Choosing the perfect Christmas tree can be a difficult task, but Londoners can rest assured that a Pines & Needles tree, nurtured in Scotland, will not only go the distance, but it will arrive in style…  

Christmas tree sellers pop up all over London at this time of year, but only one will deliver your tree direct to your home via a driver clad in kilt and Santa hat… Enter Pines and Needles, which, for the past 11 years, has been supplying Scottish trees to us city dwellers from the Lyle family farm.

‘Our Dad was cutting down an area of woodland, which happened to be a variety of Christmas tree,’ explains Sam Lyle. ‘Our older brother decided to take them down in a horsebox and sell them outside his dry cleaning business. He asked Josh and I [who were 13 and 15 at the time] to do the selling. We thought it was so great and so we decided to expand it from there.’

Now, the company is the biggest specialist Christmas tree retailer in London with many sites across the capital. But it’s still got a deep heritage at the heart of the business, hence the cheerful kilt and Santa hat deliveries. For them, it’s about creating a little bit of magic and not just providing the customer with a product.

The Lyle brothers tending one of their fabulous Scottish pines

The Lyle brothers tending one of their fabulous Scottish pines

With the farm still based in Scotland, the Lyle brothers have to divide their time between London and Scotland. ‘Our offices are based in Wembley and our farm is still in Perthshire, so I go backwards and forwards a lot, but my brother does most of the growing there now,’ explains Lyle.

A lot of people don’t realise the year-round work that goes into making sure that your Christmas tree is exactly what you want in your home. Maybe 1% of them would be a nice shape if just left to their own devices, so Josh works hard all year round to keep the trees perfect.

‘The trees we want need to be lush, large and very green, and to do that we have to ensure that they don’t get damaged by deer and rabbits. We have to prune them throughout the year to stop them growing in odd shapes or stretching up too high,’ he says.

‘We have to feed them when they need it, so it’s very hands-on in terms of the pruning and it happens for about ten months of the year. We start cutting them down in November and carry on harvesting them until mid December. We have to allow the trees to settle for a little while on the ground.’

This year they will be giving away seeds for people to plant and grow their own trees – so choosing the tree can be made into a year-round family project. But if you would rather a perfect looking tree with no fuss, they offer home deliveries via the website and you can have it professionally decorated by the Pines & Needles team too if you so choose.

‘It’s such an awesome product and it makes people so happy,’ says Lyle of his family business. ‘I love seeing the children so excited to choose their tree, husbands and wives making each other happy – or even bickering over the choice of the tree! It’s such a wonderful family time, and it gives people really happy family memories.’

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