Jonathan's Mistletoe Diary

November 27, 2017

A wander around in the nucleus of mistletoe country

Filed under: Blogroll,Current Affairs,Doctor Who,Media,Mistletoe,Orchard,social history,Travel — Jonathan Briggs @ 9:25 pm

Mistletoe Berries, almost ‘glowing’ in the winter sun.

Berkeley Power Station, the UK’s first commercial nuclear power plant, sits on the edge of the River Severn in Gloucestershire. Opened in 1962 and closed in 1989 it still dominates the area, though it is now in advanced stages of decommission. And it is surrounded by mistletoe, as this is the nucleus (geddit??) of UK mistletoe country.

Its sister Oldbury (operating 1967-2012, famous for featuring in Blake’s 7 and Doctor Who episodes) is visible a little further down river. Hinckley Point A (1965-2000)  & B (1976 to date) are well over the horizon to the south, as is the controversial part-built Hinckley Point C (20??- )

Berkeley Castle, just up the road, is at the opposite extreme of modernity, lived in by the same family since the 12th Century.

But back to the mistletoe – this is the Severn Vale, home of most of Gloucestershire’s mistletoe, growing in old orchards, parkland lime trees and riverside poplars – as well as lots of other habitats and hosts.  And, last Saturday, we took advantage of a sunny day (merging effortlessly into grey rain later) to walk a circuit from Bevington, just south of Berkeley town, along the high ridge of Whitcliff Deer Park, into Berkeley town, out onto the riverside at the Power Station and along the floodwall before turning back inland.

At first, not much mistletoe –the southern end of Whitcliff Park is planted with Beech and Oak, neither particularly good for mistletoe. But further north there is the inevitable line of Lime trees, typical of English Parkland and festooned with mistletoe.  Further on, in the vale itself there is a glorious excess of mistletoe on many of the road and streamside (aka drainage ditch-side) Poplars with yet more out by the Power Station site.  It makes for some interesting landscapes.  Nothing to do with the Power Station, obviously, but did berries glow in the winter sun more than usual?

Some pictures, some with captions, below…

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Lastly, some mistletoe links – for general mistletoe info visit the Mistletoe Pages website.

And for mistletoe books, cards or kits to grow your own glowing berries visit the English Mistletoe Shop website:

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November 19, 2017

Mistletoe Diary 2017 season

Filed under: Current Affairs,Gardening,Media,Mistletoe,Science,social history — Jonathan Briggs @ 10:39 pm

Not long now until the first mistletoe trading of the season and yes, the plants are looking good yet again!  That’s several years in a row now. Perhaps a bit more variable this season but here are some quick snapshots (click to enlarge them) I took of mistletoe in my mother’s garden earlier today – good material, albeit a little out of reach.

And some nicely offset by holly, though only a male tree so no holly berries. It’s the best mistletoe she’s ever had in this particular apple tree (she did have a lot in another, smaller, tree a few years ago but that one succumbed, unfortunately, to a surfeit of mistletoe.  If only she’d known someone who could have given some management advice. Oh wait…).

Mistletoe Diary this season will be covering the full range of mistletoe stories, especially the weirder ones. Planned content includes the a family mistletoe tradition gift box, complete with sprig of, er, plastic mistletoe, the question of whether hanging up a plastic model of a KFC chicken basket could have the same effect as mistletoe, how best to use the Yellow Pages in a mistletoe encounter, the hazards of dwarf mistletoes in woodland ecosystems and a review of birdlime – a sticky mistletoe by-product of yesteryear used to ensnare birds, kill soldiers and which features, oddly, in literature ranging from Aesop to C. Day Lewis.

And anything else which happens to come along in the next few weeks.

In the meantime, if you’re interested in mistletoe in general visit the Mistletoe Pages website and if you’re after mistletoe books, cards or grow-kits have a look at the English Mistletoe Shop website:

 

November 3, 2017

Tenbury’s Mistletoe Events 2017

Filed under: Current Affairs,Media,Mistletoe,social history — Jonathan Briggs @ 2:50 pm

No berries on this specimen, but that’s because it is a male plant. A picture taken on the Severn Estuary yesterday, mistletoe on hawthorn in the foreground, old Severn Bridge (hardly contrasting against the sky) behind.

November already, and about time I started adding more to the blog.  So, to kick off, here’s a summary of the key mistletoey dates for Tenbury Wells this year:

Tenbury Wells Mistletoe Auctions 2017: 

  • Tuesday 28th November
  • Tuesday 5th December
  • Tuesday 12th December

Full details and downloads on how to buy or sell are on Nick Champion’s website here.

Mistletoe Foundation Druid Ceremony 2017:  

Will be on Saturday 2nd December at 14:00–15:00 at the Burgage, Tenbury Wells

Details from the Mistletoe Foundation here.

(and there’s a Mistletoe Kissathon in town earlier in the day – details here)

State of the mistletoe ‘crop’ this season?

Variable but generally good, lots of berries on the plants I’ve been looking at, but more about that soon.

General mistletoe information: 

Have a look at the (recently re-vamped, some work still in progress) Mistletoe Pages here

And have a look at the various Mistletoe Information Sheets (and other downloads) from the Mistletoe Matters consultancy.

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