TSLL’s Annual Preordering of Sussex Trugs Has Begun! (3 different styles, 4 different sizes)
Monday April 1, 2024

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And so the first Gardeners’ World episode of this current gardening season concluded with Monty Don in his vegetable garden holding a Harvest trug. All the more a reminder of both the ubiquitousness of trugs and English gardens and their enduring functionality for regular gardening tasks.

Beginning today and running through Sunday April 7th, all TSLL readers have the opportunity to preorder their very own Sussex trug and have it arrive by TSLL’s Annual British Week (third full week in May).

Last year began a new annual tradition here on TSLL, offering an opportunity to purchase Sussex Trugs from Thomas Smith’s Sussex Trug’s company based in England, where a wide range of sizes and styles are hand-made. Made available just once each year here on the blog prior to the Annual British Week, with the opportunity to work directly with Robin Tuppen, the owner of Thomas Smith’s Trugs, I am able to have the trugs shipped directly to me here in the states to save readers who live in the states on shipping. As well, Robin is making available some designs – making them to order – that are not available online for regular shoppers who stop by their website. So with that said, I am tickled to be able to bring this special opportunity to TSLL community.

With TSLL’s 6th Annual British Week nearing – always the third full week in May (May 19-26th), this year, we are taking preorders one month earlier to ensure you have your trugs by the end of May so that when summer begins, you have your trug ready to be put to work.

What makes Thomas Smith’s so special and why have I chosen them to work with? Thomas Smith was the original maker of the Royal Sussex Trug, and the tradition continues in their shop located in Herstmonceux, East Sussex, England (learn more about them here).

While yes, wherever you live in the world, you can order your Trugs of all styles and designs and sizes from Thomas Smith as they ship internationally; as I live in the states, I have the opportunity to save you a bit of money, have your items shipped to me (which Robin offers at a lower cost as we ship business to business) and charge you a US shipping fee rather than an international fee. Granted, if you already call Britain home, buying directly from Thomas Smith makes absolute sense, but I have heard from readers here in the states who have shared they would be interested in buying one, and so that is what is available for one week only to ALL readers – non-members and members here on TSLL!

AND, if you are a TOP Tier Member, you will receive 10% off the price of your order. (learn more about the many other benefits of becoming a TOP Tier Member here)

In my own garden here at Le Papillon, the trugs are regularly put to good use from holding my tools needed as I head out to potter, plants to put out in the garden, even a place to put weeds or remnants after dead-heading flowers, and just this past September, my largest garden trug – #7, seen at the top of this post, mightily held oodles of peaches.

Gradually over the years I have added to my collection based on how I discover I would use them, (the latest was picked up this past October at a lovely low price as I found it – size #3 garden trug – at an antique shop and thankfully safely brought it home with me (packing it in my carry-on ☺️)! And so, I’d like to share with you a few photos of the trugs in use as captured in the garden this past gardening year.


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Details about the Sussex Trugs from Thomas Smith

The classic, Thomas Smith’s trug (aka as the Royal Sussex Trug) began being made in 1829 by, you guessed it, Thomas Smith. The Royal Sussex trug is made of sweet chestnut wood (handle) and re-cycled willow wood reclaimed old cricket bats (body) and put together with copper nails. Simply wash the trugs with soapy water to clean (if you want to) and use them in the garden for everything from dead-heading blooms to picking berries, fruit and vegetables. In other words, let them get dirty, as they are made to be used.

HOWEVER, this year, due to sky-rocketing prices (increased 277%!) on the wood reclaimed from old cricket bats (used for the body of the trug), Thomas Smith Trugs are pausing production of the Royal Sussex trug and it is the Wealden Trugs that looks nearly the same but the body is made of wood that enables them to keep regular prices. Robin shared with me that the Wealden Trugs are “made with the same sweet chestnut handle and rim but with birch wood boards, the same that we use for our South Down Contemporary Trugs . . . They appear almost identical to the Royal Sussex Traditional version”. See one of the Wealden Trugs below (shown, #6 garden trug).


