Thank You!!!

Well what a whirlwind it been! We would like to thank everyone for their unbelievable support in the last 4 weeks. It’s been lovely to see so many people, whether you’re local or from further afield you’ve all been amazing.

When we started this little venture planting trees in early 2019 we never knew how it would go, certainly in the first year being open. It’s been a funny few years of working towards something that may have been a distaster, but thankfully it has all paid off, all of which is down to your support. We have had so much help in the run up to opening from friends and family lending a hand or even just advice along the way, it really has been amazing. Without them I doubt the shop would have been ready until 2030 let alone 2021.

We were so proud of the effort and achievments of how the shop turned out, in our opinion it was exactly what we had hoped it would be. That said we had no idea if anyone outside of the farm would like it, thankfully you did. Thank you to all of the feedback, it was overwhelmingly positive and also has given us some insight of what we need to work towards for next year. We have made notes throughout the last month as to what has worked and not only our thoughts but also you, our customers thoughts so watch this space and hopefully next year we will come back bigger and better!

I think thats just about all other than to once again say thank you and from everyone here at West Hyde Christmas Trees we hope you have an amazing Christmas and a very Happy New Year.

Until then, Jack

We are open!!!

Well we made it, just about , in time for opening. The trees were ready and the shop stocked up, it was a mad dash at the end but we got there.

Firstly thank you to those that came and supported us in our first weekend, we thoroughly enjoyed welcoming you and it was lovely to hear all of the positive feedback after all of the hard work that has gone in. We also welcomed a few classic Land Rovers as part of their road run on Sunday, giving a lovely photo opportunity.

Photo by Ralph Coulson

There were a few teething problems as were to be expected, on the whole though it went well. The weather playing it’s part being the biggest issue, trying and succeeding in tearing down the tent that we thought might provide some shelter. Unfortunately the seams were not as sturdy as hoped! Inside though no such issues, the wind would dampen spirits, the heater kept the shed toasty and the hot drinks provided a little boost where required.

We hope that you all enjoyed coming as much as we all enjoyed having you and we can’t wait to see you all again soon, and if we haven’t seen you yet, where have you been? Never mind, we look forward to seeing you when you get chance to pop in.

Don’t forget we are open 12pm-7pm Thursday and Friday and 9am-6pm Saturday and Sunday

Until then, Jack

Christmas shop part V

Well it’s been a while since I managed to find time for an update, as it’s been a busy couple of months here at West Hyde! Finally though the shed is starting to take shape and we will soon be ready, fingers crossed.

Meg has finished cladding the office and it looks stunning, the perfect backdrop to your photos in the sleigh! The walls have all had a lick of paint round the inside, though unfortunately rain appears to be permeating in through the walls, so we are currently painting the outside to stop this in future. Only now do people tell us this was obviously going to be a problem! Then we will have to repaint the inside again so it will look spick and span for you all.

The doors have had an overhaul. As the original doors had dropped a little over the years and in places, mainly where the pigs played with them, they were very rotten. To overcome this we made new bottom doors for the far end, and whilst we were at it even insulated them to try and keep the shed warm while you browse. We then adjusted the top doors and made sure they fitted as they were intended!

Whilst Dad and I have been busy with the doors Mum has been flat out painting, window frames, doors door frames and cladding throughout the farm, you name it if it’s wooden she’s probably painted it. Meg has been getting the sleigh finished so that you can have your pictures taken and as well as this preparing to make wreaths, it really has been all go!

This weekend we are working hard on the till area which will house our till and our bean-to-cup coffee machine. As well as making display stands and crates so that you will be able to see all we have to offer

In the spare minutes we snatched to have a break we were still on Christmas duty trying various mulled wines (quite the chore I assure you!) so that we can offer you the full range of hot drinks to wind down with. As well as testing the mulled wine we also had a bit of time unboxing a few decorations to show you all, to see a few pictures head of to our facebook page for a look.

I will try and keep the blog updated in the coming weeks, but if I don’t manage to we look forward to seeing you all once we open. Don’t forget, 26th November!

