berries , Biodiversity , birds , Blogroll , Current Affairs , Gardening , Mistletoe , Science

Mistletoe seed and seedling monitoring

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A morning of mistletoe seed and seedling spotting around our garden – which already has (not surprisingly) multiple mistletoe plants, established over the last 20+ years.  There’s a mixture now of deliberate (man-made) and natural (bird-sown) plantings.  Many many more of the latter than you would normally expect as this garden has, when we used to trade mistletoe, been the storage space for much mistletoe cut from elsewhere, so has spawned many more new plants […]

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 […]

Biodiversity , Blogroll , Current Affairs , Media , Mistletoe , Science , social history , toxicity

The Journal of Ecology has a new, and long-planned, mistletoe paper

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There’s a new, multi-authored, mistletoe paper just published in Journal of Ecology, which has been years in the making! It’s part of the British Ecological Society’s long-running series ‘Biological Flora of the British Isles‘, in which every paper covers the biology and autecology of just one species.  In this case mistletoe, Viscum album.  You can read the promotional blog (How green is kissing under the mistletoe?) about it on the Journal website here, but don’t […]

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 , Current Affairs , medicine , Science , toxicity

Mistletoe and Markov

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How poisonous is mistletoe?  Every Christmas season this question is asked, and every season the accurate answer (most media doesn’t worry about that) is, “it depends…” It depends on which mistletoe you mean. In Britain and Europe the mistletoe used at Christmas is Viscum album which certainly contains some toxins – of which more in a moment.  In the US the mistletoe used at Christmas will be a species of Phoradendron, which also contains some […]

auctions , Blogroll , Current Affairs , Mistletoe , social history , Tenbury Wells

Badgers trading mistletoe in the 1860s

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Tenbury Wells may have the only specialist mistletoe market in Britain today but there were many others in the past. Almost every market town in the mistletoe-rich parts of Worcestershire and Herefordshire played a role at one time, particularly from the mid-nineteenth century onwards. The Victorian passion for the kissing custom combined with the new easy transport by railways led to a huge trade. To get a feel for the trade at that time it […]

auctions , berries , Blogroll , Current Affairs , Gardening , Media , Mistletoe , social history , Tenbury Wells

Masses of mistletoe at the first auction of 2022

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At Tenbury Wells yesterday, for the first of the two mistletoe auctions this year. Masses of mistletoe there, though less holly than usual. I was also left with the impression there were fewer buyers and sellers than normal, but that’s difficult to really judge. Most of the mistletoe was looking very fine, lots of berries and not much with yellowy leaves.  But there were several lots, more than usual, with under-ripe berries – i.e. not […]

auctions , Blogroll , Current Affairs , druids , Mistletoe , Mistletoe Day , Religion , Science , social history , Tenbury Wells

Tenbury Mistletoe Festival 2022

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It’s back! The Tenbury Wells Mistletoe Festival returns again this year, having missed a couple of years due to the pandemic. Founded back in 2004 (by the five members – I was one of them – of the original Tenbury English Mistletoe Enterprise) it focuses on the first Saturday in December – the official Mistletoe Day (so 3rd December this year). There are also, of course, the town’s mistletoe auctions, which are on 22nd and […]

berries , birds , Blogroll , Current Affairs , Gardening , Mistletoe , Science , social history

Wintertime is show time for mistletoe 

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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 […]

berries , Blogroll , Current Affairs , Gardening , Media , Science

Mistletoe Season 2022/23

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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 […]