Mark Orchard is the proud owner of the family run business, Cedar Croft Nurseries.
Mark opened Cedar Croft at the young age of 18 with his family's support. Now, after 30 years of building the business Mark seems to have morphed into a real-life Cornish Father Christmas.
Bodmin Life went to meet Mark to find out all about the Cedar Croft Christmas trees and found that Cedar Croft Nurseries is so much more than just a field of thousands of happy evergreens. Mark’s eyes lit up when he spoke about Christmas, his ringtone screamed ‘It’s Christmas’ from that classic song by Slade and when asked, ‘So,why Christmas trees?’, he replied: “Because it’s a happy time of year!”
Cedar Croft Nurseries is Christmas trees at their finest planted and tended with Christmas spirit all year around!
After feeling Mark’s love of Christmas and the business, it was devastating to hear that a few weeks prior to our visit, they had a terrible fire that completely destroyed their on-site Christmas shop. A disaster that Mark was barely ready to speak about.
Despite the sadness of the event, the true spirit of Christmas that emanates from Cedar Croft was still present in Mark’s passion for the trees and the loyal customers that came by and offered support, even donating chainsaws ready for the season.
Mark ‘loves seeing people’s happy faces’ and enjoys watching families return year after year. He added: “There is no time limit and families can come and either follow the pathway around or go off-road in search of their tree.”
Families, businesses, couples and people from all over Cornwall can enjoy choosing a tree from a field of all shapes and sizes, up to an impressive 20 feet. Mark runs a reservation system in the lead up to Halloween when people can get in early to select a tree.
They then decorate it with ribbons provided, or bring their own decorations, to help set it apart from the other reserved trees at the time of collection. One family that has been reserving trees for years, now fully decorates their tree, lights and all!
There is a nostalgic and traditional feel to the business as every tree is pruned, shaped and tended to by hand. Mark said: “Some need a bit of encouragement to take on the traditional shape of a Christmas tree, whereas for some it is their destiny.”
There are a few varieties grown at Cedar Croft Nurseries, including the Nordmann Fir. According to Mark, this variety is the most popular in the country and makes up 80% of all Christmas tree sales in the UK.
Mark also grows the Noble Fir, Continental spruce, Fraser Fir, Norway Spruce and the Corianna for potting.
As popular as the Nordmann is, it is the Norway Spruce which is ‘the smell of Christmas’ and a personal favourite of Mark’s 12-year-old daughter, Ruby.
Ruby is a big part of Cedar Croft and is as passionate about helping her father as she is about spending time amongst the trees.
Ruby told Bodmin Life that she loves helping out at Cedar Croft because it is ‘an adventure everyday’. She helps with chores in the field and takes on the big responsibility of choosing their family Christmas tree each year, favouring the traditional Norway Spruce!
Open weekends only 8.30-17.00. All big trees by appointment only.