Until then, Jack

Getting the shop ready part IV

Well its all coming along! We are currently deciding what it is all going to look like, I reckon there will be conversation a plenty around that subject!

The wiring has all been done, giving us plenty of sockets should we need them throughout the year but also to allow us to plug in the all important Christmas lights! While we couldn’t do anymore to the floor until the wiring was done we made the most of the time and boarded the rafters of the adjoining shed, we are hoping that we will be able to do something with the space in the future, if we can’t it looks a lot nicer for being boarded up.

Once these were both finished we could get the floor painted. We weren’t sure how it would go but it went down a treat and looks great now its had a lick of paint (we hope you agree). This will not only keep the shed looking good but also help us to keep a nice dust free and clean shop! As well as the floor Meg has started to make the office in the corner look more rustic with a log cabin type effect. Hopefully it will look even better once it is finished!

Until we start properly decorating the shop is going to be a little more in the background as we are currently putting our efforts into the trees. They need to be pruned and shaped early so that in a few years we don’t have Christmas bushes to sell!

Keep an eye on the blog to see what goes into getting the trees into shape!

Until then, Jack.

Getting the shop ready PtIII

Well, what can I say! the floor is in and its starting to feel like we may actually have a shop on our hands. We just can’t wait to show you all.

Over the past few weeks, the new floor has been laid in the middle. The outsides have been repaired (due to the concrete wearing down during its life as a pig shed). The floor at least is now ready for its use through the year to keep all of our equipment for looking after the trees and to allow a trip free experience for everyone visiting come November!

Now the floor is in we can start working back upwards, with new wiring, lights and sockets going in to give plenty of scope for the future. The walls have been painted and we are starting to cover the rafters of the adjoining roof. Hopefully soon we will get the floor painted and start thinking about how we are going to arrange the shed come November, though I am sure we all have various layout in our heads already. I can’t think they are all the same however and I’m sure there will be much discussion in coming weeks!

Most excitingly we are looking forward stock arriving as it should be doing so in the next few weeks! Keep an eye out on here to see what we come up with and get a little insight into how its all coming along and maybe even a sneak peak at the decorations we will have to offer!

Until then, Jack

Getting the shop ready PT II

Well it’s been a busy couple of months here at West Hyde, the shed has come on leaps and bounds and is very nearly watertight!

Firstly we started by digging out new footings for the 3 posts that will support the shed. For this we had to break up the the old floor, working out where the new floor level will be (more on this later) and digging a 0.6m cube in readiness for the concrete. We then had a local concrete mixing firm come and mix up the concrete as we ran it to the holes in wheel barrows.

Then we were ready for the framework to be erected! For this local building firm Belmor came and spent a week making a bespoke frame that fitted around the original walls and making sure it stayed within keeping of the original roof. They have done a fantastic job and the wooden beams are a real feature of the shed.

Once the frame was in place we thought it would be prudent to get another firm of specialists to fit the roof itself. The roof is an insulated composite tin that should help to keep the shed warm when you come to get your trees and decorations. Now we have a roof we are just waiting for the final flashings to come that will cover up all of the edges, these had to be ordered once the roof was on though as the measurements could only be taken once it was all up. Hopefully these will come in the next few weeks and we will, for the first time in years, have a water tight shed!

The next job is the floor! Due to its time as a pig shed it had four different levels at three different heights to allow the pigs to be cleaned out easily. We are currently removing the middle two raised floors and this will allow us to have one level throughout, thats the plan anyway! Keep an eye out here for updates and get a sneak peek on the shed before we open in November.

Until then, Jack

Getting the shop ready Pt I

Our hope is that the shop is going to be a comfortable place for you to get your supplies. This is not how the shed started however. It was originally put up by Mick in the 70’s, using second hand roofing and re-purposed wood.

Originally it was put up to increase the amount of pigs that the farm could hold. It was in the 10mx15m building the pigs would farrow (give birth) and look after their young.

