Sunday, 25 November 2012

Mistletoe and Holly

All in all, it's been a bit of a day today. But not as bad as the folks down south have had.We must have had quite a storm during the night. The muddy torrent was torrenting down the road past our house this morning and I wanted to go out.  I zipped up the track to where a certain person's drain had blocked yet again and poked it free with a stick. Then freed the rest of the drains down the lane except one. Couldn't free that one - a gaggle of unenthusiastic road repairing council workers had recently tarmacked over the grid and the water was gliding effortlessly over the top. Ah well! Anyway I did manage to get out which was OK.

Mistletoe on an apple tree at the Mill
A few years ago O/H was at a farm sale with the intention of buying a rotovater. He missed the final bid but got talking to the person standing next to him, who was also hoping to buy one. His own had packed up and had no idea how to fix it. The conversation culminated in an invitation for us to visit.


Honestly, I have never seen such a fantastic garden. This dear, generous old man was well in his eighties and his eyes lit up as he showed us round. He lived at a place called Stiperstones. His little terraced house was built at the foot of 'Peggy's Hill'. I thought it was steep where we lived, but nothing like this. He'd got a little grove of hawthorn bushes with masses and masses of mistletoe on them. At Christmas time he sold it to eke out his pension. He also had 500 little fir saplings which he also sold as they grew bigger. He insisted that we take an armful of vegetables and a bundle of mistletoe. He said to make a small insertion in the bark of a tree and gently rub the white berry into it.  It was such a thrill today to see that some of it had actually started to grow. Apparently it takes quite a few years to grow a sizeable amount. I don't know whether he's even still alive now. I hope he's still enjoying his garden.

Holly tree growing at the back of the garage.
Another nice thing today. We used to go for walks around the single track roads. O/H is not too well now and can't walk too far like he could then. Sometimes we'd take little  holly cuttings from hedges along the fields. We stuck the stem in the ground planted one of them at the back of the garage. This year it's loaded with berries and is beautiful. Apparently you have to have both male and female plants for the female to produce berries so we must have hit it right somewhere along the line.




A fair sized chunk of a broken oak branch came floating down on the rush of water. More logs for the Rayburn.
Thank you God.

34 comments:

  1. And so you have been provided your Yule log, holly, mistletoe and a wealth of memories .... Merry Christmas from the universe. I hope that dear old man is still delighting in his garden.

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    1. I hope he is too. Both he and his wife were absolute treasures. And all those other great things too. Cro was quite right though - the yule log was more than a bit soggy in the middle so one for Christmas 2013.

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  2. I love holly bushes...they are so pretty.
    Hope hubby is olay...thinking of you both.

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    1. J, I have half written an email which is still sitting in my Drafts. Thank you for your love. Hope your hubby is doing brilliantly too.

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  3. that is such a great story of the mistletoe. i LOVE that. hope all is well with you sweet molly.

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    1. Robin, I love hearing from you. Thank you for your comment. Hope things are going well for you and your family too. PS, I recently found my book, 'The Shack' which I'd put somewhere safe and am reading it again for the 3rd time. I know you love this book as much as I do.

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  4. Wonderful story of the mistletoe - I hope the old man is still around and able to enjoy his garden. Hope your weather improves for when you start your trips to Shrewsbury.

    Love that holly as well.

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    1. Sue, thanks. Keeping our fingers crossed. Hope things are going OK for you too xx

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  5. What a lovely old fellow, and a rich acquaintance to strike up. I never knew about the male and female holly bushes. Probably accounts for my berryless bushes.

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    1. I think it was pure luck on our part

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  6. Although your husband did not get his rotovater that day, you got to spend some time with a very nice man who was probably so proud to show you around his gardens.

    I have been lucky to have neighbors with a male holly bush so that I can have many lovely berries on my female holly plants.

    I am sorry to hear about your husband's health problems. You had made mention of this in a prior post and I was hoping that things were improving for him. Take care, dear Molly.

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    1. Arleen thank you for your comments. Hope things are going well for you too xx

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  7. I must have a male holly, as it never produces berries. However, I've managed to buy some 'tie-on' imitation berries, so all is OK. Get that Yule log into the dry, or it won't be ready for Christmas.

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    1. It is a bit mushy in the middle but the wood is hard on the outside. I think it might be a Christmas 2013 one.

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  8. I've always wanted a holly bush, I think maybe this year I'll get one and plant it in a tub in the concrete washing line area. it will be the first thing I put out there in my bid to beautify the area.

