You may not expect to see them in your yard, but that doesn’t mean you’ve got trouble. The opposite, in fact.

They appear spontaneously, or so it seems, popping up out of the mulch, rising in a single spot on the lawn or bursting from between the pathway pavers like little marshmallows. But there is an intricate master plan at work, just not one to which most gardeners are privy.

What are the mushrooms in our gardens trying to tell us — and would you be surprised to learn it’s mostly good news?

“Without the fungi we wouldn’t have soil, at least not the way we know it now,” said John Michelotti, of Catskill Fungi in Big Indian, N.Y., a family farm on land his great-great-grandfather bought, where Mr. Michelotti spent his childhood summers. “Their filamentous underground mycelia are essential for the nutrient cycling and balance of our soils, plants, microbial life — and ecosystems as a whole.”

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