York Christmas Trees has been crowned Champion Christmas Tree Grower of the Year and will now have the prestige of providing the Christmas tree outside 10 Downing Street in December.
The winner of "Champion Festive Wreath" is Welford Christmas Tree Farm and they will provide the wreath for the door of the Prime Minister’s residence.
Organised by the British Christmas Tree Growers Association (BCTGA), the annual competition has been running since 1999 but this is the first time it has been judged by celebrities as due to Covid19 restrictions all the growers could not get together as usual.
Yorkshire Shepherdess Amanda Owen, star of Channel 5’s ‘Our Yorkshire Farm' joined Peter Wright from Channel 5’s ‘The Yorkshire Vet’ were special judges alongside head judge Stuart Kirkup of Dartmoor Christmas Trees, in Devon, who won last year. And the wreaths were judged by the celebrities and Toby Ryley of Friezeland Farm, Leics headed up the wreath judging, as last year’s winner.
Oliver Combe of York Christmas Trees said: “We are a small local family business who have been growing trees for over 20 years. We are overwhelmed to have won the title of champion grower for 2020, it is a huge accolade!
“We are hugely greatful to our family and those who work with us, as they have made this possible by all their hard work over the years. 2020 has been a tough year but we are determined that this year “Christmas is coming home”!!
Heather Parry, Managing Agent for BCTGA, said: “We were delighted by the number of entries, particularly as competitors couldn’t attend in person, we have certainly set solid foundations for it to be an even bigger next year. The quality and the amazing scent of the trees on display was incredible; this is truly the Oscars for Christmas trees. It was heartening to hear also that many growers are selling more trees than normal, as consumers plan ahead to have a real Christmas tree as the centrepiece of their home this year”.
Stuart Kirkup of Dartmoor Christmas Trees, in Devon said: “The standards have been very high and I am stunned by how many people have sent them in. I am really impressed. The competition is a big part of the growers’ annual calendar and to get that final prize and recognition for eight to 10 years of your life putting into that tree is something fantastic.”
Other winners included:
Champion Christmas Tree Grower of the Year – Oliver Combe, York Christmas Trees, North Yorkshrie. Supplier of 2020 tree for 10 Downing Street
Runner Up Christmas Tree Grower of the Year - Jon Baker, Little Down Christmas Tree Farm, East Sussex.
Best Pine Winner – Michael Craig, Garrocher Tree Farm, Ayr, Scotland
Best Pine Runner Up – David Brown, Infinity Christmas Trees, Herefordshire
Best Spruce Norway Winner - Oliver Combe, York Christmas Trees
Best Spruce Norway Runner Up - Neil Wright, Newsholme Christmas Trees, Goole, East Yorks
Best Spruce Other Winner – Sarah Flamson, Cadeby Tree Trust, Warwickshire
Best Spruce Other Runner Up – Andrew Ingram, Greenfield Partnership, Oxfordshire
Best Fir Nordmann Winner- Jon Baker, Little Down Christmas Tree Farm, East Sussex.
Best Fir Nordmann Runner Up – Andrew Stenton, Billingley Christmas Trees Ltd, Barnsley, South Yorks
Best Fir Other Winner– Rory Young, Scottish Christmas Trees, Dumfries
Best Fir Other Runner Up – Mr and Mrs RM Stanhope, Bishops Offley Christmas Trees, Stafford
Best Container Grown Tree Winner – Andrew Stenton, Billingley Christmas Trees Ltd, Barnsley
Best Container Grown Tree Runner Up – Hans Alexandersen, HA Trim, Guildford
Champion Festive Wreath - Will and Ella Miles, Welford Christmas Tree Farm, Northampton.
Best Natural Wreath Winner - Jeff Lynes, Newbury Christmas Tree Farm, Berkshire
Best Natural Wreath Runner Up - Hans Alexandersen, HA Trim, Guildford
Best Decorated Wreath Winner– Will and Ella Miles, Welford Christmas Tree Farm, Northampton
Best Decorated Wreath Runner Up – Jeff Lynes, Newbury Christmas Tree Farm, Berkshire
Best Short Film Winner– Sholach Trees Ltd, Perthshire, Scotland
Best Short Film Runner Up - Hans Alexandersen, HA Trim, Guildford
Christmas tree growers have also adapted how they will sell to consumers this year to ensure everyone’s safety; introducing social distancing measures, sanitisers, one-way systems, payment by card only, so consumers can still enjoy the experience of choosing their own tree. Some growers have also introduced online orders and deliveries and click and collect services.
Already, early orders for UK trees from garden centres and farm shops are significantly ahead of 2019 and this year’s sunny weather means Christmas trees are in the best condition possible.
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.