Christmas tree growers gear up for 10 Downing St competition

Up to 100 of Britain's top growers are preparing to pitch their best Nordman, Spruce or Fir as part of the contest to find whose tree will take pride of place at the Prime Minister's residence.

Staged every year by the British Christmas Tree Growers Association, the event takes place this time on 20 October at Hole Park Estate in Cranbrook, Kent.

The competition involves each tree being assessed and judged by fellow growers, with the winner then granted the honour of delivering a 20ft tree to Downing Street.

Each grower is able to enter categories including Best Nordman, Best Other Fir, Best Pine, Best Norway Spruce, Best Other Spruce, Best Container Grown, and Best Festive Wreath.

Finalists can submit only one tree into each category, and trees entered must be commercially cultivated and be 1.8 metres ( +/- 400mms) high from base to tip. Each will be judged for foliage, colour, shape and marketability.

Aside from pitching trees for the big judgment day, growers can also put forward their example of the perfect wreath. The winner of this category will see a design of their creation hanging on the door of Number 10 for the full Christmas season.

Harry Brightwell, secretary of the British Christmas Tree Growers’ Association, said: "Every year we remark how the standard of British real trees seems to be getting better and better, and the competition really does give us a great opportunity to applaud the year-round work put in by dedicated growers.

"We’re now into the 17th year of our nationwide competition and are all eagerly awaiting the evidence of what our peers in tree growing have been up to over the last 12 months in terms of ensuring the very best specimens available."

Last year’s competition was won by Colin Griffith, of Dinmore Hill Christmas Trees in Wellington, Hereford. 

Brightwell added: "Our aim is always to help people recognise the incredible amount of year-round work which goes into creating the perfect British real tree."

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