Jonathan's Mistletoe Diary

March 14, 2017

Mistletoe season almost, but not quite, over

Filed under: Current Affairs,Gardening,Media,Mistletoe,Orchard — Jonathan Briggs @ 5:01 pm

Spring is just about here, which means it’s almost the end of mistletoe berrying – cutting berries for propagation projects and for the mistletoe grow-kit business – for this season.  Which is always something of a relief, after 6 months of life dominated by mistletoe queries, projects and talking, cutting, gathering, planting etc.  Though I expect, after many years experience, that this will, as usual, make for a disconcertingly directionless few weeks at the start of April.

But for the next 2 weeks the season goes on mainly, at this late stage, simply servicing the grow-kit demand, cutting berries to send out to wannabe mistletoe growers around the country. I say cutting, not picking, as we find that picked berries become, through being picked, damaged, with broken skin and oozing berry contents. And those deteriorate quickly, as well as just becoming a glutinous mess if posted en masse. So every berry is actually cut, using those tiny scissors made for florists, to retain a little bit of stalk, thereby keeping the berry intact.

This is done with bunches of mistletoe cut from the tree, so it can be done in relative comfort indoors.  But it does create an interesting new ‘leaning forward’ neck-ache, to add to the ‘craning-upwards’ neck-ache already prevalent after spending hours staring upwards and stretching to cut the mistletoe from the tree with an extending pruning pole.

The seeds in the berries are, by now, itching to germinate, with the hypocotyl primordia showing as a small but prominent bulge on the seed.  Within a few weeks any not planted will simply germinate within the berry, still on the parent plant – in a defiant final , but in their case pointless, effort to survive. By May any berries left on the parent will contain these tragic might-have-been mistletoes, their hypocotyls hopelessly extended and seeking a host branch yet doomed through being stuck, literally, within their own berry.

But this isn’t the fate of the seeds from the berries in the grow-kits – they’re the lucky ones, being sent out to be formally introduced to their new hosts…

Want to try it yourself?
Mistletoe grow-kits are available from the English Mistletoe Shop websites here: http://englishmistletoeshop.co.uk/live/ and here: http://growmistletoe.co.uk/index.html

 

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February 5, 2017

Tis the season to be Mistletoe-seeding

Filed under: Gardening,Mistletoe,Orchard,Science — Jonathan Briggs @ 8:45 pm
berriesfromwoodchester

Yesterday in an orchard near Stroud, cutting excess mistletoe from apple trees and collecting some berries for planting. A unseasonally warm day.

Christmas may be the time we admire mistletoe and its white berries, but February and March are when mistletoe berries are properly ripe. The Christmas tradition is two months early – NOW is the time to have a look at those berries and their lovely sticky green seeds.

Which is precisely what we’re doing here at Mistletoe Matters, combining some mistletoe management work with some mistletoe propagation work – every berried branch that’s cut at this time of year has the potential to create many more mistletoe plants.

In the long-term. Those berries and their seeds may be ripe just now, but the germinating seeds will take several years to produce a decent-sized mistletoe plant. First and second year growths are so tiny that they are easily overlooked.

I regularly get enquiries from people who planted mistletoe seeds a couple of years ago and assume they’ve failed, as they don’t have a ‘big’ mistletoe bush yet. And emails from people who have suddenly noticed mistletoe growing in their tree, the one they planted seeds on 4 or more years previously. What a coincidence they say! Er, no, that’s entirely to be expected, I reply.

The next few weeks really are the second phase of the mistletoe season for mistletoe enthusiasts, after a (well-earned) break in January. I’ll be posting more soon…

Want to try it yourself?
Mistletoe grow-kits are available from the English Mistletoe Shop websites here: http://englishmistletoeshop.co.uk/live/ and here: http://growmistletoe.co.uk/index.html

December 20, 2016

Mistletoe on the radio

Filed under: Current Affairs,Media,Mistletoe,Orchard,social history — Jonathan Briggs @ 7:06 pm

Some interesting (well I think so) mistletoe coverage here and there on the radio recently – including more local radio interviews for me (today I did BBC Radio Suffolk again, for the second time this season, and Suffolk has hardly any mistletoe) and a slot on BYU Radio, a talk radio station based at Brigham Young University, Utah but broadcasting widely via satellite and the web.

