Have been out and about inspecting the mistletoe crop for 2009/10.
Looking mainly in apple orchards, as usual. In the north Worcestershire orchards I am, inevitably, distracted by the prolific crop on the damson trees in the adjoining hedgerows. Damsons are very characteristic of this area, and it's a good year for them – lots of them and very sweet. A very under-rated fruit. Every garden should have a damson tree.
I spend a long time sampling damsons and forgetting mistletoe. But today I am unprepared for damsons – and only have 2 small containers with me. If can resist eating the contents of these whilst driving home down the M5 we might even get some damson jam this year.
Today was really about assessing a few orchards for later this season, and collecting some fresh mistletoe to send to various clients, advertisers and photographers who are preparing Christmas publicity. These include TV programmes and interior design magazines as well as straightforward mistletoe retailers*.
Loads of berries again this year, but they're still not quite ripe. So instead of getting those pearlescent white berries so characteristic of Christmas, all these early publicity shots have to make do with pale green berries.
*(By the way, the mistletoe retailers I work with, TEME Mistletoe, are due to go live online for the new season this week – so the season really has begun now…).
Events listings for 2009 are now on the Mistletoe Pages website.
Principal public events are, as usual, the Mistletoe Auctions at Tenbury Wells (Tuesdays 24th November. 1st December and 8th December) and the wider Tenbury Mistletoe Festival – whose main activities take place on Saturday 5th December – aka National Mistletoe Day.
Plus the Druids' Mistletoe Foundation events and a few activities that I'm organising. I won't list all the details here – go to the Mistletoe Pages Events list for more info.
And also check out the Auctions website, the Mistletoe Foundation website and the Festival website. Note that the 2009 Mistletoe Festival is being organised by the Tenbury Events Committee and so final details may not be available on the old Festival website.
There's a rumour about that Galaxy Mistletoe Kisses (as featured previously and made by gnomes) are available in bags as well as bars this season.
I shall investigate…
Most people's Mistletoe Season lasts just a week or two at Christmas – though this extends to a couple of months for anyone involved in mistletoe harvest and trade. For me it is, sort of, continuous throughout the year – it just gets busier in winter.
This summer has seen a continual trickle of mistletoe enquiries – mostly from landowners about how to manage it and from photographers shooting Christmas promos for retailers. The latter can be very frustrating – as what they want is mature, white-berried mistletoe in er, July. And that's not just difficult, it's impossible. But a lot go ahead with immature sprigs anyway – I suspect that Adobe Photoshop helps…
And, in the last few weeks I've been working on mistletoe website updates – you can see initial results at the usual places – www.teme-mistletoe.co.uk and its allied sites, plus of course my own, never-quite-finished site at www.mistletoe.org.uk. The entry page for that is due to be entirely rebuilt soon, and all the missing bits in the Mistletoe Pages section – and all by the end of September (in theory!). Plus a new Mistletoe Design website – with cards, posters etc. And more on management advice etc. I suspect these may drift into October…
Plus there are are the media enquiries – I already have a backlog of queries from journalists working on monthly magazine articles (may already be too late for some of the December issues now) and from broadcast media planning mistletoe features for programmes later in the autumn or at Christmas. More on those another time…
But that's all background noise really. The main season only really begins with mistletoe events – and I did my first one of the season last night – with Holford Gardeners Group in Somerset.
A good friendly event – only slightly marred by the computer projector dying halfway through. This worried me, a lot, as that beast was not cheap to buy.
So I was relieved to discover, after normal service had been restored, that it was simply the lecky running out – it just needed another coin in the village hall meter.