Saturday, November 12, 2011

How To Propagate Mistletoe

I've gone down a size in jeans.  I'm telling you this only because I've just had to go and change into my M&S 15£ black exercise trackies as sitting here catching up with my favourite blogs was edging over into the pervy side of painful.  I rather like wearing a snug pair of jeans as Christmas approaches; keeps my hands off the snacky, nibbly loveliness that's starting to appear when eating out.  "I just thought I'd try a few recipes before the big day, you don't mind do you?" is starting to become a regular feature of midweek suppers and weekend lunches with friends.  And mostly it is a gastronomic trial run.  A couple of wretches will try to pull off their usual one-up-manship nonsense, but we'll give them short shrift... will they never learn?

Some time in late winter 2009 (January or February 2009) I scrubbed the mistletoe into the branches of a couple of my least favourite apple trees.  There is a tremendous lot of nonsense written about propagating mistletoe, none of which your garden birds have bothered to read and if a bird-sized brain can do this, so can we.

Essentially you must try and buy English mistletoe, but don't worry if your provider can't tell you where it was grown; in all likelihood it will be French and just as good.  It's just always lovely to try and have a go propagating British natives.

Take your mistletoe berries (which will be a bit withered and dead-looking by February) and push the black seeds inside the white berries into the bark of apple trees in your garden.  Hawthorns are also good host trees.  Try and pick a youngish tree, as the bark tends to be a bit thinner and thus easier for the seeds to penetrate.  Then just leave them alone and forget about them.  With any luck, a year later you'll have a few tiny leaves just like the ones below.

These pictures were taken in January 2011.  I'll take some more this weekend and add them to this post.

I loathe that Hebe.  I don't know why I keep it.