berries , Blogroll , Current Affairs , Gardening , Mistletoe , social history , stupidity , toxicity

Mistletoe nonsense 2023 #1: Ideal Home far from ideal

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Quite a lot of nonsense written about mistletoe again this season, I never cease to be amazed by how much mis-information there is out there. Though as Roy Vickery, a  plant-lore expert at the Natural History Museum once said in one of his books some years ago; ‘more nonsense has been written about mistletoe than any other plant’ so perhaps I shouldn’t be so surprised. Much of it relates to toxicity, confused understanding of differing […]

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

Missing mistletoe at Tenbury Auctions

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The first of the seasonal mistletoe auctions at Tenbury Wells was held on Tuesday this week (second one is next Tuesday, 28th Nov). It featured fewer mistletoe lots than I’ve ever seen at these auctions. I’ve been attending these annually for over 30 years, so it was a surprise, actually quite a shock. Many many holly lots, but very little mistletoe. It’s not completely clear why so little was there. One partial explanation may be […]

Blogroll , Current Affairs , druids , Food and Drink , Gardening , Mistletoe , Religion , Science , social history , toxicity

Locating Lindow Man

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Whilst in Cheshire last weekend, on non-mistletoe business in Wilmslow, we took the opportunity to visit Lindow Moss, the peatbog where the bog body known as Lindow Man (and also, sometimes, as plain Pete Marsh) was discovered in 1984. The discovery of some mistletoe material in his gut, and some of the over-fanciful interpretations of that, has been discussed by me in the diary before – see 2009 and 2011 – and I thought it […]

Blogroll , Current Affairs , Mistletoe , Orchard

Return to Pentwyn, to see mistletoe plantings

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A visit to the small orchard at Gwent Wildlife Trust’s  Pentwyn Farm Nature Reserve, in Gwent, almost but not quite in the Wye valley (and not to be confused with Radnorshire Wildlife Trust’s Pentwyn Farm Nature Reserve in Radnorshire). Way back in February 2011 I led a mistletoe workshop here, during which we planted mistletoe seeds, from ripe berries, on some of the trees – that’s nearly 13 years ago now, so I wanted to […]

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

Mistletoe germination

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End of March – the end of the mistletoe season for us, but the middle of the germination season for mistletoe seeds. Why the end for us? Well we spend much of February and March each year working with mistletoe, especially in neglected sites, and supplying mistletoe seeds and advice to those who want them.  The arrival of April is often a welcome break as mistletoe has dominated our lives since October! But for mistletoe […]

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 […]

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 […]