The BYU interview was unusual – not simply because it was a US-based station – but because the station is so scholarly and particularly as the interview was in Julie Rose’s 2-hour long Top of Mind show which features ‘Smart, informative conversations and interviews that go beyond mere headlines and sound bites’.  Nothing as trivial as a two minute chat on a BBC local radio breakfast show – instead it is structured as extended one-to-one conversations with a guest on topical matters.

Yesterday’s edition of Top of Mind featured Is Trump Risking War with China?, The Future of US-Russia Relations, The Nativity is a Refugee Story, “Rogue One” Review, and Britain’s Rip-Roaring Holiday Theater Tradition. Plus, sandwiched between US-Russian Relations and the Nativity as a Refugee Story, Why Mistletoe Matters, featuring yours truly.

A slightly challenging interview, as I felt I should try to bring in US mistletoes as much as I could, but also to champion European mistletoe – which is, as regular blog readers well know, the real mistletoe of mid-winter tradition. The others, though fascinating, have been conscripted into a Christmas-tide role that doesn’t quite suit them. And I felt that though the issues of England’s declining apple orchards might seem a little irrelevant to an international audience, I had to mention them anyway.  Overall I think it all hung together fairly well considering.

You can listen for yourself via this link:

http://www.byuradio.org/episode/40a9939d-028d-4ccd-8f11-c8fe10d61959/top-of-mind-with-julie-rose-one-china-us-russia-relations-mistletoe-s-secrets-nativity-story-refuge?playhead=2163&autoplay=true

Note that this will start you at the mistletoe section, missing out the Trump/China and US-Russian Relations interviews. If you want to hear the whole show from the start, follow this link:

http://www.byuradio.org/episode/40a9939d-028d-4ccd-8f11-c8fe10d61959/top-of-mind-with-julie-rose-one-china-us-russia-relations-mistletoe-s-secrets-nativity-story-refuge

It’s all worth listening to, especially if you’re a fan of informed discussion on proper talk radio but are UK-based and usually rely entirely on BBC Radio 4.

NB I know I said I’d be covering immigrant Blackcap birds and their mistletoe-berry-habits in the next blog. But I’m leaving those until next time, again…

December 18, 2016

Turdus turds – of pure mistletoe

Filed under: Biodiversity,Gardening,Mistle Thrush,Mistletoe,Orchard — Jonathan Briggs @ 7:01 pm

‘Turdus’ – the latin name for thrushes, can sound a little rude. But it’s simply the latin word for thrush and therefore perfectly apt. Nothing to do with ‘turd’, which means excrement. But making the link is inevitable – and many people snigger when told that a Blackbird’s latin name is Turdus merula, a Song Thrush Turdus philomelos, a Redwing Turdus iliacus, a Fieldfare Turdus pilaris or a Mistle Thrush Turdus viscivorus.  So much turdus!

1turd1_18thdec2016

Hitting the spot – a pure mistletoe turd where all the seeds have hit the branch, albeit onto rather unsuitably thick bark. Note the green colour of the seeds, already actively photosynthetic.

That last one, the Mistle Thrush, actually produces quite important turds, so its turdiness seems particularly apt.  And those significant turds are all about, you guessed it, mistletoe.  That’s where the viscivorus part of its latin name comes from – it is ‘Viscum-eating’ and Viscum album is mistletoe.

A Mistle Thrush eating mistletoe berries produces mistletoey turds – sticky strings of semi-digested mistletoe berries complete with completely undigested mistletoe seeds, just waiting to germinate on a host tree branch.

The turds of Turdus viscivorus are especially critical for mistletoe to spread. This is particularly so because very few other birds seem to want to eat mistletoe – the berries aren’t brightly coloured so seem less attractive, and any bird that does try one will find it contains one inconveniently large seed (which won’t be digested) set in a mucilaginous glue that can mess up a dainty beak for some time. Mistletoe berry eaters have to be determined – they are effectively eating glue – and not many birds want to do that.