The legend of the Royal Sussex began to have nation-wide acclaim and recognition in 1851, well after Thomas Smith began selling them, but it was when he brought them to The Great Exhibition held in The Crystal Palace in Hyde Park, London, and on the first day, “Queen Victoria visited his stand and was so impressed by his product that she ordered some personally as gifts for members of the Royal Family. Well, with that sort of patronage Thomas was bound to win!!! Legend has it that when he returned to his workshops in Herstmonceux, mindful of the debt which he owed to Queen Victoria for his new found patronage, he made the Trugs entirely by himself. He then walked the 60 miles to Buckingham Palace in London, with his brother, pushing a handcart to deliver his prized Trugs in pristine condition.” He continued to sell more Trugs to Queen Victoria because he was awarded the Royal Warrant, hence the term Royal Sussex Trug. Thomas was also awarded a Gold Medal and Certificate of Merit at the show and the Certificate is still on display in Thomas SMith’s shop in Herstmonceux today.

Originally the trug sizes were known from ‘pint’ to ‘bushel’; however, Smith changed the sizes to numerical ordering, as you will see below in TSLL’s offerings available for you to order. They are given a number ranging between 1-8, and that number indicates the length and width. This is standard, and it will be what you see when you are trying to determine which size you are buying.

So now, let’s take a look at what TSLL’s has available for you to order. You can explore ALL of the sizes and styles Thomas Smith makes available on their website here, but what you see below is what I am able to ship to me here in the states.

Trugs Available for Pre-Order from TSLL

The Wealden Sussex Garden Trug (garden/traditional style) (two sizes)

This trug design has been made to replace the Royal Sussex Trug due to the reasons of unavailability of the cricket bat wood (as shared above). The look, style and feel of these trugs are exactly the same. Made of sweet chestnut for the frame (handle, etc.), birch wood is used for the base/body/boards and copper nails (in the A Cuppa Moments video chat this month, I incorrectly called the wood willow – my error).

SIZE # (name)Measurements$ Price
#313.5″ x 7″$170
#620″ x 11″$230
~the prices listed above do not include shipping~

~seen above, the Wealden Sussex Trug, size #6, garden~

To be able to determine the actual size of the trugs, below are the three trugs I have that, and are three of the four trugs available for purchase this year. If you are a TOP Tier Member, be sure to watch today’s (April’s) A Cuppa Moments as I walk through the exact measurements of each of the trugs available and share with you details about each.

The small trug on top of the stack is the size #3, garden trug. The bottom trug is close to the #6 size as mine is #7. The middle trug is a flower trug, #1 (which is available to order below).

~Seen here from large to small: Garden Trug – #7, Flower Trug #1 and Garden trug #3~

The Wealden Sussex Flower Trug (one sizes)

If you are looking for a safe place to put your flowers after cutting them from the garden, this is the trug for you. Made of sweet chestnut for the frame and birch wood for the base/bottom, secured with copper nails, color-wise these look exactly like the Royal Sussex trug (dark handle, copper nail heads, etc.), but with lower sides for so that the flowers lay comfortably and as flat as possible as to protect the flowers from bending or the blooms popping off.

SIZE # (name)Measurements$ Price
#120″ x 11″$230
~the price listed above does not include shipping~

This style is designed to have lower sides



Size #1, Flower Trug


The South Down Rother Harvest Trug (one size)

This is the one trug I do not have yet, and based on my peach harvest last year, it would have been the ideal trug to have! After seeing Monty Don with his Harvest trug on Gardeners’ World, I was reminded that this is a trug that would be highly functional and is most unique as well. I reached out to Robin and he said they would make this size available to TSLL orders and make them to order (none are in stock or available on their website at this time). Which means! Wahoo! If you like this trug, now is the time to scoop it up. Learn more about the trug on their website here (and see more images).

