There was an impressive feature in Saturday’s Telegraph on mistletoe harvesting, focussing on Guy and Jacqui Neath, who have a long-established business in Abberley (near Tenbury) supplying supermarkets with mistletoe. Their big customer this season is Marks & Spencer but they do supply many others. It’s not the first time they’ve featured in the press (they even appeared in comic strip form in Waitrose’s magazine a few years ago) but I thought this was a surprisingly good piece – I hope they’re pleased with it, I would be.
And, for a weekend supplement feature, it was reassuringly accurate, apart from a rubbish example of a mistletoe haustorium (host-parasite interface) and a rather odd explanation of how mistletoe establishes (cracks are not necessary, neither is an older tree), covering the madness (for mistletoe retailers) of the Christmas rush of orders and the benefit, to the orchard trees, of the harvest, effectively helping to save mistletoe infested trees.
Talking of which, the Mistletoe League Project, aiming to gather information on just this mistletoe management issue, is still undergoing a bit of a re-vamp, but I hope to have some news on that very soon. The old website at www.british.mistletoe.org.uk is due to disappear any time now, having been replaced by a wizzier new one.
Going back to that Telegraph feature it was, despite being huge, a little hard to spot, deep inside the Gardening supplement. The Telegraph readers I know hadn’t even seen it until I told them about it. So, if you want to read it I’ve pasted it in below. Note the interesting tips (with upturned wine glasses) on using mistletoe in table decorations. Click the images to open larger versions as a slide show.