Turd production is just the first step for mistletoe seeds of course – which rely on their remaining (post-digestion) natural stickiness to attach to a branch.  Mistletoe seeds need that branch – and if the turd misses a branch the seeds are doomed.

1turd2_18thdec2016

A more typical mistletoe turd – with most seeds dangling helplessly in mid-air on a thin strand of sticky mucilage.

Even when the turd hits a branch most seeds will fail, as they will dangle uselessly below it in a string of sticky mucilage. The process is, literally, a very hit and miss affair.  But it does give rise to yet another name – ‘mistletoe’ itself.  This is usually attributed to the Old English word ‘misteltan’, a combination of ‘mistel’ meaning Dung (or turd!) and ‘tan’ meaning twig.  Literally Dung on a Twig.  Aren’t names wonderful?

If you want to see some good Mistle Thrush turds, now is the time to start looking! Mistletoe berries tend not to be eaten in quantity until mid-winter onwards (sometimes remaining uneaten well into spring) so the season has only just started, but is well underway.  I was out in an apple orchard near home this afternoon and saw several fresh mistletoe-laden turds, probably from Mistle Thrushes but maybe from Fieldfares or Redwings – other thrushes who behave in a similar way.

Be wary though.  A Mistle Thrush guards its berry patch and only strays a few metres away for a quick crap so it can return asap. And it usually travels exactly the same few metres.

1generalturdiness

An active thrush toilet zone – lots of sticky strings of mistletoe seeds often dangling at head height!

Which leads to the creation of a Thrush toilet area – a part of the tree where the thrush craps repeatedly. These areas can be hazardous – with multiple strings of sticky excreted mistletoe seeds hanging down – and almost invisible until you walk into them…  Sticky thrush turds in your face are not pleasant!  So do look where you’re going if you’re wandering around a mistletoe-laden apple orchard in the next few weeks.

It is worth noting, by the way, that the common name, ‘Mistle Thrush’, is thought to be an Anglicisation of the latin name – and not really a traditional name for the bird at all.  More traditional names include Storm Cock, Char Cock and Skirl Cock – which relate to the species’ harsh call, in all weathers, not to its eating habits.  And actually, when you think about it, why should it be named after its mistletoe eating at all? Particularly in Britain.  ‘Mistle Thrushes’ occur all over Britain, and eat all sorts of berries.  But mistletoe has a fairly restricted distribution in the sw midlands.  Most British Mistle Thrushes will never, therefore, experience any mistletoe-eating. Which seems odd, bearing in mind mistletoe’s apparent dependence on the thrushes…

Next time in Mistletoe Diary – re-visiting the story of the Eastern European Blackcaps – birds which migrate over here in increasing numbers (regardless of any referendum!) and eat our mistletoe berries, in a completely different way to thrushes…

gyoYou don’t have to excrete berries to grow mistletoe!  You can just try a Grow Kit from the English Mistletoe Shop….

Grow-Your-Own Mistletoe – kits and gift cards from the English Mistletoe Shop
A Little Book About Mistletoe – printed and Kindle versions
Mistletoe Matters Consultancy – all about mistletoe in Britain
The Mistletoe Pages – even more about mistletoe
Mistletoe Surveys – seeking your input…
Mistletoe Matters on Facebook
Mistletoe Matters on Twitter

November 30, 2016

Frosty mistletoe auction

Filed under: Current Affairs,Media,Mistletoe,Orchard,social history — Jonathan Briggs @ 12:34 pm

img_2396redLast Tuesday in November = first mistletoe auction of the season at Tenbury Wells.

A satisfyingly frosty day, with the mistletoe bundles glistening with hoarfrost in the sun.  And excellent stock – green-leaved and fully-berried (compare this time last year when the foliage  seemed  little yellow and the berries a little under-sized).

But what’s this? Not a lot of lots? There seemed to be significantly fewer piles of mistletoe than normal.

