Sussex trugmaking craft celebrated with Chelsea gold

  • 19 May 2015
  • From the section England
Trugmaker's garden
Image caption The Trugmaker's Garden celebrates the 200-year-old Sussex skill

A garden based on the Sussex craft of trug making has won a gold medal at the Chelsea Flower Show.

Garden designers Serena Freemantle and Tina Vallis, from Sussex, won the accolade in the Artisan Garden category for their Trugmaker's Garden.

Trug baskets, used for harvesting food or collecting grain, have been made in Sussex for 200 years using sweet chestnut and willow wood.

Ms Freemantle said they wanted to replicate a traditional garden.

"In the olden days the planting for a truggery would be vibrant to attract the passers by and local trade," she said.

Archive photographs found during the designers' research showed a baby inside a trug outside a traditional workshop.

They discovered she was Pamela Elphick, who lives in Eastbourne and will celebrate her 87th birthday on Friday.

Image caption Pamela Elphick, seen inside a trug as a baby, celebrates her 87th birthday on Friday
Image caption Trugs have been made in Sussex for generations, using sweet chestnut and willow wood

Sussex trug makers last year called for the skill to be given the same protection as that afforded to traditional food and drinks such as Cornish pasties, Wensleydale cheese and Champagne.

They contributed to a European Commission public consultation on local non-agricultural products.

Lewes trug maker Charlie Groves said he would keep the skill alive as long as he could.

"The tools we use haven't changed - it's lasted because it's a good product," he said.

The Magna Carta 800th Anniversary Garden, sponsored by Surrey County Council, won a bronze medal in the Artisan Garden category.

Other winners included Brookfield Plants from Ashford in Kent - which won gold for its hostas - and Dysons Nurseries from Sevenoaks, which won silver gilt for its salvias.

Image caption Charlie Groves said he would keep the trugmaking skill alive as long as he could

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