Materials: The South Down Rother trugs are made using European Birch for the handles, rims and boards. Natural finish — no stain or colour, a light-coloured handle as opposed to the garden and flower trugs above (note the picture below).

SIZE # (name)Measurements$ Price
#1 (only one size)21″ x 11″ (60 cm x 30 cm)$230
~the price listed above does not include shipping~

Screenshot 2024 03 21 At 1.24.00 pm

Other details to note about your Trug:

  • Each trug is dated and signed on the bottom underside (see the image below) as well as stamped from the Thomas Smith Royal Sussex Trug compay
  • Super light-weight, even my #7 is as light as paper which means the only thing that causes it to feel weighty are the contents I place inside.
  • The feet make these garden holders sturdy and easy to place anywhere you may find yourself in your garden, trusting that it will not slide or flip-over. Check out the second image below as I placed with security my #4 garden trug on the rockery amongst the California poppies.
  • They are meant to be used!
    • As you can see based on the photos below (second one) the first two Trugs, which I have now had for four years, are used in the garden each year, and they continue to do their job well, just now with a little more patina to them. 🙂
  • They will last a good many decades so long as you remove all organic matter from them so that the wood does not rot.
  • If necessary, you can wash them with water and soap, and then leave them out to dry.

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Size #4 of the Traditional Trug

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How to place your Pre-order

  • Open to all readers of TSLL – non-members and paying members (Basic and Top)
  • Place and pay for your preorder by Sunday April 7th
  • 1ST STEP:
    • Decide which style(s) and which sizes(s) you want:
      • STYLES: Garden, Flower or Harvest
      • SIZES: the #s which equate to the measurements
  • 2ND STEP:
    • Email Shannon directly (shannon@thesimplyluxuriouslife.com) and include the following information:
      • Shipping address (so I can calculate your exact shipping & handling cost)
      • The style(s) and size(s) of the trug(s) you want
      • If you are a TOP Tier Member, email me using your membership account email, and please state, “I am an Active TOP Tier Member.”
        • You will receive 10% off the total price of your Trugs (not your shipping).
    • You ARE NOT OBLIGATED to make your purchase as you will want to see how much the shipping price is. It is absolutely OKAY to not complete your order.
  • 3RD STEP:
    • I will calculate your shipping cost, and email you back with the total price contained in an Invoice from PayPal or Stripe/Link (indicate your preference).
    • If the price works for you, pay the invoice in full by April 7th.
      • If I do not receive payment by the end of the day on April 7th, you will not be able to preorder a trug as I need to place the order for all Trugs as soon as possible to ensure arrive in time for British Week.
      • Thank you for understanding the short window for preordering.
  • That’s it!

Once you have paid your invoice, I will be placing my order the following week (April 8-12th). Some trugs will be made to order, and as our order will be shipped together to Bend, we will have to wait until all trugs are ready. By placing our order by mid-April, I hope to have the trugs shipped to you by mid-May so you can enjoy them during British Week this year! ☺️ 🇬🇧❤️

~If you have any other questions, you can ask them in the comments’ section below or include them with your order when you email me with the above requested information.

Thank you for your interest in this annual opportunity. I am tickled I am able to make it available to you as having trugs in my gardening routine has brought functionality, but also a smile as I potter about, adding a touch of my love for the English gardening culture I so adore.

If you too are an Anglophile like so many TSLL readers, be sure to stop by during the third full week in May to celebrate all things British! Learn more about this Annual event, the second most popular week on the blog here.

Peachestrugfrontdoor 1

One thought on “TSLL’s Annual Preordering of Sussex Trugs Has Begun! (3 different styles, 4 different sizes)

  1. Loving all the book recommendations! Definitely planning on checking out several of them soon.
    Also, truly enjoyed listening & reading about the trugs. Such an interesting history. Love knowing that Queen Victoria admired them so much that she gifted them & gave them her Royal seal of approval. They are lovely indeed.
    As always, thanks Shannon! Give your sweet pups a love pat or few.
    ~Scarlett S.

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