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

Mistletoe in the media, so far, 2015

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  It’s been a surprisingly quiet year, so far, for mistletoe in the media. Though we still have nearly two weeks to go before Christmas, so there’s still plenty of time for more… Most of the coverage I’ve seen is in local papers. There have been the usual reports about the Tenbury Mistletoe Auctions and Festival in the regional and local press including the Shropshire Star, Western Morning News and Ludlow and Tenbury Wells Advertiser. Local TV covered […]

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

Too little mistletoe?

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It’s all very well talking about the ‘bumper crop’ and too much mistletoe if you’re in a mistletoe-rich area (i.e Herefordshire, Worcestershire, Gloucestershire, and Somerset) but most of the UK has very little mistletoe. So the situation across most of the country is, as usual, too little mistletoe. Why so much in some areas over others? It’s all to do with mistletoe’s preferred climate, which means it thrives and spreads naturally in key counties but […]

Current Affairs , Gardening , Mistletoe , Orchard , Science , social history

Too much mistletoe?

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Can you have too much mistletoe? I don’t mean hanging in the hallway – where garlands of the stuff might be needed if you’ve a high-maintenance kisser in the house. I mean in the tree, where it grows as a parasite. Can there be too much there? The answer of course (as I’ve said many times before in this blog) is that yes, a tree can have too much mistletoe, and if left unchecked both […]

Current Affairs , Gardening , Media , Mistletoe , social history

Mistletoe Auction, with guard cat

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First mistletoe auction of the year at Tenbury Wells today. Good to see some security staff on site keeping out any mistletoe rustlers. Their van said they had dogs, but the fiercest animal I saw patrolling the mistletoe lots was this cat. This, though it looked charming, was probably capable of playing rough. And judging by the mud covered paws, face and flank it had done so quite recently. A small Chihuahua type dog nearby shivered continually. When […]

Current Affairs , Mistletoe , social history

Missable Mistletoe Gadgets 2015 – the Drone

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Tacky and tasteless ornaments are a reliable feature of Christmas, and mistletoe-themed ones are often amongst the worst. This year we are being offered the mistletoe drone, a concept arguably started by TGI Friday last year when they had a version flying round their restaurants. TGI Friday’s promotion, by the way, was somewhat blighted when one of the drones crashed into a customer and sliced off part of her nose…  I hope this new model, marketed by […]

Current Affairs , Gardening , social history , Travel

The first of 2015’s Giant Mistletoes, but will it be the best?

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Giant, pendant, but fake (obviously) mistletoes seem to be turning into a tradition, at least amongst corporate marketing teams and street decorators. In recent years there have many examples of these giant decorations – some stunning works of art (e.g. at RHS Harlow Carr back in 2008), some remarkable eye-catchers (e.g. Heathrow Airport in 2013) and some just plain tasteless (e.g Melbourne’s glow in the dark decorations in 2013, which looked as if was made of […]

Current Affairs , Gardening , Mistle Thrush , Mistletoe , Orchard , social history , Travel

Not-so-wild but fairly western mistletoe

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How far west can mistletoe grow in Britain? The main population is in the south-west English Midlands, overlapping into eastern-most Wales in Monmouthshire. But despite this being western-ish (this is definitely west of Britain’s geographic centre) it is not really a western plant, being quite rare in Devon and Cornwall, and in the rest of Wales. There are a few isolated populations, here and there, but they can be hard to find. And those odd populations may […]

Current Affairs , Gardening , Mistletoe , Orchard , Religion , social history , Travel

All Mistletoe’s Eve?

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All Hallows’ Eve, and the mistletoe is ripening… Not that it’s got anything to do with Halloween of course, other than being a mysterious plant, a symbol of pagan tradition and a portent of the dark winter months. Which is, I s‘pose, quite a lot. But with November dawning tomorrow we’ll soon be right back into mistletoe season. So I think it’s fair to say this is Mistletoe’s Eve too. Actually, mistletoe season never quite […]

Biodiversity , Current Affairs , Mistletoe , Orchard , Science , social history

The Mistletoe that’s also a Christmas Tree

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Australia has many varieties of mistletoe, valuable for contributing (directly and indirectly) to local biodiversity and also well-known for their Mistletoe Birds which specialise in spreading mistletoe seeds. But the oddest (and biggest) of them all is the Western Australian Christmas Tree – yes, that’s a tree, and it really is called a Christmas Tree – which is one of the few mistletoe species that’s adapted to parasitize its host’s roots, not its branches. So Nuytsia floribunda, […]

Biodiversity , Mistletoe , Science , social history , Travel

Back to the First Contact (with parasitic plants – though not mistletoe)

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I went back in time, sort-of, last summer when I re-visited the scene of my First Contact – with parasitic plants, not aliens. But not mistletoe – this was a different parasite… Randan Wood, near Dodford in Worcestershire, was where I first saw Ivy Broomrape, Orobanche hederae, a root parasite of Ivy.  The occasion was sometime in the mid 1970s when I would have been about 14. The day was a little unusual – a […]