Slime molds are one of those mysterious groups of microorganisms that inhabit our gardens. Like mushrooms, slime mold erupt suddenly, and although they're often beautiful, their emergence is also quite puzzling.

What mycologists say about mushrooms can also apply to slime molds like this. That is, no matter how much we think we know about mushrooms we will still always be faced with two questions at each sighting: "Why is that here in this place?" And, "Why is it here now?"

We bow to their learned resignation, accepting also that learning about the activity of garden microorganisms is a subset of gardening that could involve many lifetimes. We'll enjoy the mental challenge even when the manifestation is not so pretty as this.

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