OH CHRISTMAS tree, oh Christmas tree, how lovely are thy branches.

That was the caption I saw on hundreds of people’s Instagram profiles followed by a picture of them stood choosing their real Christmas trees in a field surrounded by others.

It made me wonder why real Christmas trees seem to be becoming more popular in families, and where people can go to get them.

The British Christmas Tree Growers Association estimates around seven million trees are bought each year.

Of course, there’s the option of buying real trees from your local supermarket or garden centre, but where do these places get their trees?

I decided to find out more about Christmas tree farms and decided to take a trip to the one located in Gwent called Clearwell Christmas Trees - a farm located in Michaelston off Pentrepoeth Road, in between Bassaleg and Michaelston-y-Fedw.

Being someone who has never got a real tree from a farm or specific Christmas tree place, I was intrigued to find out how it works.

I was warmly welcomed onto the farm by David Phillips and his partner Julie Taylor who set up Clearwell Christmas Trees on their farm around ten years ago.

The farm - which has been in Mr Phillips’ family for 115 years - has a plantation of more than 7,000 trees for visitors to choose from and five different varieties.

Mr Phillips said as the farm is a “bit small” for mainstream farming, they decided to look into something different.

He said: “We started this about ten years ago that we first looked at it. We were disappointed with the trees we were getting, the ones we got weren’t good, so we thought that maybe we could do better.

“We visited a number of leading growers in the UK, planted a few trees and did make a few mistakes. We got it wrong more than we got it right in the first couple of years but there we go.”

After looking into the Christmas trade on their own, the couple joined the British Christmas Tree Association, who helped them source specific seeds and speak to other Christmas tree farms.

Ms Taylor said: “There’s a standard then, and you get to meet all the other people who produce Christmas trees. You learn so much from them and that was the turning point.

“We knew where to get the seedlings from and how to grow them and prune them.”

The farm has five different types of Christmas trees, which are the Lodgepole Pine, Noble Fir, Nordman Fir, Norway Spruce, and Scotch Pine. With the most popular tree being the non-drop Nordman Fir.

The farm sells trees from 1ft up to around 18ft.

There are a lot of specifics involved in Christmas tree growing, including monitoring their growth and making sure they are pruned properly.

“These trees don’t want to grow, for the first four or five years they sit there doing very little, but when they do want to grow they want to grow to the moon,” said Mr Phillips. “You have to prune them back to the shape that people want at Christmas time.”

There’s a lot of preparation for the couple, and it is isn’t just in the months leading up to December, it’s all year round.

“We’re thinking of Christmas trees on a midsummer’s day,” said Mr Phillips. “All through the year we are thinking about it. You have to line everything up.”

This year in particular, Clearwell Christmas Trees have been very busy supplying their products to councils – with two of their trees currently displayed in Penarth, and one in the University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff.

Ms Taylor said: “We have people coming from all over the place. We’ve had people coming from the Forest of Dean because they don’t grow them there, everywhere just buys them in and puts them up against a wall.

“Coming to somewhere like this is different, you can get the whole experience. You can go round and look at all the trees and choose your specific one. You can call the woodchopper over and they will chop it down in front of you so it’s fresh.”

So, what are the benefits of buying a Christmas tree straight from a farm?

Well, Mr Phillips and Ms Taylor say that customers are getting a fresh tree which is still full of its nutrients – such as sap and moisture.

The couple say that many people who have issues with trees dropping their needles is because the tree purchased is dehydrated.

Ms Taylor said: “The problem with the ones in the shops and garden centres is that they’re not being given water and they end up dehydrated and some of them are nearly dead by the time you buy them.”

And with demand growing for real Christmas trees, Mr Phillips and Ms Taylor say that more people want an entire experience and not just to pop somewhere to quickly buy a tree.

Mr Phillips said: “You can walk through a massive patch and spend as much time here as you want. There’s enough room for 20 or 30 families to be here at the same time.

“We also have Santa here as well, who is here on the weekends, we don’t charge people to see him and people can get their picture with him.

“Maybe in the future we will have a grotto and get a few more things to add to people’s experience,” added Ms Taylor.

Not only is choosing and buying a tree adding to the Christmas experience, but Ms Taylor says it is also helpful for the environment.

“If you buy an artificial tree, you would have to keep the same tree for 25 years,” she said.

“Or you have a fresh tree every year for 25 years for the same carbon footprint.

“When you destroy it, it has metal in it and all the other things in it. The real trees are breathing the entire time you have them, so they are environmentally good.”

All in all, Clearwell Christmas Trees is booming in business and continue to thrive each year.

So why not get yourself a real tree next year and treat yourself to the experience?