Part of Jonathan Briggs Associates:

Mistletoe Matters - Talks, Walks & Workshops

Botanical drawing of mistletoeMistletoe is a fascinating subject - an odd-looking plant with an unusual biology, peculiar and popular(!) winter customs, ancient traditions stretching way back into prehistory, and emerging modern usage in medicine. Plus, of course, all the agricultural and horticultural aspects, and linkages to traditional orchards and gardens.

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And not forgetting its important role in wildlife conservation and biodiversity. There's also its peculiar role in 20th century imagery, particularly in the art nouveau period. It even inspired some wartime German aircraft concepts.

So it should be no surprise that it is a very popular subject for talks, with a very wide range of audiences.

Mistletoe walks are also popular, largely with outdoor and wildlife groups, and largely (though not wholly) confined to the mistletoe country around Herefordshire, Worcestershire, Gloucestershire and Somerset.

Workshops, combining talks and walks with practical advice in management and planting are also available.

Scroll down for more information on all this:

Mistletoe talks

Mistletoe Miscellany Montage

Jonathan Briggs is available for talks on (virtually) everything to do with mistletoe. Regular audiences include wildlife trusts, gardening clubs/horticultural societies, history societies, WIs, U3A groups, and local branches of the National Trust etc.

Talks can be tailored to your group's interests, or kept more generic. The popular 'Mistletoe Miscellany' presentation can cover almost everything (as pictured in the montage left) - typically including What is Mistletoe?, Mistletoes Worldwide, Traditions and Legends (Norse, Greek, Druidic, Christian, Modern), Habitats and Hosts, Parasitic biology, UK distribution, Conservation and Biodiversity value, Control, Mistletoe Medicines, Art Nouveau, Harvest and trade, and Growing Your Own.

Most groups look for a date in the run-up to Christmas - and anytime from October onwards usually seems to work well. But New Year and early spring (to the end of March) suit nicely too - particularly for gardening groups, as that's the time when mistletoe seeds should be planted.

For talks in this period a supply of berries, and planting instructions, can be provided.

All talks use computer slide projection, with Mistletoe Matters providing all the equipment needed. Bookings are taken up to 3 years in advance - contact us (details below right) for availability.

Fees vary according to the audience, but we aim to be give good value for small groups and charities. Expenses are charged according to mileage. Distance is no object within reason, but round trips of more than 150 miles will probably involve an overnight stay (especially for evening talks in the midwinter period). Contact us for more information on fees.

Mistletoe walks

Mistletoe Walk in orchard

Walks in 'Mistletoe Country' can be also provided for specialist groups - previous clients have included the National Trust, Plantlife, and the Wildlife Trusts.

The best locations are within the core mistletoe areas of Herefordshire, Worcestershire, Gloucestershire and Somerset, and the best way to get close to mistletoe in these areas is within apple orchards.

Winter is the obvious season for these walks, either before Christmas (when harvesting and control techniques can be demonstrated, with samples taken home for Christmas) or, more commonly, after Christmas when mistletoe planting techniques can be demonstrated in the field, with your own berries to take home to plant afterwards.

Our preferred locations for walks (with easy access to car parking and refreshment facilities) are some specific sites in Herefordshire, though other areas can be considered. The walking distances involved are short (about 3 miles) and over lowland terrain (some stiles etc) with frequent stops to chat about mistletoe along the way.

Most of our walks are facilitated through organised groups and only open to their members but private commissions are possible too. Fees vary according to the type of group.

Mistletoe workshops

A chinese dragonSince 2005 Mistletoe Matters have been running mistletoe workshops for a variety of groups and organistions - including orchard conservation groups, the National Trust, BTCV and the Wildlife Trusts at sites right across southern England and Wales.

Themes have ranged from mistletoe management and harvesting right through to new mistletoe planting and conservation work. Some have been a mixture of all these subjects.

Most workshops take place in early spring and most are orgnaised in conjunction with other groups.  The picture above (by Henry Johnson) shows an event at Days Cottage in Gloucestershire.

If you want to commission a workshop for your own group do let us know. To cover all practical aspects (harvest, control and planting) the best season would be February or March. Suitable venues are limited, so please give as much notice as possible.

Social media links:

The Mistletoe Diary blog, plus Mistletoe Matters on Twitter and Facebook:


Mistletoe Products:

Mistletoe Events

Public mistletoe-themed events and information about arranging mistletoe talks etc

Mistletoe Talks & Walks

Tenbury Wells Mistletoe Festival

Mistletoe Foundation (Druids)

Mistletoe trivia and technical info

The Mistletoe Pages website gives a general overview of mistletoe issues: The Mistletoe Pages

Info sheets give more technical information on growing, management, conservation and distribution: Information Sheets

Mistletoe Survey

Details about public participation surveys that will help document mistletoe's behaviour and needs:

The Mistletoe League Survey Project


Contact details