A very wet mistletoe week (plus media round-up 2012 #5)

Mistletoe Workshop, 22nd November

Lots of very wet mistletoe about this week and, at yesterday’s mistletoe management workshop in Herefordshire some very wet people too.

The workshop was a meeting hosted by Herefordshire Orchards Network of Excellence (HONE) to discuss mistletoe in general – and was attended by a great range of orchard growers – some who wanted to be rid of mistletoe and some who desperately wanted to grow more. Differing perspectives mainly based on where you’re from – the ones with too much were local (the workshop was at Westons Cider in Much Marcle, Herefordshire) and those with not enough were from Dorset. If you’re curious about mistletoe distribution have a look at the Mistletoe Pages info online, or download the new Mistletoe Matters Info Sheet.

HONE is/was a network project set up by the Bulmer Foundation in January 2011.  Funding ends next month so HONE is ending too, but it will be continuing in spirit through the “Cider & Perry Orchards Network of Excellence” – for details look at the new (last?) HONE newsletter that’s out today.

The wet weather, with plenty of local flooding in Herefordshire and Gloucestershire, made the workshop a little more challenging, and we dispensed with the practical stuff I had planned to cover outside (though we did have a brisk, wet and muddy walk round several orchards anyway). The conditions were stunningly atrocious when we packed up to go home – sheets of rain falling – but the roads weren’t too bad.  On Wednesday, the night before, it had taken 2.5 hours for me to travel to Hereford through flooded roads – arriving 5 minutes after my mistletoe talk was due to begin – and we thought we’d allowed plenty of time for what should have been a 1 hour journey.

Media interest has remained high this week – though even Rod Kirkpatrick, a freelance photographer who often takes mistletoe pics around this time of year, admitted defeat because of the weather on site yesterday – we had thought some pics of people up ladders pruning mistletoe would be good, even in the rain, but it was the wind that put paid to that plan – too dangerous to be up ladders in trees.

Broadcast media are getting interested now – I’ve spoken to BBC Herefs and Worcs and BBC Oxfordshire this week – both times to the ubiquitous Malcolm Boyden (does he have a show on every BBC local station?).  And Central TV were in Tenbury Wells yesterday, filming a feature that’s due out on midlands TV next Friday (30th Nov) – just in time to promote National Mistletoe Day on 1st December.

And I’m told there’s a letter in the Telegraph today rubbishing (quite rightly!) their silly story about mistletoe being scarce this season – though written by someone describing mistletoe in Bushey Park, Richmond, Surrey rather than mistletoe in orchards – so it doesn’t quite refute the original story as well as it might.  There’s a picture too – which, on info received so far, may well be of me – a long-shot of a bloke in blue coat harvesting  mistletoe from mature standard apples – sounds like a shot from a session at Eastham Park a few years ago – will see if I can get a copy.

And, in other news, the Mistletoe Matters Info Sheet set has progressed a little more – there’s nothing in them that the informed mistletoe enthusiast shouldn’t know already, but they are, hopefully, useful summaries and valuable for those seeking baseline information.  List below – live ones are, er, live – others not yet complete.