berries , Biodiversity , birds , Blogroll , Current Affairs , Mistle Thrush , MistleGO , Mistletoe , Orchard , Science , social history , surveying mistletoe

MistleGO! A new mistletoe survey launched!

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A brand new mistletoe survey has just been launched by the Tree Council and Oxford University, as an app-based citizen science project to assess the state of mistletoe in Britain. Not just where is it, but what quantities exist. This is new, and exciting, as it will help determine what is happening with mistletoe here -it seems to be spreading more and faster, but we need a new study to assess this, and to create […]

Blogroll , Current Affairs , Mistletoe , Orchard

Return to Pentwyn, to see mistletoe plantings

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A visit to the small orchard at Gwent Wildlife Trust’s  Pentwyn Farm Nature Reserve, in Gwent, almost but not quite in the Wye valley (and not to be confused with Radnorshire Wildlife Trust’s Pentwyn Farm Nature Reserve in Radnorshire). Way back in February 2011 I led a mistletoe workshop here, during which we planted mistletoe seeds, from ripe berries, on some of the trees – that’s nearly 13 years ago now, so I wanted to […]

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 […]

Blogroll , Mistletoe , Orchard

Wotta Lotta Mistletoe

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Car included to give scale.  That really is a lot of mistletoe!  Some as big as the car. On poplars in Church Lane, Bentham, between Brockworth and Shurdingon on the A46 in Gloucestershire. It’s a location I’ve been to many times before, but this year those mistletoe growths really do look massive.  And unsustainable – at least some will probably break off in winter storms. I was in the area today to look at the […]

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 , Current Affairs , druids , Food and Drink , Gardening , Media , Mistletoe , Orchard , social history

Mistletoe and Orchards on ITV today

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Plenty of mistletoe mentions on ITV this morning – all within the 2 hour show Love Your Weekend with Alan Titchmarsh (on ITV Hub here).  Helped along a bit by Sir Cliff ‘Mistletoe and Wine‘ Richard being the main guest. Christmas swag-making featured about 30 minutes in – with plenty of mistletoe incorporated into a very long decoration.  Some good mentions of how sticky the berries are, and their need for light when germinating, but […]

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

The Mistletoe Boats

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Going through old trading accounts of mistletoe ( as I am today, compiling some figures for a research paper) I’m often surprised at the attention given to mistletoe imports, once acknowledged to be the main source of Christmas mistletoe in Britain.  Yes we do grow our own, and do still cut and sell our own, but there was once and probably still is a flourishing trade in imports, mainly from France. Newspaper coverage of these […]

berries , Blogroll , Current Affairs , Gardening , Mistletoe , Orchard , social history

Spring – mistletoe has nothing to do but grow…  

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April, in lockdown, and the main mistletoe action season is over – berries ripened (Nov/Dec/Jan), seeds planted (Feb/March), flowers over (Feb/March), pollination done (Feb/March). From now until next winter mistletoe has nothing to do but grow.  For the seedlings it’s a bit more challenging – they still have to link into their new host’s vascular system, but for a mature mistletoe there really isn’t anything else to do now.  Just grow new shoots and new […]

berries , Blogroll , Current Affairs , Media , Mistletoe , Orchard , Science , social history

Mistletoe trade – then and now

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Many of my mistletoe talks this season have had a history theme, looking back at mistletoe in days gone by – both ancient (myth, legend etc) and modern, describing how Christmas demand for mistletoe from the 19th century onwards made it a saleable product, not just a curious tree parasite. The trade in mistletoe grew and grew – built on the growing popularity of the kissing custom in the Victorian era and a desire, requirement […]