A 20 ft tall Nordmann Fir was today prepared for the start of its journey to Downing Street from the award-winning York Christmas Trees.
This family firm has the honour of providing the Christmas tree for Downing Street after winning Champion Christmas Tree Grower of the Year.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “Huge congratulations to all this year’s competition winners. We’re delighted that York Christmas Trees will be providing the Downing Street tree this year which I hope will be enjoyed by many.
“These beautiful trees and wreaths are the first step to bringing us some festive cheer in what has ultimately been a very challenging year for us all.”
The annual British Christmas Tree Growers Association competition has been run since 1999 and this is the first time a winner has been crowned from the north of England.
Oliver Combe owner of York Christmas Trees said: “We are a small family run Christmas tree business based on a farm just outside York and to be given the chance to provide the tree for Downing Street is incredibly exciting and a great reward for all the hard work that our team puts in throughout the year.”
The Runner Up Christmas Tree Grower of the Year was Jon Baker of Little Down Christmas Tree Farm, East Sussex who will provide Christmas trees for inside Downing Street.
The winner of Champion Festive Wreath is Will and Ella Miles of Welford Christmas Tree Farm, Northampton and they will provide the wreath for the door of 10 Downing Street.
Best Short Film Winner was Sholach Trees Ltd, Perthshire, Scotland and they will provide a Christmas tree for The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO).
Heather Parry, Managing Agent for BCTGA, said: “Today marks the start of an exciting journey for this year’s Downing Street Christmas Tree, nurtured and grown at York Christmas Trees. It will now head to 10 Downing Street to mark the start of Christmas – a moment which can’t come soon enough for everyone.”
Heather added: “It’s been a tumultuous year and we are proud of our members have adapted. We know there will be more people having Christmas at home in smaller groups as well as more people having Christmas at home, rather than going abroad; so we have been preparing for a rise in sales.
“Our members have all changed the way they are operating to ensure they can offer Covid-Secure environments. We have a number of growers who have changed the way they do things this year due to Covid19. This ranges from introducing new online ordering, to bringing in tagging earlier which is when consumers visit the plantation, walk through the trees, choose their favourite and put their name on it for collection in December.”
The BCTGA, which was formed 30 years ago, is now being managed by the Yorkshire Agricultural Society (YAS).
The British Christmas Tree Growers Association, (BCTGA) has 320 members nationally.
It is estimated that 6 – 8 million Christmas trees are sold in the UK each year.
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Nordmann Fir – This is the most popular Christmas Tree in the UK as it has excellent needle retention, with lush, dark green needles. They are symmetrical trees with strong branches, great for displaying ornaments.
Fraser Fir – These trees have great fragrance with dark green, needles that are silvery underneath. Good needle retention and a pyramid-shaped, strong branches which turn upward.
Noble Fir – Ideal for great needle retention and a fresh fragrance. With bluish-green needles and short, stiff branches; great for heavier ornaments; keeps well.
Douglas Fir – probably the strongest scent of all Christmas trees, very popular in the USA. A true fir with great shape but a little harder to decorate with baubles as usually much denser.
Norway Spruce – Keep them well watered for good needle retention and enjoy this traditional Christmas tree which is dark green and has a strong fragrance along with a great conical shape.
Blue Spruce – Beautiful, unique blue colouring, needs watering well and has good stiff branches, great for hanging heavy decorations. An ideal small or second tree.
Lodgepole Pine – A low needle-drop tree with beautiful tapering branches, that rarely lose their needles if well hydrated. The needles are green/yellow in colour. The traditionalists Christmas tree.
Serbian Spruce - Tall and slender, with graceful upswept branches. It has glossy dark green needles with slender streaks of white, a very good ornamental alternative.
- The British Christmas Tree Growers Association (BCTGA) is the trade association for those who grow specialist Christmas Trees in Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Visit www.bctga.co.uk and see @BCTGA
- The BCTGA was first established in 1980 and now has more than 320 members.
- It is estimated that 6 – 8 million Christmas trees are sold in the UK each year.
- BCTGA members abide by a Code of Practice to promote trees being grown in an environmental and sustainable way.
- The BCTGA is managed by Yorkshire Agricultural Society (YAS), a registered charity which supports and promotes the farming industry through health care, education and funding scientific research into rural affairs.