Mistletoe Market Miscellany

Definitely an action-packed mistletoe day today. (See pics posted below) Off to the Tenbury Wells Market, penultimate one of the season – and possibly ever. Interviews with BBC R4, news about the market’s future, general chat with buyers, meeting with Masaya (see yesterday) who’s driven over from Kew, and an unexpected meeting with Nick Wheeldon, mistletoe-propagator. Plus news about the new Tenbury Wells English Mistletoe and Holly Festival – launched by the Town Council. And news of a BBC TV News interest in the market etc.

Far too much for a quick blogging session. But here goes anyway (in summary – could write loads today):

Yes this was the penultimate mistletoe and holly auction – but the site has not been bought by a supermarket after all – it will be owned by William Chase, of Tyrrells Crisps – and that’s an entirely different situation. More on this in later blogs – but there could, just could, be some continuation on the site.

Nick Champion, the auctioneer, is determined that whilst this could be the end for the site – the auction will survive – even if it has to be in a field next year, he says. So there.

BBC R4 are there by arrangement – more details on what for and broadcast schedule later – but an interesting variety of interviews with Nick the auctioneer, several buyers, Nick the propagator, me, etc. Including an interlude in a mistletoe-rich orchard a few miles away on the Teme (selected by me earlier).

It’s Masaya’s first visit – and the sheer quantity of mistletoe must be a huge contrast to his seedlings at Kew – we discuss these, and the mysterious other mistletoe he has discovered there (see yesterday’s blog) – more on that soon…

Nick Wheeldon, the mistletoe grower of Lincolnshire, and author of Grow Your Own Mistletoe (available from www.mistle.co.uk) is here to buy some berried stock for his berry business. It’s the first time we’ve met (though we’ve emailed) and it’s good to meet at last – two mistletoe enthusiasts together – a rare event (three if you count Masaya – but I’ve lost him in the crowd and we don’t ever meet as a threesome).

Am surprised, and delighted, to be approached by a group (including one wearing mayoral chains) sporting mistletoe buttonholes and handing out a card announcing the launch of the Tenbury Wells English Mistletoe and Holly Festival. This is a local council initiative – the market is under threat, and the town is responding. This is part of their heritage – and they are THE centre for mistletoe. The Festival is a new idea, aiming to keep the market here in Tenbury, and to emphasise the town’s importance for mistletoe. I compare them to Goldthwaite, Texas – which claims to be the Mistletoe Capital of the USA and suggest they should claim similar for the UK. At present they are limited to crowning a ‘Mistletoe Queen’ – and seeking publicity for their cause, but I reckon they’re just in time, and will need to do a lot more for next season. More to follow on this….

Meanwhile, a BBC TV News story is simmering – more on this next week. But media today should be enough to be going on with – as well as Radio 4 there are photographers from the Telegraph and the Times – so watch out for their coverage soon – probably the weekend issues. And a reminder that BBC Gardeners World are due to cover the market this year – but using footage filmed last year – when the drama over the market was unknown. So when you watch the Gardener’s World piece over Christmas, reflect on how quickly news can get out of date…

Will post some photos from today below – scroll down to view… and click to enlarge.