be part of nature's creative process and to work in the earth.

My idea of an interesting garden is to have at least one ‘show off’ plant in each season and in my winter garden Woodland Cyclamen are most certainly "show offs"!

What And Where Are You?

is this month's video theme

As we all reflect on the year that has passed and consider what is to come, we leave you staring at a pool of water in the forest. Which part of the scene do you identify with? What and where are you?

Are you the water, never slowing and always flowing?

Are you the large stone on the right?

Are you one of the stones under the water, stable while the water rushes over top of you?

Are you the algae that is stuck to one of those underwater rocks?

Are you one of the leaves washed up on the stones?

Maybe your life is all of it at once. 

As you reflect, try to relax.

Whatever and where ever you are, may your troubles flow far away and may only good flow from upstream into your life in this new year.



There are many proven health benefits to spending time in nature. It has also been proven that just looking at images of nature can provide multiple health benefits including: reducing depression, speeding healing, improving your immune system, preventing dementia, improving your mood, and increasing happiness. We end each newsletter with a short video of a natural scene. 

Hopefully the videos will provide you with some of the benefits listed above.

Findings reported in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, suggest that keeping a few snapshots of greenery around yourself might be beneficial. When participants viewed the natural images in the experiment, their stress levels lowered, thanks to the activation of their parasympathetic nervous system – which controls certain rest functions. "Viewing green scenes may thus be particularly effective in supporting relaxation and recovery after experiencing a stressful period and thereby could serve as an opportunity for micro-restorative experiences and a promising tool in preventing chronic stress and stress-related diseases." 

Please be sure to share this newsletter with your friends. 

Word of mouth is the best advertising.

*Enchanted Nature News*

Give the gift of nature! We now offer gift certificates. They can be customized and emailed for any occasion. The gift certificates are available at our Trading Post

We have added a new web page called, "Our Local Friends". These are small local businesses that we support and feel confident recommending. Keep an eye on the page, as we expect the list to grow.

Stay safe and enjoy nature

If you haven't taken the time to explore our website, please do.

There are a lot of free educational resources to enjoy

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