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10 Easy Pieces: Garden Trugs

Handmade Royal Sussex Trugs

Centuries ago, the idea came from Sussex: bentwood baskets with a handle to transport vegetables from the garden or market. But it wasn’t until Queen Victoria fell for a garden trug she saw one day in London’s Crystal Palace that the wooden baskets became gardening’s first truly chic accessory. Which they remain.

Here are 10 wooden garden trugs–big and small, round and oblong and oval–that deserve a Royal Warrant:

Available in three sizes, a Traditional Trug Baskets is available for from £33.80 to £40.80 depending on size from UK-based The Natural Gardener.
Above: Available in three sizes, a Traditional Trug Baskets is available for from £33.80 to £40.80 depending on size from UK-based The Natural Gardener.

Says Louise McCall of The Natural Gardener: “In Sussex a style of trug basket was developed in the early 19th Century by a chap called Tom Smith. He sacrificed carrying liquids for the sake of lightness, and the “‘modern’ trug of slats nailed to a frame and handle that has been steamed, and then shaped by hand, was born.”

Thomas Smith Large Garden Trug
Above: The Large Garden Trug in contrasting myrtle and copper nails is $92.97 at Archer Hard Goods.
Sussex Gardening Trug Labour and Wait
Above: Made of chestnut and willow, the Original Sussex Trug is £78 ($105 USD) at Labour and Wait.
Esschert Design Sussex Trugs
Above: From Esschert Design, a set of three nesting Sussex Trugs is $73.86 from Amazon.
Thomas Smith Wooden Garden Trug
Above: The Small Garden Trug made of myrtle wood and copper nails measures 14 inches long; $58.21 from Archer Hard Goods.
Burgon & Ball Large Gardening Trug
Above: Burgon & Ball’s large Traditional Wooden Trug with solid brass pins and screws is £32.99 ($44 USD).
Cuckmere Trug Company English Garden Trug
Above: The Cuckmere Trug Company makes the English Garden Trug out of chestnut wood and cricket bat willow; $100 at Goop (contact Goop for restocking information).
Don and Polly Barber Wooden Garden Trug Large
Above: The Don & Polly Barber Wooden Garden Trug is made by a retired shipbuilder out of myrtle by $69 for the small and $98 for the large at Amazon.
Handmade Royal Sussex Trugs
Above: The Handmade Royal Sussex Trug by Robin and Sue Tuppen is made with the artisans of Thomas Smith out of sweet chestnut and willow; £40 ($54 USD) at The Foodie Bugle Shop.

It’s the kickoff of basket season. For transporting harvests from the garden or market (or if you need to pack a lunch for the beach), see:

N.B.: This post is an update; the original story ran on May 26, 2015.

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