Nevertheless, and as usual, once the auction got to the mistletoe (it starts with trees and holly) there were crowds of buyers, hangers-on (incl me) and media people, so a minor shortage didn’t seem to matter. Indeed it seemed to boost prices, with most of the good mistletoe wraps (lots) going for £30 or more, which is double what they were getting last year.

img_2407redDoes that mean mistletoe will be expensive this year, or is it merely a reflection on the limited lots available today?  I suspect the latter – as I was assuming the good condition and well-berried nature of the harvest this year would depress prices, not push them up.

We shall see whether there’s a trend, or not, next week when the second auction takes place. That might be flooded with lots brought in by orchard-owners who’ve heard about Tuesday’s prices. A scenario which would, of course, lower prices…

Media interest yesterday included PA, local BBC TV news and BBC Radio Herefordshire & Worcester (mistletoe was a main theme in their drive-time show yesterday afternoon).

Buyers and sellers included the usual suspects – people, like me, who turn up every year, local sellers but buyers from much further afield – one van was a horse box from Connemara, and another was from Fife – both areas with very little (probably none) mistletoe.

Next auctions at Tenbury will be on 6th and 13th December.  Some more pics of the first auction below:

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More Mistletoe Matters – links to mistletoey things to read, buy or do

Grow-Your-Own Mistletoe – kits and gift cards from the English Mistletoe Shop
A Little Book About Mistletoe – printed and Kindle versions
Mistletoe Matters Consultancy – all about mistletoe in Britain
The Mistletoe Pages – even more about mistletoe
Mistletoe Surveys – seeking your input…
Mistletoe Matters on Facebook
Mistletoe Matters on Twitter

 

 

November 27, 2016

Urban mistletoe – normal or abnormal?

Filed under: Current Affairs,Gardening,Media,Mistletoe,Orchard,social history,Travel — Jonathan Briggs @ 6:59 pm
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The BBC R Glos Mistletoe Hunt – on a maple tree round the back of the Shirehall (Google Streetvew pic)

 

Last week I joined a brief, early morning, urban mistletoe hunt with BBC Radio Gloucestershire. They had spotted mistletoe on trees in central Gloucester and wanted to discuss whether this was unusual.  The short answer to that is, no, not at all unusual here in Gloucestershire where mistletoe is common, but both yes and no elsewhere in the UK.  It all depends on where you are.

[The hunt was broadcast during Mark Cummings’ show on 23rd November. You can hear the whole programme on iPlayer here – but only for a few weeks and anyway the mistletoe is scattered throughout the programme. A bootleg edit, with just the the mistletoe-laden bits, can be heard here]

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BBC R Glos Mistletoe Hunt – trees with mistletoe in Brunswick Square (Google Streetview pic)

 

The first thing to understand about mistletoe in urban locations is that, in theory at least, trees in urban areas are ideal for it. You might think, like the BBC Glos reporters did initially, that mistletoe is a plant of the wider and natural countryside. But, actually, mistletoe’s need is for isolated trees – trees well-spaced away from others.  Natural woods may have a lot of trees, but those trees are close together – so woodland trees are not good mistletoe hosts.  The trees of man-made habitats – orchards, hedgerows, roadsides are much better for mistletoe as they are set apart.  And, therefore, trees in the urban environment – street and garden trees – are ideal for it.  It should not be unusual.

Nevertheless most people seem to think it is unusual in towns – possibly for one or both of two reasons.  One being that mistletoe is generally only found in quantity in the south-west midlands, so is not common enough to spot – in urban or rural environments – across most of the UK.  The other reason is observation – people don’t look up enough! In the wider countryside you can spot mistletoe from miles away – with the distinctive aerial growths showing up in tall trees across the landscape.  In towns the landscape is much closer, hemmed in by buildings, so you don’t get that wide view that will show mistletoe a long way off.  You may only be able to see it when close to it, and then only by physically looking straight up!

urban5

Cheltenham’s street trees have lots of mistletoe – obvious even in summer (Google Streetview pic)

 

Here in the Severn Vale of Gloucestershire mistletoe is common everywhere – rural or urban – and very obvious in both Gloucester and Cheltenham. Especially in Cheltenham, where there are huge amounts in many of the street trees. Probably too much actually – but that’s a story for another time.