Originally there were walls and far more posts, but after the pigs left in the 90’s the walls were knocked out. Mick and Richard changed the posts so that the space was more usable for keeping equipment and stock related to the Soft fruit. Though, this must have moved slightly over time and put pressure on the roof sheets which took its toll. As they started to age they started to split and leak, to the point where we could only fit 5 strategically placed pallets in the dry!

We decided that despite all of this that the location was perfect, being amongst the trees it will allow you to walk out amongst the trees just a few short steps from the comfort of the indoors. Between the Christmas shop and needing a shed for the rest of the year there was only one option – the roof had to come off and some serious repairs were required.

So after three days of carefully removing the old roof we had a better idea of the scale we are working with, it certainly makes it look a lot bigger.

From here we are going to put bases in for the new posts and have a local building firm in. They make the new timber frame for the tin that will be going on some time in May. Keep an eye out to see how it all comes on and to get a sneak peak of the shed before we open late November.

Until then, Jack

Planting trees

It’s certainly been a busy week here at West Hyde, we have managed to get our third year of trees (plot C) in the ground and the farm is starting to fill up. We now have around 2400 trees either in the ground or in pots and are looking forward to many more.

The ground had been ploughed in November and left over the winter, last year we made the mistake of pulling it down behind the plough leaving us a very wet piece of ground come spring, so this year we left it ploughed over winter. Then last weekend we were lucky enough to have the use of a neighbours New Holland T7 to help break up the ploughing and preparing the ground for plants. This left us with loose ground that would be easier to plant into.

Dad has been busy in the past few weeks also working on a planter to open up the loose ground, let us plant the tree and compact the ground around it as we pass. This would allow us to plant a lot more consistently but also a lot quicker. It was based around an old strawberry planter we had in the shed so was beefed up to allow deeper planting. Unfortunately somewhere along the way it didn’t work, but not to worry we would find a way.

Ground all prepared and ready to plant
Like a well oiled machine we could plant 75 trees in 45 minutes

That way was an imalgimation of the past two years planting. The first year we went straight into undisturbed soil with a post hole borer unfortunately creating almost a “clay pot” by smearing clay around the side meaning very little water was getting in or out of the roots. Last year we dug the holes by hand in prepared soil but was a lot harder going. This year we hired a post hole borer once again but because the ground was prepared this didn’t give the same smearing as previously suffered, though it did mean the soil fell back into the holes. So we had a borer being followed by someone digging out the loose spoil and then finally the trees being planted into the hole and the soil being compacted around them.

As well as doing trees that you can choose and we can cut especially for you, we are also going to be supplying trees in pots that you will be able to keep year after year, providing you look after them of course! These will allow you to keep the tree indoors through remember an then be a part of your garden for the rest of the year. For this we have about 100 in pots that we look after as they need plenty of attention, but this year we have tried burying perforated pots in the ground, this should mean that they will get all of their required nutrients and water from the ground and you can then also bury them in your garden to save constant maintenance.

Planting trees in pots in the ground

We will keep working on getting the planter ready for next year to hopefully save a bit of grovelling around on our knees, but for this now I think we will be happy to not see a sapling need panting for a good few months!

Until next time, Jack

Best we introduce ourselves!

Hello and welcome to West Hyde. We are the Garwoods and we are a family run small holding just between Tillingham and St Lawrence. With the family being made up of Molly, Richard, Penny, Meg and Jack. Unfortunately we were a six but sadly lost Mick in the summer of 2020.

For 40 years we were a Pick Your Own fruit farm selling Strawberries and Raspberries, so you may remember us from days coming and picking and eating our strawberries up until 2016, though hopefully not until you had paid! Unfortunately the ground was no longer able to produce strawberries so we thought we would try something new.

The first years on the left to be filled on the right

In 2019 we planted our first 800 Christmas trees, with the hope to plant another 600-800 each year until the farm is brimming with trees! Then once the first years plantation is empty will will start all over again. That’s the plan anyway!

As we learn about the art of growing, pruning and generally looking after Christmas trees we will keep you up to date with whats going on all year round. Turns out these trees aren’t just for Christmas.

I guess thats all for know so have a look around the website and we look forward to seeing you all in December.