Andrew Ingram of The Tree Barn, Greenfield Farm, Christmas Common, Watlington, won the coveted title of Champion Christmas Tree Grower 2013 at the 15th Annual British Christmas Tree Growers Association (BCTGA) Competition at Bridge End Forestry, Much Cowarne, Herefordshire in October.
For the UK the winner of the UK’s Grower of the Year ‘Ornamentals Grower of the Year’ is nominated by the NFU for the AIPH competition.
Andrew, who also won the champion title two years ago, had the honour of delivering a Christmas tree to stand outside Number 10 Downing Street for the festive season.
This week, Andrew visited London with his wife Jane, his manager Gary Walford, and one of his employees Michael Weizer - who travels from the Czech Republic every year to work at The Tree Barn during autumn and spring. The group had a tour of 10 Downing Street and watched the lights on Andrew’s 18.5ft Nordmann Fir Christmas tree being switched on.
The competition was divided into five categories: pine, fir, spruce, container growth and wreaths. Each finalist could submit two of any one species per category and all trees entered were between 1.4m and 2.2m in height. The judges scored the trees on their foliage, colour, shape and marketability to determine the overall winner.
Andrew said: “We’re delighted to win such a prestigious award once again – it makes all the hard work we put into growing our trees so worthwhile. We were delighted to visit Downing Street and see the tree stand outside one of the UK’s most famous residences.”
Harry Brightwell, secretary for the BCTGA added: “Our tree competition is always popular with our members and this year was no different, with more than 100 entries. The standard of the entries this year was extremely high but Andrew presented a fabulous tree that met the judging criteria perfectly. We were thrilled to see him deliver a tree to Downing Street to bring some festive spirit to all those who visit No. 10.”
Will Miles who runs Welford Christmas Tree Farm, Northants, also visited 10 Downing Street, having been awarded the BCTGA title of ‘Champion Wreath’, and won the prize of taking one of his wreaths to adorn the famous black door.
They were joined by Hans Alexandersen and family, of Santa Fir Christmas Tree Farm, Guildford. Hans won the ‘Runner Up Champion Christmas Tree Grower’ award and presented a Christmas tree to stand in 10 Downing Street’s Pillared Room.
The BCTGA was established in 1979 to provide a quality standard for Christmas tree growers in the UK and champions the purchase of real Christmas trees. The association re-launched its website last month. The site now features a range of useful resources including tips on caring for a Christmas tree, a guide to different species of trees and a search facility to locate wholesalers and retailers across the UK.
For more information about the BCTGA visit www.bctga.co.uk, follow @bctga on Twitter and like British Christmas Tree Growers Association on Facebook.