GARDENERS got the chance to beef up their outside areas at an annual tree giveaway.

Colchester Council hosted the annual Trees for Years event at the JobServe Community Stadium.

To mark the start of a new decade and the Colchester Woodland Project, some 10,000 plants were on offer to people who attended.

The native trees, shrubs and fruit bushes were chosen to promote wildlife in gardens and help the bee population.

They were also made available to community groups, schools and town or parish councils who wanted to benefit from the scheme.

The event, which has now been running for 14 years and has seen more than 35,000 trees planted, is funded through the Better Colchester campaign and £2,000 in sponsorship from idVerde, which works with the council to maintain the borough’s green spaces.

The most popular plants were fruit bushes, lavender, Goat Willow and Red and Yellow Dogwoods and all were collected within six hours.

Colchester Council environment boss Martin Goss (Lib Dem) said: “It was great to see so many people grab the chance to brighten up their gardens, allotments and communities with a free tree, shrub or fruit bush.

“The huge excitement surrounding the event shows just how much the project has caught the public’s imagination and inspired both young and old alike to help tackle the climate emergency.”

Council leader Mark Cory said: "It was a very popular event - so popular the queues were lengthy.

"There are ways we can improve it next year.

"It is fantastic to see people so happy to take trees and plant them in the borough and help us with our aim of fighting climate change after our delcaration of a Climate Emergency last year."