This Week’s Guest Blogger is Andy Lopez owns ‘The Invisible Gardener’ and Radio Talk Show Host of ‘Don’t Panic! It’s Organic!’ at BBS Radio

The Mycelium Intelligence

Chain of Life

We all understand the concept of The Chain of Life. We usually think about how one creature eats another animal which then gets eaten by another creature, which in turn gets eaten by another, until we get to us. We are at the top of the chain, or are we?

We understood that, but did you ever think as to the beginning of the chain? The start of the chain of Life starts with the fungi, bacteria, and protozoa. These are the real Master Gardeners of our planet. As I mentioned before, they have been at this for a very long time, much longer than we have. Their Gardening skills are honed to perfection. All living things depend upon the Mycelium, and its ability to recycle the essential minerals and resources needed for healthy growth.

As a kid, I was always interested in these mushrooms that would pop up almost everywhere. I noticed that after rain, they would appear overnight. Several times, I would sit and watch. Over a few hours, they would be fully grown and right in front of my eyes.

Beautiful. I am not talking about magic mushrooms (this is another story), but of the many varieties that grow in the lawn, in your garden, in the forest. It is these workers that take the minerals and other essential nutrients and convert them into an assimilable nutrient rich in minerals.

As I mentioned before, plants learned that they are better at growing if they grow with their roots intertwined with the Mycelium than if they tried it on their own. As a matter of fact, eventually, all plants evolved so that Mycelium grew in the root hairs of their roots. This became a particular type of Mycelium that is working for the plant, taking the nutrients from the Mycelium Colony and passing it on to the plants. While plants can grow in soil without Mycelium (plants produce the proper waste that helps Mycelium grow), they will use their roots to locate the underground Mycelium colony and make a connection. They plug into the conscious mind of the Mycelium. The Mycelium will then expand its web weave to include the plant! The plant communicates with the Mycelium Mind, and they exchange information. What does the Mycelium get from this relationship? When the plant dies, it will become food for the Mycelium. It will digest and return all the minerals and recycle it back to itself as food, and it also feeds others.

The Mycelium have evolved to farm for their “food source” plants and indirectly insects as well as animals and even humans. Anything that dies and is returned to the earth becomes food for the microbial life.

Mycelium has been around for hundreds of millions of years. They have evolved into a very efficient organism. They can communicate within all of the intertwined roots of plants. They communicate with trees through this network. Trees communicate with each other through this network. Insects and animals are attracted to these areas. Insects will eat other insects especially if the bugs are getting mineral-rich food sources. Animals, in turn, are attracted to other mineral rich animals and plants. Lots of animals only eat plants (mineral rich), and they are prime food for animals to eat them and get the minerals. Whatever dies will be eaten by the fungi.

It’s Alive is the name of one of my radio shows. I started this show way back in 1984 when I first moved to Malibu. In it, I try to express to folks how important this hidden life is. The top soil is the “skin” of the Mycelium. Just as the skin of animals, humans, insects, etc., acts as an interface between the inside and the outside of our bodies, so too does top soil act as an interface between plants, animals, insects, everything!

Plants have deep roots as well as deep roaming roots. They seek Mycelium and Mycelium seeks these roots. There is a definite interaction between the Mycelium and the roots of the plant. As the plant grows, its roots encounter this Mycelium which almost immediately starts to provide nourishment and communication with other plants directly through this network.

Humans, Plants, and Mycelium bacteria have evolved together over the millions of years and have developed many ways of communication with each other. Yes, humans can communicate too with this Mycelium. Together, they provide for each other. The key to healthy life is minerals. Lacking one or more minerals will eventually cause big problems, leading to an unhealthy state. This is not just true for plants but all living things especially trees and animals and humans. Whether plant, insect, animal, or human, being unhealthy is a magnet for pests and diseases.

The Mycelium of the world is one living being

The Mycelium of the world is one living being and is responsible for many things of which the growth of mushrooms is one. Mushrooms digest minerals found in decaying insects, plants, animals (and humans) and convert it to usable forms-which the plants can assimilate and we, in turn, can also assimilate.

