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 […]

berries , Mistletoe , Orchard

Whitening up nicely

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Some pictures of mistletoe in Gloucestershire Orchard Trust‘s orchards at Longney, near Gloucester, taken this afternoon. The berries, as you can see, are beginning to whiten up now – still very opaque and with a hint of green, but it won’t be long now until we get the full white berry effect. Most pics are from the apple trees, some still bearing apples, but the last few are of mistletoe in the riverside poplar on […]

Biodiversity , Blogroll , Current Affairs , Mistletoe , Orchard , Science

Does the Mistletoe Weevil have its own parasite?

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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 […]

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

Mistletoe ‘crop’ 2018 – looking good, ripening early?

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Almost November, so time to look at how mistletoe is looking for Christmas this year. And, again (this is several years in a row now) it’s looking fairly good.  The female plants I’ve looked at are festooned with berries and it would seem we have yet another ‘bumper crop’. Of course it’s not a crop, not in the conventional sense of something grown for harvest, as most simply grows where it wants to and isn’t actively […]

Blogroll , Current Affairs , Gardening , Media , Mistle Thrush , Mistletoe , Orchard , Religion , social history

Radio Gloucestershire, despite the snow

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I was talking mistletoe, and mistletoe Grow-Kits, with Kate Clark from Radio Gloucestershire this morning. In the studio in Gloucester, despite the snow. Can’t add audio direct to the blog but click the link below to go an extract of the mistletoe bit: http://mistletoe.org.uk/audio/BBCGlos10thDec2017.mp3?_=1 Or, for the whole programme try iplayer here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p001y3bx/episodes/player And for Grow-Kits themselves try here:  https://englishmistletoeshop.co.uk or here: http://growmistletoe.co.uk

Blogroll , Current Affairs , Doctor Who , Media , Mistletoe , Orchard , social history , Travel

A wander around in the nucleus of mistletoe country

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Berkeley Power Station, the UK’s first commercial nuclear power plant, sits on the edge of the River Severn in Gloucestershire. Opened in 1962 and closed in 1989 it still dominates the area, though it is now in advanced stages of decommission. And it is surrounded by mistletoe, as this is the nucleus (geddit??) of UK mistletoe country. Its sister Oldbury (operating 1967-2012, famous for featuring in Blake’s 7 and Doctor Who episodes) is visible a little […]