Archive for Saturday, November 17, 2007

Governor’s Christmas tree has Lawrence roots

Mitchell Walther, left and Mike Richardson, who both work at the Strawberry Hill Christmas Tree Farm west of Lawrence, carry out a tree headed to the governor's mansion on Friday, November 16, 2007.

Mitchell Walther, left and Mike Richardson, who both work at the Strawberry Hill Christmas Tree Farm west of Lawrence, carry out a tree headed to the governor's mansion on Friday, November 16, 2007.

November 17, 2007

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Lawrence tree headed to governor's mansion

Eric and Lynn Walther searched their 13 acres, and from 9,000 trees, they found the perfect one for the governor's mansion. Enlarge video

Gov. Sebelius' tree

Video of the nine-foot tall evergreen from Strawberry Hill Christmas Tree Farm being cut down. Enlarge video

Eric Walther and his son, Mitchell Walther, cut down this year's Christmas tree for the governor's mansion in Topeka. The owners of the Strawberry Hill Christmas Tree Farm, just west of Lawrence, chose a 10-year-old, 9-foot Scotch pine for Gov. Sebelius' home.

Eric Walther and his son, Mitchell Walther, cut down this year's Christmas tree for the governor's mansion in Topeka. The owners of the Strawberry Hill Christmas Tree Farm, just west of Lawrence, chose a 10-year-old, 9-foot Scotch pine for Gov. Sebelius' home.

A Lawrence tree will adorn the governor's mansion this holiday season.

Eric and Lyn Walther, owners of Strawberry Hill Christmas Tree Farm just west of Lawrence, were thrilled to be able to pick out and supply a tree for Cedar Crest.

"This is the happiest time of year for us," Eric Walther said.

The Walthers perused their 13-acre farm and selected one from the 9,000 trees. It was a 10-year-old, 9-foot Scotch pine that caught their eyes.

"It was just a gorgeous tree. It was like, 'I'm waiting here for you to pick me out,' so that's what we did," Lyn Walther said.

Just before 10 a.m. Friday, they used a handsaw to cut down the tree, shook out any loose needles, bagged it and delivered the evergreen to the governor. Tied with a red bow, it arrived at Cedar Crest early Friday afternoon by horse-drawn carriage.

"I think it's a really neat, old-fashioned tradition," Lyn Walther said.

Although they've operated the cut-your-own tree farm for more than 20 years, this was the first time that the Walthers groomed one for the governor.

Every year, the Kansas Christmas Tree Growers Association selects a different member to provide the governor's tree. Susan Grelinger, secretary for the association, said she was glad the Walthers were recognized after their decades in the business.

"Once you get it in your blood, you sort of stick it out," said Grelinger, an owner of Windy Knoll Tree Farm near Derby. "Not a lot of people are willing to take it on because it's a lot of hard work."

But for the Walthers, it's a labor of love and a tradition they brought here from their time living on the East Coast.

"We went to several Christmas tree farms with our four boys, and the kids just loved it," Eric Walther said. "At one time I thought I sold trees, but the reality is we allow people to have a memorable family experience."

Now, they can add the Sebelius family to their list of satisfied customers.

- Staff writer George Diepenbrock contributed to this report.

Comments

toefungus 7 years, 8 months ago

Still, not very green of our governor to authorize the senseless slaughter of immobile trees. There is just no sporting way to kill a tree.

Lulu 7 years, 8 months ago

What a long time for a tree to grow just to be chopped down. Though I find the governor very attractive, her persona reflects a self centeredness like all politicians. I pity the loss of this most potential bird nesting place, and the increase in hydrocarbon release this wood will cause in a fireplace, and the lack of oxygen this tree won't be able to produce for our earthly well being. Quite ironic isn't it? May Mother Earth find solace in this great loss.

auturgy 7 years, 8 months ago

Aren't these trees bred to be chopped down for Christmas? I'm as green as the next, but this tree will simply be replaced with another oxygen-supplying tree.

bearded_gnome 7 years, 8 months ago

what a wonderful Christmas tree farm. we have many fond memories of going there, and of the trees! good folks too.

so, if the tree is from lawrence, does that make it liberal? hope not.

speedykitty 7 years, 8 months ago

This seems very incomplete reporting of the event. You have four pictures of cutting and netting the tree.

"Tied with a red bow, it arrived at Cedar Crest early Friday afternoon by horse-drawn carriage" . Where did the carriage and horses come from? Why was it there, and who went to all the time, trouble and expense to provide that special delivery? That sounds as special as the tree being selected from Strawberry Hill.

Was it too far to drive to Topeka for a picture of the delivery?

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