You are what you eat is the old saying. The fungi eat the minerals, which is consumed by the plants, which are then eaten by the animals which in turn is eaten by us. Humans also eat the plants directly. These fungi will also eat and convert into the proper minerals (anything that dies and encounters the “skin”) of the Mycelium. In essence we are Mycelium.

Thus, the Mycelium is the very start and end of the food chain. Now how cool is that? I often talk about how we are damaging and disrupting the top soil. By damaging and or removing this “skin,” we are destroying the Mycelium and this in turn hurts everything else. The Mycelium is an important ally in the climate change war, one that we cannot ignore. So, it is very important to protect our top soil and in turn protect this amazing organism.

to find out more about Andy Lopez and his opinions visit his website where you can download his ebook or if you have any questions listen to his radio show or email him at

This Week’s Guest Blogger is Anthony Carroll MCIHort CMTGG, Consultant Horticulturist at Hortic Ant

I am delighted to introduce myself to you, I am Anthony Carroll and I am Head of Horticulture at Alisco Projects and a freelance consultant horticulturist at #HorticAnt.

From a young age, I was interested in gardening and wanted to pursue this as a career.  During the school holidays I would always carry out some activity in the garden, especially
in the mornings while listening to the birds sing.

Once I had left school, I was delighted to be accepted at Brackenhurst College in Nottinghamshire to study Horticulture.

After completing my studies in the year 2000 I started my career as an Assistant Gardener and soon progressed to become Head Gardener. However, my ambition was to own a
horticultural company, so I left my position as Head Gardener in 2005 and proceeded to run my own business.

In 2017 I was delighted to be asked to become a judge and assessor for The Royal Horticultural Society as part of their Green Plan It course.

I was delighted to be awarded full membership of the Chartered Institute of Horticulture, The Professional Gardeners Guild and I am also a Consultant Member to The Gardeners Guild.

Horticultural science and therapeutic horticulture is a huge part of my life. I am passionate in promoting and improving the world of horticulture by influencing people of all ages and abilities, to celebrate this wonderful science.

I am now in my twentieth year within the industry and have been privileged to work in many different types of horticultural settings, such as ‘high end’ private gardens, Schools and HM Prison Service. I have also worked with people suffering from mental health issues. My aim is to promote horticulture so that everyone will be able to reap the benefits of this science.

With the wealth of experience I now have, I am inspiring children to be interested in horticulture. I believe this is an incredibly rewarding subject, as it encourages physical motivation, scientific and mathematical challenges and creativity, while being also
extremely beneficial for mental wellbeing.

During my years in horticulture, I have accumulated many ‘favourite’ herbaceous perennials, trees and shrubs. However to isolate one particular favourite of mine, I would have to choose Amelanchier lamarckii or June Berry Tree. It features snow white flowers and bronzed leaves, edible berries and a fantastic autumn leaf colour.

Nowadays we are encouraged to be aware of the state of the planet, so this year for birthday or anniversaries why not ask for a tree, especially an Amelanchier lamarckii, which is good for a medium size gardens. It can also grow in a container for a few years.  This would be a lovely gift for you but also for the climate as well. Remember, trees are the ‘lungs of the earth’.

Having experienced every season for many years in the garden, my favourite season is winter as you can see the true forms of the individual shrubs. A winter garden can be so magical on a lovely crisp frosty morning.

This Week’s Guest Blogger is Kelly-Jane Leach

Why gardening?

When I was asked to write a blog for Gardening for Disabled Trust, I admit that so many ideas were going through my head. I could write about the current season, my favourite thing to grow or what I suffer with and my struggles with gardening. However, after talking to a few friends about where to start, I decided that it’s not really about what I grow, but why.

My abilities can vary from day to day. It’s a lottery. So why would I continue to carry on lifestyle and hobby that’s so physically exhausting? It’s a question that I am asked a lot and it’s pretty frustrating because it’s always said by non-gardeners in a derogatory manner.

There are other sides to gardening than plonking seeds in a pot and waiting for them to grow. You’d think that gardening would lead to a solitary lifestyle and some tree hugging here and there but it’s deeper than that. It becomes part of your values in life. You realise your plants are important because life is important. It gives you purpose, meaning and a sense of achievement.

