ISSUE 21  |  Summer Preview

10 Easy Pieces: Garden Trugs

May 26, 2015 1:30 PM

BY Michelle Slatalla

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:

Above: Available in three sizes, a Traditional Trug Basket 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.”

Above: Handmade by Thomas Smith in East Sussex, England, a Rothers Garden Trug is constructed of weatherproof Latvian and Finnish birch plywood fastened with durable (and attractive) copper tacks and nails; $119 at Kaufmann Mercantile. 

Above: Made of chestnut and willow, the Original Sussex Trug is £78 at Labour and Wait.

Above: From Esschert Design, a set of three nesting Sussex Trugs is $70.29 from Amazon.

Above: Made of sweet chestnut and willow, a small, round Genuine Sussex Trug is “one of the trickier shapes to make,” notes craftsman Charlie Groves. It measures nearly 8 inches in diameter and is £40 from Nutley Kitchen Gardens.


Above: With hand-shaped wooden slats held in place by solid brass pins, a Large Wooden Garden Trug is £17.95 from Woodentops.

Above: Available in two sizes, Natural Timber Trugs handmade of shaped strips of wood are available for from $65 to $79 AU at Lisa Ellis Gardens.

Above: A wide, shallow wooden Joseph Bentley Garden Trug stained dark has two curved handles and is $24.95 from Park Seed.

Above: A Small Garden Trug made of myrtle wood and held together with copper nails measures 14 inches long; $72 from Archer Hard Goods. 

Above: Burgon & Ball’s large Traditional Wooden Trug with solid brass pins and screws is £29.95.

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: