Current Affairs , Mistletoe , social history

The Mistletoe Rustlers

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Mistletoe rustling is, even today, rife at this time of year – but it was once much more common. The huge popularity of mistletoe from the mid 19th to mid 20th centuries gave it a rather higher financial value than it has today. In 2012 I posted a newspaper cutting about one theft, in 1887, and since then I’ve come across many dozens of others, from the 1860s onwards. Here are a few examples – which […]

Current Affairs , Mistletoe , Orchard , Science

Mistletoe harvesting in the press

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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 […]

Biodiversity , Current Affairs , Mistletoe , Orchard , Science

Mistletoe Auctions 2014

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The second of Tenbury Wells’ traditional three mistletoe auctions took place earlier today. At a new venue this year – Burford House Garden Store, just down the road from Tenbury itself. A refreshing change from the uninspiring windswept sites that have hosted the auctions in recent years – so well done to auctioneer Nick Champion getting the site agreed and to Burford House for allowing it. I just wish Nick would signpost the sales as […]

Biodiversity , Current Affairs , Food and Drink , Mistletoe , Religion , Science

Mistletoe Drones – silly and serious

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Today sees the first of the 2014 Tenbury Mistletoe Auctions – and I’m unable to be there. So instead here’s a story (two stories actually – a serious one and a silly one) about mistletoe drones. The Mistletoe Diary has covered mistletoe drone stories before, notably last year when some ‘interactive artists’ deployed a mistletoe-bearing drone in Union Square, San Francisco. This year reports of similar initiatives are coming in from all over the place. This […]

Current Affairs , Food and Drink , Mistletoe , Science , Travel

Mistletoe, Good Luck and War

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Earlier this month I contributed to a local WW1 exhibition with some documents and correspondence relating to my Great Uncle Clifford, who died in July 1918 as a Prisoner of War. He shipped to France on 2nd April and was immediately sent to serve in the trenches but on 27th May, after just 8 weeks at war, he was captured. Several official ‘I am a Prisoner of War’ postcards were sent home and a longer […]

Biodiversity , Current Affairs , Mistletoe , Orchard , Science , Travel

Mistletoe website, auction and survey news

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Running late on so many mistletoe matters this season. And hardly had time for blog updates. So here are a few bits and pieces of info, just to get things moving and answer some questions: Mistletoe crop 2014 – looking good, lots of berries. And, for all those journos who insist on writing silly stories about a berry glut (or shortage, if doom’n’gloom is your forte) being due to a hot/cold, dry/wet, winter/spring/summer/autumn (take a […]

Biodiversity , Current Affairs , Mistletoe , Orchard , Science

New season mistletoe – loaded with berries

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New season mistletoe looking good. Lots of berries – again… We seem to have several good berry seasons in a row. This year they’re even turning white early – with some almost fully white (though not yet translucent) already. That fits with other fruiting trends this season – many other plants’ fruits and berries ripened early too. The mistletoe berries aren’t all green though – plants still in shade still have solidly green berries. Our […]

Biodiversity , Current Affairs , Mistletoe , Religion , Science

Oh no, it’s mistletoe season again!

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Mistletoe season is looming ever larger. Again. And despite it happening this time every year, I do feel it’s taken me a little by surprise this season. Lots still to do and to plan. Including reporting on current mistletoe matters here. This season I’m planning to; re-launch the Mistletoe League project, making a clearer distinction between the management survey and the fruit varietal preference survey (if you don’t know what that’s all about, visit british.mistletoe.org.uk). […]

Biodiversity , Mistletoe , Orchard , Science , Uncategorized

Mistletoe problems in western orchards – getting worse?

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The issue of ‘too much mistletoe’ has been on my mind again recently – helped along by email correspondence from Gillian Bulmer, who owns orchards at Little Breinton, Hereford and by a recent letter to the Hereford Times by Chris Fairs, formerly of Bulmers cider and an expert on orchard tree management. The issue is one I’ve raised many times before – though it is often difficult to get the concept across, especially to the […]

Biodiversity , Blogroll , Mistle Thrush , Mistletoe , Orchard , Science

Fallen mistletoe – good enough to eat!

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Last week’s storms brought down yet more mistletoe-laden trees in our local orchards, and I went to look at a few in yesterday’s sunshine. None of the casualties were a surprise – they were all old, neglected apple trees, with far too much mistletoe on them for long-term survival. The storms have (probably) just accelerated some already inevitable deaths. Nevertheless it is always upsetting to see these trees down, especially in the location pictured here, […]