A good turn out of both people and mistletoe lots for today’s mistletoe auction at Tenbury Wells. Mistletoe looking good, lots of berries, again, though perhaps not quite as plump as some previous years. A few lots had yellower leaves – which won’t fetch as good a price as the greener stuff. But there were masses of nice green stuff too. Some lively bidding for lovely mistletoe! Only two auctions this year – the second […]
Not a mistletoe#1: not even a parasite
(the first of some blogs about mistletoe-themed plants) The distinctive geometric branching of Viscum album, the classic mistletoe of legend, is one of its most distinguishing features. Each branch bifurcates once a year, creating an intricate pattern. Not all mistletoes have this property – for example the Phoradendron species used at Christmas in the US don’t – they look really quite ordinary, not like the European plant at all. But a few other plants do […]
Is a Mistletoe Market about mistletoe?
Or just a generic Christmassy-themed retail-fest? The phrase Mistletoe Market is fairly uncommon here in the UK – the mistletoe auctions at Tenbury Wells are sometimes called this, but not often. We also have a few Mistletoe Fairs – some more mistletoey than others (of which more in another post soon) – but we have few events formally called a Mistletoe Market. But cross the atlantic and the US is brimming with ‘mistletoe markets’, some […]
The Spectacled Flowerpecker – a new bird that likes mistletoe
Ten years ago, deep in the Borneo rainforest, a new species of bird was spotted feeding on berries from one of the local mistletoe species. Small, grey but quite pretty it was given the name Spectacled Flowerpecker – but not, at the time, a formal scientific name because that needs formal examination and description – which means a bird in the hand, not in the bush. The preliminary announcements about it in 2010 hailed it […]
Missing mistletoe? It’ll be back soon!
Yes, it’s almost that time again, the mistletoe season. Indeed my first mistletoe gig this autumn is less than 2 weeks away, so I need to get back into mistletoe mode very soon. Here, for starters, are some diary dates for Tenbury Wells. Only two auctions this year – on the mornings of Tuesday 26th November and 3rd December – details at https://nickchampion.co.uk/auctions/holly-and-mistletoe/ The main Festival Day, complete with Druid Ceremony is on Saturday 7th […]
Mistletoe auction reports – for those who like figures
Very busy with mistletoe stuff this season – I’ve got loads of things to blog about but am having a bit of difficulty finding the time… I usually post a summary of the wholesale mistletoe prices at the Tenbury Wells Auctions – so here, for the record, are this year’s figures, taken from Nick Champion’s reports: Tuesday 27th November 2018 Mistletoe 1st Quality to £3.00 per kg to average £1.75 Mistletoe 2nd Quality to £1.00 […]
Bee-lieving in mistletoe berries
Mistletoe berries need bees – a fact that’s often overlooked when people talk about the ‘crop’. They interpret berry numbers as being a function of the recent summer or autumn weather, and barely give a thought to their real origin – from flowers that need to be pollinated. Flowers that open in February. And need to be pollinated by insects – bees especially. It’s the amount of pollination that determines the number of berries – […]
The Kissing Tree – a mistletoe book for children
As part of the Tenbury Wells Mistletoe Festival 2018 a new children’s book, The Kissing Tree, has been published, written by local author Helen Wendy Cooper. It is part of the Tenbury Mistletoe Association’s promotions this season. The story centres on Jack the Jackdaw who is searching for the perfect tree for mistletoe to grow on – but is thwarted by a Robin that eats all his mistletoe berries. An imaginative and educational book for […]
Does the Mistletoe Weevil have its own parasite?
In previous years I’ve reported on the 6 mistletoe insects we have in Britain – and how we know very little about them. Indeed 2 of the 6 were only discovered here in the years since 2000 and the distribution and biology of all 6 are hardly known. But all are definitely tied to mistletoe, as they eat nothing else (except the Anthocoris bug, which eats the others). The six are: a moth Celypha woodiana (the […]
Mistletoe harvesting underway – everywhere…
The first of this season’s mistletoe auctions is happening on Tuesday morning – and I’m guessing that a lot of stock has already arrived on site, with more coming tomorrow. This is ‘proper’ traditional mistletoe, gathered from the old apple orchards across Herefordshire, Worcestershire and Gloucestershire. If you want to attend you’ll need to be at Burford House Garden Stores, Burford, Tenbury Wells, WR15 8HQ on Tuesday morning. And you’ll have another chance on the […]