Ravensworth Nursery, near Richmond, preparing 12,000 Christmas poinsettias

Gardener Susan Dale amidst a red sea of poinsettias

Gardener Susan Dale amidst a red sea of poinsettias

First published in News Darlington and Stockton Times: Photograph of the Author by , Deputy News Editor

A beautiful blanket of red poinsettias signal that Christmas is just around the corner.

Ravensworth Nursery in Richmond, North Yorkshire, is host to a festive display as the 12,000 flowering plants have changed colour and are ready to go on sale.

Paul Marshall, head gardener at the nursery, has lovingly tended to the plants since summer.

Poinsettias are traditionally given as gifts or used in displays at Christmas due to their vivid red and green foliage and the nursery is one of only a handful which now grow the plants due to the soaring cost of heating.

Mr Marshall said: "The poinsettias arrived in June and they were just green plugs.

"We've had to keep them at a steady 20 degrees Celsius so they can grow.

"We're one of only two or three nurseries that grow them now because of heating costs.

"We have a wood boiler for the heating which is carbon neutral so we've kept the greenhouse warm with that.

"They all changed at the same time so they look beautiful.

"As soon as autumn starts and the nights grow longer they change to red automatically.

"These plants will go on sale at the nursery and also to other gardening centres and some supermarkets.

"Once they leave the nursery all the hard work is done, but to make them last over Christmas you shouldn't water them too much, they like to be quite dry and warm."

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