Monday, 18 December 2017

Advent Calendar Day 18; Mistletoe

Did you know it’s possible to 'grow your own' mistletoe? You need a suitable host tree such as an apple, hawthorn or poplar and some fresh mistletoe berries and a little luck. My dad grew some in an old apple tree, and I’ve done the same.  

Mistle Thrush in an Apple Tree - photo Pexels  (Image licensed under the Creative Commons Zero (CC0) license).

Gardeners will tell you to cut a little nick in the bark leaving a flap and then squidge a berry with its seed between the bark and wood. I simply rubbed some squashed berries along the branches just as a bird would do when it cleans its beak.

Mistletoe in our apple tree

Months went by, and I forgot all about it, and then tiny green shoots began to appear. It took a good four to five years for little leaves to form, but then it grew rapidly, and today I found a single shining berry! It’s taken nine years, but I couldn’t be more delighted.   


 I’m rather hoping there will be a few more berries by Christmas Eve when I will bring a bunch into the house – unless the birds get there before me!  

I'm linking with Julie over at Julie's Scrapbook More from my Advent Calendar tomorrow. 

48 comments:

  1. I love the idea of growing your own mistletoe, congratulations on your success! Enjoy the countdown to Christmas, just one more week. Hugs, Valerie

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    1. I can't tell you how delighted I was when I saw the first little shoots, I'm not sure the tree was quite so happy about it though.
      Christmas is rushing up now, and I rather wish it would slow down otherwise it will all be over. xx

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  2. Yes my dad used to do that too.

    Julie xxxxxx

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    1. I wouldn't have known it was possible if not for my dad. Have a lovely day. xx

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  3. Phew! Wow! Is it Christmas yet...! :).
    "Ding~Dong~Merrily~On......"

    Now let us firstly remember Mistletoe...
    Is Not! Is Not! A foot decease...! :).
    And what people do under it..is their
    business! Cough! Cough! :0).

    And..there's a nice Carol from Cliff
    Richard..from 203...
    Here's the chorus...

    Christmas time
    Mistletoe and wine
    Children singing Christian rhyme.
    With logs on the fire and gifts on the tree
    A time to rejoice in the good that we see....

    And..Here's the song...enjoy...

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BjmGbI-Mnys

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    1. Are you getting Christmas fatigue Willie?? It happens to the best of us but there is still plenty of time to buy more pressies and make more mince pies!

      I love your Mistletoe joke, and I’m enjoying listening to Cliff, thank you.

      Must just go and check to see if the birds have had the one and only berry. xx

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    2. Just one tiny thing Barbara l've noticed...
      The odd links l've put on, have'nt come up
      'greeny' as a direct link to the video, they
      come up as the rest of the print...! So, it's
      unable to link onto the video direct..not a
      problem, just easier as it was..!

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    3. I don’t know what has happened Willie, but I noticed my link didn’t work either. I’ve not changed a thing so it must be something Blogger are doing. Terry thinks they are probably striping out any HTML from the comment section, or it might just be a glitch? Sorry about that. :-( x

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  4. I had NO idea that was how it grew! Mistletoe was part of my childhood Christmases but we kids would AVOID being caught under it, especially having too many inebriated uncles running around the house!!!

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    1. I only know because of my dear dad and his horticultural skills. I remember avoiding those same uncles – well maybe different ones, but you know what I mean. A drop of whisky always put a spring in their step! x

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  5. Clever. I didn't know it was that easy to get it to grow on a tree.

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    1. It is really simple, but it does take a long time to grow so make sure you are not thinking of moving if you decide to give it a try.

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  6. I definitely learned something new today. I bought mistletoe back in the early 90s and it's still green. I am loving these daily advent doors, because I've learned something each day.

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    1. You’ve done well, does it have any berries? If my experience is anything to go by it takes a while to produce them.

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    2. It was a sprig I purchased at the grocery store, and it has at least four, maybe five berries on it. It hangs over my craft door because there is so much love in that room (grin).

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    3. Ours still has only one berry, so I've had a chat with it (Prince Charles swears by talking to plants)! Maybe it all it needs is a little love and encouragement. :0) x

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    4. There have been scientific studies that showed playing classical music near plants makes them happy. By that I mean grow faster and/or fuller. I've also heard talking to plants helps, but the studies were for playing music. BTW, country western music was the worst you could offer a houseplant. Most subjected to only CW music died before the study was over!

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    5. Personally, I love country & western music, but maybe I had best not play it anywhere near the mistletoe.
      It always amuses me when people carry out these kinds of studies – how do they even think to do it? xx

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    6. I had to go back and reread the study I referenced to answer your question. It was a study from the late 1970s, and it also referenced two other studies that found similar results. The one I had read was for a dissertation, and the ones it referenced were 1) put out by a musician's industry and 2) a person studying sound waves.