I have an allotment in Hertfordshire and the best piece of advice I was ever given was to listen and respect those who had been there a long time. Yes, we all have our own way of doing things but there I was with a new born baby, one gardening fork and one spade which were both donated, and a huge pile of weeds which had been unattended for around three years. I needed help. It’s overwhelming at first but the first thing you learn about any kind of gardening is that patience is your friend. A skill that is easily transferred into your day to day life, and one that has helped me immensely.

My family, friends and plot neighbours helped me get set up and for that I am forever thankful as I wouldn’t be where I am and who I am today. I have no importance on this Earth whatsoever but I now provide for my family in a way I felt like I failed to by becoming unwell. It’s not always about constantly digging all the time. I’d never even used a power tool but there I was last week using my plot neighbour’s circular saw to cut timber.

I grow because I love to provide my friends and family something they couldn’t buy in the supermarket. Most of the people I know have never heard of a cucamelon or borage and when I can whack that in a G&T when they come to mine, they’re forever fascinated I grew it and I knew what to do with it and it always strikes conversation. I am completely self-taught at this point however my absolute love for it has made me want to pursue this further and see where it goes. I have no plans or specialties; I just know that when someone asks me how to grow something or asks for my advice, it fills my heart with more joy and love for this world than ever before as someone else wants to start putting seeds into the rapidly deteriorating earth that needs us more than ever before to restore it.

I have communicated and met with a large number of amateur and professional gardeners through socialising. Whether that be social media or through the allotment itself but gardening has no bias. It doesn’t judge you; it doesn’t expect anything from you. You do what you can within your own abilities. Disability or not – we all have our physical limits. Age, gender, sexuality, race, ability – whatever it is – there’s absolutely no bias.

Over just a few years, I am becoming greener, more environmentally aware, I’ve reduced my waste and make sure I avoid products that are non-recyclable, I’ve met friends who are all different and are the best and most welcoming people I know. I like to think that I now provide a little more for wildlife whether it’s planting edible flowers I know a myriad of insects and bees will enjoy but are also edible for me too if I decide. You get to watch beautiful wildlife and also battle with it. The birds eat my currants every year and somehow, they find a way.

It’s not just about growing food. It’s a social life or the sanity to you need. It’s fresh air, nature, unbiased friends and a community. You make gardening what you want it to be. If you want to grow show onions or giant pumpkins then do it! Do what you can within your own abilities which is very easy to say and hard to put into practice. It won’t come overnight but I can guarantee you that it will be with you forever and be life changing. From planting cress in an eggshell to planting your first tomatoes; they’re not too dissimilar. It’s not just about growing my own food anymore. It’s not really about providing. It’s about producing food I can’t buy, meeting other human beings without judgement, the community you create because of it, the wildlife and the robin that always visits you when you’re digging, the sense of purpose and self-achievement, and finally, you just being you. And that is the part that matters most.

This Week’s Guest Blogger is Anthony Henn a Director at Garden on a Roll – Designer Garden Borders Delivered to your Door


Our garden project for Jonathan Coggan Paralympian rugby player

One of the main challenges for a garden designer is that you must always consider the needs of the client first then create the best design possible around these requirements. I want my gardens to be a sanctuary for people and wildlife but of course be practical too.

When I was asked to help design and build a wheelchair accessible garden for Jonathan Coggan, I wanted it to look like a wonderful garden but also be totally wheelchair friendly, as I believe a garden should also work for friends and family who come to visit. This philosophy makes even more sense when selling the property as it should appeal to all potential buyers.

The Brief:

  • Easy maintenance
  • Wheelchair accessible
  • Raised beds for Herbs and Veg
  • Colourful borders
  • Wildlife-friendly
  • Large patio areas for entertaining
  • Hot tub

The design:

I wanted to create a free-flowing design with lots of paths and access around the space. The positioning of the raised beds for veg and herbs was important as they needed to be sited in a sunny spot but look nice too.

The patio areas needed to be generous, ideally with some spots in the sun others in shade. The Hot Tub was a requirement so we found a location that felt right and was private, this was sunk into the new terrace for easy access.

The results:

The garden took approximately 6 weeks to complete including relaying the existing main lawn and creating the artificial grass lawn around the existing trees.