A UK-based grower of a variety of tree that botanists refer to as the "Christmas tree" has warned shortages may be coming, as this year's bonkers spell of foreign hot weather that came over here to laugh at us has destroyed many of his trees. Or at least turned bits of them brown; so brown you might not even be able to cover the patches up with tinsel.
This Christmas bombshell early warning alert has come from Richard Rainford, who operates a business called Rainford's Christmas Tree Land. You can no doubt guess he grows and sells Christmas trees for a living, so even now he's worrying about how much money he's going to make in December, just like Argos and Marks & Spencer.
Rainford's sad, though, as he estimates that around 10,000 of his baby fir trees have been damaged by the UK's early summer heatwave and rain-free period, spelling doom for this year's Christmas tree market. We'll probably have to import olive trees from Italy or switch to other more exotic types, like when Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall said we couldn't have cod any more.
It's almost certainly too late to plant your own and have it ready for December, too, as trees take ages. We might be gathering around a Homebase potted fuchsia at Christmas 2018. [BBC]