Outside of the vale, but still in mistletoe country, there are many other mistletoe towns; one particularly favorite of mine is Malvern, where there are scattered colonies throughout. Much further afield there are thriving colonies in and around Richmond (SW London), Cambridge, parts of Oxford, and even small areas of Edinburgh (and even Dublin!) well outside mistletoe’s natural range.  Urban mistletoe thrives – and urban gardens could even become, as rural orchards decline, the primary habitat for mistletoe in Britain.


growkitmontage1If you want to try getting it growing in your garden try a Mistletoe Grow-Kit from the English Mistletoe Shop

More mistletoey links:

A Little Book About Mistletoe – printed and Kindle versions
Mistletoe Matters Consultancy – all about mistletoe in Britain
The Mistletoe Pages – even more about mistletoe
Mistletoe Surveys – seeking your input…
Mistletoe Matters on Facebook
Mistletoe Matters on Twitter

November 19, 2016

Lots of berries – and they’ll be all white on the night…

Filed under: Current Affairs,Food and Drink,Mistletoe,Orchard,social history — Jonathan Briggs @ 5:47 pm

Nearly mistletoe harvesting time, with the berries ripening nicely. And, on the mistletoe here in the Severn Vale at least, there are lots of berries.  Again (several years running now).

There’s a slide show below showing some pictures I took this week in the Gloucestershire Orchard Trust‘s orchards at Longney, demonstrating the huge number of berries in the (handful of) mistletoe-laden apple trees there.

Most of the berries have whitened up now, though some are still green, and none have yet got that distinctive pearlescent translucency they get when fully ripe. But there’s no need to worry, they’ll be all white soon.

There are also a couple of pics showing the continuing fruit crop there (much has already been processed by local juice-makers, including Days Cottage) and the new plantings. These orchards are being restored as productive traditional orchards – mistletoe is not, obviously, a primary aim, but is a traditional seasonal by-product.

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November 11, 2016

A visit to Cotehele’s Christmas Garland, and to see their mistletoe too

Final stages of hanging the garland

Final stages of hanging the garland

Cotehele House, the National Trust estate on the Tamar estuary, is famous for its Christmas Garland; a 60-foot long flower-filled decoration they hang in the Hall each year. The dried flowers used are all grown in the estate garden, where there is also, as I’ve probably mentioned before, a large colony of mistletoe in the apple orchard. Mistletoe is fairly rare in this part of the south-west, so the mistletoe is significant. The orchard is valuable too – extended 10 years ago to include a new ‘Mother Orchard’ of historic local fruit varieties, conserving that genetic resource.

The garland takes over a week to make, and today was the last preparation day, ending with it being hung for display to visitors over the next few weeks. And, as we happened to be in the area, we called in to have a look…

The end of the garland, complete with mistletoe

The end of the garland, complete with mistletoe

This year is special – as the garland tradition is 60 years-old. By the time we got there today it was completed and in the air, with just some final adjustments from a scaffold tower.  Chris Groves, NT’s senior gardener at Cotehele (and orchard guru), had just cut one of the finishing touches – a ball of mistletoe from the orchard, to be hung over the door at the end of the garland.  This year’s theme is white – so fits particularly well with the mistletoe.  Or will do when the berries are fully ripe and white – the berries on today’s bunch were still a little green, but Chris will be replacing the mistletoe with fresh, riper-berried, material in the run-up to Christmas.

