Christmas Starts Here - 'Tis Tree Growing Season in Scotland
Is it not the case that is growing season all year round?
July - It is early in the year to be looking at trees but there will be shortages again this year and I am stealing a march on other tree retailers. I’m seeking out the unusual or exceptional.
I find myself, at a secret location in Scotland, sipping coffee whilst contemplating the field of Nordmann Firs beyond the kitchen sink.
I am quizzing a potential supplier about the impact of his trees on the local wildlife. “We shoot the deer and sell the venison” – he says ….but clearly not the ponies.
And in fact, the fields of Nords are clamorous with black bird song! Christmas tree plantations make a stable habitat for birdlife during the breeding season. “It is a big problem,” he says and points out the little sticks clipped to each tree’s tip to prevent the birds perching and breaking the luminous and fragile new growth flush. “but they do eat some of the aphids” he adds brightly.
At another grower later in the day, Brian is introducing me to the Engleman Spruce he planted as an experiment – “they have not grown very fast” he laments “but they are bonny”. He agrees to let me have 100 hand-selected for sale as table trees. It is a bargain and they will sell out in the first few days.
“I was really looking for something bigger,” I say.
“They are going to be hard to find this year,” he says.
We both know that because of high prices over the last few years trees have been harvested early and there is a consequent shortage of 2metre plus trees.
But Brian is a fantastic (and canny) grower and we have a good relationship.
It just got better!