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    7. Thank you so much for going to all the trouble Elizabeth. x

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  7. Wow Barbara - I did not realize that mistletoe could be grafted - so glad that this grew for you. What a pleasant gift for the Christmas season. Hope you have a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. Hugs!

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    1. I don’t think I appreciated my dad as much as I should have done when I was young he just knew things! Thank you for the Christmas wishes I hope you have a wonderful time and a Very Happy New Year. xx

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  8. Wow! That's pretty amazing, and such a great pic of the success! Hugs...RO

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    1. I must admit to feeling very pleased with myself and delighted that it actually grew. I will think of dad whenever I look at it now. Hugs

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  9. I have the perfect apple tree to experiment with. I love this idea. Thanks, Barbara and have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

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    1. Good-luck Lee, it will take a few years to grow so don't expect instant results.
      Have a lovely Christmas and a Very Happy New Year. x

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  10. I had no idea! I'll have to try that next year!

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    1. It will take a few years to grow, but it will be worth it once it does.x

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  11. Everything comes to he who waits.
    xx

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    1. Patience is a virtue as my mum used to say! :) x

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  12. I've read about gyo mistletoe, but have never known anyone before actually do it. Fab!
    Arilx

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    1. I wasn’t sure it would grow but now that it has I couldn’t be more delighted. xx

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  13. What a truly lovely idea and wonderful success story - and photos.

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    1. Nature is a truly wonderful thing. I just managed to achieve something the birds have been doing for years. :0) x

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  14. Isn't it just magical when it starts to grow! And I look forward to the winter when my apple tree sheds it leaves and the true beauty of the mistletoe shines through. I have a very small apple tree with two mistletoe plants in it and lots of berries, so I'm sure that you get lots more soon :)

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    1. Our poor apple tree has honeysuckle all over it as well, which I must trim back so that I can see the mistletoe! I hope you are right about the berries as I love to see them. :)

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  15. LOVE the instructions for growing mistletoe. We have a fair amount of it in our woods, but it would be fun to have some in a tree in the garden. I expect a cherry tree will work? I wish we had Mistle thrushes here! Thank you, Barbara for these wonderful posts!

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    1. Hello Colleen, I’ve been looking at The Mistletoe Pages online

      (http://mistletoe.org.uk/homewp/index.php/faqs/faqs/#hosts)

      and they say; Its favourite host is cultivated apple – about 50% of British Mistletoe grows on this tree. Other common hosts include poplars and willows – and a wide variety of shrubs and trees in the Rosaceae.

      I then looked up Rosaceae on the Encyclopaedia Britannic and found;
      Prunus, genus of more than 400 species of flowering shrubs and trees in the rose family (Rosaceae). The Prunus is native to northern temperate regions. It has a number of economically important members, including the cultivated almond, peach, plum cherry, etc.,
      From that I would assume it would grow, and as you have lots of it in your woods, you should have plenty of berries to experiment with.
      Do let me know how you get on if you try it.
      Thank you for taking the time to read the posts, I really appreciate it. x

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  16. Wow, well done you. I would love to try growing some in our cherry tree, but it could take too long for me😄 x

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    1. Hello sister,
      do you remember the big apple tree at the end of the garden in Winslow? Dad grew mistletoe in it for granny. I think I was about thirteen when I watched him do it so you may not have been there that day.

      When Terry and I went back to Winslow a couple of years ago the tree was still there, but it was summer time and there were too many leaves on the tree to be able to tell if the mistletoe was still there or not.

      If you have a look at my reply to Colleen’s comment above you will see what I found out about growing it in a cherry tree. You’ve got bags of time to give it a go. You are going to live to at least one hundred … I insist! :-) xx

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  17. I had no idea how to grow mistletoe, sounds like a fun long term project inspiring patience. I hope more berries appear soon. Would it mind being covered with a light mesh to keep the birds from nibbling? I too wish the days would slow down, so much to do!

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    1. I don’t see why that wouldn’t work. Thanks for the idea, I will check it out. :)

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  18. Wow! How cool to have grown your own mistletoe!!

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    1. It was lovely to see it actually growing and nice to have some to cut for Christmas.

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  19. Wow, this is amazing Barbara! I never knew anything about this! Thank you! Big Hugs!

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  20. Oh clever you!!!! What a great idea to do this!

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  21. My dad was the clever one, I just copied what he did. :)

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I really appreciate your comment. Thank you!
Barbara xx

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