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    1. That would look rally nice. We bought some little verigated holly bushes a few years ago year, but I somehow never got round to planting them out of their pots and we had a really bad winter in 2010 which killed them all. The piece I stuck in the ground grew. Do you get much frost?

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    2. Oh River you've just put a new post up on my blogroll and I want to read it but my AVG keeps throwing up a warning that your site has been attacked by malware. This is awful. I know you were having problems a bit back. I love your blog. Hope they can sort it for you soon.

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  9. a lovely story.
    We were very lucky to inherit several hollies when we moved here, including a variegated one.
    It's a race each year, to see if we can get some with berries before the black birds eat them all, but they need them more than I do :-)

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    1. Holly does seem to grow better in some areas. Our grand daughter's other grandparents up in Cheshire have got some fantastic holly trees. I know what you mean about the birds eating the berries. One minute they're there, not a berry in sight the next, but I'm glad they feed the birds too.

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  10. Glad you were able to get out for a while and free those neighbourhood drains of leaves so that the water runs freely. The log is a blessing and I hope you can get it indoors. Keep warm both of you.

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    1. The weather doesn't let up much does It. The log's been sawn up and in the shed, drying out now. Hope you are not in the floods. It must be awful for people when all their possessions are flooded.

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  11. Hi Molly, Stiperstones is a fantastic name. We shoot mistletoe out of the trees here with a shot gun. How do you get it out of big old trees? Olive

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    1. A local author wrote a book about the Stiperstones. It's called 'Gone to Earth' - all about a little girl befriending a fox. The author's name was Mary Webb - if you have time, look it up on Google. She also wrote some wonderful poems too. I'm picturing Joe with a shot gun firing showers of mistletoe down from the trees. Our mistletoe shoots are such tiddley little things, I think I will probably be about 80 before they're any size so that will have to be someone else's problem :)

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  12. Hey Molly, I was thinking about you when I saw the floods on the news last night......
    An interesting post....council workers they don't their reputation any favours!!
    Sounds like an amazing visit you had to the elderly gents garden and the info about the Mistletoe is very interesting too.
    I found a copy of Gone to Earth at a library book sale this year....best $1.00 I have spent for a while, thoroughly enjoyed the story...

    CLaire x

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    1. St Asaph's which is about 50 miles away from where we live has been the worst hit. On the news tonight, one poor elderly lady drowned in her house which was so sad.
      Glad you enjoyed 'Gone to Earth'Claire. My favourite Mary Webb book though is 'Precious Bane' If you go into the Mary Webb website you can download a copy for free.
      (when you have a minute :) Hope your stall is going well

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  13. I loved the story about the mistletoe, and it's great that it actually grew for you! I've tried several times to no avail.

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    1. I think ours was more luck than judgement. You have to use a piece with fresh berries apparently. Once it's been in the house, in the warm it doesn't seem to work.

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    2. Oh right, I've tried it with the mistletoe I was throwing out after Christmas!

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  14. Are you still standing?
    Stupid council workers, how public spirited of you to go out in the rain to unblock drains.

    I didn’t know that bit about mlstletoe and holly. I could do with a few fillers for the holly hedge and I’ve got a couple of useless fruit trees which might grow mistletoe. Mind you, if it takes years to grow I probably won’t be here anymore.

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    1. You always get one or two don't you:)

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  15. Such a lovely post, Molly. The story of the old man and the mistletoe is truly touching. We have quite a lot of holly here, though we don't always get many berries, but when we do the bushes are smothered. Sadly we only have mistletoe on our apple trees in Normandy, where mistletoe is seen as a pest and has to be removed by law. Sigh....

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  16. I suppose it is a parasite in a way, although it does provide essential food for the birds and also photo synthesis for the trees - so not all bad. I love mistletoe as a tradition. Like Friko says I don't think I shall be around either when it grows big enough to be a problem and the apple trees will be long gone then too.

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    1. You might be surprised, Molly. Once mistletoe gets a hold it can grow quite quickly. We cleared our trees only a very few years ago and had to do it again this summer.

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  17. I've never seen mistletoe growing live like that, and now I know. so all you need do is rub the seed into the cut bark of a tree? that's amazing. such a charming post this is, with the story of the lovely old man and his garden. doesn't it make your day to see eyes light up? love the shot of your holly. (and the clock in your header too!) happy week to you Molly.

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