berries , Biodiversity , birds , Blogroll , Current Affairs , Gardening , Mistletoe , Science

Mistletoe seed and seedling monitoring

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A morning of mistletoe seed and seedling spotting around our garden – which already has (not surprisingly) multiple mistletoe plants, established over the last 20+ years.  There’s a mixture now of deliberate (man-made) and natural (bird-sown) plantings.  Many many more of the latter than you would normally expect as this garden has, when we used to trade mistletoe, been the storage space for much mistletoe cut from elsewhere, so has spawned many more new plants […]

berries , Biodiversity , Food and Drink , Media , Mistletoe , Orchard

Mistletoe Management on BBC Countryfile

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We got a good 6 minutes on mistletoe management in neglected orchards on BBC Countryfile’s Christmas programme this year. The location at Moreton Valence, very close to me in Gloucestershire, was a rather neglected apple orchard which has far too much mistletoe in it, the normal balance from regular management having been lost some years, possibly decades, ago. Countryfile’s Adam Henson, a Gloucestershire farmer himself, joined me and my Gloucestershire Orchard Trust colleague Tim Andrews […]

auctions , berries , Biodiversity , Blogroll , Current Affairs , Mistle Thrush , Mistletoe , Orchard , Science , social history , Tenbury Wells

The ‘return’ of the kissing tradition (says the BBC)

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A fairly thorough mistletoe feature on prime time TV this week – 4 minutes of it on The One Show on BBC One on 8th December.  Richie Anderson, the voice of travel news on BBC R2, but more notorious this year as a flamboyant Strictly Come Dancing contestant, spent a day in north Worcestershire visiting the mistletoe-laden apple orchards at Commonwood Farm and the wholesale mistletoe auctions in Tenbury Wells.  The final edit must have […]

auctions , berries , Blogroll , Current Affairs , Gardening , Media , Mistletoe , social history , Tenbury Wells

Masses of mistletoe at the first auction of 2022

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At Tenbury Wells yesterday, for the first of the two mistletoe auctions this year. Masses of mistletoe there, though less holly than usual. I was also left with the impression there were fewer buyers and sellers than normal, but that’s difficult to really judge. Most of the mistletoe was looking very fine, lots of berries and not much with yellowy leaves.  But there were several lots, more than usual, with under-ripe berries – i.e. not […]

berries , birds , Blogroll , Current Affairs , Gardening , Mistletoe , Science , social history

Wintertime is show time for mistletoe 

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Mid November: Mistletoe berries are whitening up nicely now – and with every host tree’s leaves now nearly all fallen any mistletoe is becoming very obvious , if you’re lucky enough* to have some! This late autumn phenomenon, of mistletoe suddenly ‘appearing’ within the host (even though it’s been there all year long, obscured by host leaves) is a key part of the magic of mistletoe. It is indeed a very wintery plant, only conspicuous […]

berries , Blogroll , Current Affairs , Gardening , Media , Science

Mistletoe Season 2022/23

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It’s nearly that time again, mistletoe season. Berries are looking good, at least on the plants I’ve been examining, and, for those who want the usual sales info, there are two wholesale auctions at Tenbury Wells this season. On the 22nd and 29th November. Details of those here. The Tenbury Mistletoe Festival is also taking place. My activities this season will focus on management and propagation. Including continuing supplying mistletoe grow kits through the English […]

berries , Biodiversity , birds , Blogroll , Current Affairs , Gardening , Media , Mistletoe , Science , social history

Mistletoe in Britain – a review paper

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Almost the end of January, so it will soon be mistletoe flowering season and, of course, mistletoe seed germination season. That’s one of the many odd things about mistletoe – it flowers and germinates in late winter, the season when most plants are merely beginning to plan such energetic activities. If you’re interested in reading more about this and other odd mistletoe stuff there’s a new review, published just a month ago, in the journal […]

berries , Media , Mistletoe , social history

Mistletoe sales – a measure of economic recovery?

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US economic news organisation Marketplace visited the Tenbury Well Mistletoe Auctions a week or so ago, for a radio broadcast discussing whether mistletoe sales reflect post-covid economic recovery here in the UK. The general feeling at the auctions was upbeat, which is great – though bear in mind this was recorded just before the Omicron variant hit the news. Marketplace’s UK reporter Stephen Beard presents the piece, interviewing auctioneer Nick Champion, Festival organiser Diann Dowell […]

berries , Biodiversity , birds , Blogroll , Current Affairs , Mistletoe , Orchard , social history

Mistletoe at Longney, plus a wannabe Road Runner pheasant

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A quick wander round the orchards at Longney, south of Gloucester, today. These are the orchards managed by the Gloucestershire Orchard Trust – two old surviving orchards, called Long Tyning and Bollow and two newly planted orchards called, less excitingly, Middle and Lower. All adjoining the upper reaches of the tidal Severn. Today was primarily to see how the mistletoe there is faring – and what management might be needed this winter. Beautiful weather, unseasonably […]

berries , Biodiversity , birds , Current Affairs , Gardening , Mistletoe , Science

Can mistletoe save the honeyeater?

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The Regent Honeyeater, Anthochaera phrygia, an Australian bird, was once so common that its call was heard everywhere. Today, following much habitat loss over several decades, plus recent bushfires, it is endangered, with just a few hundred left. Indeed it is so rare that young males can no longer learn their mating calls, there being insufficient older males for them to learn from.  No mating call = no mating. Which makes a bad situation even […]