Afterwards we had a quick look around the orchards – the established one in the main garden, where there is a lot of mistletoe, and the newer Mother Orchard adjoining it.  There was more mistletoe than I remember from my last visit – but Chris is keeping it under control.  He cuts the berried (female) plants to sell in the Cotehele shop each Christmas and manages the unberried (male) plants when doing annual tree pruning.  Here are some pics of the old orchard, with its mistletoe:

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Some bird-sown mistletoe plants have been appearing in a few of the Mother Orchard trees, but he is pruning that out entirely, at least for now, as those are still fairly small trees.  Some, on MM106 rootstock, will stay small-ish but others, on M25 rootstock, will grow to standard tree size and be very suitable for mistletoe.  That’s in the long-term of course – but it does mean that the mistletoe colony at Cotehele looks set to survive well into the future, along with the local apple varieties too.  Some pics of the new orchard below:

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PS for my niece Harriet, if she's reading this, apols for not calling in, all a bit last-minute and anyway you wouldn't want to catch our colds...

More Mistletoe Matters – links to mistletoey things to read, buy or do

Grow-Your-Own Mistletoe – kits and gift cards from the English Mistletoe Shop
A Little Book About Mistletoe – printed and Kindle versions
Mistletoe Matters Consultancy – all about mistletoe in Britain
The Mistletoe Pages – even more about mistletoe
Mistletoe Surveys – seeking your input…
Mistletoe Matters on Facebook
Mistletoe Matters on Twitter

 

December 18, 2015

Getting a feel for GOT’s mistletoe

Filed under: Biodiversity,Current Affairs,Mistletoe,Orchard,social history — Jonathan Briggs @ 6:17 pm
Location map - showing, very roughly outlined in red, the three GOT orchards, one without any orchard left!

Location map – showing, very roughly outlined in red, the three GOT orchards, one without any orchard left!

The riverside Poplar next to the orchards, covered in mistletoe growths.

The riverside Poplar next to the orchards, covered in mistletoe growths.

A quick visit to the Gloucestershire Orchard Trust (GOT)’s newly-acquired orchards at Longney, to admire/assess the mistletoe there. GOT have recently bought two traditional orchards, Long Tyning and Bollow, plus another orchard (now mostly gone) in an adjoining field. All next to the tidal Severn just below Gloucester at Longney.

I’ve known the site for many years, partly as part of a circular walk we like to do along the river, but also because of the mistletoe. There isn’t a huge amount of mistletoe in the orchards themselves (though there is too much in a few of the trees) but the site is dominated, to the mistletoe-aware, by a huge riverside poplar tree festooned with mistletoe.

A view downstream from under the poplar tree

A view downstream from under the poplar tree

This is one of my favourite sites to stand and stare at mistletoe, as it’s always an atmospheric place, right by the river. One of the oddest aspects is that you feel so close to the other side of the river, several miles away by road. Here, with it just 100 metres across the tidal flow, it is like glimpsing an unreachable other world.

An 1884 map of the Longney are, showing the number of orchards along the river bank. The GOT land is again roughly outlined in red.

An 1884 map of the Longney area, showing the number of orchards along the river bank. The GOT land is again roughly outlined in red.

These riverside fields were once dominated by orchards, many of which are now gone. Of those that remain many are now troubled by too much mistletoe and today’s visit was a recce to remind myself of the mistletoe situation in the GOT-owned land, with a view to management needed later in the winter.

One of the trees in the GOT orchards with too much mistletoe - so much that, in this case, it has been blown over, probably because of the mistletoe

One of the trees in the GOT orchards with too much mistletoe – so much that, in this case, it has been blown over, probably because of the mistletoe.

Just upstream, in another old riverside orchard, I’ll be running a mistletoe management workshop for GOT in February, part of an initiative from the Three Counties Traditional Orchards Project.

It is, of course, all a matter of balance – with some remedial management needed to regain a reasonable balance between host tree and mistletoe, and then ongoing management to maintain the situation. I’ll end, for now, with a picture of some of the mistletoe in one of the better-balanced trees – showing just what a healthy tree’s mistletoe can look like – check out those berries!

berriesbollowdec2015

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Coming soon, from Mistletoe Diary:

Mistletoe Surveys

_________________________

More Mistletoe Matters – links to mistletoey things to read, buy or do

Grow-Your-Own Mistletoe – kits and gift cards from the English Mistletoe Shop
A Little Book About Mistletoe – printed and Kindle versions
Mistletoe Matters Consultancy – all about mistletoe in Britain
The Mistletoe Pages – even more about mistletoe
Mistletoe Surveys – seeking your input…
Mistletoe Matters on Facebook
Mistletoe Matters on Twitter

