June 2017

In our garden this looks like being a really good apple year - I hope I am not speaking too soon - There are plenty of apples on all the trees except Crawley Beauty which is always a law unto itself.  We only have a garden with 15 different varieties, mostly fairly easy to reach cordons or espaliers so thinning is fairly easy, even though we don't usually do enough.  However, when I spoke to Mary Case she felt the thinning in her orchard was going to be a very big task this year but of course essential to produce saleable apple for the Farmers' Market.  Both our Crab apple trees are carrying a very heavy crop, OK to leave the ornamental tree in the front garden but we need to thin the John Downie at the back.


This is our latest mistletoe, now we have three, in the Bramley, in the Tydeman's Late Orange and the Crawley Beauty.  If you have read earlier news articles you will know we have been puzzled by the fact that they are all male and we never have berries.  How do they reproduce if there is only one sex? With many Thanks to Jonathan Briggs of Mistletoe.org we now have some possible answers.


1. The plant on the Bramley - the original clump - may not be all male - this may sound impossible but it isn't as several seeds could have germinated close together.  We spent many years scraping seeds onto the branch so I can see how this might have happened.  We might have overlooked a small female mistletoe in the now very large clump? Sometimes seeds can give rise to two or three plants from each seed

2. There are other mistletoe plants nearby that we haven't spotted and/or some people are putting out Christmas mistletoe for the birds after Christmas and seeds are being spread from these.

3. Although as far as I know we only put seeds onto the Bramley maybe the seeds were moved from the Bramley by birds soon after planting? These could take years to become apparent as mistletoe seedlings can take up to five years or more to get to first leaves.  They can get grazed off by invertebrates surviving as a small green lump until the next growing season which could happen for several years.  Even in good growing circumstances first leaves only appear at about Year three.

If you want to know more look at www.mistletoe.org.uk  Lots of information about every aspect of mistletoe and how to grow it

The middle sized clump in Tydeman's Late Orange



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