Situated between Gosforth and Calder Bridge, The Boonwood Garden Centre is a long-standing local business that offers, in our opinion, one of the best Christmas displays in our county.
With everything from delicate baubles to traditional toys, sparkling lights, and even some locally sourced tasty treats. Boonwood has everything a Christmas fanatic needs this holiday.
To get to know this family business closer, I sat down with one of the owners, Kay, to learn more.
When did you start doing your Christmas Display and Why?
“We’ve been here 34 years and we’ve done Christmas in a big way for well over 20 years, must be 22, 23 years now.”
“We got a few Christmas trees locally the first year, I think it was about 50 trees, and we sold them really quickly.”
“So then we thought there's a market here but then because I LOVE Christmas it was 'well if we do trees, we’ll have to do lights'. If we do lights, we’ll have to do some decorations! Then it just snowballed and snowballed on, until now for the last 10-12 years we’ve got one of the biggest displays in West Cumbria!”
“I have a passion for Christmas, as you can tell!”
What kind of Christmas ornaments do you sell?
“We sell everything from cheap baubles up to really expensive glass baubles. I try to keep ranges traditional that I know will match everyone's Christmas with what they’ve already got.”
“But then introducing nice new stock as well following colour traditions depending on what's happening that year, what colour theme. There's a lot of blues and silvers about at this time of the year.”
“Reds and golds always sell so we just stick to general tradition and decorations, baubles and lights.”
“Outdoor lights are not a big thing at the moment because of the cost of power, electricity, etc., and the environment, they tend to be phasing out now. But, the battery-operated lights, they’re really hot at the minute because they’ve got a timer on them, switch them themselves off etc. low emissions which helps.”
“Food. Mountains of food! Food now is huge for us, local food particularly, we do quite a big range now.”
So do you take on local suppliers like farmers?
“Yeah! Not farmers, we’re not allowed to sell anything that hasn't got the ingredient list or anything like that on it (such as quality marks) it's got to be properly done.”
“Places like Hawkshead Relish that's a local company, Wild and Fruitful is another local company, Wilsons in Kendal they’re rum butter. So we do a fair bit of local and try to support as much local as we can.”
What would you say is your favourite Christmas ornament?
“Ahhh oh my goodness me! I tend to like traditional things, I like natural. Wood particularly. The big glass baubles, the big pink glass baubles. They’re a pale pink with the sage green, I think they’re stunning.”
What kinds of Christmas trees do you have on sale?
“We have different varieties of Christmas trees, all premium quality. There is a difference between premium quality and standard field run trees. It depends on how they are grown more than anything.”
“To have a quality Christmas tree, the trees needle has to be set so it's got to be ice cold where it's at to set those needles.”
“So they are proper grown Christmas trees, we have Nordmann Fir, which is our most common and popular type of Christmas tree. We then have of course Norway Spruce, which is what I call the original Christmas tree that everybody loves.”
“We’ve then got the brand new Korean Fir which is brand new to the market this year. We’ve got the Fraser Fir which is the best-selling Christmas tree in America, that's one the Americans prefer. They tend to be more of a silk of a colour and narrower, perfect for smaller houses.”
“And this year we’ve brought back the Lodge Pole because we were asked for them quite a few times so we brought them back, which are the big ones that have got big thick needles, looks like a bottle brush!”
“They range from 4ft up to 13ft, but big ones we’ve nearly sold out of now already!”
How many Christmas trees would you say you sell a year?
“2,500! We’re still waiting for our rooted ones which haven’t turned up yet because we sell the rooted Christmas trees as well, the pot-grown Christmas trees.”
“Again there's a difference there between rooted, pot grown, pot and potted. Ours are all pot grown trees which means they’ve been grown in that pot so you’ve got a good chance of survival whereas potted ones that are just pulled out of the ground and put into a pot, you’ve only got a 50/50 chance of survival because the roots have all been damaged.”
“We have a lot of trees!”
To find out more, you can visit their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/BoonwoodGC