December 14, 2015

Mistletoe in the media, so far, 2015

Filed under: Current Affairs,Gardening,Media,Mistletoe,Orchard,Science,social history — Jonathan Briggs @ 11:21 am

 

It’s been a surprisingly quiet year, so far, for mistletoe in the media. Though we still have nearly two weeks to go before Christmas, so there’s still plenty of time for more…

Most of the coverage I’ve seen is in local papers. There have been the usual reports about the Tenbury Mistletoe Auctions and Festival in the regional and local press including the Shropshire StarWestern Morning News and Ludlow and Tenbury Wells Advertiser. Local TV covered Tenbury events too – BBC Midlands at the first Auction, ITV Midlands at the last one. Plus, of course, several local radio stations.

Plus, of course, the mistletoe stories outside Tenbury – here in Gloucestershire Cotswold Life magazine ran not one, not Two but THREE mistletoe articles in their December issue. One is a whole page feature by Roddy Llewellyn who, much to my surprise, makes the extraordinary statement that ‘mistletoe (Viscum album) is a fairly unexciting plant visually’. I don’t know what Roddy’s been looking at, but he needs to look again. Viscum album, visually, is one of the most distinctive plants in Europe, with weird symmetrical branching, perfect terminal paired leaves and, in winter, the most amazing crop of glowing white berries. How, Roddy, can you call that unexciting?? Perhaps he should have gone to Specsavers:

The other two articles in Cotswold Life are a quarter-page on the wildlife of holly and mistletoe and half-page about, er, me, to add to my collection of slightly embarrassing profiles.

Further south the Tavistock Times Gazette has a feature on the National Trust’s mistletoe colony at Cotehele, mentioned many times before in this blog. The management of the mistletoe, in the apple orchards there, is the main message, alongside the fact that NT make a bit of cash each year by selling it.  Illustrated with a great picture of garden manager Chris Groves, who is being kissed by a dog (see pic above).

Also, in local papers around the country, several features on local mistletoe surveys, which I will report on in a later post.

Paul Simons' article from Saturday's Times

Paul Simons’ article from Saturday’s Times

National newspaper coverage includes, so far, Monty Don’s usual slightly wrong piece in the Daily Mail, as mentioned in the blog last week), and a recent piece in last Saturday’s Times (behind the paywall online but you can read a scan of paper edition on the left!) talking about how the weather and climate are affecting mistletoe, holly and Christmas trees.

National radio includes that BBC R4 Farming Today piece a couple of weeks ago and an interview I did at the weekend for Dotun Adebayo’s Up All Night programme on BBC R 5 Live. Neither of those are exactly prime-time though – Farming Today is broadcast at 0545 and Dotun’s fascinating current affairs programme is on between 0100 and 0500. Kiss FM’s Breakfast Show are broadcasting a mistletoe feature soon – which might fit in better with most people’s daily schedule…

Meanwhile, in the rest of the World, the usual crop of peculiar mistletoe stories have appeared, including a new Guinness Book of Records World Record for the number of couples kissing under mistletoe at the same time. 201 couples kissed for at least 10 seconds under sprigs of real mistletoe from Mistletoeing.com, a US-based mistletoe supplier (of, of course, US mistletoes, Phoradendron species, very unlike the European Viscum. [note to Roddy Llewellyn, US mistletoe species ARE unremarkable to look at, are these what you where thinking of when you wrote your article?]).

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Coming soon, from Mistletoe Diary:

Mistletoe Surveys

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More Mistletoe Matters – links to mistletoey things to read, buy or do

Grow-Your-Own Mistletoe – kits and gift cards from the English Mistletoe Shop
A Little Book About Mistletoe – printed and Kindle versions
Mistletoe Matters Consultancy – all about mistletoe in Britain
The Mistletoe Pages – even more about mistletoe
Mistletoe Surveys – seeking your input…
Mistletoe Matters on Facebook
Mistletoe Matters on Twitter

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