Mid November: Mistletoe berries are whitening up nicely now – and with every host tree’s leaves now nearly all fallen any mistletoe is becoming very obvious , if you’re lucky enough* to have some! This late autumn phenomenon, of mistletoe suddenly ‘appearing’ within the host (even though it’s been there all year long, obscured by host leaves) is a key part of the magic of mistletoe. It is indeed a very wintery plant, only conspicuous […]
Mistletoe Season 2022/23
It’s nearly that time again, mistletoe season. Berries are looking good, at least on the plants I’ve been examining, and, for those who want the usual sales info, there are two wholesale auctions at Tenbury Wells this season. On the 22nd and 29th November. Details of those here. The Tenbury Mistletoe Festival is also taking place. My activities this season will focus on management and propagation. Including continuing supplying mistletoe grow kits through the English […]
Mistletoe in Britain – a review paper
Almost the end of January, so it will soon be mistletoe flowering season and, of course, mistletoe seed germination season. That’s one of the many odd things about mistletoe – it flowers and germinates in late winter, the season when most plants are merely beginning to plan such energetic activities. If you’re interested in reading more about this and other odd mistletoe stuff there’s a new review, published just a month ago, in the journal […]
Are there Nargles in your mistletoe?
If you’re worried about Nargles in your mistletoe then you’ve probably been reading too much Harry Potter, for that’s the only world where they occur. If indeed they occur at all. Even in the Potter world the only evidence of their existence is from Luna Lovegood, a fellow Hogwarts student, who suggests they are mischievous beings who steal things. And often live in mistletoe. Her mistletoe remarks are made in Chapter 21 of Harry Potter […]
Mistletoe sales – a measure of economic recovery?
US economic news organisation Marketplace visited the Tenbury Well Mistletoe Auctions a week or so ago, for a radio broadcast discussing whether mistletoe sales reflect post-covid economic recovery here in the UK. The general feeling at the auctions was upbeat, which is great – though bear in mind this was recorded just before the Omicron variant hit the news. Marketplace’s UK reporter Stephen Beard presents the piece, interviewing auctioneer Nick Champion, Festival organiser Diann Dowell […]
Mistletoe at Longney, plus a wannabe Road Runner pheasant
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 […]
The innocence of H1N1 and mistletoe
Discussing the mistletoe kissing crisis with a reporter recently I recalled the ‘Kissing Etiquette’ devised by Debretts, in conjunction with the Tenbury Mistletoe Festival, back in 2009. That was in the winter of the H1N1 Swine Flu Pandemic – a time that seems so innocent now. As does the kissing advice of the day – which was, basically, that kissing on the cheeks is more hygienic that on the mouth. Which is very probably true. […]
Can mistletoe save the honeyeater?
The Regent Honeyeater, Anthochaera phrygia, an Australian bird, was once so common that its call was heard everywhere. Today, following much habitat loss over several decades, plus recent bushfires, it is endangered, with just a few hundred left. Indeed it is so rare that young males can no longer learn their mating calls, there being insufficient older males for them to learn from. No mating call = no mating. Which makes a bad situation even […]
Dodgy Mistletoe Spin-offs 1957: Tony Hancock, sub-Druid 476
Ok, this isn’t a 2021 mistletoe spin-off, it’s a January 1957 one, but re-broadcast on BBC Radio 4 Extra yesterday (8th December 2021). In this episode of Hancock’s Half Hour, the thirteenth in the fourth series, the lad himself (Tony H) is spooked by the unlucky number 13 (he is triskaidekaphobic) and takes to his bed, refusing to take part. He explains he’s from a suspicious part of the world (Birmingham!) and is afraid ‘the […]
Dodgy Mistletoe Spin-offs 2021 #1 The Smooching Sweater
The first of a few rather tasteless mistletoe-themed things for this season. Thankfully it’s too late to get this one – the Smooching Sweater – now, so there’s no need to worry. Unless someone managed to get you one for Christmas. Each sweater had to be won though – you couldn’t just buy one. The competition closed at the end of November, so they may already be collectibles. And it was US-based, not here in […]